N Europe city in Lonely Planet 2014 top 10

Riga, Latvia, listed number four in worldwide best list

Lonely Planet’s “travel experts” have made their annual list of “the most essential travel experiences and destinations” to experience in 2014. The only city on the Best in Travel list from Nordic and Baltic Europe is the Latvian capital Riga, scheduled to be European Capital of Culture next year together with Umeå.

“Sitting at the crossroads of the great empires that wrote the pages of Europe’s elaborate history, Rīga was – for centuries – a strategic linchpin in the annexation of important lands, until it was smothered into obscurity when the Iron Curtain fell,” the travel-guide publisher writes.

“Today, with two decades of freedom (and a renewed status as Latvia’s capital) under its belt, the city is reclaiming its rightful title as the cosmopolitan cornerstone of the Baltic.

“Over the past few years hipster-chic cafés have spread like wildfire throughout the city centre, sweaty pork-and-potato dinners have been swapped for savvy new-Nordic-inspired dishes, and hundreds of crumbling façades are being restored to their brilliant, art nouveau lustre – all in time for Rīga to earn the long-deserved honour of being named the European Capital of Culture.”

The other cities on the list are Paris, Trinidad (Cuba), Cape Town, Zürich, Shanghai, Vancouver, Chicago, Adelaide and Auckland.

Lonely Planet

[photo by Leons Balodis, courtesy Latvia Tourism]