After the influx of city energy from Riga I took a short jaunt to the coast of the Baltic sea. The city of Jurmala has been a favorite vacation spot of fortunate Russians for decades. In soviet times 'good citizens' were rewarded with holidays on the Baltic sea, and to this day the Russians come here to bask in the sun and cycle down the lovely beaches of Jurmala. The small city is serviced by local train and boasts a main tourist street which is beautiful and bustling with restaurants and shops and even carnival games. Most of these are quite chic and offer sheesha smoking, live music, and are a great place to watch the world go by. However with the exception of a few Latvian and Russian restaurants it is no more Latvian than any other resort town I have seen.
If you walk off the main drag you will start to see the lovely old style houses that are still inhabited by the locals. Many of which are labeled as 'villa something' like good old pippi Longstocking. However buying your own Villa here is becoming increasingly expensive due to the ever-lengthening list of Russian celebrities buying places here or renting them for huge prices during the annual New Wave Festival.
The real draw here is the beach. Long and wide with soft smooth sand. Spending the afternoon lying out and listening to the waves is serene and when you get too hot you can plunge yourself into the cool water or take a stroll from one of the many ice cream vendors. The people watching is some ofthe best a beach can offer, and as the beach is so long you can rent bicycles to optimize your time. I suggest coming to Jurmala with intention of fully exploiting the sea side and enjoying nights of live music and dancing on restaurant patios.