Have you been to Latvia?

Travel Ideas

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I’ve been reading a bit about the new Office for National Statistics figures today, partly for work and partly just because they are pretty interesting, and they show that the number of air miles clocked up by British travellers in the last generation has increased five-fold. Working at the heart of the travel industry, I can’t say I’m shocked by this revelation or by the finding that more and more people are taking trips to Eastern European destinations, even though some newspaper articles – like these ones in the Telegraph and The Herald – seem to be a little surprised.

However, I am surprised at one thing – that I still haven’t been to some of these destinations yet. Apparently, holidays from the UK to Latvia and Slovakia have seen growth of 1164% and 957% respectively between 2003 and 2007 – which is very impressive! Both countries have been on my mind for a while, but my list of dream travel destinations is so long, I’m finding it harder than ever to work my way down…

But they’re not the only countries to have benefitted. According to the ONS report, Poland saw a 719% increase in the same period – at least a little of which I contributed to when I visited Warsaw a couple of years ago. I’d really recommend it – it’s a wonderful mix of charming Old Town sights and throbbing, contemporary bars.

Other emerging holiday hotspots include Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia. I’m in the dark about the first two I’m afraid – although I hear Tallinn is lovely – but Slovenia, I know! One of my friends goes snowboarding there at least twice a year, and I went with him once (though kept myself away from the winter sports). It’s beautifully picturesque – occasionally, overwhelmingly so – so don’t forget your camera if you visit! I’ll try to dig out an old photo to post up here.

I don’t really know when I’ll next get to any of these destinations (San Francisco and a Berlin re-visit come first! :) ) but I’d love to hear any travel ideas you might have on them. For instance, I’ve heard great things about Riga – but where else is unmissable in Latvia?

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