Riga is definitely a walkable city!
Although it is the biggest city in the Baltic states, most of its beautiful landmarks are well preserved in the compact city centre. It means: no money to spend in transportation! yaaaay 🙂
I arrived to Riga from Tallinn via bus, through a very pleasant journey across part of Estonia and Latvia. Unfortunately it was a trip with no stops in the middle: I wish I could have stopped and had the opportunity to explore a little bit the beautiful green surroundings. If you have more time, you could join a one day long bus tour from Tallinn to Riga: ask the Tallinn tourist centre, they should be able to point you out in the right direction.
As usual, the easiest way to check the main spots not to miss in the city is to join a free walking tour: I joined the free tour recommended by Likealocal, which gave me the right information about the history and the culture of the city. It was also a great way to meet new friends to share a pint or two with! 🙂
You will discover a pretty small but very well preserved Medieval old town, full of beautiful churches and palaces; if you venture out of the center of the city, you will be delighted by the best examples of Art Nouveau.
If you have more time, and the weather is your alley, do not forget to get the train and venture out to Jurmala, beach resort no more than 30 kilometers out of Riga to enjoy the delights of a beautiful crystal clear sand.
I had the luck to stay with a local gay guy, found through ebab (the German gay airbnb, around since at least 15 years): he was really helpful! He made me explore the local soul of the city, and try the best local food. If you are after a budget meal, yet willing to taste good local food, head to Lido, a small chain with a few restaurants all around the historical city centre, featuring traditional inexpensive local recipes in a cozy environment.
The best spot for overlooking the city from the top? Look for the Galleria Shopping Centre, right in the centre of the Art Nouveau District, a few block away from the Old Town! You will have the best view of the city: behind me in the pic the Riga TV tower and the top of Saint Peter’s Church.
I hope this short introduction to the city made you fall in love with Riga, as I did when I discovered it… Have you been there yet? If the answer is no, book a flight, pack your stuff and go! Maybe around Christmas time… I heard it is an interesting and suggestive period of the year to visit it… shall we go together soon? Just email me and we will arrange something!
Date of Last Visit: July 2015