Straddling a narrow strip of land between the sea and a lake Latvia’s third largest city began as a humble fishing village, eventually becoming a major trading port under the leadership of James (or Jacob) Kettler (1610 - 1681). The burgeoning city suffered heavily during the Great Northern War when the population was decimated by an outbreak of the plague in 1710. It only regained its importance as a port in the 19th century as a part of the Russian empire. Today, Liepāja is known as a progressive city with beautiful architecture, an internationally recognised Blue Flag beach and a raging nightlife that just won’t quit. Whether it’s white sandy beaches and the sea you’re after, culture and centuries-old architecture, or extreme sports and even extremer nightlife, Latvia’s hippest city has it all.