Though seemingly quiet and reserved on the outside, Riga is a city that breathes creativity and fun. A simple walk through the city’s famous Art Nouveau district, packed with some of the most detailed architecture in the world, will give both your legs and camera a serious workout. Wander through Riga’s Old Town to see the House of the Blackheads and the 15th-century Riga Castle. In the evening, pop into Rock café for a drink and test your singing voice with the karaoke crowd. For a calmer atmosphere, meet up with friends and locals at Chomsky for serious drinks and not-so-serious conversation.

Latvia’s capital places great importance on the country’s history, being handed back and forth between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1991. Visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia to experience the chilling reminders of the Holocaust and the eras of Soviet oppression. Then head over to the Freedom Monument, which honors the lives lost in the fight for Latvian independence and celebrates the liberation of this great nation.

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