Interesting places to see in Riga
10 places that you should definitely visit in Riga
Riga is the capital of Latvia. This old City full of beauty out of time. Each epoch for eight centuries left its mark on it. The magnificent and diverse architecture of Old Riga is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
1. Riga castle on the banks of the Daugava - a symbol of power in Latvia, since its construction in the 1330th year, the rulers of the state occupied. Originally built for the leadership of the Livonian Order, the Riga Castle in the future constantly served as the residence of the Polish, Swedish and Russian administrations. Now it is the residence of the President of Latvia.
2. Riga Dome Cathedral - the Riga Cathedral, its symbol and one of the main attractions. The largest medieval temple of the Baltic countries.
3. House with black cats - a building in the central part of the Old Town of Riga, built in 1909 by the architect Friedrich Scheffel in the style of late rational modernism. One of the most "legendary" buildings in the Old Town. There is a legend that one prosperous Latvian merchant was not allowed into the guild. Without thinking twice, the merchant defiantly hoisted several cat figurines on the roof of his house, turning them to the guild's building with their backs. This gesture, as a merchant and assumed, was seen by the guild, which appealed to the court with a complaint against the "insolent". The court was helpless and the guild did not have anything else but to accept the Latvian with honors into their ranks, after which the merchant “nobly" turned the cats face to the guild building.
4. Dome Square - The Old Town Square in Riga, located at the intersection of Zirgu, Pils, Jekaba and Shkunyu streets. Throughout the year, there are a lot of fairs, festivals with markets. For example, Christmas shopping days, when the Christmas mood reigns on Christmas Eve, when crowds of people scurry about in a hurry for shopping.
5. Ethnographical museum open air. On the area of 87 hectares on the outskirts of Riga on the shore of Lake Jugla a unique collection of old buildings is collected. This museum even has a functioning church with a body that can be heard every Sunday at 8 am during the service. Here are regularly held craft fairs, which sell handicrafts.
6. Akvalande Waterpark in Riga - a water complex located within the city on the left bank of the Daugava (Western Dvina), three stops from Old Riga.
7. Hospitalis Restaurant-Mental Hospital. This is one of the few themed medical institutions in the world, and the only one in which the medical attributes of the hospital of the Soviet period were restored, where the visitor can be dressed in a straitjacket or placed in a room with soft walls. Here you can realize the strangest ideas: drink cocktails from test tubes, dine in the dental office, and instead of cutlery for the dishes from the “crazy” menu you will be served with surgical instruments.
8. Riga Automobile Museum. It houses the largest collection of antique and rare cars in Eastern Europe. Along with the historic Latvian and Soviet cars, the exhibition includes exclusive models of Rolls Royce and Mercedes, sports and fire cars, armored limousines of Stalin and Brezhnev, the first Latvian bicycles, motorcycles and buses.
9. Daugava River Embankment (Western Dvina) - a place where you can walk on long romantic evenings
10. Bar skyline. located on the 23rd floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia. From there, a magnificent view of Riga.
Category: Pen Type 01
Riga is the capital of Latvia. This city has absorbed the spirit of many centuries of existence and perfectly combines modern buildings with architectural structures of historical value. This is a multifaceted place in which every traveler will find a place for the soul.
Regardless of whether you decide to travel on your own or join a group of tourists led by a guide, of course you need to begin your acquaintance with Riga from the historical part.
Old city. This is the most beautiful part of Riga. It is here that you will see the familiar tiled roofs, narrow streets, pavement under your feet. Be sure to take a look at the Dome Cathedral to hear the divine sound of the organ, and walk along the famous Jaunielu Street, where they filmed scenes for such Soviet films as “17 Moments of Spring” and “Sherlock Holmes”.
In the Old Town is also worth finding another attraction - House with black catswhich you can see in the photo. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the famous architect Friedrich Scheffel in Art Nouveau style. Latvians will gladly tell you a rather scandalous story connected with it. A certain merchant tried unsuccessfully to join the guild, and after another refusal he decided to put on the roof of his own house figures of cats, which he turned to the guild with his back. Such an act was perceived as the deepest insult, and the guild members filed a lawsuit in court. But he was powerless, and the merchant was nevertheless accepted into their ranks, after which he agreed to deploy the cats face.
And yet, walking through the Old Town, you will surely come across Monument of the Bremen Town Musicians. As in the case of other similar monuments, he promises good luck to all who hold the nose of a donkey or rooster.
Alberta Street. The architecture of Riga is so diverse that a whole day can be spent only to remove the most interesting houses and buildings. In this regard, of particular interest is the Alberta Street, where one can admire a lot of Art Nouveau (or Art Nouveau) with fancy mythical animals, floral ornaments and stucco in the form of dragons on buildings.
Saint Paul's Cathedral. This is one of the most popular places in the capital of Latvia. The cathedral itself is a real work of art, and from the viewing platforms at a height of 57 and 71 meters offers a picturesque view of the city. For the convenience of tourists, they even installed an elevator so that every traveler could look at this beauty.
Riga Castle. Since its inception, government offices have been located. At first it served as the residence for the Polish, Swedish and Russian administration, and today it houses the residence of the President of Latvia.
Ethnographical museum. Right under the open sky you can plunge into the atmosphere of the 17-20th century and get acquainted with the traditions and way of life of the Latvians of that time. There is something to see here: the farms of peasants, fishing huts, small churches and even a whole farm. In addition to the excursion, you can also try yourself in the role of an artisan, making a craft from clay or wicker.
Porcelain Museum. Here you can find about 1000 interesting exhibits: dishes, figurines, vases, busts of famous people and much more. And you can realize your creative potential by practicing painting on porcelain under the guidance of an experienced master.
Museum of cars. This paradise for lovers of vintage cars. It contains the largest collection in Eastern Europe. Rare models of Rolls Royce and Mersedes, limousines of the leaders of the USSR Stalin and Brezhnev, securely protected by armor, as well as the first models of buses and motorcycles made in Latvia are also available for viewing.
Central market. The bazaar has always been the busiest place, because tourists who come to rest in the capital of Latvia, do not bypass it. A special place in it is devoted to the fish pavilion, where you can buy the freshest sea fish. Latvians advise everyone to try it in smoked form, they say that here it has an unforgettable taste.
Berga Bazar. Shopping lovers need to go here! This is the real atmosphere of a cozy and expensive Italian town. Brand boutiques, where you can buy things from world-famous and local Latvian designers, restaurants, wine shops - all this will surely give you pleasant emotions. And those who are lucky enough to get here on the second and fourth Saturday of the month will be able to purchase natural products at eco-fairs.
Lido After active walks you will probably want to eat. One of the most popular chain restaurants for home cooking in Riga is Lido, which has long been one of the local attractions. You will be tasty and inexpensively fed, as well as offered to have fun: in the summer on various attractions, and in the winter - on skates.
Restaurant-mental hospital. Institution for those who are not afraid of doctors. It is considered one of the most interesting themed restaurants in the world. After all, here you can really become a part of a real “mental hospital”, be chained in a straitjacket or get into a room for violent ones with soft walls. You will also be offered to try cocktails from test tubes, to have a dinner in the dentist’s office, and choosing dishes from the menu, instead of ordinary cutlery, you will get real surgical accessories.
Verman Garden Great place for a leisurely vacation. By the way, in this garden is located the music center of the famous composer Raymond Pauls. You can take a pleasant stroll along the green paths and relax over a cup of your favorite drink in the tea house. And for those who are wondering what to do in Riga in the evening, there are several nightclubs in the Vermanes Garden.
Riga is a very bright and distinctive city, it is a real cultural capital, where you can find classes for everyone.
1. View the Town Hall Square
At the place of the Town Hall Square, the market was originally located, after the construction of the Town Hall in the XIV century, the market rows narrowed, and in the XVI century they were completely transferred to the embankment. The square has always served as a public center: carnival processions, troop shows, competitions, etc. took place here. During World War II, the square was almost completely destroyed, it was restored only at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries.
Now the area is the center of attraction for tourists and one of the most popular places in the city. First of all, it is worth paying attention to the House of Blackheads, where the merchant guild was located and public organizations gathered. In the center of the square is the statue of Roland, symbolizing an economically and politically independent city with a developed judicial system. The first wooden statues appeared in the Middle Ages, the granite statue is stored in the museum, and a copy is installed on the square. The town hall, which gave the name of the square, was built in the XIV century and was subsequently rebuilt; now the city duma is sitting in it.
2. See Riga from above
There are several observation points in Riga, from where not only the city itself is clearly visible, but also the surrounding area. One of the options is the Radisson blue hotel Latvija, the former hotel Latvia, where in Soviet times they settled tourists, who were closely monitored. On the 26th floor of the hotel there is a Skyline bar with excellent cocktails. If you do not want to spend money, you can just ride in a transparent elevator, enjoying the views. A more classic version is an observation deck on the tower of the church of St. Peter, the entrance costs 9 euros. Until 1985, the church was the highest building in Riga, but this title was transferred to the television tower. The height of the church tower is 123.5 m, almost half falls on the spire.
3. Meet three brothers
Houses "Three Brothers" - the oldest residential complex in Riga, located on Maza Pils Street. This is a typical example of the medieval buildings of the city. Now houses houses the Latvian Museum of Architecture, the Union of Architects of Latvia and the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Monuments of Culture.
The first of the houses was built in 1490, it reveals the features of Dutch architecture. The next house appeared in 1646 - this is a typical residential building of that time and the most "smart" of the three. The “younger” house dates back to the end of the 17th century, it is the smallest of the three.
4. Make purchases in the Central Market
For souvenirs and tasty shopping, we recommend going to the Central Market in Riga, where you can buy absolutely everything. Even if you do not plan to buy anything, go as an excursion. Four huge hangar, which were built to store airships, for many decades already contain one of the largest markets in Europe. In the vast territory they sell dairy products, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, confectionery, souvenirs.
5. Learn all about Art Nouveau.
In Russia, the name Eisenstein is associated with the beginning of the century of cinema and the film Battleship Potemkin, but the first image that comes to the head of the citizens of Latvia will be different. Here, the father of the great director, one of the founders of the national architecture - Art Nouveau (aka Art Nouveau or Art Nouveau) is of great fame. To explore this style, simply walk the streets of Elizabeth and Albert and carefully look around. Art nouveau appeared at the beginning of the 20th century as a reaction to eclecticism in architecture, it is characterized by decorative elements on buildings, sculptures, stained glass windows and other decorations.
6. Look to visit your favorite movie characters
We are sure that there is one small street in Riga, which you have seen with your own eyes not once or twice. We are talking about the street Yauniel in the center of the Old Town. Peer and you will find the features of both London Baker Street and Bernese Flower Street - this is where the films about Sherlock Holmes and “17 Moments of Spring” were made. Make a beautiful photo, and then have lunch in one of the country's best restaurants “1221”, where you can taste real Latvian cuisine.
7. Walk on the waves
Livy Square appeared in Riga in 1950 at the site of the Old City that was destroyed during World War II. Her first name is the Square at the Philharmonic. In 1974, the square was reconstructed: paved paths, equipped places for recreation, installed a fountain. The lawn and a stone blocks laid by waves remind of the river proceeding once on this place. In winter, an ice rink appears here.
The real decorations of the square are the buildings of the Big and Small guilds and the House with Black Cats. The history of the latter is particularly interesting. According to legend, the landlord Blumer was not accepted into the Great Merchant Guild, which is why he installed black cats with their tails turned towards the windows of the elder of the Great Guild on the turrets of the house. They even tried to turn the cats through the court, but without success. It is not known how, but now the cats are located on the right side.
8. Find a piece of Moscow
The building of the Latvian Academy of Sciences was built in the 50s on the model of "Stalin's skyscrapers" of Moscow. In the construction for the first time in the USSR, the method of precast concrete structures was applied. At first it was supposed to give the building to the agricultural center, but times have changed and the choice fell on the Academy of Sciences. The height of the 21-storey building is 107 m; there is an observation deck at the level of 65 m.
9. Listen to the organ
The main part of the inhabitants of Latvia are Protestants, and the churches of this denomination are not distinguished by rich decoration. A minimum of jewelry and frills - nothing should distract from communication with God. But material asceticism is compensated by spiritual wealth. Latvian churches are famous for organ concerts, in which many talented musicians perform, especially the Anglican Church of the Holy Redeemer and the Dome Cathedral. Visiting such a concert is a great opportunity to take a break from sightseeing before starting an active evening program, since the Latvian capital provides all the possibilities for that.
10. To visit the other side of the Daugava
Getting acquainted with Riga, you should not forget about the left bank of the Daugava, there is also something to see there. In the area of Zadvinie there is a cozy, calm and at the same time trendy quarter of Kalnciema street. All the houses of the XVIII-XIX centuries, recently restored. Life is in full swing here: shops, fairs, restaurants, entertainment events for children and adults. Look here for fresh farm produce, original hand-made souvenirs and just lie on the grass.
What to see in Riga and the surrounding area?
Charming with its beauty, the capital of Latvia every time opens from a new side, therefore, once in this city for the first time or regularly visiting it, the tourist will again and again find unusual places in Riga that are worth a visit.
A relatively small cozy European city, full of many places of interest, inspection of which may take several days or even a couple of weeks.
In order for the Riga weekend to be rich, memorable and surprising, a guest of the capital should be armed with practical shoes, a positive mood and a plan to move around the city to be sure to visit the twelve main attractions.
- Town Hall Square - This is the place that is best seen in Riga from the sights on the first day of exploring it, so that it is easy to plunge into the space of amazing architectural forms, statues and buildings. The heart of the square is a monument to Knight Roland.
Being here is worth a visit:
- House of the merchants of the Blackheads (entrance for adults - 6 €, children - 3 €),
- Occupation Museum (admission is free).
Important! The House of the Blackheads is a placeWherethe tourist should spend money andзаказать экскурсию в Риге с русскоязычным гидом. В среднем такое удовольствие обойдется в 15 €.
- Домский собор – уникальная “мозаика” из нескольких архитектурных стилей. «Душой» собора, отметившего недавно своё 800-летие, считается 25-метровый орган с превосходным звучанием. В высокий сезон ежедневно, кроме воскресения, в 12:00 часов проводится мини-концерт органной музыки. Цена входного билета – 3 €. Посещение концерта оплачивается дополнительно (10 €).
- Рижский замок – официальная резиденция президента страны и исторический музей со статусом национального. This is a complex of motley buildings of different epochs, fenced with a protective wall, where the ticket price is € 2.85, on Wednesday - for free.
Note! At the moment, these objects are under reconstruction (until November 2018 inclusive). Some of his exhibitions are temporarily organized at a different address.
- St. Jacob's Cathedral - this is the main catholic church of the country. The most beautiful stained glass windows fascinate, and the department of rare mahogany, exclusive to Latvian culture, is surprising. Five minutes walk from the famous Catholic sacral structure - the Church of Mary Magdalene.
- Lutheran Cathedral of St. Peter, built in the 15th century. The citizens' guardian against devilry is a rooster, whose figure is mounted on a church steeple. At an altitude of 72 meters, there is a viewing platform with a stunning view of the city. Admission for adults is € 6 for adults and -50% for persons under 17 years of age.
- Old Town Marketwhose pavilions were once used as hangars for airships. This is a true gastronomic paradise for lovers of cheese, meat and seafood. Hungry from here they just do not get out. Every buyer, being here, will have to perform compulsory rituals - to bargain with the seller and taste all that is offered. A kilogram of smoked eel will cost about 40 € for a tourist, and 6 € for bacon.
- Museum of Decorative Arts located in the wooden building of the former church of St. George. Attractive outside, the museum surprises with a rich exposure inside: collections of textiles, porcelain, leather and wood. Admission for adults is € 2.50, and for seniors, students and schoolchildren - € 0.71.
Note! On the last Sunday of every month admission is free for all.
- Verman Garden - This is the place in Riga, where you need to walk in the evening. The epicenter of nightlife is represented by numerous clubs, discos, concerts on summer stages and festivals. At night, many lanterns in the park are lit, creating a magical space, like in a fairy tale.
- City TV Tower - the tallest building in the Baltic States and the third high-rise in Europe (368.5 meters). Being located not its viewing platform, at an altitude of 97 meters above sea level, it seems that you can reach out to the sky with your palm. High-speed elevator will be delivered to the site in 40 seconds and 3.7 € per person.
- In 56 kilometers from the city, in Siguldaa tourist should spend the whole day overcoming the cable car (for a fee of € 7) and visiting several places.
Required to view:
- Gauja National Park
- Gutman's cave,
- Turaida Museum with reserve and castle (entrance - 3 €).
- In the summer, a tourist who is satiated with the cultural life and history of the city is recommended to set aside a day or two for beach holiday in Jurmala. In 25 km from Riga, the strip of resort settlements was stretched.
Noteworthy objects here too:
- residence of the President,
- cottages museums Rainis, Brezhnev.
- Ethnographical museum located in the green zone of the metropolitan area under the open sky. A fascinating demonstration of the life of Latvian villages in the period from the XVIIth to the XXth centuries for all comers who paid an entrance fee of 2 €.
All sights can be seen not only in summer, but also in winter. On this season and the price of the trip we recommend to learn from a separate material.
Sights of Riga on the map
- The main places of the city:
Click to enlarge
- Tourist places of the old city:
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The cost of excursions in Riga in Russian
Being in Riga, it is not difficult to find sightseeing tours with the services of Russian-speaking guides. Travel agencies are located mainly in the central part of the city. When planning your vacation in the Latvian capital in advance, you can book a similar tour on a specific date online.
The most popular are three fascinating and informative excursions.
- The two-hour walking tour through the city passes through the main landmark places: medieval churches and city cathedrals, houses of Blackheads, Menzendorf and Black cats. A group excursion is possible for a company of up to 15 people for € 15 each.
- A trip to the filming sites of famous films and fairy tales, which passes through the streets of Old Riga and architectural sites that once served as film sets. The cost of a two-hour excursion for a company of 1-5 people is 57 €.
- Visiting winemakers. A tour in Vidzeme will open to the tourist the world of Latvian winemaking, where everyone will be able to taste natural wines made of raspberry, rhubarb or cloudberry. On the way tourists will visit Sigulda and the castle of the Livonian Order. The tour, which lasts about 5 hours, is held for 1-2 people (more - by prior arrangement) and amounts to 114 €.
Where to go with children?
The Latvian capital is hospitable and pleased not only to adults, but also to its little guests. Having visited Riga for a family weekend, here at any time of the year there is something to see with the children.
- Having gone to Riga Zoo, a child can be introduced to the picturesque fauna: there are more than 3 thousand animals in a well-groomed green area, among which there are also exotic ones - hippos, giraffes, pandas, flamingos and many others. The ticket price is € 7, and for children over 3 years old - € 5.
- Miniature Sun Museum Presented by a collection of more than 400 exhibits luminaries made of various materials. In addition to legends and fascinating facts about the Solar System, the kids and their parents will be given a creative workshop on the coloring of the amulet in the shape of the sun. A single ticket price is € 3.5.
- Young tourists will like amusement parks Lido or PickNick Park. Here, the kids will be charged with a whole heap of bright emotions and new impressions.
What can you see in Riga on your own in 1, 2 and 3 days?
A tourist, competently planning his Riga holidays for a few days, will be able to enjoy a unique culture, rich history and experience a special Latvian mentality.
- Having at its disposal only one day for exploring the capital, hoping to touch the life of Riga, the tourist is recommended:
- view the Town Hall and Dome Square,
- visit the famous House of the Blackheads,
- admire Riga from the observation deck in the church of St. Peter in the evening.
- drink mulled wine or Riga Balsam in a cozy metropolitan bar.
- With a two-day vacation in the capital, on the first day you should take the planned hiking trip presented above, and devote the second day to the museum complexes:
- Latvian Museum of Architecture,
- Motor Museum,
- design museum.
In the evening it is best to go to the Verman Garden, stroll through the park and dine in one of the cozy cafes.
- Cognitive and intense three-day tour will allow you to visit the main objects presented in two sentences above in a tight schedule, and spend the third day in the suburbs, for example, in the ancient town of Sigulda, Rundale Palace, Bauska Castle or resort Jurmala.
Route walk through the city
Being in Riga on Saturday, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the handicraft fair in the Kalnciema Quarter, where you can buy handmade souvenirs and try delicious national food and dishes prepared according to old recipes.
When planning a sightseeing trip to the capital of Latvia, first of all you should look at accommodation options with good discounts:
1. The Kalnciema Quarter
Be sure to go to the craft fair, which is held every Saturday. All sorts of handmade products, national treats and products of farmers - eyes of a variety run up! Entrance to the fair is free.
The quarter is located at Kalnciema iela 35. You can get here the fastest from the Riga Central Railway Station by bus number 22 (going in the direction of Lidosta). Take Centrala stacija and get off at Irlavas iela, and in five minutes walk you will find the coveted street. You can learn more about the events planned in the quarter on the site.
In magic Riga everything is possible. For example, make a trip in time and find yourself in the past. How? You just need to get to the New Street, which is hidden between Domskaya and Town Hall Square.
2. New Street (Yaouniela)
This is really a piece of revived history! Colorful as a patchwork, houses on both sides of the street will not allow you to lower your eyes - there are so many original and beautiful facades with stucco decorations, sculptures and even paintings (as on the house with number 1221 above the entrance). It was here, on Novaya Street, that the famous “Seventeen Moments of Spring” and “Sherlock Holmes” were filmed.
Well, after a leisurely walk, you can look at one of the local restaurants with a cozy flower terrace (there are a lot of flowers in general) to enjoy local cuisine.
You can get to Novaya Street from Central Station by bus No. 22, going in the direction of Lidosta. You will need to get off at the stop Grecinieku iela and take a short walk.
3. Yard Convention
This ancient courtyard is famous for serving as a “model” for one of the paintings of Nicholas Roerich himself. But even if you are not interested in painting, we definitely recommend visiting this place - this place is so picturesque and this is where the atmosphere of antiquity and living history reigns. The Convent courtyard is located next to the church of St. Peter, under the shadow of its elegant bell tower. Here you can slowly walk among old houses, go to antique shops or visit the Museum of Porcelain.
From the Central Station you can get here by bus number 15 in the direction of Latvijas Universitate. You need to take the Centrala stacija stop, get off at Latvijas Universitate, and after another 10 minutes you will be there.
On a note: there are several entrances to the Convent Yard, but they all close at night, so it’s better to come here before dark.
4. Museum of jewelry
Do you want to know what decorations were in fashion at Riga several hundred years ago? Then be sure to go to the Jewelry Museum. Its owners, the family of jewelers Inita and Vytauts Straupe, have been studying the history of Baltic jewelery for 20 years, and have also made copies of ancient jewelery.
In the museum you can see both original old jewelery and their copies made by craftsmen, as well as modern products with national motifs and ornaments. Entrance to the museum is free.
Address: Grecinieku iela 11/2. Opening hours: Mon-Fri - 11: 00–19: 00, Sat - 10: 00–18: 00.
5. Museum of Decorative Arts
The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is an exhibit in itself. The museum building is the former church of St. George, the oldest preserved wooden building in Riga. But not only the facade is interesting, but also the “filling”. Here you will find collections of textile art, ceramics and porcelain, leather and wooden products, as well as the largest collection of works by the founders of Latvian modernism.
The museum is located at Skarnu iela 10/20. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00 (Tuesdays until 19:00). The price of the ticket for the permanent exhibition is € 2.13 (adult) and € 0.71 (students, pensioners). Every last Sunday of the month and May 18, admission is free.
Find out more about pricing here.
6. Art Nouveau Museum
Art nouveau (aka modern) was so popular in Riga that it is considered the European capital of this architectural direction. Almost every second building in the city is made in the Art Nouveau style, and there are more than 800 of them. Even a person who is far from architecture recognizes them by the abundance of decorations on the facade. Riga Jugendstil in this sense even surpassed itself: statues, masks, chimeras and dragons, floral ornaments and bas-reliefs give each house a unique unforgettable look.
Therefore, it will not be out of place to go to the museum dedicated to this area of architecture. The Art Nouveau Museum is located on Albert Street (Albert iela 12) in the former apartment of the Riga architect Konstantin Pekshens. This is where you can feel yourself in Riga of the twentieth century, walking through the rooms, looking at the interiors and decor, or trying on costumes of the era for a photo as a keepsake.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. Tickets cost: from May 1 to September 30 - € 6 (full), € 7.50 (family: 2 adults, 2 children), € 4 (students). From October 1 to April 31 - € 3.50, € 7.50 and € 2.50.
7. Town Hall Square
The ancient heart of Riga and the center of life - Town Hall Square - and today remains a lively place where both locals and tourists like to take a walk. The Town Hall and the House of Blackheads attract with their openwork facades and evening illumination, and the museums, of which there are several, will not let any traveler get bored.
The fastest way to get here from Riga Central Station is by bus number 22, going in the direction of Lidosta. Sit down at the Centrala stacija stop and exit at Grecinieku iela, and in a couple of minutes you will reach the square.
8. Gallery Slazds
To find out how modern creative Riga lives, you should pay attention to local art galleries. One of these - the gallery Slazds. Here you will find landscapes familiar to everyone, and many original artistic experiments in painting, photography, drawing and sculpture.
Gallery address - Aldaru street iela 12/14. Opening hours daily from 12:00 to 20:00.
9. Ethnographic Museum
There is a very interesting place in Riga, where the history of the country literally comes to life in front of our eyes. In the Latvian Ethnographic Museum you can get acquainted with the life and traditions of Latvians of the XVII - XX centuries, and also watch how artisans worked a century ago.
This open-air museum contains 118 historical buildings from all over the country, which makes it look more like an old settlement: here you will find peasant farmsteads, fishing houses, churches, and a real Latvian farmhouse. In each house you can go and see how the representatives of different classes lived. And you can join the past and try yourself as an artisan, for example, weaving a basket or making something out of clay.
The Ethnographic Museum is open October 1 - April 30 from 10:00 to 17:00 and May 1 - September 30 from 10:00 to 20:00.
Entry fee - € 1.40-4
Museum address: Brivibas gatve 440, Riga. From Central Station you can get here by bus number 1 (in the direction of Berguciems). To do this, take a bus at the Merkela iela stop and get off at Rozu iela. You will need to walk another 10 minutes to the museum. There are also buses number 19, 28 and 29 (to the Brivdabas muzejs stop).
On a note: The museum staff speaks Russian, and there is free parking and wireless Internet on the territory.
10. Park "Arcadia"
Arcadia is one of the most beautiful landscape parks in Riga and a great place to relax after an eventful city day. Shady avenues, streams with graceful bridges and mini-waterfalls create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
The park can be reached from Central Station (the road takes a little more than 20 minutes). At bus stop 13.janvara iela, take the number 25 bus in the direction of Marupe and go to Arkadijas parks. The entrance to the park is free.
11. Botanical Garden
Want to get into a real oasis in the heart of the city? Then be sure to go to Riga in the Botanical Garden. Here you can find not only the flora of Latvia, but also such exotic plants as ginkgo, witch hazel, cork trees and lilies, and you can even find cacti and other inhabitants of the desert in greenhouses. The garden is good at any time of the year: azaleas bloom in greenhouses from February to April, magnolias bloom in spring, rhododendrons, peonies and roses in summer, and real tropics are green in the garden greenhouses!
1. Old Town
The historical center of the Latvian capital, where the most interesting sights are located. In the depths of the winding streets of the Old Town, you can still feel the indescribable atmosphere of the Middle Ages. The traditional architecture of Northern Europe can be traced here in every building and in every bend of a paved stone pavement.
2. Riga Castle
The castle of the XIV century on the banks of the river Daugava (Dvina). It was built for the masters of the Livonian Order. As a result of numerous battles waged by the warlike brothers, the castle was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. From the second half of the 16th century, Polish, Swedish and Russian crowned heads owned the building in turn. Since 1922, the castle becomes the residence of the Latvian president.
The historic building of the Riga Town Hall was built in the XIII century, but it was destroyed as a result of shelling and fire in 1941. From the town hall there were only ruins with surviving fragments of the facade. Recovery began only in the late 90s. XX century. The new building was completed by 2003. It is almost a complete copy of the historic town hall.
4. House of Blackheads
The building is a remake, built in the late 90s. in a typical northern European way. Earlier, from the 14th century until 1941, a historical building with the same name was located in its place. It belonged to the merchant fraternity of the Blackheads, who adapted it for trade and entertainment. For many centuries, the House of Blackheads was considered one of the most beautiful structures in Riga.
5. House with black cats
The house is located within the Old Town, it is one of the most popular attractions of the Latvian capital. The building was erected at the beginning of the 20th century according to the project of F. Šefela. It is believed that the figures of cats on the towers appeared thanks to the idea of the merchant Blumer - the former owner of the house. The animals were turned rearward to the windows of the merchant guild, where Blumer was refused to be accepted. Thus, the cunning man revenged guild leadership.
6. House Mentzendorf
Здание XVII века, где располагается самая старая в городе аптека. Помимо лекарств, здесь на протяжении двух столетий продавали чернила, порох и косметику. Принято считать, что в этой аптеке был изобретен рецепт знаменитого Рижского бальзама. В настойку в качестве ингредиентов входит несколько сотен трав, масел, ягод и фруктов. Она использовалась в качестве обезболивающего средства.
7. Три брата
Residential building complex in the historical center of Riga, preserved from the 15th century. It is a model of medieval urban planning. The buildings are so close to each other that it seems as if it is one building. Presumably, the Three Brothers were built by artisans of the same genus. People still live in houses.
8. Big and Small Guild
Buildings that once belonged to the most influential Riga handicraft and trade guilds - Bolshaya and Malaya. In the middle of the XIV century, these two unions left the guild of the Holy Cross. The premises were built in the XIX century in the style of English neo-Gothic. The interiors are decorated with original chandeliers, beautiful stained glass windows and decorative wall paintings.
9. Yakovlev barracks
The barracks of the XVII century, erected for the Swedish military forces of the inhabitants of Riga. After the city was conquered by Sweden, the townspeople were obliged to maintain a military garrison on their territory. Under Peter I, the barracks were demolished and rebuilt in the style of Dutch classicism. Since the XIX century there were located administrative services, school, labor exchange. Currently, the complex belongs to the American Chamber of Commerce.
10. Yard convention
Architectural monument of the XIV-XVIII centuries, where the residence of the Order of the Sword was previously located. It is located in one of the oldest quarters of Riga. Several centuries ago, there was an order castle here, which was subsequently destroyed. In connection with the relocation of monk brothers to another place, a convention was opened on the territory of the complex (in other words, a shelter).
11. Alberta Street
A small street, built up in an interesting architectural style called art nouveau (the German name for Art Nouveau). Most of the structures were built in just two years according to the designs of M. Eisenstein. Here is the Riga Museum of Modernity, embassies, offices, administrative buildings. Albert Street is called the “Art Nouveau Pearl”.
12. Powder Tower
Part of the old city fortifications of Riga, which has reached our days in fairly good condition. The tower appeared before the conquest of the city by the Livonian Order, but the building was destroyed in the XVII century (but soon it was restored). During the rule of the Russian Empire, it was decided to destroy the entire system of fortifications of Riga, and leave the powder tower as a memory.
13. Swedish Gate
Gate, created at the beginning of the XVIII century during the Swedish occupation of Riga. Now this building is a recognized architectural monument of Latvia and all of Europe, as it has come down to us almost in its original form. Not far from the gates the Swedish garrison was stationed, so the passage was used mainly by the military.
14. St. Peter's Church
Medieval temple, famous for its high bell tower. The height of the tower is 123.5 meters, the spire is 64, 5 meters. The facade of the bell tower is decorated with an antique clock, and the top is crowned with a weather vane - a golden rooster. The tower of St. Peter’s Church dominates the buildings of the historical center of Riga, stands out favorably against the lower structures. Near the temple is a monument to the Bremen Town Musicians.
15. Dome Cathedral
Riga's XIII century cathedral, one of the largest temples in the whole Baltic. The cathedral belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. The building is a model of the transition of the medieval Romanesque style to the North European Gothic. Separate fragments of interior decoration are made in the Renaissance style. One of the main attractions of the temple - a grand organ of 25 meters in height, consisting of almost 7 thousand pipes.
16. The Nativity Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Latvia. The funds for its construction were allocated by the Russian emperor Alexander II, also the autocrat gave the future temple 12 bells. In the 60s. In the 20th century, the interior was almost completely destroyed; a cafeteria, a planetarium and other institutions were placed on the cathedral’s territory. Restoration began in the 90s. after the collapse of the USSR.
17. Cathedral of St. James
The main Catholic church of Riga, first mentioned in the documents of the beginning of the XIII century. The building is made of brick, it is a model of the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic architectural style. During church reformation, the cathedral endured quite a few pogroms and arson, as a result of which many cultural values were lost.
18. Latvian National Opera
The most famous and famous musical theater in the country, where leading soloists perform and masterpieces of ballet and opera art are staged. The scene opened in 1919 with the production of R. Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Each year, the opera hosts up to 200 performances, of which five to seven are premiere. With the same success are both classical productions and modern interpretations of operas created by young authors.
19. Building of the Latvian Academy of Arts
An architectural monument of the beginning of the 20th century in the historical center of the Latvian capital. First, a German gymnasium was located here, then a commercial school, and only by the middle of the 20th century did the Latvian Academy of Arts open. The construction project was developed by V. Bokslaf. According to the architectural idea, the complex should symbolize the strong connection of Riga with the Hanseatic League (the trade and political association of the cities of North-Western Europe).
20. Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation
The museum is located on the territory of the architectural ensemble of the Dome Cathedral. This is one of the oldest exhibitions in Latvia, founded in the XVIII century. Here are exhibited collections collected by various historical and archaeological communities of the Baltic states. Museum collections contain over half a million exhibits. They are located in the halls according to the subject and chronology.
21. Museum of foreign art
Art Gallery of Latvia, where the most impressive exhibition is collected, starting with ancient Egyptian art and up to the newest period of modernity. Here are stored and exhibited canvases of representatives of German romanticism, the Belgian and Dutch schools. It will also be interesting to look at the artifacts of the Ancient world, and objects of art of Medieval Europe.
22. Art Museum
The official name of the gallery is the Latvian National Museum of Art. More than 52 thousand exhibits are exhibited here: extensive collections of Latvian masters, canvases of European and Russian artists. Among the famous paintings are works by N. Roerich, J. Rosenthal, I. Aivazovsky, V. Purvitis. On the territory of the gallery, temporary exhibitions of famous masters of the brush are constantly organized.
23. Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
Museum dedicated to the period of the history of Latvia from 1940 to 1991. The main part of the exhibition is given precisely for the Soviet period of Latvian history, the period 1941-1944. - German occupation. The museum exposition puts on one level the personalities of Stalin and Hitler, and also actually equates Nazi Germany and its destructive activities to the USSR. Because of this, some visitors estimate the collections of the Museum of Occupation quite ambiguously.
24. Riga Motor Museum
One of the best automobile museums in Europe. The basis of the exhibition is the collection of the Latvian Antique Car Club. The museum was created thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts who are passionate about the restoration of old cars and who dreamed of a separate building where they could place the results of their work. The first models of "Moskvich", "Fiat", "Mercedes", "BMW" and many other well-known and not very famous brands are exhibited here.
25. Central Market of Riga
This “gastronomic paradise” of the Latvian capital, where you can buy the freshest and most delicious products. The market is divided into five pavilions: meat, vegetable, fish, dairy and gastronomic. On the territory outside the pavilions they sell flowers, clothes and everyday objects. Special smoked foods are especially popular with tourists: poultry, countless assortment of fish, sausages and other delicacies.
26. Monument of Freedom
The monument, established in honor of the independence of Latvia in 1935. It is a sculpture of a woman standing on a high pedestal. In the hands of a woman holds three stars, symbolizing the historical areas of Latvia. At the foot of the pedestal is a sculptural group, consisting of historical characters from different periods. The monument is located on one of the central streets not far from Old Riga.
27. Arkady Park
One of the most picturesque and popular landscape parks in Riga, founded on the territory of a private garden in the XIX century. Arkady Park experienced several renovations - at first it was an exotic garden with unusual plants and greenhouses, where they grew rare types of palm trees, then it turned into an entertainment complex and eventually became a public city park for walks and rest.
28. Verman Park
City park, equipped with the funds of the widow Anna Verman and bearing a name in her honor. At the beginning of the XIX century there was a marshland on this place, which brought a lot of anxiety and inconvenience to the residents of Riga. Then the authorities had the idea to drain the swamp and break up the public park, and the rich widow donated a large amount of money to this good event.
29. Riga TV Tower
The television and radio tower is 368.5 meters high, the tallest structure of its kind in the entire Baltic region and the third tallest in Europe. The tower is located on the island Zakyusala. Inside the structure at a 99-meter height, there is a observation deck, from where you can admire the panorama of the Gulf of Riga and the views of the city itself. Riga TV Tower was built in the period 1979-1986.
30. Cable-stayed bridge over the Daugava
An elegant engineering structure, one of the symbols of the dynamic modern Riga. The bridge was built in 1981. At that time, it was the longest hanging flight over the river in the Soviet Union. The length of the main pontoon is more than 300 meters, the total width is more than 28 meters. On the bridge is the movement of cars and public transport, also laid trolley lines.