As the countdown begins and Riga prepares to become European Capital of Culture, the article writes its ''five reasons to visit Latvia'' in 2014.
''The capital of Latvia is a symphony of spires, steeples and some of the most fantastical art nouveau architecture in the world – all testifying to the richness of an 800-year history that has seen control of the city pass from Swedes to Germans to Russians and, finally, to Latvians themselves,'' the author of the article, Adrian Bridge, points out.
''Young Rigans certainly know how to party hard, particularly in the lively bars of the magnificent UNESCO-listed old town. They also know how to play hard – and frequently do along the 20-mile stretch of white sand beach at Jurmala, a short drive or train ride away. With its fabulous opera house, concert halls and churches offering sublime organ recitals, Riga has its highbrow side too; next year the city carries the title of European Capital of Culture,'' the article writes.
The newspaper goes on to write about four local restaurants.
''While Latvian food is not distinctive – think pork, pastries, black bread, fish and dill – ''Vincents'' is the place where considerable creativity is applied to local, seasonal produce. ''Palete'' in the old town, offers international cuisine in what feels like a private house. Hotels offering fine-dining experiences include ''Bergs'', a hotspot for fusion and nouvelle-Latvian cuisine. For a taste of Russia (roughly half the population of Riga is Russian), head to ''Traktieris'', north of the old town,'' the article points out.
The article also writes about the Latvian capital's accommodation possibilities.
''Riga’s hotel scene has undergone a complete transformation over the past 20 years. With its regal flourishes and a guest list that has included Catherine Deneuve and Sting, the ''Grand Palace Hotel'', a five-star boutique hotel in the building that used to contain the Central Bank of Latvia, is considered the city’s finest. The 15-room ''Dome Hotel'' is a sleek transformation of a 400-year-old building with a rooftop terrace overlooking Riga Cathedral. Those seeking a refuge from the boisterousness of the old town might prefer the ''Radisson Blu Ridzene'' hotel, a stylish place between the old town and art nouveau district,'' the article writes.
''A lovely way to see the city is by boat. Pick one close to the Freedom Monument on the city canal. A round trip lasting about an hour takes you past the opera house, the central food market and on to the Daugava River, from where you get panoramic views of the medieval heart of the city,'' the article goes on to say.
The article goes on a list the air transportation possibilities from British cities to Riga, and points out that ''Baltic winters can be extremely cold and while Riga has its charms in the months when it is covered in snow, most people visit between May and October''.
At the end of the article, the author mentions one ''curious fact'' - the regaining of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 is called the “Singing Revolution”. ''Rather than using guns, Latvians sang in vast choirs to defy Moscow,'' the article ends.