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Travel Latvia. Riga Guide for First Time Visitors


Together with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden, Latvia sits along the Baltic Sea. And as Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia is a Baltic State. Over the last 800 years and ever since a German Bishop built a fortress in today's Riga in 1201, German knights, Swedish nobles, and Soviet rulers, have all been in Latvia’s capital. In 1300 Riga joined the Hanseatic League, and some of the architecture in town still resembles that of the time. The UNESCO world heritage site sits directly in the middle between eastern and northern Europe.

If you are a fan of history and art, as well as of modern architecture and design, this is the town for you. Riga is small enough, so that you can walk easily everywhere, and if you aren't up for that, there is a net of public transport. One moment you walk through medieval lanes and the next you stand in a futuristic edifice. Take the time to discover Vecrīga, the historical centre of Riga and Pārdaugava, the left bank of Riga.


Travel Latvia. Riga Guide for First Time Visitors. The Touristin



What to expect from the Riga Guide for First Time Visitors?

I show you where you can look at 52,000 pieces of art from Latvia and the Baltic region. I tell you who founded Riga in 1201. You are going to hear about an influential and popular guild who organized knight games, carnival balls and town festivals. I take you to a place where crusading knights built a castle, hoping to convert pagans to Christianity. You will find out where to walk down a staircase that has no problem playing the main character in a period drama. I take you to a church named after the greatest Russian ever (that was the result of a Russia television poll). I show you a glass mountain which is called Castle of Light. I take you around an island in Riga, where fishermen, sailors, captains, ferrymen, and navigators lived. We visit a farmer’s market that celebrates Europe’s diversity, and Latvia’s first and only foodie hall. I highlight vegetarian friendly restaurants and cafés of Riga, where I take you to a stylish green-house with a view over the rooftops of town. You will also hear what language they speak in Riga, and what the best time to travel to Riga is, and how to get to Riga and how to best get from the airport to the centre of town.

Latvia won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002, and the 2003 contest was held in the Latvian capital under the slogan: Rendezvous in Riga. Riga is as picture perfect as it is quirky and chic, and it is doubtless worth a rendezvous.

Travel Latvia. Riga Guide for first time visitors

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

Start your visit to Riga in this place. The oldest public museum in Latvia opened its doors in 1773. The museum is part of a 700 years old architectural monument. The Riga Dome Cathedral ensemble is made up of a church, the gothic Cross Gallery, and this museum. While you wander through the museum's 16 exhibition halls, packed to the rafters with Latvian ornaments, armour, artefacts, literature, china, cutlery, fashion, and jewellery you will learn all about the founding, and the development Riga went through over the previous 800 years. Riga was founded in 1201 by the Bremen Bishop Albert von Buxthoeven, who built Riga on the model of the German town Bremen. You can even see the town musicians of Bremen in front of the nearby St Peter’s church.

In medieval times, Riga was a tremendous seaport, and the largest city in the Swedish kingdom. In the 17th century, the town was the most important port of the Russian Empire, and in the 18th- and 19th centuries it was the main trade centre in the Baltic region. Riga became part of the Hanseatic League and sea faring plays a vital role in Latvia. In the rooms dedicated to the sea, you learn about that history in detail.

The 18th century column hall in Classicism style is in the part of a former monastery.


Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation books

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation columns Classicism

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation facade

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation painting

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation ship replica model

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation staircase


Information: Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Palasta iela 4. Plan around three hours for a visit. Hours Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm. Tickets: School children EUR 1, students, pensioners EUR 3, adults EUR 5.

Art Museum Riga Bourse

The museum, in the exceptionally beautiful restored former stock exchange which was originally built in 1852, houses the largest collection of art in the Baltic states. In 1920 a museum opened its doors in the former stock exchange. After WW2 Latvia became part of the Soviet Union and a propaganda institution used the premises, until in the 1980s large parts were damaged in a fire. In the basement, there is an exhibition that explains in detail how tiled floors, fire places, and wallpapers where rescued and restored with the help of specialists. The result is marvellous, restoration works finished as recent as 2008.

The permanent exhibition is made of six different collections: Greek and Roman art, the Western Gallery, paintings from the 16th to 19th century, the Nicholas Roerich room, and the Oriental Gallery.

Art Museum Riga Bourse facade

 
Art Museum Riga Bourse entrance hall

On display are ancient Greek and Roman art, mostly coins from Greece, Hellenistic kingdoms as well as the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire (dated from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD). In addition, you can also look at ancient pottery, produced from Greeks and Etruscans between the 15th to the 2nd century BC.

In the Western Gallery you can browse the collection of 18th to 20th century Western European art. This part of the museum has an unmistakable 19th century feel, remember, it was the time the stock exchange was built. The parquet flooring, large mirrors and gilded chandeliers make the already magnificent space of the Western Gallery seem even more grandiose. Look at furniture and clocks with delicate marquetry, so delicate, as if it was painted into the wood. You learn about the stories of the Riga art collectors, who made their money at the stock exchange. If they wouldn't have given their collected pieces of art to the city of Riga in a charitable act of kindness, the Riga Bourse would probably not be what it is today.

Art Museum Riga Bourse doorway decoration

Art Museum Riga Bourse doorway staircase

In the Venetian Hall and the Makart Hall, where balls were danced, and banquets celebrated, today's visitors are entertained by painters from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and their art they created from the 16th to 19th century. Go on a journey through history, from Renaissance and Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo and Neo Classicism, all the way through to Impressionism and Art Nouveau.

The Renaissance was a time when education, art, science, and literature became more and more important in Europe. Medieval times and the way things were handled, were well and truly over.

The painters in the 17th century were inspired by new trading routes and the opening of the world towards the Ottoman Empire, South America, and Asia. The world seemed richer, and so were the paintings in times of Baroque.

During the Rococo and Neo Classicism period, the painters work was heavily influenced by the age of reason and a more philosophical view of the world, themes were also the French Revolution and the times of poverty.

In the 19th century painters and artists reacted to the Industrial revolution and all that came with it. It was the time of art critics and art salons in Paris, and painters and artists created their Impressionist- and Art Nouveau pieces as a counter-movement to mass production.

The Silver Cabinet marks the time when the Latvian state was being formed, and when some of the works of the State Gold Fund found their home in the in 1920 newly opened State Museum of Art.

A whole room is dedicated to the paintings and graphic works by painter, writer, philosopher, and traveller Nicholas Roerich (1874‒1947). These works, in striking and saturated colours, were sent from India to the Latvian Roerich Society in the 1930s and are a true part of the Latvia's cultural heritage.

Art Museum Riga Bourse Nicholas Roerich room

The Oriental Gallery holds the largest collection of art from the Far- and Middle East in Latvia and the Baltic states. In one of the former safes of the stock exchange lives Latvia’s only mummy, from Ancient Egypt, in a wood sarcophagus.

During the year, there are ever changing temporary exhibitions. Please visit the website to learn more about the program.

Art Museum Riga Bourse gilded clock

Art Museum Riga Bourse sitting room balcony room


Information: Art Museum Riga Bourse. Doma laukums 6, Riga 1050, Latvia. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 10am to 6pm. Friday 10am to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm. Monday Closed. Plan around three hours for a visit. Tickets: Combined admission fee to all exhibition halls, EUR 6 for adults, EUR 4 for students and children.

House of Blackheads

It is hard to believe but the magnificent structure we see today is a rebuilt. The original House of Blackheads, built in 1334 as a place for gatherings and festivities was bombed by the Germans in World War Two, and what was left was demolished by the Soviets soon after. On the facade of the building people could read “Should I ever crumble to dust, rebuild my walls you must”. Latvians obeyed that wish and the building works of the current one finished only a few years after independence in 1999. The result is magnificent, the building is once more fit for a fairy-tale.

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Facade. The Touristin

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Knight. The Touristin


Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Celebration hall. Piano. The Touristin

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Celebration hall. The Touristin

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Early evening, rain. The Touristin

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Fireplace. The Touristin

The Brotherhood of the Blackheads, an association of foreigners (mostly Germans), and unmarried merchants, ship's owners and captains who weren’t eligible to join the great guild, became the main tenant of the building in the 17th century. There were even honorary members, like Russian emperors and Swedish kings. Saint Mauritius, a legion leader, who was tortured to death, and is the patron saint of the guild, adorns the coat of arms.

When the building was bombed into destruction by Germany in World War Two, the original floor plan survived. Later a square was paved in its place. When plans for rebuilding of the Blackheads house became reality, the old floor plan was recovered. Walk through the cellar and listen to stories about the Blackheads guild and learn about the role they played in society. They held celebrations and gatherings, a few hundred men strong, in this cellar. Over the years they became influential, they were popular with locals for organising knight games, carnival balls, town festivals and donations to the church.

The Celebration hall has been restored with the help of pre-World War Two photographs. The ceiling adorns a replica of the painting of the 1900 ‘Apotheosis of Saint Mauritius,’ and on one of the walls is the impressive coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Blackheads. A collection of paintings with portraits of Swedish and Russian monarchs, all framed in elaborate wooden masterpieces, were destroyed in a fire in 1941. The celebration hall is decorated with some reproductions of these. There is also a portrait gallery with paintings of for Riga important people, like Stephen Bathory, the than King of Poland, and Charles V, the than Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Luebeck hall, named after the Hanseatic town in the northern part of Germany, has a fireplace decorated with tiles that tell about the eight hundred years of Riga history. It was created based on 19th century tile samples. Visitors can look at two paintings, one of Gustav II Adolf, the than King of Sweden, in a battle and a panorama of Luebeck.

In the extravagantly decorated cabinet room on the first floor, there are heavy wooden tables, gilded chandeliers, a collection of tobacco pouches, armours, 18th-century Moorish sculptures, fireplaces, 19th century furniture, paintings, and the collection of silver of the Blackhead House.

Latvia. House of Blackheads Riga, Celebration hall. Curtains. The Touristin


Information: House of Blackheads, Ratslaukums 7, Riga 1050, Latvia. Old Town. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 6pm. Closed Monday. Tickets: EUR 6 adults. EUR 3 students and children. Plan around two hours for a visit.

Latvian National Museum of Art

52,000 pieces of art from Latvia and the Baltic region are on display in this newly renovated museum with its Baroque style facade. It was originally purpose built by Baltic German architect Neumann, who was the director of the museum at the time, in 1905 as a museum. In recent years the museum has been modernized, existing and the so far unused spaces were remodeled, and additional space was created in the basement with respecting and preserving all little historical and decorative details. In the attic there is a whitewashed wooden structure and skylights in the floor that allow visitors views of the floor below.

Latvian National Museum of Art Riga. Latvia. The Touristin

The main staircase can easily play the main character in a period drama. Dive into stories told through 19th and 20th Century art. It is an engaging and emotional journey through society, national affairs, and historical events in Latvia and Riga. When you look at pieces the artists made, while they lived under Russian occupation, with a communist regime, it is especially gripping. The art is powerful.

Another staircase that connects the entrance hall on the ground floor with the newly built basement has got the Midas touch and is also worth a visit alone. In the basement you find lockers, the cloak room and the bathrooms, together with a café.

While you enter the museum from the main road, there is a large square at the back of the building, next to the local park, the Esplanade Park, and the Art Academy of Latvia.

Latvian National Museum of Art golden cloak room, locker room. The Touristin

Latvian National Museum of Art Riga. Staircase. Door. The Touristin

Latvian National Museum of Art. Riga. Attic. The Touristin

Latvian National Museum of Art. Riga. facade rain. The Touristin

Latvian National Museum of Art. Riga. golden staircase. The Touristin

Latvian National Museum of Art. Riga. Interior. Staircase. The Touristin


Information: Latvian National Museum of Art. 1 Janis Rozentals Square, Riga 1010, Latvia. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 10am to 6pm. Friday 10am to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Closed Monday. Tickets (combined ticket for great exhibition hall and permanent exhibition): EUR 6 adults. EUR 3 students and children. Plan around three to four hours for a visit.

Konventhof

The Konventhof is right in the heart of Old Town of Riga, and due to the layout of its medieval buildings it feels almost like a village within the town. In the 13th century, the Brothers of the Sword, crusading knights, built a castle in this place, to protect the church and to convert pagans to Christianity. Remember during these times, they (brutally) forced people to become Christians. Oddly, that it is most often ignored these days. It was later given to the Convent of the Saint Spirit and turned into a shelter and warehouses. As we know, over the centuries there were fights, wars, and fires, and the Konvent (that is the German word for convent) was rebuilt over and over. In the 1980s, during the Soviet occupation, the structures of the Konvent resembled ruins. Only after independence did Riga, with the help of building experts rebuild the nine buildings of the Konventhof. Browse through shops and stop for a drink at one of the cafés.

Konventhof, rooftops, Kalēju iela, Riga, Latvia the touristin

Konventhof, Kalēju iela, facades, Riga, Latvia the touristin

Konventhof, Kalēju iela, pink house, Riga, Latvia the touristin


Information: Konventhof, Kalēju iela 9/11, Riga, Latvia.

St Peter’s Church

St. Peter’s Church with the tallest spire of Riga, built in 1209, is one of the oldest medieval structures of the Baltic States. The wooden spire was bombed and destroyed by Germans in World War Two and rebuilt three decades later in 1973. You will love the fantastic view from its tower over the colourful houses of the old town and the river. Take the lift to go up there, it runs every ten minutes.

St. Peter's Church Skarnu iela 19, Riga 1050, Latvia View The Touristin

St. Peter's Church Skarnu iela 19, Riga 1050, Latvia. Door. The Touristin


Information: St. Peter's Church Skarnu iela 19, Riga 1050, Latvia. Hours: September to April: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, ticket office from 10am to 5pm. Sundays 12pm to 6pm, ticket office from 10am to 5pm. May to August: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 7pm, ticket office from 10am to 6pm. Sundays 12pm to 7pm, ticket office from 10am to 6pm. Tickets to the tower: EUR 9 Adults, children up to the age of seven: free, bring an identity card as a student and get the ticket for EUR 7.

Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church in central Riga

This painted yellow, wooden building in classicist-style welcomes visitors ever since 1825 and is an architectural monument. The dome of the church sits on a wooden pillar construction. You enter the building, named after prince Alexander Nevsky who was canonized in 1547, on the left side. There are a few other church buildings dedicated to him. Mr Nevsky became a legend for his soldierly success over German and Swedish invaders. In 2008 he was even declared the main hero of Russia's history by popular vote and the greatest Russian ever (in a Russia television poll).

Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church in central Riga

Information Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church, Brīvības iela 56, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia.

Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Esplanade Park

Building works of this cathedral with its five domes finished in 1884, and works were supported by Emperor Alexander II who donated the bell tower and its bells. This church was a science centre and planetarium plus café during the Soviet occupation, they cut off all the crosses (how dramatic). Soon after Latvia gained independence from Russia, the cathedral was reopened as a place of worship, and the iconostasis was consecrated in the spring of 2000. On entering it feels as if one is bathing in gold. I asked a nun whether I can take one photo; I smiled brightly at her and gestured that I am a writer, and she agreed, lifting a finger, that I'm only allowed to take one (there were also lots of TV cameras). I saw her again later, while she was on her mobile phone. I bet she was having a friendly chat with one of the saints? (It is the 21st century).

Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Esplanade Park Riga Latvia The Touristin

Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Esplanade Park Riga Latvia. Interior. The Touristin

Information: Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Esplanade Park, Brivibas bulvaris 23 | Centra rajons, Riga 1050, Latvia. Tickets: Free. No photos. Allow thirty minutes for a visit. Women must cover their hair (it is what it is, I personally can’t see the point), men are allowed to show their hair.

Riga Left Bank - Explore Pārdaugava

Pārdaugava is the area on the left bank of Daugava River. The name means 'over Daugava'.

National Library of Latvia – The Castle of Light

Float through this book heaven. The National Library of Latvia collection holds four million pieces. The emphasis lies on social science and the humanities, to support higher education, research and life-long learning. Readers also have the chance to browse through special collections – rare books, manuscripts, the Latvian- and Baltic Central Library collections, maps, sheet music, sound recordings, graphic publications, ephemera and periodicals.

Ever since the National Library of Latvia was founded in 1919, it relocated between several buildings. It eventually found its home in the purpose-built structure on the banks of the River Daugava in 2014. The building that resembles a glass mountain was designed by Latvian born architect Gunnar Birkerts, who studied architecture in Germany, and lived in the US. Reading rooms in the structure make use of the natural light, which gives the library the name "Castle of Light."

The “People's Bookshelf” in the atrium of the National Library of Latvia is certainly one of the highlights in the building. The bookshelf is as high as a five-storey house and holds books that were donated to the National Library of Latvia. Every visitor (that also includes you), can donate a book to "A Special Book for a Special Bookshelf". 

Donors are asked to bring a book and write a personal message on the first page of the book that explains why the book is of importance to the donor. It is a project that aims to unify people through books and personal stories. In the end there are going to be 15,000 books and stories in the "People's Bookshelf".

a National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light Latvia The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light Biblioteca Latvia The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. Atrium. Latvia. The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. Atrium. Look up. Latvia. The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. Facade. Latvia The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. Main staircase. concrete. Latvia. The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. People's Bookshelf. Latvia. The Touristin

National Library of Riga – The Castle of Light. Staircase. Latvia The Touristin

Information: National Library of Riga. Mūkusalas iela 3, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1423, Latvia. All the library's levels are accessible for persons with disabilities. Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Bistro, Cafe and Restaurant -KLĪVERSALA-.

Farmer’s Market in the Kalnciema Quarter

At this Saturday farmers market, you can check out local products, and best of all taste whatever is in season at the time of your visit. Speak to the farmers and designers and buy locally made craft and trinkets. It is a beautiful neighbourhood atmosphere. The market is also a place to celebrate Europe's diversity, with themed market days like for example, "refined Italian," "gorgeous Spanish," "magnificent Eastern".

Also take the time to go for a walk through this Riga borough and look at wooden houses, some are already beautifully restored whereas others look like ruins.

Farmer’s Market in the Kalnciema Quarter entrance door. wooden house. The Touristin

Farmer’s Market in the Kalnciema Quarter traditional gloves. The Touristin

Farmer’s Market in the Kalnciema Quarter. Cake. Latvia. The Touristin

Information: Kalnciema Quarter, Kalnciema iela 35, Riga, Latvia, LV-1046. Public transport from Riga centre: public buses No: 22, 32, 35, 43, 53, and minibus 270 (from 13. janvāra iela). Hours: The farmer’s- and artisan market is on every Saturday between 10am and 4pm. Tickets: Free.

Kipsala - an island in the Daugava River

Kipsala is an island in the Daugava River, directly off the Vansu bridge (only a short twenty-minute walk from the centre of Riga). The island, roughly 2.5-kilometre-long and 500 metres wide. Towards the end of the 17th century, fishermen lived on the island; it was convenient since they fished in this area. The houses had ice storage facilities for fish and locals also built fish smokehouses in their yards. Over time a dam was built, the flow of the river changed, and sand dunes disappeared. There were floodings and fires. The river and water always played the biggest role for locals, and it remained the home of fishermen, sailors, captains, ferrymen, and navigators. Streets were named accordingly. A ferry service transported commuters from the centre of Riga to the island, and the street "Balasta dambis" was used as a wharf where goods were unloaded.

Kipsala Wooden Houses The Touristin Riga Latvia

Steamboats and factories were built. The island lost a bit of its appeal in the 1920s and 1930s, until a bridge was built in the 1980s after the Riga Technical University was built on the island. Today, there is the Uni, a large shopping centre, and an exhibition centre, and the Žanis Lipke memorial at 9 Mazais Balasta dambis, where Lipke, a Latvian dock worker hid Jews during World War Two before they could be deported and murdered. Factories are turned into modern housing, and there are refurbished traditional fishermen cottages next to Baroque- and Art Nouveau-style residential houses.

Kipsala is part of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. Walk all along the Balasta Dambis to admire wonderfully restored wooden houses. Turn left into Enkura iela and walk all the way towards the end of the street to reach the other end of the island. Turn back, and later right into Zvejnieku iela, till you can turn left into Mazu Kaiju iela. Walk straight onto Kaiju iela and later walk along Oglu iela, before you head back Balasta Dambis.

Kipsala - red wooden house. Facade Riga. Latvia.

Kipsala - Riga. Latvia. Green wooden house

Kipsala -wooden architecture. Riga Latvia. The Touristin

Vansu bridge. Daugava river. riga. latvia. the touristin

Information: Kipsala. Left bank of the Daugava River. Walk over Vansu bridge or take the bus 57 from the centre. Allow two to three hours for a visit to Kipsala.


Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Āgenskalns

Āgenskalns has forever been the home of sailors and fishermen and trades people, there were orphanages and women's shelters, and hospitals, a market hall, and later parks and gardens were created where locals spend their leisure time. Most houses in this borough we see today are from the 19th and 20th century with many examples of wooden architecture, as well as beautifully decorated Art Nouveau facades. Parts of the borough run along the Daugava River.

This Eastern Orthodox Church built in 1895. There used to be a tiny church here before, that was only used during the summer months. The Holy Trinity Orthodox Church has striking cross domes, showcasing Moscow's 17th century architectural features and is painted in light pink, light purple, light bluish and gold. When you walk in you enter first the anteroom, and then the church with its symmetrical layout. Twelve windows with decorative finishes illuminate the church, and walls are adorned with ornamental bands. From the church cupola, the images of the evangelists and apostles look down on worshippers. There are several screens bearing icons where visitors can light candles and pray; they separate the main room from the back of the church. There is gold as well as a lot of pink. One can't help but to be in awe of such beauty.

This is just such a wonderful building, like straight from a fairy-tale. I didn’t feel welcomed and was even pushed away by a local when I lit a candle in the church. I wonder how the church (in general) wants to reach people, if they act this hostile towards strangers. If you visit, please be quiet. It is always sad to experience that locals can’t believe that strangers are genuinely interested in their lives. 

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Āgenskalns facade. riga. latvia. the touristin

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Āgenskalns interior

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Āgenskalns riga latvia the touristin

View of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Āgenskalns facade. riga. latvia. the touristin

Information: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Meža iela 2, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1048, Latvia.

House in Āgenskalns riga latvia the touristin

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants and Cafés in Riga

Riits


Fun, friendly, welcoming. For dinner I recommend: Caramelised goat cheese. Beluga lentils and courgettes. Sour cream Brûlée (better than the original). Book in advance.

Information: Riits, Dzirnavu iela 72, Riga 1050, Latvia. Monday 12pm to 11pm. Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 11pm. Expect to pay EUR 40 to 50 per Person, inclusive water and wine.

Riits, Dzirnavu iela 72, Riga 1050, Latvia black beluga lentils

Riits, Dzirnavu iela 72, Riga 1050, Latvia goat cheese

Riits, Dzirnavu iela 72, Riga 1050, Latvia sour cream brulee

Riits, Dzirnavu iela 72, Riga 1050, Latvia


Centralais Gastro Tirgus


The is the first food market in the whole of Latvia, and it is definetely the place to be for any travelling foodie, and of course for everyone who likes a good night out.

Information: Centralais Gastro Tirgus, Riga Central Market. Centrāltirgus iela 3 k.2, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm, Friday to Saturday 11am to 2am. Expect to pay EUR 20 to 40 per Person, inclusive water and wine.

Centralais Gastro Tirgus, Riga Central Market. Centrāltirgus iela 3 k.2, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia.

Centralais pumpkin pizza, Riga Central Market. latvia. foodie market

Centralais Gastro Tirgus, Riga Central Market. Centrāltirgus iela 3 k.2, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. foodie market hall


Café Herbārijs


Stunning space. Dine in a giant green-house, and feast on black salsify, beetroot, and rutabaga. The coffee is great too.

Information: Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 11am to 10pm, Thursday and Saturday 11am to 12am, Friday 11am to 1am. Book in advance. Expect to pay EUR 40 to 50 per Person inclusive wine.

Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga,  Latvia. green plants

Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. flat white

Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. inside

Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. interior

Café Herbārijs. Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. root vegetables

Cepiens


Hangout for locals of Āgenskalns. I recommend the risotto, and also to order a hot chocolate.

Information: Cepiens. Meža iela 4A, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1048, Latvia. Hours: Monday to Thursday 8am to 10pm. Friday 8am to 11pm. Saturday 9am to 11pm. Sunday 11am to 10pm. Expect to pay EUR 25 to 40 per Person.

Cepiens - hot chocolate Meža iela 4A, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga

Klīversala at the Castle of Light


I recommend the sweet potato filled with cheese and spinach, followed by a piece of cake as dessert.

Inforation: Klīversala at the Castle of Light. Mūkusalas iela 3, Rīga (Latvian National Library, ground floor). Hours 10am to 4pm.

Klīversala at the Castle of Light riga latvia restaurant

Fat Cat eklērnīca


The eclairs are the stars here, and the choice is almost overwhelming.

Information: Fat Cat eklērnīca. Mazā Jauniela, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. Hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm.

fat cat riga latvia the touristin cafe cat cushion

fat cat riga latvia the touristin cafe eclair dark chocolate orange

Parunāsim kafe'teeka


They call it the most romantic café in Riga, and it is pretty special, and so is the carrot cake.

Information: Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia.

Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga carrot cake

Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga Decoration

Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga dining room

Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga three wheel

Parunāsim kafe'teeka. Mazā Pils iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga, cafe sign

Maja


Vegetarian food in country style surroundings, simply divine. Book in advance.

Information: Maja. Kalnciema iela 37-5, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1046, Latvia. Hours: Monday to Friday 11am to 10pm. Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 10pm.


Maja. Kalnciema iela 37-5, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. bread in a basket

Maja. Kalnciema iela 37-5, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. bread

Maja. Kalnciema iela 37-5, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. red apples

Maja. Kalnciema iela, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. tulips table

Maja. Kalnciema iela, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. tulips

Maja. Kalnciema iela, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, , Latvia. beetroot and bluecheese


SENĀ KLĒTS: Buy locally handmade souvenirs in Riga


At SENĀ KLĒTS, the National Costume Center, you can learn about Latvian ethnography. There are more than 60 Latvian traditional costumes from different regions of Latvia on display. Handicrafts are handmade locally from linen, wool, and fine embroidery, colourful fabrics, and jewellery. This is the place to buy a souvenir from Latvia that will certainly bring back memories of your visit to Riga every time you look at it or wear it. This shop is a true treasure chest for lovers of ethno-fashion. This scarf won't go out of fashion, and it is so precious.


Latvia Travel Guide Souvenir Riga scarf flowers folklore ethno fashion


Information: SENĀ KLĒTS. Tautas tērpu centrs SENĀ KLĒTS, Rātslaukums 1, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvija. Hours: Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm. Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm.

What you need to know to travel to Latvia

How to get to Riga

You can hop on a non-stop flight form most major capital cities to Riga International Airport. Visit the website of the airport in Riga, to see which airlines fly to Riga.

Visa for Riga

Latvia is a member of the European Union. Europeans are free to enter. If they want to stay longer as three months, they need to inform the immigration department. If one travels within the Schengen area, there are obviously no border controls. Visa-free tourists may stay in Latvia for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days: United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil. Citizens of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China require a visa to travel to Latvia. For detailed info please visit:

How to get to town from Riga airport

Jump into a taxi just in front of the airport terminal. The single fare is plus/minus EUR 13 to EUR 15, for the 10 to 20-minute ride. To be on the safe side, check that the taximeter is on, before you start the journey towards town. Use a red-cab, they are a reliable company. A taxi driver at the airport asked me to pay EUR 44 to the centre of town, I happily refused. You can also take the bus into town, the fare is EUR 2; it is a rather tiny bus, depending on the luggage you carry, this might not be the best option.

Wi-fi in Riga

Riga is one of the European capitals of free Wi-fi, every public place has free Wi-Fi. You can get free Wi-fi literally and almost everywhere, in parks, shopping centres, restaurants, cafés etc. Browse this website to find free hotspots.

How to change money in Riga

You can pay almost everywhere with a credit card, and there are also lots of ATM’s in the centre of town. Citizens of EU member states wouldn’t need to change any money, since the currency in Latvia is the EURO.

Best time to travel to Riga

Riga is a year-round destination. You can expect sunny days from May to October, with an average temperature of not higher than 21 degrees Celsius in August. Keep in mind it is a town by the Baltic sea, where the weather changes fast. Winters are icy cold with lots of snow, that sort of weather can last well into March and even April (bring warm clothes, as in beanie, gloves, puffer jacket (cruelty-free) or woollen coat, winter boots).

What language do they speak in Riga?

The official language in Latvia is Latvian. Over a quarter of the population also speaks Russian. The government pushes for Latvian taught at schools only in the future. It is conceived that integration and language go hand in hand, and that it results in a sense of identity. Russian immigrants on the other hand fear for their children to lose their heritage. One of the issues apparently is that there aren’t enough Latvian teachers.

From Berlin with love


The House of Blackheads, the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, the Latvian National Museum Of Art, and the Riga Bourse supported my research trip to Riga. All thoughts are based on my own experiences and feelings.
 

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.