Saulkrasti, a quick 44km jaunt from the capital, is a closely guarded secret among Latvians. While tourists and Russian jetsetters make a beeline for ritzy Jūrmala, locals gingerly tiptoe up the coast for a day trip in the other direction. They get rewarded with a stunning white-sand beach and the sea that, unlike in Jūrmala, gets deep enough to swim before you walk all the way to Sweden. The lack of a tourism infrastructure is as refreshing as the salty breeze, so you’d better come quick before the other tourists catch on.
Like Jūrmala, Saulkrasti is really several holiday villages skewed on the railway line. For the most beautiful stretch of the beach, get off the train at Pabaži station. The word 'Saulkrasti' means Sunny Coast, which makes the place a northern twin of Costa del Sol.