With its cobbled streets and distinctive architecture, Latvia’s capital city is one of the most charming on the continent, and certainly a must-visit this autumn.
Packed full of things to see and do, here’s 10 ideas on how to get the most out of a trip to Riga.
How to get there
A return flight from London Stansted to Riga International Airport could cost you anywhere from around £35 – £60 according to flight comparison website, Skyscanner.
Where to stay
According to Booking.com, hotel rooms in the centre of Riga start from around £30 a night based on two adults sharing. It’s worth searching around, but you can definitely find incredible value for money accommodation in Riga this autumn.
What to do
1. The House of the Blackheads
An iconic fixture of Riga’s Old Town, The House of the Blackheads is a must-visit for anybody spending time in Latvia’s capital city. Now a museum, the highlights include the historic cellar and the grand ballrooms. This gorgeous building was bombed during World War II and was rebuilt from 1996 to 1999 true to its original design. Entrance to the museum plus a coffee is 8€ (£6.91), or entrance plus sparkling wine is 9€ (£7.78).
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2. St Peter’s Church
The best location for panoramic views of Riga is the tower at St Peter’s Church. Entrance to the church and a ticket to ride the elevator to the top is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of Riga – 9€ (£7.78) – but once you’re looking over and admiring this beautiful city in all its glory, it’s worth every penny.
3. Spend a night at the Opera
Riga is home to The Latvian National Opera House. With a daily schedule of Ballet and Operatic performances, this gorgeous venue in the heart of Riga is an essential visit for culture-vultures and curious minds alike. Tickets start from as little as 11€ (£9.50) per person, meaning a night at the Opera is a budget-friendly and unforgettable night. Each performance is translated into English via a screen above the stage, meaning you thankfully don’t have to brush up on your Italian before taking in a performance.
4. The Freedom Monument
Unveiled in 1935 and standing at 42 metres high, The Freedom Monument honours soldiers who lost their lives during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920). Located in its own pedestrianised plaza in the centre of the city, The Freedom Monument is a short walk from the Old Town. Travellers will never tire of admiring this incredibly impressive structure.
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5. Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
Perhaps one of the most sobering experiences in Riga, a visit to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is an incredibly important one. A well designed and modern museum, its mission is to ‘Remember, Commemorate, and Remind’ the world of what happened to Latvia and its people from 1940-1991. Located several feet away from The House of the Blackheads, entry is 5€ (£4.32) per adult.
6. Enjoy a walk in one of the many beautiful parks
Riga is home to more than its fair share of picture-perfect parks. A magical way to spend an hour or two is to wander around a few of the green open spaces, soaking up the fresh air and atmosphere of this special city.
7. Riga Central Market
Constructed using old German zeppelin hangars, Riga Central Market is the largest market in Europe. Get up close and personal with Latvian cultures and traditions as you sample fresh and natural products at competitive prices. There’s not another market like it in the world.
8. Track down the giant fox
Tucked away in the urban environment of Riga is a stunning sculpture of a cunning creature. Created by students at the Latvian Academy of Art, this model fox is located on Turgeneva street by the Latvian Academy of Sciences, and made of steel, glass and rope.
9. The Latvian National Museum of Art
Home to a collection of over 52,000 artworks, The Latvian National Museum of Art is a perfect blend of contemporary and classical pieces. A stunning building in its own right, allow yourself to get lost in the enchanting exhibitions. Admission to the museum is 8€ (£6.91) per adult.
10. Try some local delicacies (Honey Cake, Riga Black Balsam)
Latvia is home to some absolutely delicious local delicacies, and where better to try them than its capital city? A trip to Riga would be incomplete without trying a slice of the mouthwatering Latvian Honey cake – you’ll still be dreaming of it long after you’ve left the country. There’s also the distinctive Riga Black Balsam – dating back to 1752, this traditional herbal liquor is worth sampling. A good entry level is to enjoy a coffee with a shot of Riga Black Balsam inside it, then take it from there.
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