How did we choose the directions?
There are thirteen cities on our list that are worth visiting if you are looking for a change of scenery, experience and good wine. The selection criteria are simple: direct or “easy” flight from Riga, the presence of interesting sights or entertainment and, of course, good wine. We are sure that even if you were in one of these cities, following our instructions you will discover it from a new side!
1. Paris, France
Who? Lovers, romantics, art and shopping lovers
When? Early autumn, spring
Paris is always good (though this city is most beautiful in early autumn and spring)! If you are in love, go to Paris for a romantic weekend, if your heart is broken and you are lonely – go here to enjoy the silence, baguette and wine in the Luxembourg Gardens, if your soul asks for beauty – go to Paris museums and galleries, and if you want to update your wardrobe – there is no doubt that great shopping awaits you here.
There are many wine shops and fine restaurants in Paris at various levels. We recommend visiting the Tour d’Argent with its excellent wine list, and a couple of “cult” places, for example, the favorite place of the intellectual public and writers – Café de Flore.
Pay attention to the simplest cafes where locals have breakfast and lunch. They have a special charm!
In Paris, of course, you need to drink French wines. Remember that in this country wine is just like water and bread, a product of “daily consumption”. Here you can drink good quality wine in a luxurious restaurant and on the Seine River.
2. Cote d’Azur, France
Who? Lovers of nightlife, art, nature
When? Spring Summer
The Cote d’Azur is a place you should visit at least once in your life. Here everyone can find something for themselves: incredible nature – a combination of mountains and sea, museums, galleries and villas, where world-famous artists once lived, stunning architecture, nightclubs, fine restaurants, shops … And, of course, wine.
Since Roman times, the Cote d’Azur has been famous for its winemaking. It produces excellent red and dessert wines, light white wines, perfectly combined with seafood and fish – because this is a coastal region. The rosé wines of this region are especially highly valued, as the soil and temperature are ideal for their production on the Cote d’Azur.
Moreover, the Cote d’Azur is a holiday. So save one evening for champagne or a good French crème de la crème.
3. Lyon, France
Who? Foodies, history buffs, wine lovers
When? Summer, autumn (mid-November)
It is best to go to Lyon in mid-November or in summer – in June-July. This is the gastronomic capital of France, so you won’t stay hungry here. The selection of wines here, let’s face it, is royal – all of France is at your service. From here, all of Burgundy is easily accessible, from Pouilly Fuisse to Chablis.
If you find yourself in Lyon in November, head to Bonn, where one of the world’s largest wine auctions, Hospices de Beaune, takes place annually in mid-November! In addition, Bonn, as well as Lyon, has many excellent wine bars and restaurants, such as the Diletant wine bar or the Auberge des Vignes restaurant.
I must say that this region is famous not only for food and wine, but also for its rich history. Go on a couple of sightseeing tours – you won’t regret it!
4. Bordeaux, France
Who? Wine lovers and history buffs, nature lovers
When? From early April to late October
Bordeaux is a city surrounded by vineyards and wineries producing the world’s most famous wines. A trip to Bordeaux, of course, is unlikely to be complete without visits to wineries and tastings, and believe me, it’s worth it! For example, for a tasting of young Bordeaux wines, visit En Primeur.
In addition, we recommend that you visit the City of Wine (Cité du Vin), a unique, recently built and open to the public wine museum. Here, on an area of 3000 m2, the centuries-old history of winemaking is told. In addition to the permanent exposition and exhibitions, here you can also taste wines from all over the world.
To be honest, Bordeaux is not only wine, but also a city of amazing beauty with magnificent historical and modern architecture, cozy cafes serving local desserts, and a wonderful atmosphere!
5. Reims, France
Who? Champagne lovers, history connoisseurs
When? In any season
If you like champagne, you are in Reims! Reims is the capital of the Champagne region. Once upon a time, French monarchs were crowned in this city, starting with Clovis I and ending with Charles X, therefore Reims is called the “Royal City”. This is evidenced by the rich architecture of the city, endless legends and traditions.
Reims is an amazing city in its atmosphere, and you can endlessly talk about its history. However, if you do not want to talk about history, you can endlessly talk about champagne: it is here that this drink has the legal right to be called “champagne” and not sparkling wine.
If you are planning a trip to Reims, book in advance a tour of the wine cellars. Such excursions to their cellars are organized by the best champagne houses. Near Reims, there are about 250 km of champagne cellars, which store about 200 million bottles of this wonderful drink. You need to see it and try it!
6. Barcelona, Spain
Who? Lovers of nightlife, art, architecture, fashion
When? Spring Summer Autumn
Barcelona is the narrow dark streets of the medieval city and wide boulevards and magnificent facades of houses built in the early twentieth century, the breathtaking architecture of Gaudí, the ports and beaches that stretch along with the city, parks, museums and shops. There is always a festive atmosphere here.
For the inhabitants of Barcelona, wine is a special source of pride. In Catalonia (it is in this region that Barcelona is located), wine has been grown and produced for a long time. Most often they serve dry, dessert or local sparkling wine – cava.
7. San Sebastian, Spain
When? Spring, autumn
Another gourmet city is located in the Basque Country of San Sebastian. This city is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Spain and is called “southern Paris”.
Food lovers will find a variety of terrific restaurants here, from homemade to Michelin-starred. And, take my word for it, everyone will be incredibly tasty!
As for the wine … In the Basque country, they drink Txakoli, a slightly carbonated light white wine. In addition, Rioja, with its bright wines, and Bordeaux are nearby. With good planning, you can have time to visit delicious wineries in all these regions and compare your feelings!
8. Venice, Italy
Who? Romantics, lovers, lovers of art, literature, fashion
When? Spring, autumn, winter
Perhaps you have already been to Venice in spring or summer, and more than once ran along the embankments, bridges, went into old churches, fed pigeons on San Marco. Well, great! Now go there in winter. Forget museums, guides and gandola … Immerse yourself in the gloomy Venetian atmosphere – too damp, too grey, too quiet (after all, this time of year there are significantly fewer tourists than during the tourist season, and some restaurants are closed).
In winter in Italy there are discounts and, of course, you can devote some time to shopping.
However, we recommend that you devote this time to yourself and, why not, to wine. After all, many artists and poets did this when they found themselves in winter Venice.
9. Florence / Siena, Italy
Who? Lovers of fine arts, architecture, fashion
When? Spring – April-May
If you are already ready to think about spring, in April-May we advise you to go to Florence and Siena. At this time, it is already warm here, but not hot, and the tourist season is just beginning.
It is a real paradise for lovers of fine arts and for those who appreciate good wine: the production areas of Chianti, Brunello and Bolgheri are located nearby.
If you go here, do not choose a large hotel, but stay in some guest house created on a former farm or in an old farm. These guest houses and the restaurants hidden in them have an extraordinary atmosphere that you will not find in the tourist center of Florence or Siena.
Florence and Siena are the places to go to fill your heart and soul with peace, nourish your eyes with beauty and delight your tongue with fine Italian wine!
10. London, UK
Who? Lovers of nightlife, history, fashion, shopping, metropolitan areas, gourmets
When? Whole year
London is good at any time of the year. There are many historical sights, great shopping, clubs and an active nightlife, many museums for every taste, age and lifestyle … In general, London is one of those destinations where you can “wander” several times a year and always find something to do with yourself take.
When it comes to wine, many experts cite London and the UK as a whole as the most important wine market in the world. Back in the Middle Ages, this country was the main consumer of European wines. Today, London is home to the world’s best wine store Hedonism Wines, some of the oldest wine stores are Berry Bros & Rudd and Justerini. In addition, there are many wine bars and restaurants of all levels. For example, Noble Rot, Terroirs, The Remedy, Hide, Sager & Wild … Believe me, there are many more of them, and they are all good!
It’s best to go to London for a weekend – just get distracted and pamper yourself, because you deserve it!
11. San Francisco, USA
Who? Lovers of nightlife, art, nature, shopping
When? Whole year
California is the birthplace of American wine.
The main wine-growing region of the United States is the Napa Valley, located near San Francisco. It is believed that due to the varied climate of California, all types of grapes can be grown here. And, of course, many types of wine are produced here.
What to do in San Francisco? This is a city where every tourist will find something to do. Walk the hilly streets of this city, take a look at the Golden Gate Bridge, drive down Lombard Street, visit the oldest Chinatown in North America, listen to jazz on Fillmore Street … or simply head to the Pacific Ocean with a bottle of good local wine. Enjoy, this is America!
12. Georgia, Tbilisi
Who? Gourmets, wine lovers with an interest in history
When? Spring, summer, early autumn
In recent years, Tbilisi has become a favorite destination for tourists from all over the world. Culture, hospitality, warmth, incredibly tasty food and cheap local wine are what captivates and falls in love with Georgia at first sight. You can fly to Tbilisi for the weekend, but you can stay longer – this country really has something to see!
However, for the first time, perhaps a couple of days will be enough for you. Spend them in Tbilisi: walk along the streets of the old city, go to the bathhouse, praised by A.S. Pushkin, go to the ancient capital – Mtskheta, located at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura, and enjoy the local wine.
Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. The wines here are really tasty, and they are poured very generously! In addition, today in this country, natural wines, popular all over the world, are actively developing. The grapes for such wines are grown without chemical fertilizers. In the manufacture of the drink, only natural yeast and a minimum amount of sulfites are used, and the winemaker practically does not interfere in the production process, only only directs it, according to the laws of nature. We are sure that Tbilisi will not disappoint you!
13. St. Petersburg, Russia
Who? Romantics, lovers, lovers of art, literature, nightlife
When? Early summer (June), autumn
Petersburg? Why not?! It is best to go here in June – for white nights. The truth enchants both the autumn Petersburg with fogs and yellow-red heads of trees, and winter, when the Neva and the canals are frozen.
This city and its historic suburbs attract tourists from all over the world: there are palaces and museums of world importance, and beautiful theaters, and simply iconic gateways.
Peter surprisingly combines the chic and grace left by the Russian rulers with the shabby communal apartments of the great Russian poets and writers of the twentieth century, and today also the scene of wine bars and restaurants. Visit for example Navina, Big Wine Freaks, Tre Bicchieri.