The Baltics

Having been to Riga (Latvia) briefly a few years ago, but never to Estonia or Lithuania, I’m keen to head back to the region in the very near future. Let’s see what other AFAR users recommend :)

12 Vabaõhumuuseumi tee
Situated 15 minutes from the city center of Tallinn in Rocca Al Mare, the Estonian Open Air Museum showcases the country’s vernacular architecture. The museum’s collection includes 14 farms transported here from all over Estonia, along with village buildings such as windmills, cottages, fishing sheds and taverns. You can also watch handicraft and bread-making demonstrations, sample traditional recipes and go for horse-drawn carriage rides.
Alberta iela, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia
Riga has a number of astounding Art Nouveau buildings, but no better concentration of them than on Albert Street. A short road where every building tries to outdo the last, it’s the ultimate address for a pre-Raphaelite beauty (and the most expensive place to live in the whole of Latvia). As well as fantasising about living there - personally, I’d go for the central apartment in the picture above, with its circular balcony - you can visit the Art Nouveau museum at the top of the road, which showcases the interiors of the era. It’s an elegant, calm and uplifting place to spend half an hour, if geometric shapes and stucco reliefs are your thing. If they’re not, give it a go anyway. You might be surprised.
Miera iela 19, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1001, Latvia
OK, there may be better cafes. You may have alternative preferences. But I absolutely adored the Dad Cafe in Miera Street. I came across it at just the right moment - a long morning of walking had left me desperate for an even longer sit, and this place is the kind where no one will mind if you nurse a hot drink for a couple of hours. Not only does it feel like an old-fashioned tearoom, but they actually serve Earl Grey tea, for which I could have kissed them. They also make a home made quiche so delicious that I ordered a second piece as soon as I had finished my first. Chintzy furniture, artfully distressed, lots of lovely women sitting around chatting intellectually (they looked intellectual anyway, I suppose they could have been talking about Jersey Shore). I started a conversation with a drama student who was writing an essay on site-specific performance and we ended up having the most fascinating chat about how theatre is currently the most popular art form among the young in Latvia. Couldn’t have asked for more.
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