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8 places for budget travelers to try in the off-season

Jan. 3, 2013, 11:37 a.m.
Latvia in winter at night

Photo: amok/Shutterstock

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Latvia

Latvia’s capital city, Riga, is an atmospheric place with an attractive old town and plenty of sights, both modern and historic. Pricier than destinations in Eastern Europe, Latvia is nonetheless a great choice for people who want to explore Northern Europe on a budget. The country is small enough that tourists can rent a car and spend a weekend hitting many of the best places one right after another. Wintertime visitors might have to put up with snow and cold temperatures, but they will also get to enjoy classic cold-weather sporting activities, including a run down a world-class bobsled track outside of Riga or a trip into the countryside on a sleigh, skis or dog sled. Latvia is cold during the winter, but not bitterly so, so anyone with the proper winter gear can enjoy the reasonable prices and many charms of this rapidly developing Northern European nation.