The heart of the Baltic, a small gem on a blue sea with breathtaking nature, interesting culture and a long history: The Republic of Latvia. With about 40 percent of its territory covered by lush forests, a wealth of parks, rivers and lakes, Latvia is a paradise for nature lovers who will enjoy its natural diversity, the rare and protected plants and the varied wildlife that this country boasts. With a serenity and charm that can hardly be found anywhere else, in Latvia visitors can choose among a wide array of activities and types of holidays: from nature trails and wild picturesque beaches, to palaces, castles and Spas, and even art and craft workshops. Latvia’s rich and diverse cultural heritage derives from its long history, which started around the third millennium BC when the first settlers arrived on its territory, and today, after having obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvia is a thriving country eager to gain presence on the European stage. Proudly showing the heritage of the past, and giving shape to its future, Latvia attracts an ever growing number of visitors each year while still remaining partly undiscovered by the big masses. Visitors should not leave Latvia before having tried the culinary specialities: local fresh fish and meat, the speķapīrādziņi (bacon pies) and the cold sour cream soups will give you a taste of this magical land.