Riga Visitor Guide 2024: Everything you need to know

Published by: BouncePosted
Freedom Monument, Riga, Latvia

Latvia, along with its neighboring Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania, remains largely off the European tourist track. Riga itself received 3.5 million visitors in 2018. While a respectable total, and the highest the city has ever achieved, it pales in comparison to the better-known European cities. But the relatively undiscovered nature of Riga is part of its charm. That, and its unique northern European culture. Riga is home to a third of Latvia's entire population, and this intriguing city is embracing its position as a regional hub of culture.

It's also a great place to explore. The entire city is listed as a World Heritage Site thanks to its unique architecture. Combining historic attractions with modern charm, Riga is a fascinating place to discover. Drop off your bags at a Riga luggage storage locker and see for yourself what the Latvian capital has to offer.

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Riga, Latvia

Best 8 Ways To Experience Riga In 2024

Riga, the capital of Latvia, isn't a place that tops everyone's list of cities to visit even though it should be. Be the first of your friends to boast about what there is to do there and make them jealous with your social media posts after you've toured Riga with the companies recommended below. They'll make sure you have a whale of a time hiking or cycling through the Latvian countryside or exploring the city by foot, segway and bus while enjoying the warm welcome given to all visitors of this incredibly cultural European city.

Best History Tour – Riga Sightseeing Private Tours

Learn all about Riga's culture and lifestyle with Santa, a local tour guide from Riga Sightseeing Private Tours. Santa knows her city inside out and never takes groups larger than eight people on her tours. She has a collection of different routes with varied, but interesting landmarks on all and she knows her stuff when it comes to architecture and history. If you want a tailor-made tour, she'll do that for you too.

Contact Santa of Riga Sightseeing Private Tours by email at book@riga-sightseeing.com or give her a call on 371-29-970-996.

Best Food Tour – Raami Travel

Latvian food may well be a complete mystery to you if you've never been to the country before. Go on a food tour of Riga with the guides from Raami Travel and you'll be accompanied by locals who know what dish is what and where the best place to get it is. They'll take you to some of the best restaurants, but also to the local market to explain all about the produce used. It'll be an unusual and somewhat eye-opening experience.

Become a true Latvian foodie by joining a tour with Raami Travel by calling 371-29-128-229 or drop them an email at info@raamitravel.com for more details.  

Best Sightseeing Tour – Traveller Tours

There are as many interesting things to see outside of Riga as there are in it. Go on a sightseeing excursion or two with Traveller Tours and you'll get to see such iconic monuments as the Hill of Crosses and Rundale Palace as well as natural wonders like the Gauja River and the stunning beach in Jurmala. It'll be a day you definitely won't want to leave your camera or mobile in your hotel room.

Arrange your sightseeing days out by calling Traveller Tours on 372-58-374-800 or send an email to riga@traveller.ee for more information.

Best Bike Tour – Riga Weekend

Get ready for a Riga Weekend by donning a helmet and jumping on a mountain bike to head out of the city and explore the countryside. The area outside of the city, and in it too, is a maze of cycling trails that's kilometers long. If you've seen all the local area has to offer someone on two wheels, Riga Weekend will take you by vehicle to other spots like Jurmala and Sigulda so you can explore those as well. Be prepared for some leg ache as some days you'll be pedaling around fifty kilometers or more.

Find out about mountain biking in Riga with Riga Weekend by calling them on 371-22-362-406 or by emailing them at info@rigaweekend.com.

Best Hiking Tour – i-Da Adventures

Don't get lost in the Latvian woods by going hiking the forest trails alone. Join a group hike organized by i-Da Adventures and you'll have an expert local to guide you through the trees and up the mountains. Spend half a day sloshing around in the wetlands discovering the coastal ecosystem or give your feet a rest and go kayaking through the Abava River Valley. Whichever you choose to do, you'll soon be at one with nature in Latvia.

Start planning your hike with i-Da Adventures by calling 371-26-415-686 or drop them an email at i-da@i-da.lv for more details.

Best Minibus Tour – Allure Tours Latvia

When you're traveling with a group of friends or with your family, touring by minibus is a great way of seeing what you want to see without paying through the nose for it. You won't even need to self-drive as Allure Tours Latvia will provide you with a professional English-speaking driver-guide who knows the city like the back of their hand. The minibus tours of Riga usually take about three hours but you can hire it and the driver for longer if you want to.

Contact Allure Tours Latvia about a minibus tour by emailing them at info@bicyclerental.lv or give them a call on 371-29-127-295.

Best Segway Tour – Bicycle Rental Latvia

Sightseeing by Segway is now a world-wide trend and you should give it a go at least once in your lifetime. It's easier than it looks and if you've never done it before, after a ten-minute lesson you'll be riding like a pro. You won't know your way around the city or the cycleways so go on a tour with Bicycle Rental Latvia. They have three different ones which last for around two hours each and are all led by a qualified guide.

Plan your ride around Riga with Bicycle Rental Latvia by calling them on 371 29 127 295 or by emailing them at info@bicyclerental.lv for more information.

Best Free Tour – Riga Tours

From the Old Town to Art Nouveau architecture to the Riga food scene, it's all included in the free walking tours offered by Riga Tours. All tours take around two hours to complete and there is a charge for the food and drink. The guide waits for tour guests at the entrance to the market in the Old Town holding a green sign with the company name. You'll finish the walk with a nip of Riga Black Balsam and a piece of Latvian chocolate.

For more information on Riga Tours email them at info@rigatrips.lv or give them a call on 371- 294-98701. 

A weekend in Riga

A weekend in Riga won't exhaust what the city has to offer by any means. It will let you see some of the more popular attractions and get a sense of the city's atmosphere. Drop off your bags at a Riga suitcase storage and get ready to enjoy your weekend.

  • Riga's Old Town was the key to the city getting World Heritage Site status. The narrow cobblestone streets are a fascinating place to explore, and the brightly colored buildings house no end of cafés, restaurants, and quirky shops for you to visit.
  • There's more architecture to explore in the Centrs district. Riga's booming economy in the early twentieth century saw the city expand beyond its medieval walls into an area that is now the world's largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture. Take a walk or even a guided tour through this area to enjoy the elaborate buildings of this decadent era.
  • See a fragment of Riga's old medieval city walls at the Swedish gate. This is the only remaining gate of the ancient city, and was once home to Riga's resident executioner.

Riga lockers

One of the best things to do in Riga is to simply wander. That’s due in part to the city’s famous architecture that is best enjoyed on foot. To make things easier on yourself, drop off your bags at a Riga luggage storage service so that you don’t have to carry more than you need to. Knowing your bags are safely looked after makes it easy to enjoy your stay.

Off the beaten path in Riga

Riga is already somewhat off the beaten path. Although it can occasionally get a little busy, you won't find the crowds here that you have to deal with in other European capitals. But if you're looking for something truly unusual,  you've come to the right place.

  • Riga spent years under Soviet occupation. At the Corner House, you can see a former headquarters of the KGB, the Russian secret police that once rooted out enemies of the state in Riga. Now converted to a museum, this location is a haunting reminder of totalitarianism's dangers.
  • One of the oldest objects in Riga lies in a narrow street close to the town hall. A semi-fossilized oak tree was uncovered during construction work. 3500 years old, the tree is an unusual photo opportunity in the heart of the city.
  • Fans of aircraft shouldn't miss Riga's Aviation Museum. Home to jet fighters and helicopters, the museum is the life's work of a single man named Victor Talpa, who created an impressive collection of aircraft over the course of 50 years.
Old building, Riga, Latvia

What to do alone in Riga

Riga is a city that rewards solo exploration. Traveling by yourself allows you to do exactly what you want to do and gives you ample opportunities to soak up this ancient city's modern atmosphere. Drop off your bags at a Riga luggage locker and begin your solo exploration.

  • If you can't get enough of Riga's Art Nouveau architecture, check out the Art Nouveau Museum on Albert Street. The former home of a famous architect, this apartment has been preserved with its original 1903 interior. It's like a trip back in time.
  • Explore the cultural treasures of Latvia at the National Museum of Art. Dedicated to nineteenth and twentieth century art, the sprawling collection will introduce you to lesser-known artists from around the country. And don't miss the roof terrace on top of the grand building that offers a great view over the city.
  • With around 100,000 visitors every day, Riga Central Market is one of the busiest in Eastern Europe. Located in German zeppelin hangers from the 1920s, this unique market lets you immerse yourself in the culinary scene of Latvia. It's a great place to rub shoulders with the locals and see what life is like for regular Latvians.

The best souvenirs in Riga

The Baltic region was known for its amber even in the days of ancient Greece. To this day, the area still provides 80 percent of the world's amber. So amber jewelry makes a beautiful and very appropriate souvenir of Latvia. Visit Timberline for a great selection of local amber jewelry. Pottery is also a traditional Latvian handicraft, and the pampalu pot is a distinctive creation that will always remind you of the city. Visit Medus Istaba to pick up this unique item. Finally, if the Art Nouveau architecture of the city has inspired you, pick up items that celebrate this period in art history at Art Nouveau Riga.

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