Riga is one of those cities where you can just walk.. and that is enough. As every building is unique in its own way – living up to the expectations of every visitor that comes to see the little city. But walking will also mean that you’ll be done with the city very soon, as the old town isn’t very big. Actually, it is just small. You’ll walk less than a kilometer to get from one side to the other. But luckily, although I personally think that the old town is the most charming side of town, it isn’t the only thing there is to see in Riga.
The old town of Riga
So, let’s just start with the old town anyways. As I just said, the old town is very charming… Small, but charming. Filled with old, artsy buildings and houses the old town definitely attracts some tourists. In the old town there are a few things you should visit, but more than that you should just walk around and see everything that is surrounding you. So what should you see in the old town of Riga? One of your first stops will probably be the Town Hall Square -where the house of blackheads are located (photo above)- one of the most popular squares of Riga, and then most famous one as well.. or at least – when you Google image ‘Riga’ you will get the Town Hall Square as your first search result. An other square you should visit is the Dome Square. Further than that you should take a stop at the ‘Three Brothers’ and the Sint Peter’s Church.
We mustn’t forget to visit the central part of Riga as well, as this part of also has a lot to offer. The first things you will see, when you walk from the old town to Central Riga is the Freedom Monument, a beautiful monument honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence. When walking further into Central Riga you’ll see an amazing cathedral: The Riga Orthodox Cathedral.. and in my opinion one of the most beautiful buildings of Riga. So be sure to take a closer look at that!
One of the most famous -and beautiful- parts of Central Riga is the Art Nouveau district, which is filled with buildings with amazing architecture, art nouveau souvenirshops, cute cafés, and of course the Art Nouveau Museum – one of the best museums in town.
Riga has a lot of museums, but non of them are particularly well-known or huge. The best one I already named above: the Art Nouveau Museum. Next to that you can visit the museum of the Occupation of Latvia, but if that isn’t enough history for your taste you can also go to The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, to learn more about the city you are visiting. Further than that there are also an aviation museum and an art museum.
Other things to visit and see
When in Riga be sure to go to the river and see the city from the other side, see the bridges that belong to the city and enjoy the skyline of Riga. Also, Riga has a beautiful National Opera building to check out and a huge market hall (Central Market), just behind the train station. Further than that Riga is a very green city with a lot of parks, so be sure to check at least one of those out!
- You can combine a trip to Riga easily with a trip to Tallinn. There is one touroperator that offers a sightseeing tour between the two cities, the bus will stop at various locations between Riga and Tallinn to teach you more about Latvia and Estonia.
- The old town has a lot of cute and good cafés so don’t be shy to drink a lot of coffee when in Riga!
- Want to fill your evenings? Take the Riga at Night Kayak Tour, which will show you the city from out the water.
- The people speak really good English, so there is no need to be shy here!
- Some Latvian dishes to try out: potato pancakes, Latvian crepes, potato salads, and any soup you’ll find!