What to see and do in Riga? Our 10 must-see visits!

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Judit Llordes


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Riga is a unique capital which surprises many tourists. While strolling in the city, it is not uncommon to pass in a few minutes, of a bohemian atmosphere representative of the traditional culture of the country, with a trendy atmosphere in the image of local youth. This duality is also found in the architecture, with a medieval center and a renowned Art Nouveau district. Visiting Riga means diving into the heart of European history, combining Russian and Western influences, enjoying lively nights or relaxing on the beaches of the Baltic Sea. You will be amazed at what there is to see in the Latvian capital. Here are the 10 must-do experiences to do in Riga!

Stroll through the cobbled streets of the old quarter

It is good to get lost in Old Riga. At the bend of the cobbled streets, you will discover in turn large Renaissance mansions, medieval squares, Gothic houses, colorful palaces. Right here, nothing is alike and everything mixes in a pretty cacophony of colors and eras. All styles come together and this is what makes the historic center of the capital so charming. 

The alleys of Riga

Take to the height from the steeple of Saint-Pierre church

In the old town, is the Saint-Pierre church. From its tower located nearly 70 m high, the entire Latvian capital is available to you. The panorama is simply exceptional. This gives you a superb overview with the Daugava river running through the city, the Art Nouveau buildings, the cathedral and the Baltic Sea in the distance. A nice experience to do in Riga!

The bell tower of Saint-Pierre

Go back in time at the Museum of the Occupation

Sensitive souls refrain ! The Occupation Museum is a must visit in Riga if you want to understand the history of the country. Corn it's a heartbreaking visit. It chronicles Latvia's dark past from 1940 to 1991, under the domination of the German and Soviet regimes. The repressions, the deportations, the stages of the country's accession to independence… everything that makes Latvia's identity today. A visit that inspires respect!

The Occupation Museum

Play night owls in Kalku Street

If this is the party you are coming to have in Riga, then Kalku Street is the place to be. Friday, as soon as night falls, part of the old town turns into a huge nightclub. In clubs, discos and bars, beer is flowing and the atmosphere is high!

Kalku Street

Enjoy a shot of black balsam at a local bar

Black balsam is a typical Latvian liqueur. Created in the XNUMXth century by a pharmacist, it is made up of plants infused in brandy. Bitter drink, it is drunk pure, but also with fruit juices or sodas. The less initiated prefer it served over ice.

Black Balsam

Immerse yourself in Latvian gastronomy at the Central Market

If there is one thing to do in Riga to feel the pulse of the country, it's a trip to the Central Market. Plan a good time to browse it, as it is one of the largest (and oldest too) in Europe. All the local dishes and products are present, and this is where you will find the best prices in town. If you are curious and greedy, you will be delighted by the taste buds!

Riga's central market

Admire Art Nouveau in Alberta Street

Whether you are passionate about architecture or not, a visit to the Art Nouveau district is a must. This is a true emblem of Riga. Looking up at Alberta Street, you will understand why the ornamentation and inventive lines of its buildings make the reputation of the Pearl of the Baltic.

Pretty Alberta Street

Relax in Jurmala

It would be a shame to go to Riga and not see the Baltic Sea up close. Jurmala is a seaside resort located 25 km from the Latvian capital. It steals the show from him in the summer. Its long sandy beaches, wooden villas and gourmet restaurants make it very popular with locals. Doing nothing in Riga can also be part of the program of your stay!

Jurmala beach

Enjoy the end of the day along the Daugava

Summer and winter alike, a walk along the Daugava is always pleasant. This wide river which crosses the city is adorned with a brilliant blue when the sun goes down. The walk that runs along it allows a nice point of view on the historic buildings that are reflected in the water.


Take time at Kronvalda Park

If you are traveling with children, Kronvalda park is a fun break perfect away from the hustle and bustle. A canal that crisscrosses the park offers possibilities for boat trips. In addition, a restaurant allows a gourmet and green break.

Kronvalda park

Useful information

Here is some additional information to help you prepare for your stay in Riga:

  • Health : no special formality or vaccine is required.
  • Cash : Latvia joined the euro area in 2014.
  • Riga Tourist Office: you will find all the information you need on the official Riga tourist office website (in English).
  • Getting to Riga: from Paris, direct non-stop flights are generally operated by Air France and AirBaltic.

The essentials of Riga… and after?

A stay in Riga is experienced by some as an unusual discovery. Between the extravagant Riga and the traditional Riga, there is something for everyone. A long weekend is enough to visit the Pearl of the Baltic. Why not continue with a discovery of Latvia? The Latvian capital can also be the starting point for a road trip through Europe. So, are you going for a short break or a long-term adventure?

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