Another country has been ticket off my bucket list, this time it was a 5 night trip to a chilly Riga in March. I had seen pictures of here from other travellers, which looked so pretty, but I wasn’t too sure how much there was to do there. What a lovely surprise of a great place to visit. Cobbled streets, cute cafes, frozen lakes. I even managed to fit a day trip to Tallinn Estonia which only took 4.5 hours on a Luxexpress bus. So in 5 nights I was able to visit 2 countries 🙂 Here is a review of what you should get up to when in Riga.
The Viktorija Hotel
I stayed in a 3 star hotel which only worked out around £80 for 5 nights which was an absolute bargain. I booked through booking.com. You can book through my link and we both get something back from booking.com 🙂
The Viktorija Hotel is housed in a renovated Art Nouveau building in the centre of Riga, and a 15 minute walk from the Old Town which was perfect. A taxi from the airport to this hotel was only around 15 euros, so no need to book a shuttle. I actually emailed the hotel with regards to a shuttle and they recommended a taxi with Panda Taxis as this would take me straight to the hotel.
The hotel was basic, but for the price you really cant complain. You can add extra to the cost if you want breakfast. I did not have breakfast at the hotel, there are just too many cafes around where you can make the most of the amazing bakery’s and cakes 🙂
House of the Blackheads
A Gothic style property in the Old Town, around the corner from St Peter’s Church, near the water is a must see. This was actually my favourite building in Riga. It is so colourful and it wasn’t too busy when I was there which was great. A very peaceful place to sit and relax. You can go inside the building and have tours if you wish. I just enjoyed the building from outside.
St Peter’s Church
This medieval church is one of the main places to visit in Riga. You can go inside but you have to pay. I wasn’t really that impressed which this church. It didn’t wow me like other I have seen. I definitely think that The House of the Blackheads is a more impressive building to go and see.
The Freedom Monument is a 42m statue dedicated to Latvians who lost their lives fighting for independence between 1918 & 1920. You really cannot miss this amazing work, as you head to the Old Town it is right in the middle. All day everyday there are guards that stand at this monument, and on every hour they march. When I was there I was lucky enough to witness a memorial service which saw a number of army members, families of the fallen and also the president. This was an amazing thing to see so many lay flowers at the base of this amazing monument.
The Cat House is a building situated at 10 Meistaru iela in the old town of Riga, the capital of Latvia. It dates back to 1909. I was so excited to see this building as I am a crazy cat lady, but I almost missed it. I had been searching for a while and only noticed it at the last minute. I was expecting a number of cat statues on the building however there was only 2. A bit disappointed in this building but the yellow of the building was beautiful in the sun. You can see a cat on the top of the building on my photograph.
Parks and Gardens
As I went out of season the parks and gardens were not blooming with colourful flowers. The lakes were frozen over as it was pretty cold but this made my pictures look great. There is a lovely bridge in one of the parks with locks all over it. This was my favourite part of the parks. This also over looked the Freedom Monument which made for some excellent pictures. Each park is not too far from the other, so I can imagine in the summer they are great places to sit out for picnics and enjoy the weather.
Riga Central Market is Europe’s largest market and bazaar in Riga, Latvia. It is one of the most notable structures from 20th century in Latvia and has been included in UNESCO World Heritage. If you love food then this is definitely a place to add to your must sees. This is the biggest marker I have been to and the most colourful. A great place to just walk around and test and buy some local foods. Just keep your bags close to you as this is a central point for pick pockets. I witnessed a group of guys outside the market emptying what they had stolen into bins.
The Old Town of Riga is just beautiful, with its cobbled streets, cute shops and bakeries. Each turn you take there is something just as beautiful to see. I enjoyed spending numerous days just wondering around the old streets and taking in all the buildings and enjoying a lot of local bakeries 🙂
The best place to watch the sunset over Riga is at the Skyline Bar. I only found out about this amazing bar and view when asking on twitter if anyone had any recommendations, and this was definitely the best one yet. On the 26th floor you will find the nicest bar, staff are friendly and the views are incredible. I was really surprised at how cheap this place was so I actually made a second visit. Definitely get here early before the sunset to get a table at the window.
If you are a fan of a bakery then look no further than Riga. Every corner you turn there is a bakery in sight. The one in the picture above ‘Rigensis’ was my favourite. Nice and quiet and the nicest cakes, and this coming from someone who is not really a big fan of cakes. Go and give them a visit and you wont be disappointed.
One thing that was not on my list was to walk across the bridge, and I am so glad I decided to, as the views from across the bridge of The Old Town was just breathtaking, and that was not just from the cold winds. I was definitely being pushed around by the wind over the bridge but it was so worth it. There was even ice in the water which I had never seen before, this made for a beautiful picture.
I loved Riga and loved that I could fit a day trip to another country in (this will be on my next blog post, a day in Tallinn Estonia). I loved the Old Town of Riga, it was just a shame that people there were rude, but I did not let this spoil my trip to Latvia. I would definitely like to visit again when the weather is warmer and the flowers are all out in the parks.
Who has been to Riga in the summer? I would love to see your pictures 🙂
Miss Coddiwomple xx