Explore the Old Town
A walk in Riga’s Old Town is the best way to start your stay in the Latvian capital. The narrow cobble-stone streets and the vibrant architectural styles varying from Baroque to Romanticism, Gothic and Modernism will allow you to travel back in time and connect with this city in a special way. Once in the old town do not miss the famous Cat house. The legend says that the owner of the house was refused membership to Riga’s Tradesman guild and expressed his grudge by placing the statues of the angry looking cats and was later accepted in the guild.
Touch the “Bremen Town Musicians”
The sculpture depicts the main characters of the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tale and the legend says that touching all of the statue’s figures will bring you luck and prosperity- so be sure to do so!
Appreciate Riga’s beauty from the top of St. Peters church
A short trip with the help of a lift will take you 73meters above ground level, where a panoramic view is revealed. The price of the entry ticket is €9, but it is well worth it as you can see below!
See the House of the Blackheads
The famous building was originally constructed in the 14th century and housed the association of the unmarried merchants, ship owners and foreigners.
Try the local Black Balsam and Alus
Balsam is a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur that can range from 35% to 45% ABV if drank on its own. Balsam can also be mixed with a hot cup of tea and I enjoyed the taste of both.
Alus is the local word for beer and here in Latvia, the variety is huge. I sampled a couple and was not disappointed! I would recommend you a vist to Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs as the food was really delicious and the portions were absolutely huge.
Art Nouveau architecture
The Art Nouveau buildings of Riga are a testament to the rapid economic growth and prosperity of the city at the beginning of last century. The buildings are lavishly decorated and taking the time to appreciate the detail is likely to surprise you as there is a great variety of ornaments.
KGB Building and Occupation museum
I’ve grouped these together despite that they are not situated in close proximity as both will help you understand the thorny past of Latvia. In fact, the Occupation museum is situated next to the House of the Blackheads and St. Peters church. You can get a virtual tour of the museum through the link above.
The KGB building is an interesting visit, where you can learn more about the organisation’s operations in Riga. You can see the permanent exposition for free, but there also are guided tours that will take you to the basement of the building, which is likely to give you the chills.
The Central Market of Riga is within four huge zeppelin style buildings and is an important commerce point in the city. Many locals do their weekly shopping here as the food is fresh and the variety huge, especially when it comes to seafood.
My weekend in the Latvian capital was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to seeing the city again, perhaps in the summer!