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Deals of the week: Riga, Venice, Maldives

Riga retreat

From Art Nouveau edifices to Soviet history, the Latvian capital makes for a tantalising trip. Amble through picturesque parklands or aim for the vast Central Market – a quartet of harbourside hangars selling all manner of goods and curiosities. Cities Direct has three nights' B&B at the Monika Centrum Hotel, located close to the Old Town's attractions, for £179 per person. The deal includes Ryanair flights from Stansted on Sunday 4 December. citiesdirect.co.uk

48 Hours: Riga

Latvia's handsome capital embraces the onset of winter with festivities and a warm welcome for visitors. Simon Calder reports

Latvia: At liberty in the Baltic

As Latvia marks 20 years of independence, its capital has reinvented itself as an intriguing tourist destination. William Cook relishes his time in a revitalised Riga

Farah progresses with plenty in reserve

This time it was not so much Fly Mo as Slow Mo. Two days on from the devastating burst that took him to gold in the 10,000 metres, Mo Farah was back in action at the European Championships last night, setting out on the second half of his double mission. He never needed to shift into top gear, cruising through his first round 5,000m heat with the minimum of effort.

Alice-Azania Jarvis: Latvia is a small country with a big history

'For you. From Latvia." Our taxi driver leaned forward to hand over a punnet of strawberries. So much for the superiority of English strains; these were the best I'd tasted by a long way. The gesture – made midway through a journey from Riga to the spa town of Jurmala – had involved a mini detour to an outdoor market where everything, we were strenuously assured, was locally produced: Latvian cucumbers, Latvian yoghurt, Latvian curd, Latvian strawberries.

More headlines

Album: Strauss, A Capella Motets (Naive)

The vocal demands of Strauss’s a capella motets are such that what is needed is a choir of Arabellas, Composers, Bacchuses and Mandrykas, hence they are rarely performed.

James Lawton: Ruthless display from a champion in the making

For anyone here with serious intentions there is one clear priority, apart from making victory look like the last word in formality. It is also valuable to look like a champion, to shake down the sneers of those who say you are good but maybe not good enough.