Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, one of the 3 Baltic countries, located in northeastern Europe. Being located very close to the city where I live, Tallinn – Estonia, it was easy to go and back on the same weekend.
How to get there
From Estonia to Latvia there are 4 hours of travel by car or bus, and the easiest and most economical way is by bus. That’s how I met Riga. You can also go by ferry across the Baltic Sea and by plane, as the airport has daily flights to many European cities.
I traveled by the Ecolines bus company, from which you can find various promotions through the site. I paid 32 Euros round trip from Tallinn to Riga; the bus is super comfortable and always leaves at the scheduled time, has free WiFi, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bathroom, and multimedia screen in your armchair, from which you have access to various movies and music .
The historic center of Riga has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the city is particularly notable for its Art Nouveau architecture, comparable in importance to Vienna, St. Petersburg and Barcelona.
Where to stay
I left on a Saturday morning from Tallinn and arrived in Riga at noon, it was almost late spring and the city was scoring 26 degrees, an incredible and inviting atmosphere to see the city. I stayed in Old Town, had already booked an apartment through Airbnb.
- We stayed in an apartment right in the center of Old Town, where I recommend it, since everything happens there. We paid 127 euros for 4 people including taxes for 1 night.
- The apartment is excellent for 4 people, it had everything we need. If you want to know more, leave your comment.
What to do
In Riga I went without a tourist route, since I was there in the center of Riga, so why not walk around the city and thus know without planning; the city itself is your guide and takes you to amazing places.
The streets of the old center of Riga are beautiful, medieval streets and preserved, below I will report the places that caught my attention:
- St. Peter’s Church (Skārņu iela 19, Centra rajons, Rīga). It was built in 1209 as a church for the people; before World War II was the tallest wooden building in Europe. Right next to it is the House of the Black Heads, an old confraternity of German merchants. The name derives from the patron saint of society, Saint Maurice, the first black Christian saint.
- Riga Cathedral (Herdera laukums 6, Centra rajons, Rīga), known as Dome Cathedral, there is no dome. Still, it’s the most impressive church in town. Dedicated to Santa Maria.
- Three Brothers (Mazā Pils iela 17, Centra rajons, Rīga), oldest residential housing complex in Riga was built in the 15th century. Its name – Three Brothers, was given a long time ago and, according to a legend, the buildings were constructed by men of the same family. Today, the premises house the Architecture Museum of Latvia.
Leaving the center of Riga you pass by the Freedom Monument of Riga, just next to the monument there are parks with a beautiful canal where you can enjoy for a break amidst nature, because later you will also find interesting points of the city, such as Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral, several museums and churches.
To get a better view of the city why not find the highest point of the city and thus observe the city from above? The Hotel Radisson Blu has a café on the top floor that is worth just going up to take a look at the view and continue your tour, because the coffee at this hotel, I did not like it at all, it is totally closed by glass and you want to know? Hotel coffee? I pass! .. rsrs …, so the tip is, go up, enjoy the view, go down and follow your walk.
And if you like to visit the most hipster neighborhoods in the city, you can not miss the ”Miera iela” district, and have a hot chocolate and eat a pie at Mierā café while you enjoy the tram passing by. This charming café takes the name of the street in which it is, Miera iela, or street of peace in English.
Miera Iela Café
Another interesting part of the city is the central market (Nēģu iela 7, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga), which is right next to the main bus station of the city, it is interesting to see what the locals have the habit of eating and buying.
At the end of the night we went out to eat some delicious pizza at IL Patio (Kaļķu iela 6, Centra rajons, Rīga), an Old Town Italian restaurant.
- We paid 42 euros, pizza + drinks, for 4 people.
The night in Riga is vibrant and you can feel the pace of the city that was quite crowded in late spring. Early on Sunday I was back in Tallinn, and happy to have met another city in the Baltic States.
Important points about the city:
• There are several types of tickets for bus and tram transportation. You can buy them in commercial establishments, online or vending machines, which was our choice. It’s very easy to use and you usually find it at bus stops.
• We felt safe throughout the trip, we used the luggage rack at the bus station and we had no problem.
• In the streets we feel safe too.
• I did not have time to taste any typical Latvian food, but in the city there are several options of international restaurants or fast food, as well as various options of Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish cuisine.