Riga is a charming capital of Latvia – a small European country on the picturesque Baltic seaside. Beautiful unspoiled nature, rich architectural heritage, white sandy beaches and gourmet local food is what makes this city a perfect destination for a European city break or even a long term holiday. But if you come to Riga for the first time, you might get a bit frustrated – there are so many sightseeing opportunities and so many activities that it turns out really hard to choose only few. This list is aimed to help you to make the right choice and get the best out of your Latvian holidays! So, here comes the Top 10 site seeing sites in Riga Latvia:
Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town. Just let yourself get lost in this beautiful corner of the city: narrow streets, charming houses dating back to the 16th-18th centuries. Visit beautiful squares of the Old Town: Dome square with impressive Dome cathedral and Livu square with wide range of open air restaurants.
Visit Riga’s Central Market. This buzzing overcrowded place will give you an opportunity to taste some of the best local food and buy some tasty souvenirs to bring back home. My personal must-taste top 5 includes Latvian rye bread, birch tree juice (unfortunately available only in March-April), Latvian eel, sauerkraut made by local farmers, local dairy products which are known for being the best in the whole region.During the tour you can see the legendary Riga Central Market 5 pavilions. Fish pavilion, Vegetable pavilion, pavilion Bread, Milk and Meat pavilion.
Check Riga from a bird’s-eye. Head to one of the places with best panorama of the city: St.Peter’s church’s tower in the Old Town, Skyline bar at the 26th floor of the hotel Radisson Blu Latvia or enjoy a cocktail and great views siting on the Terrace Riga in the shopping moll Galleria Riga.
Visit the biggest gallery of Art Nouveau architecture by Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein, father of the illustrious filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein who was born in Riga. Most of the buildings have now been renovated and of particular interest is the house at Strēlnieku 4a. Built in 1905 it has since undergone a complete facelift and is now home to the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. Don't miss the Riga Art Nouveau Museum at the end of Alberta iela, a must see.
Travel to the nearby seaside resort Jurmala. Jurmala lies only half an hour drive from the city center and offer wide long sandy beaches, gourmet restaurants and lively atmosphere of a seaside resort. It is called Latvian Summer Capital and is known by its beautiful historic wooden architecture.
Visit Latvian farmer’s market in Kalnciema quarter. The most bohemian quarter of the city lies a bit away from tourist routes, across the Daugava river. Each Saturday it hosts a Latvian farmer market with best local delicacies that you can both taste on spot and buy.Kalnciems Quarter is one of the most diversely creative districts in Riga – here you can have lunch and dinner and rent event spaces, here, countryside meets city, plays are performed and films are screened.Between the old wooden houses of the Kalnciems quarter, farmers and artisans regularly gather on Saturday mornings to sell Latvian produce – organic food, delicious forest bounty, and crafts.It is worth visiting to enjoy the open-air concerts, or simply to hide out from the world, sipping on a glass of wine, marvelling at the historical wooden architecture, and viewing the art gallery.
Take a ride on the boat on the city canals. The center of Riga is situated in the ring of city canals and the river Daugava. Enjoy a relaxing ride on the tourist boat that will take you around the Old Town or hire a little pedal boat to explore city canals by your own.
Enjoy Latvian style feast at the Lido recreation center. This recreation center feature a huge self-service restaurant with delicious food and lots of open air attractions for kids and adults. A very popular place among locals and tourists. These are only the most important things that Riga has to offer to a traveler, but there are so much more. Come and check yourself!
Taste Riga Black Balsam. Slightly bitter scent reminding of summer even in mid-winter, golden brown color and unmistakable taste – Riga Black Balsam is Latvia’s most characteristic alcoholic drink. It is served in any bar or restaurant, but the best place in town to enjoy this drink is Riga Black Balsam Bar in the Old Town.
The Town Hall Square branch offers, in addition to the regular things you can usually get from a tourist info (well, like info, for example), souvenirs, tour tickets, guides, books and even phone credit!