Riga, the capital of Latvia, is located in central Baltic States. It is a hidden gem in North Europe, offering endless possibilities for visitors. Also known as the “Paris of the North” Riga has many things to offer to travelers. The old town is full of cobblestone streets and vibrant buildings. There are also many medieval churches. Riga is an Art Nouveau city and attracts many history lovers. Although not world-famous, the local food is delicious and worth a try. It is also very accessible and affordable. To keep it short, Riga is worth-visiting. If you are coming to the city for just several days, we will help you to enjoy your weekend in Riga.
Where to Stay in Riga?
Riga is a tiny city, where everything is accessible on foot. This means that no matter where you stay, most of the major sightseeing will be still very close to you. However, there are several districts where you can stay to fully enjoy the city vibes.
Old Town is the most popular place among the tourists. This part of the city features dozens of accommodation options from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Depending on your budget you can opt out for some cheap, affordable hostel or get a really nice twin room. If you are traveling with your friends, that’s not a problem either. There are enough Airbnb options for those who want to get the entire flat for never-ending fun.
One thing that you should take into account is not to stay too far from the city center. Especially on the other part of Daugava River. It is often jammed and it will take you several hours to get from residential areas to city center.
When to Visit Riga?
Well, definitely not in winter or late Autumn. From late September Riga gets very chilly and from late October it is already proper winter, with temperature below zero. If you don’t fancy walking in the freezing cold and visiting every single souvenir shop on the main street to keep some temperature, make sure that you visit Riga in the period from May to August.
Summer is the best time to visit the city not only in terms of temperature, but also in terms of daylight. Days are very long in Summer in Riga. This enables you to see as many things as possible and get lost in this vibrant city.
Weekend in Riga – Top-rated Things to See and Do in Latvian Capital
Weekend in Riga can be tremendous fun. Although it might not be as touristy as Paris, Riga still proudly carries the nickname the “Paris of the North”. And we would say, fairly so. For us Riga is majorly underrated city that has many activities and things to offer to travelers, even to experienced ones.
Here are some of the top sightseeing of Riga:
Town Hall Square
Riga Town Hall Square is a central location in the city of Riga, Latvia. It is an important meeting point for many people and tourists in the city. The square boasts several buildings with various architectural styles and intriguing clock façades that have been designed with creativity and imagination.
Riga Town Hall Square is most famous for its architecture, but it also has a lot to offer when it comes to amenities. It features a number of cafes, bars, shops, museums etc., where you can chill before heading out to the next destination.
The House of the Blackheads
The building’s exterior is breathtaking and a must-see when in Riga. Merchants used Riga as a stopover on their journey from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. They hosted important meetings at the House of the Blackheads, a Baroque-style headquarters.
This iconic Riga building dates back to 1334. However, the current reconstruction is more recent. It was destroyed during the WWII and was later reconstructed. Today the building is the most iconic landmark of Riga.
St Peter’s Church and Tower
The St Peter’s Church & Tower is one of the most iconic and recognizable buildings in Riga. It is a landmark that has been a part of the city since 1209.
The St Peter’s Church & Tower was built between 1841 and 1844 on top of a hill overlooking the Old Town, a location with an excellent view of Riga. The church was designed by architect Georg Heinrich Gärtner, who also designed the Latvian National Museum and Theater.
St Peter’s Church & Tower was built to be visible from afar so it could serve as a symbol for Riga and its people.
Riga Dome Cathedral
Riga Dome Cathedral is a church in the Old Town of Riga, Latvia. It is one of the largest domes in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The total area of its interior is over 10,000 square meters. It accommodates one of the biggest organs in Europe, with more than 6,000 pipes in it.
The Riga Dome Cathedral was built in 1200s. The Riga Dome Cathedral is an architectural marvel that has been around for over 300 years and has survived two world wars. The dome is one of the most famous landmarks in Latvia and it’s a must-see for visitors to Riga.
Art Nouveau District
This stunning area is a must-see on any Riga itinerary. Riga is known as the Art Nouveau capital of Europe because over a third all buildings in Riga were built in this style. The majority of these buildings date back to 1904 or 1914.
You’ll see the architecture change just outside Riga Old Town. This is the beginning of Riga Art Nouveau district. Everything becomes more elaborate and grander. Jugendstil is the name of Riga’s style for art nouveau architecture.
This area is a vast open-air museum that features dazzling buildings decorated with scenes from nature. There are plants, flowers, leaves, geometric ornaments, and mythical creatures like dragons and gargoyles.
Some Other Sightseeing of Riga Include:
Riga Central Market – Where you can go shopping for local sweets and Latvian Beer – Black Balsam. This is the place where you can get yourself some souvenirs too.
Bergs Bazaar – Renovated shopping area with plenty of fancy shops and boutiques.
Three Brothers – One of the first residential houses in Riga with distinctive and unique architecture.
Vansu Bridge Viewpoint – to capture stunning views of the city as well as Daugava River.
Laime Clock and Freedom Monument – One of the most important landmarks for independent Latvia, since this area served as the major demonstration point during the Soviet Occupation. Latvia’s new chapter of independence started from this point in 1991, when the country regained its independence and started strive towards democratic transition.
Museum of Occupation – The museum accommodates important artefacts about how life in Latvia was before and during the Soviet Occupation. There you can see special exhibition about the victims of Stalin’s Terror.
Riga Castle – This castle was built on the site over 700 years ago. However, it has been subject to extensive renovations, additions, and repairs. Today, Riga Castle accommodates the president of Latvia.
Riga is one of the best cities that you can visit in Europe. It offers a great variety of different sightseeing, historic landmarks and beautiful viewpoints of the city. Another advantage of visiting the city is that it’s very cheap and affordable. If you plan to visit Riga next Summer, don’t forget to check out ETIAS website for updated travel information to the EU.
We hope that this article will help you in your trip planning and your weekend in Riga will be full of great experiences and lots of fun.