The largest and liveliest of the Baltic capitals – Riga makes for a fantastic, action-packed getaway. From its wonderful architecture, modern art centres, experimental restaurants to its buzzing nightlife – there are many reasons why Riga is well worth visiting.
And it’s great value for money, too.
Despite losing its walls, the old town is very impressive with a range of historic buildings, churches and winding cobbled streets.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of architectural treasures with many highlights.
Maybe best of all however are the squares filled with beer gardens and street cafes which are hard to beat in the summer months.
It’s also well worth visiting in the winter months when Old Riga transforms to likeness from a scene on a Christmas card – which is fitting for a city where the first Christmas tree was erected!
They might not have the same climate as other European cities, but many people are often surprised by just how beautiful the beaches are here.
Especially in the height of summer, the endless golden stretches are a great place to hang out – and we recommend a day trip to Jūrmala which is located around 20km from the capital.
This is Latvia’s most happening beach town, albeit quite swanky and filled with grand holiday houses.
For a more chilled atmosphere you can try Ventspils in the northeast.
Riga is home to Europe’s largest market – with a series of WW1 Zeppelin hangars near the edge of the river Daugava.
The central market covers a huge floor space, with more than 3,000 stores selling an exciting range of fresh, local produce.
It’s a great place to get a feel for the culture here!
Recognised as having the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe – Riga is a goldmine for those who admire such architecture.
We recommended heading to the Alberta Iela to soak up with grand houses with colourful, intricate stonework with unusual features.
Once you’re strolled around the surrounding streets of the designated quarter, pop in to the museum to see examples of the interiors from this era.
When the Germans headed to the Baltics in the early 13th century, they weren’t met with the warmest of welcomes!
Instead, sturdy fortifications and castles sprang up throughout Latvia, with many still standing today.
The city also has everything you would expect of a modern capital, with efficient and affordable public transportation, excellent shopping, and an incredible nightlife.
It may seem quiet and reserved on the outside, but there’s plenty of chemistry going on in inside this cosmopolitan city.
Compared to Western Europe and Scandinavia, Latvia is great value for money.
This makes any expenditures such as food, transportation and accommodation very affordable indeed – meaning you can treat yourself more than usual!
Their currency is the euro, and if you’re interested in a travel card which helps you make the most of your holiday money abroad, we recommend Revolut.
Check out TripAdvisor’s price comparison tool for a whole range of accommodation options to suit any budget in Riga.
Whilst Riga is probably the highlight of any visit to Latvia, you should also consider venturing out to the quieter towns.
One of our favourites is Cēsis, located with the Gauja National Park and centred on a large church, ancient castle and a lake.
Another great option is the western town of Kuldiga which boasts Europe’s widest waterfall at almost 250m – more scenic than dramatic due to its height of only two metres.
You’ll also find some great view points from both of these little towns.
In conclusion, Riga makes for a fascinating getaway with a wide and exciting range of reasons to visit.
It’s yet to be as popular as other eastern European cities such as Prague for instance, so now is a great time to enjoy all it has to offer.
And you’ll be able to do so on a budget, so we highly recommend the Latvian capital for a city break.
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