Top 10 Points Of Interest In Riga, Latvia
1. Freedom monument
Standing proudly in the central park in Riga, the freedom monument was originally built to honour the soldiers killed during the Latvian war of independence but has now become a symbol of general Latvian independence - something that Latvians take very seriously after years of occupation from both German and Russian forces.
2. Museum of Occupation of Latvia
Open daily from 11am-6pm, this small museum is where anyone interested in the occupations of Latvia should head. The museum is currently located in a temporary building 5 minutes away from the freedom monument while a new centre is being built next to the House of Blackheads. The museum contains nearly 60,000 artefacts and more than 2,000 videos from refugees and victims of the USSR and Nazi Germany.
3. House of Blackheads
Open everyday 11am-5pm, besides Mondays. Visiting Riga without seeng the House of Blackheads is often compared to visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Built in the 14th century, it is one of Riga’s oldest buildings. Unfortunately, most of the original building was bombed by the Nazi’s on June 28th 1941, followed by the remains being looted further by the soviets leading to a reconstruction on the original foundations following Latvian independence from 1995 - 1999.
4. Take a canal tour
Only operating in summer, taking a canal tour through the city is one of the most popular things to do for tourists - and with good reason. If you’re only in the city for a short period of time, this is the best way to see the city and get a feel for it quickest. The canal tours all depart from the central park where the freedom monument and opera house are. Numerous tour companies run them for prices between 12-20 euros so have a wonder through before picking one.
5. Night life
The old town is crammed with bar and clubs, and being one of the cheapest cities in Europe, with drinks being no exception to this, It’s no wonder Riga’s nightlife is world rennound as a great place for stag and hen parties.
6. Dome Square
The largest square in the city and focal point to all activities and attractions in the city, Dome square is a mesmerising place. Here, where seven main streets all meet, you will be able to view all three churches and marvel at stunning, historic buildings. Dome square should be the starting point to any trip in Riga, as well as being a great place to grab some drinks and a bit to eat.
7. Riga Black Balsalm
No trip to Riga is complete without downing a few shots of Black Balsalm. Made from Vodka, this historic local speciality has a unique taste that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
8. Old town
Riga’s old town, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site, is my personal favourite old town of all the baltic states. It’s charming back streets are easy to get lost down. Be sure to head here around 6pm for some traditional Latvian food then explore Riga’s notorious night life.
9. Three brothers
Located at 17, 19 21 Maza Pils street in the old town, each of these three houses has been built by a different family member from the same family in different periods of Riga’s history.
10. Nativity of Christ Cathedral
Built in 1883, This church is the largest orthodox cathedral in the baltic. Its Neo-Byzantine style design is mesmerising and really stands to dominate the Riga skyline.