The Republic of Latvia is located in Northern Europe and borders Estonia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, and the Baltic Sea. Long closed to Western tourists when it was a part of the Soviet Union, Latvia today welcomes visitors from around the world. Covering almost 25,000 square miles, Latvia is one of Europe's smaller nations, but it has a great deal to offer tourists who wish a glimpse of what Europe looked like in the days before widespread industrialization.
Vacation rentals in Latvia allow visitors to enjoy a far northern nation with a temperate climate most of the year. Summers here are warm and autumn and spring weather tends to be mild, with heavy rainfall during the month of July. During the winter however, tourists are advised to be prepared for heavy snowfalls that blanket the landscape, bringing cold temperatures that truly do make the nation a winter wonderland.
Although there are cities in Latvia, much of the countryside remains in an unspoiled, natural state that allows for a great deal of biodiversity. Common wildlife species include the animals that routinely inhabit European fairy tales: deer, moose, bear, lynx, beaver, wolf, and even wild boar. Just as their forests remain largely intact, the people of Latvia hearken back to a simpler time, still performing their traditional folk songs, called dainas, at festivals.
The national trees of Latvia are the oak and linden, both of which are still widely employed in folk medicinal treatments. Characteristic of the natural landscape, both kinds of trees dot the countryside in Latvia and tourists should not be surprised to find that in some areas, a lone oak or linden may be regarded as sacred.