Latvia – Riga
Discover a wonderful blend of architecture including Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau whilst wandering the cobbled streets of Riga’s Old Town, where most of the city’s main attractions are located. Make time to visit the Occupational Museum which brings the past to life, watch the locals haggle in the Central Market, cunningly converted from old Zeppelin hangars, or join them relaxing in Bastejkalns Park. Pick a gift of exquisite amber jewellery, get tickets for the opera or a classical music performance, and enjoy hearty Latvian food, washed down with a local beer.
Unveiled as the European Capital of Culture for 2014, hundreds of special events are set to take place throughout the city in 2014. So catch a performance at the International Jazz Festival in July – where world famous and award winning musicians take to the festivals stages located at different locations in Riga, become inspired at the Riga Flower ball – a wonderful exhibition of flowers and decorative plants or visit the National History Museum and enjoy the ‘Amber through the times’ exhibition.
The highly popular festival of light or Staro Rīga” will be held in November this year. Visitors can enjoy an exhibition of outdoor installations, used to transform Riga’s panorama using modern light and video technology. The use of light offers a completely different view of the city.
Travel Counsellors in conjunction with Regent Holidays can offer city breaks to Riga include 3 nights’ accommodation at the 5-star Grand Palace Hotel with breakfast, return flights in economy class and all airport taxes from £525pp
Moldova – Chisinau
Often referred to as small Rome due to its location on seven hills, Moldova’s capital is full of charm. So take a chance and visit Chisinau, a city more reminiscent of a provincial town with its tree-lined boulevards and numerous parks, wonderful selection of museums, a fabulous opera house and plenty of excellent restaurants offering one of Moldova’s national treasures – its wine.
In the city centre discover a blend of 19th-century and Soviet architecture and be entertained by the changing of the goose-stepping guards every hour in Memorial Park.Wander through Cathedral Park, where the city’s Orthodox Cathedral and the Holy Gates can be found, take a stroll along the Alley of Classics in Stefan cel Mare Central Park and visit the cottage where Russia’s national poet, Alexander Pushkin, wrote The Prisoner of the Caucasus and other classics.
Once known as the vineyard of the Soviet Union, Moldova has a vibrant wine industry, so choose Regent’s tailor-made short break and enjoy a tasting of the finest wines in the country. Staying in the capital Chisinau, travel to Purcari Winery and sample varieties such as Rosu de Purcari and Negru de Purcari – thought to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II – and tour Cricova Wine Cellars, an underground wine city housing a huge collection of exclusive wines.
Seeing as wine is of one of Moldova’s national treasures, then don’t miss their annual wine festival which takes place each year in October (4th & 5th 2014) The Central Square in Chisinau comes alive with a procession of wine-makers. A convoy of vehicles including horse-drawn carts is escorted by various folklore ensembles in national costumes along the streets of Chisinau. The festival then continues in the Moldexpo International Exhibition Centre, where wine-makers exhibit their best products for sale and of course there is plenty of wine for tasting.
Travel Counsellors in conjunction with Regent Holidays can offer a tailor-made short break to Chisinau over the wine festival staying at the 4-star Regency Hotel for a price of £795pp. Based on flights to Chisinau via Vienna on Austrian Airlines.