The capital city of Riga is, in our mind, the sole reason to visit Latvia. Of the three states, Latvia is the least set up for visiting yachts. The coastline is mostly plain, some would say glorious, sandy beaches which are delightfully un-commercialised, although the odd sewer outlet rather spoils the charm. (Blue flag status however...). The few ports that do exist are still struggling to make facilities for yachtsmen, although there is usually a pontoon or two.
Riga, however, is a delight, and for my money, much more interesting than Tallinn. The rickety tram system makes it easy to get across the city, however the centre is easily walkable from the marina.
Riga is an old Hanseatic town, and so the 'old town' is a very popular tourist destination with some stunning buildings, all having been restored (the Brits and Americans bombed the place to bits in the 1940s). Don't miss the 'House of the Blackheads' a 'no expense spared' restoration which now looks like an explosion in a fireworks factory. The sprawling 'new' part of the town has less heart, but it does have a wonderful selection of outrageous Art Nouveau buildings, only some of which have been restored.
The most active part of Riga is the huge Soviet style central market, down by the railway station. Part of this has very communist overtones, with huge numbers of stalls housed in what looks like old airship hangars, and manned by stern looking Slavic matrons. Outside there are literally hundreds of more stalls - it takes 10 minutes or so just to walk past flower sellers. Right next to all this is the modern steel and glass Stockmann department store, with its up market supermarket - quite a contrast.
Also in the city is a free 'Museum of the Occupation', documenting in quite harrowing detail life for the Latvians in the last century.
The tram will take you out to the city outskirts for the same flat fare. Here is the same contrast - vast mansions, some of which have been renovated and others just crumbling. Some of the most audacious are usually sited immediately opposite a crumbling communist tower block.
Ventspils is a handy port of call if arriving from Sweden. The marina is well protected, but suffers from being located in the fish dock, and the processing plant can be unpleasant if the wind is in the wrong direction. The town is clean, if a little unexciting, but the beaches and nearby parks are quite pleasant.
I would give Roja a miss - the nearby island of Ruhnu (Estonia) is more interesting, although the hotel's restaurant is pretty good.