THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Riga - (with Photos) - TripAdvisor
Latvian food has a large Russian influence, focusing primarily on pork, fish, pickles, and bread. Surprisingly, my two favorite things were the marinated pickled cabbage and the pastry which reminded me of a cream puff. It did feel like a random mix of foods but enjoyed the meal nonetheless. If you want one of those, check out this one. This was an excellent introduction to Latvian cuisine, and we got some stellar restaurant recommendations from Agnese as well. I love finding public parks when I travel, especially those located in an urban city. This large park has a canal running through the middle and is an excellent place for running, biking, people-watching and picnicking.
Plus, cool photo ops. Including the one pictured above with a giant monkey in a spacesuit. Fun fact, Art Nouveau is another way to describe beautiful, ornate architecture with zero chill and all the details. And I love it.
Albert Street and Elizabeth Street are the best places to gawk at these buildings. I have to admit that I was very, very nervous to do this tour. Thankfully, Riga is built for biking and we spent the majority of our time on bike paths and in less congested areas anyway.
This was an amazing way to see the city. Not only were we able to explore a lot of the Old Town at the beginning, but we also crossed the bridge to ride around the island of Kipsala, located on the other side of the Daugava River. This area is incredibly calm and quiet but offers stunning views of central Riga — and plenty of interesting architecture.
On our way back, we rode through the Art Nouveau neighborhood, where Chantell and I were staying. The architecture here is mind-blowingly detailed and impressive, and the contrasting buildings were fascinating. We also rode through Kronvalda park and through the Old Town, stopping along the way to soak up some historical knowledge about Latvia from Agnese.
I know I always recommend walking tours as the best way to explore a new city, but in Riga, biking is the way to go!
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We wandered through the town several times, soaking in the lively ambiance. Instead, Chantell and I stayed a minute walk from the center, at a private room at Riga Park Hostel. Otherwise, find some great deals below! While Old Town Riga is fairly compact and easily walkable, the surrounding area is much more spread out. I recommend renting a bike for a day or two, especially if you want to cover the majority of the city.
There are also public transport options including trams, trolleys, and buses. If you have some extra time or are sticking to the center, Riga can easily be explored on foot. A historical place! Lion heads, floral patterns or elegant female bodies, only when you look closely do you realize how much work and attention to detail is behind all this. You find especially pompous examples along Elizabetes and Alberta street.
This green oasis lies right in the center and is the second oldest park in Riga. If the weather plays along then you can sit down here with a takeaway coffee, watch the people and recover a bit from roaming the city. And from time to time there are concerts at the open air stage. This market is one of my favourite places in Riga! Not only because you find lots of fresh products there, meat and fish only are a few hours old, but also because there are almost only locals here that meet up for a chat or go about getting their grocery shopping done.
The central market is one of the oldest markets in Europe and consists of 5 pavilions in former zeppelin hangars which are relics of World War One. Note : Bargaining is not common here, since the prices are low enough anyway they are fixed. Every day at 12 those interested in learning more about Riga meet in front of St.
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Petri church to be guided through the city. This way you get to know Riga from a whole other side. The tour is around 2,5 hours and I highly recommend it regardless what the weather is like because the guides keep spirits high no matter what! The Kalnciems neighborhood lies in the Pardaugava part of Riga. If you have a little more time and are wondering what to do in Riga, head over there and look at the beautiful old wooden houses.
There is a market here on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm but there are also markets on other days in the courtyards as well as exhibitions and concerts.
Not many other travellers end up here so way to go! Nice big boutique store that sells several products by Latvian designers.
Everything from the typical black clay pots to hand-knitted wool clothes to furniture and jewellery to all sorts of typical birch water. The selection is large but still hand-picked. You can get pretty much everything in one place here so hang out for an hour or two. So while on the bottom floor you can shop for special little items made by Latvian designers, the first floor has a cafe and restaurant on a gallery from where you have a great view of the shop and the street.
Apart from coffee and drinks there are soups, salads and snacks on the menu. A really cool concept! If you are interested in what young Latvian fashion designers are creating then you are in the right place!
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Paviljons has hand-sown pieces, some of them pretty flippy, some even unique items. The prices are high but fair considering this is real design work. The shop was originally opened as a pop-up store for a hand full of Latvian fashion design students but has established itself more and more since then. Latvian cuisine is hearty, similar to German plain fare. Sausages, meat, potatos, sauerkraut etc. Apart from meat fish is ubiquitous here, especially salmon served as sashimi or smoked, herring and trout.
Popular spices in Latvia are dill and caraway. If you prefer a non-alcoholic local drink then from April on there is birch water at all the markets which is very healthy.
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Balzams is also great for your body, this herb liquor is considered the national drink and is especially good in the purple variety with berries, this one is not as bitter. Riga is also famous for its chocolate Laima , its logo is on the clock tower which you pass just before entering the historical center and often is a meeting point for people. Going from the historical center to this cafe is already sweet in the most literal sense of the word. On the right hand side you automatically pass the factory of the largest Baltic sweets manufacturer Laima.
I for instance had no idea it was there until I had the fine scent of chocolate in my nose and was standing directly in front of it. If you can resist the temptation then go on and your tastebuds will be rewarded by probably the best coffee in Riga. I admit, it is a bit from the city center but it is worth it! The design of Rocket Bean Roastery is stylish with a hint of industrial.
In the back there is a roastery and between both the kitchen where an extraordinary chef creates excellent but very affordable dishes. The coffee comes from different countries and is prepared in various ways; among others in a Syphon which looks like a lab instrument. Have the nice barista advise you and then enjoy your favourite coffee!
Tattooed bearded men, creative cool locals and great coffee — you already guessed it this is a hipster place, but a likeable one! Coffee at Miit is great too, especially together with nice cake and sweet little pastries. And as in almost all cafes free wifi is included. A good place to retreat to a corner and work. For lunch there is a delicious vegetarian combo consisting of soup and a main course and Saturday mornings there are pancakes galore! Austra was opened a few months ago and still is a secret recommendation!
On the upper level you can watch the chef in the open kitchen. I ate the chicken breast with quince, bulgur and cabbage puree. The staff is young, laid-back and very obliging. This restaurant is something for a special evening. While on the outside a black mysterious container, you are greeted on the inside by a stylish yet comfortable interior.
The pricing is a little higher but you are served truly extraordinary creations of excellent ingredients. In summer you can sit on the terrace right by the river and enjoy one of the best views of Riga, in winter you have the warmth of a fireplace. It is especially nice in summer when you can sit outside with a view of the river and a good drink or a coffee in your hand. But the place is pretty cool on the inside too with surfboards on the ceiling and lots of dark wood. You like seafood and fish? Then this is your place! The dishes are simple but really good.
This restaurant, more of a snack bar really, specializes on the typical Russian dumplings with various meat and vegetable fillings. You can load your plate yourself with whichever kind and however many of the Pelmeni you want, add different sauces and you have yourself a delicious and really cheap meal. This is ideal especially if you are walking hungrily through the historical center. You will invariably come across a Lido in Riga because there are several subsidiaries and pretty much everyone will recommend going there at least once.
Things are rustic and simple at Lido. Locals and other travellers come here to have typical savory Latvian meals with lots of meat at fair prices.
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But better not go to the restaurant in the historical center, it is always pretty busy and locals seldom come here! Although you can probably come here at any time of the day the selection of wines is what defines this place. The bar is located in Bergs Bazaar and has more than 20 different wines on the menu which is a lot in beer-loving Latvia. A glass of wine is best paired with some good tapas offered here among other things.
The interiors are modern with an industrial touch. If the temperatures are good then you can sit outside under a large chestnut tree. The wine tastes even better there! Comfy and bright bar with sofas and brick walls that wins you over with great cocktails and the laid-back atmosphere. Every table has a set of Apple chargers and power sockets. So this place is ideal for working too! On weekends local DJs play here.
2. Admire architectural designs on Alberta Street
The Tallink Hotel is the perfect home base to explore Riga from. You can easily get there from the airport on a bus, the bus station, central market and historical center are in walking distance and at the same time the newer part of town with cool cafes and restaurants is right around the corner. The rooms are modern with a very nicely designed bathroom. Breakfast covers anything you could wish for so you can gather strength for the day.
If you feel like sauna in the morning then you can use it for free. Here you can take care of food yourself or book a complimentary breakfast. The apartments are only a kilometer away from the historical center. They have everything you need and modern interiors. This apartment was newly renovated and is very tasteful. It is super quiet yet centrally located. You need 10 minutes to get to the historical center. There easily is room for two and another two can sleep on the extended couch. Book here. Once in Sigulda you can grab a map from the super friendly tourist information staff to orient yourself, they will also give you tipps on what to do in the area.