Riga The Path to 100

6 Reasons to visit Riga

In recent years, Riga has grown in popularity as a weekend city break destination and I can totally see why after spending a fun filled weekend there in December. There is so much to see and most of the sites are in and around the UNESCO protected Old Town and all in easy walking distance of each other, so wrap up well, get your comfortable shoes on and have a read of my 6 reasons to visit Latvia’s stunning capital city.  

Riga The Path to 100  Riga The Path to 100

6 Reasons to visit Latvia

1 Budget Friendly  

It’s no secret I love to travel and I try to get away as often as I can, however since I’m usually travelling on a budget I always try to find cheap European city breaks and Riga certainly ticks all the boxes in this regard. Getting there was cheap and easy with Ryanair from Dublin; I paid around €80 for a return flight. There were also plenty of budget accommodation options in the old town, eating out was reasonable and entrance to some of the museums was free.

Riga The Path to 100  Riga The Path to 100

2 Riga’s Medieval Old Town

Riga’s UNESCO protected Old Town is not to be missed; at times you will feel like you are the main character in a medieval fairytale as you wander along its romantic cobblestone streets and be sure to bring your camera as you will definitely want to photograph the colourful buildings.

Riga The Path to 100

There is so much to see around the old town and here is my list of places not to be missed –The Three Brothers, House of the Blackheads, Swedish Gate and the City Walls, Livu Square, Dome Square and Nativity of the Christ Orthodox Cathedral (although it’s not technically in the Old Town).

Riga The Path to 100  Riga The Path to 100

3 The view from the top of St. Peter’s Church

This is one of the first things myself and my mum did in Riga and it was certainly worth the €7 entrance fee! While it was freezing in December and just about to snow the 360 degree view over the city and the Daugava River was incredible. And, the best thing about visiting the observation tower at 72 meters is that you don’t have to climb up the narrow stairs, you can grab the lift all the way up to the top, which made my mum really happy!

Riga The Path to 100

4 Learning about the Occupation of Latvia

Latvia has a long, fascinating and somewhat unpleasant history of occupation which you can learn about in the Museum of Occupation (free entry) located on Raina Bulvaris.

Riga The Path to 100  Riga The Path to 100

Latvia gained it’s independence twice once in 1920 and again after the break up of the USSR in 1991 and thus freedom is a big deal for most Latvian’s and right in the centre of Riga beside Vermanes Park, you will find the Freedom Monument, dedicated to the Latvian heroes who gave their lives for independence.

Riga The Path to 100

5 The Art Nouveau district

I have already mentioned Riga’s beautiful medieval Old Town but it’s beauty doesn’t stop there, as Riga also boasts one the biggest collection of Art Nouveau (or Art Deco) buildings in Europe.

Riga The Path to 100

As you wander around the city you will see examples of Art Nouveau architecture everywhere, but to really get a feel for it you need to get over to the Art Nouveau district around Elizabeth St and Albert St, it’s definitely worth a visit.  And if Art Nouveau is really your thing you can also pop into the Art Nouveau museum at Alberta Street 12, entrance to the entire exhibition costs €5.

6 Warming up in cosy cafés

We visited Riga in early December and it was cold, very cold and it snowed a lot of the time we were there so finding nice warm cafés was a priority for us and Riga had plenty to choose from.  Some of our favourites were All Cappucino near the Art Nouveau district (come here for the perfect instagram shot) and Parunasim (the most romantic café in Riga) beside the Three Brothers.

Riga The Path to 100

*7 This is a bonus reason (well 3 bonus reasons), if you are lucky to visit in Winter – Getting the chance to sip Gluwhein as you check out Riga’s famous Christmas market in Dome Square. My mum is a huge fan of Christmas and she really enjoyed the markets. Building snowmen or sledging in Vermanes Park.

Riga The Path to 100  Riga The Path to 100

Getting the chance to marvel at the beautifully decorated Christmas tree located in front in the House of the Blackheads. It is said that this was the location of the first ever decorated Christmas tree back in 1510 and German merchants visiting Riga in the 16th century brought the tradition back to Germany and it eventually spread throughout the rest of the world.

Riga The Path to 100

So now that you have decided to visit Riga here are some tips to help you plan your trip.

Getting there and around

Fly direct from Dublin with Ryanair to Riga airport. Taxi’s and buses are just a short journey (15 minutes) into the city centre from there and once you are in the centre you can get every where on foot. All the major sites are within easy walking distance.

Riga The Path to 100

Where to sleep

We stayed in St. Peter’s Boutique hotel on Peldu iela.  It was in a great location near St. Peter’s Church and the House of the Blackheads. It was great value, rooms were spacious and breakfast was included. It was also close to some great restaurants and bars.

Riga The Path to 100

Where to eat

There is no shortage of great and reasonably priced restaurants in Riga. We are in a variety of places when we were there but we definitely had a few favourites –

Parunasim near the Three Brothers – I know I already mentioned it up above but you need to come here and try some of their delicious homemade cakes!

Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs – this restaurant/bar lives up to its reputation. Food was delicious and reasonable priced. However make a reservation, especially if you plan on visiting at the weekend, it can get very busy.

Trompete – I loved this place, it was so chilled and the food was delicious. The staff were also really friendly and helpful, one of our dishes took longer then expected so they gave us a free dessert.

Riga The Path to 100

Hope you enjoyed reading my reasons to visit Riga. Have you ever been? What would you recommend? Let me know below.
Thank you for reading!

Riga The Path to 100





13 thoughts on “6 Reasons to visit Riga

  1. Great post! I am on Riga visiting for the weekend and will be using your recommendations! So far we couldn’t find the entrance to the hidden ‘the romantic cafe in Riga’ ?


  2. Kat

    I visited Riga two years ago and I agree that it’s an affordable place to visit! It is a quiet and charming city with not many tourists. I enjoyed wandering through the streets of the Old Town and admiring the view from St. Peter’s Church as well.

  3. I am glad you enjoyed my hometown 🙂 I live in the Old City and see most of the sights daily. I see you managed to get the little snow we had this winter, I am sure it made the Christmas feeling much stronger. I enjoy the Christmas market at the Dome square myself, so it’s not just something for the tourists, many locals come there too. I actually used it a few times in December to mail Christmas cards, as it had a pop up post office with scented Christmas cards and free ginger cookies 🙂

  4. I’ve always wanted to go here and your photos have made me want to go even more! I love finding new little cafes, and travelling in winter so it sounds like a great option for me for later in the year.

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