Mini guide to Riga
Since Latvia declared independence from the former Soviet Union, Riga has been
an up and coming city with a bright future. Lingering images of Communist deprivations
are quickly dismissed by a stroll around Riga, which boasts gleaming renovated
buildings, new bars and cafés.
The old town is the focus of the city; it angles towards the banks of the Daugava
River and has a cluster of winding cobbled streets and impressive squares. Riga
has Europe's most impressive array of Germanic Art Nouveau architecture, which
is recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The new town is the commercial and business heart of the city, with its broad
avenues and grid layout. Farther down river is the city's sprawling port.
The Latvian History Museum was founded in 1869 and placed in Riga Castle, which
was built in 1330. The museum has displays on the ancient history of Latvia.
Alternatively, the Museum of War has a permanent display on Latvian riflemen
The Brivibas Piemineklis (Freedom Monument) is a potent symbol of the nation,
erected by the citizens of Riga in 1935. Alternatively, Riga Doms (Riga Cathedral)
contains an intoxicating collage of Gothic and Romanesque styles. Another of
Riga's most striking attractions is Petera Baznica (St Peter's Church) which
dates back to 1408.
Not to be missed, the Latvijas Okupacijas Muzeja (Occupation Museum of Latvia)
is housed in an ugly Communist-era building and takes visitors on a journey
through Latvia's turbulent history.
For shopping, you can't beat the Centraltirgus (Central Market), which is housed
in five old hulking 1930s zeppelin hangers. Here you'll find Riga's locals,
who come to snap up cheap fruit and vegetables.
Salaspils is about 18kms southeast of Riga. Between 1941 and 1944, an estimated
100,000 innocents - including 55,000 Jews from Riga - were murdered by the Nazis
at the concentration camp here. Today, the camp is preserved and includes a
museum. Nearby, Jurmala is a string of small seaside towns and resorts that
stretches 30kms west along the coast from Riga.
Direct trains to Riga arrive from Minsk (8 hours), Vilnius (10 hours) and Moscow
(16 hours). Riga International Airport (Lidosta Riga), located 13kms southwest
of the city, handles an increasing number of direct flights to cities all over
Europe. Ferries arrive from several destinations, including: Kiel via Hanzas
Juras Agentura; Lübeck via Latlines; and Stockholm via Riga Juras Linija.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Maritim Park Hotel Riga
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking