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Riga: places to visit and what to do

Riga: places to visit and what to do

Riga, the charming capital of Latvia, it is a city bursting with culture, history and charm, located at the crossroads of the Baltic Sea and the Daugava River. Everyone will be mesmerized by the beauty of this place. Whether you're a fan of art, a history geek, or just looking for an unforgettable experience, Riga is perfect for a short weekend getaway. In this article, we will take you on a city tour, presenting the best things to see and do in Riga.

Riga: what to visit

The city is just begging to be explored. Rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant culture - you'll find everything you need for a wonderful trip. With so many sights to see, it can be difficult to decide where to start your tour. So we will present you the best places to visit in Riga!

Nature wonders

Mezaparks: a spacious park in the center of Riga, famous for its huge gardens, lakes and walking paths.

Gauja National Park: this park, located very close to Riga, has some of the most picturesque landscapes in Latvia. From hills to river valleys with historical castles.

Riga Botanical Garden: the garden covers ​​more than 70 hectares territory. It is a home to thousands of plant species brought from all over the world.

Kemeri National Park: known for large, shallow lakes and peatlands.

Sloka Lake Walking Trail: you will locate it on the boarder of Riga. There is a lake nearby, surrounded by hiking trails. It is a popular place for local residents to relax and escape to nature.

Historical monuments

Riga Castle: it is one of the most important historical monuments of Riga. It served as the residence of Latvian rulers for centuries. Today, you can see the exhibitions commemorating that time.

St. Peter's Church: the highest church tower in Riga. It offers breathtaking views of the city. The church is also appreciated for its intricate Gothic architecture.

Freedom Monument: a symbol of Latvian independence, built in 1935. You will find it in the center of Riga.

House of the Black Heads: a Gothic-style building located in the center of Riga's Old Town. It was built in the 14th century and was a meeting place for merchants.

Riga Cathedral: the largest and oldest cathedral in Riga, built in the 13th century.

Architectural masterpieces:

Old Town: The Old Town of Riga is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is considered one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. You will pass Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings in the narrow streets. This city is an architectural gem.

Art Nouveau architecture: Riga is famous for one of the largest collections of Art Nouveau buildings in the world. Many buildings are located in the city center. The most famous examples are the Hotel Albert and the Fridrih Cander Space Museum.

Riga Central Market: Located in giant hangars, it is one of the largest markets in Europe.

Latvian National Opera: a wonderful building in the very center of Riga. It is one of the most recognizable objects of the city. Built in the 19th century, it is a combination of neoclassicism and secession styles.

Riga: places to visit and what to do

Museums in Riga

For those who are passionate about learning and exploring the past, we have prepared a list of must-visit museums in Riga. Add world-class art collections and unique historical heritage to your trip! Are you ready to discover the city's hidden treasures?

Latvian National Art Museum

The museum is located in a Art Nouveau style building designed by the famous Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns. The building itself is considered a work of art and is an integral part of Riga's architectural heritage. It stores a lot of 19th - 20th century Collection of Latvian art: works of painting, sculptures, graphics and works of applied art. Visitors can fully familiarize themselves with the development of Latvian art. Special exhibitions of works of Latvian and foreign artists are also regularly organized, revealing the latest art trends in the world.

Riga Motor Museum

The museum has more than 100 rare and unique vehicles. Including the 20th century cars, vintage motorcycles and special racing vehicles. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the history of transport in Latvia, which has led the development of this industry.

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia

This open-air museum, located near Riga, exhibits more than 100 historical buildings. Visitors can directly get acquainted with Latvian rural life. The museum has many restored and reconstructed historical buildings: farmhouses, barns, windmills, etc. In addition, various cultural programs are offered to introduce visitors to the history and culture of Latvian rural life.

Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is one of the few museums in the world that focuses specifically on the experience of the occupation of the country. The museum provides an in-depth look at the hardships Latvians faced during the Soviet and Nazi occupations.

Riga: places to visit and what to do

For recreation seekers

Riga has plenty of entertainment for visitors of all ages and interests. In this vibrant city everyone will find something to do, from getting to know the local culture to exciting adventures. We share some of the best things to do in Riga to make your trip a memorable one:

  • Shop at the Central Market in the center of Riga. It is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe;
  • Learn how to prepare traditional Latvian dishes at the Riga Cooking School located in the Old Town;
  • Visit the Labietis brewery. This is one of the most popular breweries in Riga. Do not miss the opportunity to taste authentic beer;
  • Enjoy spa pleasures at the luxurious Esplanade Riga Hotel & SPA;
  • Play golf at the Latvian Golf Country Club, which is located on a picturesque course outside the city;
  • čiuožkite ant Mezaparkso ledo;
  • Go skiing in Mezaparks;
  • Visit the annual Riga Opera Festival at the Latvian National Opera;
  • Riga is located on the Daugava River, so a boat tour is a fun way to see the city from a different perspective.

Riga: places to visit and what to do

One day plan

The one-day trip plan below focuses on the modern side of Riga. Including cutting-edge architecture, vibrant street art and restaurants loved by locals. The plan is intended for those who want to get to know the modern side of the city in a short time. Continue reading to find out what is worth seeing in Riga in one day!

  1. 9:00 a.m. Start your day with a visit to the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases art from the country and around the world.
  2. 10:30 a.m. Stroll around the Miera district, famous for its street art, flea markets and cozy cafes.
  3. 12:00 p.m. Have lunch at one of the many downtown restaurants. For example, Lido or Folkklubs ALA Pagrabs.
  4. 1 p.m. Visit the Riga Art Nouveau Center. You will see the city's rich art nouveau architecture and design.
  5. 2:30 p.m. Walk along the Daugava River and admire the modern buildings of the city: the Latvian Radio and Television Center and the Latvian National Library.
  6. 4:00 p.m. Visit the Latvian Museum of Natural History. It is equipped with interactive expositions about the natural history of Latvia and the Baltic regions.
  7. 5:30 p.m. Have dinner in a highly rated Latvian restaurant. Our recommendation is Kultura. You can taste traditional Latvian dishes here.
  8. 7:00 p.m. End your trip at the Latvian National Library. The place is considered a cultural center where various events and exhibitions are held.

Riga: places to visit and what to do

How to get to Riga?

You can go from Vilnius to Riga by bus, train, car or plane. You can also choose a pre-planned trip to Latvia. You won't have to worry about transportation or accommodation.

  1. The fastest and most convenient way to travel from Vilnius to Riga is by bus. There are buses several times a day. The journey takes about 4 hours.
  2. You can also travel from Vilnius to Riga by train. However, it will take longer, about 5-6 hours, and the trains are less frequent than the buses.
  3. If you have a car, you will reach the destination in 4 hours.
  4. There are several flights from Vilnius to Riga per day, which last about 1 hour. It is a quick but more expensive option.


Tour offers

SPA getaway on the seaside

Hike In Gauja National Park - Up And Down The Switzerland Of Latvia

PRIVATE TOUR IN KULDIGA: charming streets, live history and coffee

Sightseeing tour around the Old Town of Klaipėda

Night tour: Christmas tree night tour from Vilnius

Historical sightseeing tour of Naujoji Vilnia "Reborn City"

Sightseeing trip around Latvia: Medicine History Museum - Art Nouveau style - Blackheads House - Riga

A Unique Sand Dune Peninsula - The Curionian Spit

Rusnė Island - Šilutė Evangelical Lutheran Church – baking tree cake - Lithuanian lunch

Sightseeing - degustation tour by bus - Napoleon's treasure hunt - courtly feast - theatrical excursion

Orientation game "Decode Klaipėda"

Trakai castle – kibinai degustation – ship tour

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum - Ligatne - wine tasting - Cēsis - Sigulda - Turaida Castle

Pažaislis Monastery - lunch - Čiurlionis Museum – Stumbras degustation

One day trip: Baltic mythology park – textile craft center

Panemunė road: honey tasting – Panemunė castle – Raudonė castle – Veliuona – Raudondvaris

Christmas Tree Night Tour from Klaipėda

Sightseeing - nature tour of Naujoji Vilnia: "Pearl of nature"

From Klaipėda: Christmas Night Tour

Siesikai Manor - Antanas Smetona residence – baking a tree cake - kugel - Taujėnai Manor – mead degustation

Lukiškės prison + authentic chicken kiev - tour of the old town of Vilnius