What to visit in Riga?
Updated: May 8
Riga has centuries of history flowing through its streets. The capital of Latvia offers the seasoned traveler a wealth of activities and attractions. From its well-preserved medieval old town's cobblestone streets to spectacular architecture. We are here to show what awaits you if you decide to make the correct decision to emerge yourself in the streets of Riga!
Discover with us:
What not to miss?
Panoramic views of the Old Town
In the old town, there are some fantastic locations to check out some aerial panoramas. The most well-liked destination is St. Peter's Church, and access to the viewing tower costs €9. The Latvian Academy of Sciences' observation deck and the Riga Skyline Bar are two additional viewing locations. Seeing the entirety of the old town from above is a spectacular feeling and we absolutely recommend it!
Various events, including exhibitions and classical concerts, are now held in one of Riga's most magnificent old buildings. The building, which was constructed in 1334 but endured terrible damage and bombing during the Second World War, was completely rebuilt and reopened at the turn of the 20th century (1999). A wonderful building in a spectacular location.
Riga Dome Cathedral
You might want to attend one of the classical concerts that are now regularly held here because it is the largest medieval church in the Baltic States and was built in 1211; however, the quality can vary, so do your research beforehand to ensure you aren't fobbed off with some tourist fodder. It also houses one of the largest organs in Europe (almost 7,000 pipes!). A spectacular sight in the heart of old town!
We would be committing a crime if we did not include the Freedom Monument in this list. The Riga Freedom Monument, which stands between the old and new parts of the city on the edge of one of the major parks, was built in 1935 and is just over 40 meters high, making it visible from all over the city. The monument serves as a perpetual reminder of Latvia's recent struggle for independence and freedom. The woman on the statue is holding loft three golden stars, each of which represents a local region.
What else to visit?
Wander around Old Town
Riga's old town is an absolute medieval gem, with incredible architecture, cobblestone streets, and numerous squares lined with all kinds of restaurants and cafes. It is most likely where most international visitors to Latvia begin their trip and a key highlight of any Baltic itinerary. The old town of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is compact and easy to navigate on foot; we advise leaving your map or phone at home and simply wandering around (you'll almost certainly end up back in the main square by accident).
If you prefer a more laid-back exploration of the city, we strongly recommend checking out the guided tours from Rigafreetours. Their lovely guides will show you the best of Riga and introduce you to the rich history and culture of this wonderful city. Feel free to check out their Instagram Page as well!
Art Nouveau buildings
Since Riga is home to the greatest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in the entire world, we didn't need to look very far to find lovely examples. Your best bet is to head to Alberta Street, which is about a 20-minute walk from Riga's old town and is full of the most amazingly detailed buildings and structures. The majority of the famous Art Nouveau buildings date from roughly 1904 to 1910.
Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral
This beloved Neo-Byzantine structure was built in 1884, when Latvia was still a part of the Soviet Empire, and is the largest (and, dare we say, most beautiful) Orthodox church in Riga. Tourists can access it and can walk there in about 20 minutes from the old town, but women are required to wear headscarves and photography is not allowed inside.
How to travel there?
With flights from over 80 locations, Riga is conveniently located for travel by air. Low cost carriers like Ryanair and Wizz Air offer a lot of direct flights from major European cities.
The distance between the old town and Riga Airport is roughly 13 km, and there are several ways to get there. The 15-minute trip to the old town will cost you about €15–20 in a taxi, which is available 24 hours a day outside the arrivals terminal.
It takes 30 minutes to get to the edge of the old town on public bus number 22. (bus stop: 11.Novembra Krastmala). Buses only run between 5.45 a.m. and midnight, leaving every 10 to 20 minutes.
When to travel there?
A string of hot, dry days may be experienced during the brief summers (roughly from mid-June to late August), but showers and chilly nights are also possible during this time. Along with your T-shirts, don't forget to pack a warm sweater and waterproof jacket.
Mid-September onwards sees a sharp drop in temperature, but autumn can still be a stunning time of year to travel because of the contrast between the dark-green pines and the deciduous trees' golden-brown leaves.
A trip to Riga costs, on average, €900 for a single traveler, €1600 for a couple, and €3100 for a family of four. Hotels in Riga range in price from €9 to opulent suites that cost hundreds of euros per night. Depending on the activities, we advise allocating between €25 and €80 per person per day for travel, dining, and entertainment.
What to eat?
You're not the only one who is unfamiliar with Latvian cuisine! I mean, what else can you say about Latvian food? Since farmers and peasants originally made up Latvia, whatever was in season and fresh was what was put on the table. The attitude toward food in Latvia is still the same today. They adore the food that nature provides.
Since Russia has had a significant culinary influence on Latvia, Latvian cuisine is similar to Russian cuisine in that it is hearty, rich, and comforting, and it makes you feel good on the inside. Check out our blog - 'What to eat in Latvia!' to read about specific dishes that you must not miss!
Nationwide Latvia Song and Dance celebration
One of the largest choral events ever is the National Latvian Song and Dance Celebration. It is a celebration of Latvian folklore with the overarching objective of unifying the country and enhancing national identity. The Celebration, which takes place every five years, attracts tens of thousands of attendees from all over Latvia and the world. The UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity includes this international gathering of Latvians and distinctive cultural expression of the Baltics.
In Latvia, Positivus is a yearly music festival and it has been recently moved from a more distant Latvian town to the capital - Riga! Every single year they host some of the most famous artists in the world, both from modern times and the past. From the inventors of electronic music - Kraftwerk to modern rappers - A$AP Rocky, Positivus has had it all and will continue to deliver in the years to come. In addition, it provides guests with a wide variety of entertainment options, and a vibrant atmosphere, making for an unforgettable experience. Festival goers have the chance to take part in and enjoy a variety of activities in addition to an exciting musical experience.
We've reached the end of the article about Riga. We believe you will visit this amazing city. In the meantime, you can read other articles on our blog. How about London, Glasgow, or Munich? Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be always updated on the new releases.