Beginning in Riga’s winding, cobble stoned lanes of Old Town, you stand in the heart of this fairy tale city that is the capital of this Baltic nation. A former critically strategic city for the Soviets, Riga has now taken on a life of its own and has become a historic city filled with culture and glowing from new-age chic and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. As you wander through diverse cafés, shops, diners spread amongst restored art nouveau and neoclassical architecture, you clearly get the feeling that this city is more than just the capital of Latvia but perhaps all of the Baltics.
Riga’s Old Town is the perfect place to spend some time on a walking tour of the historical sights situated there. Old Town doesn’t allow cars on the roads so you can really take in the sights without being concerned about traffic. There is something for everyone here from museums and galleries to bars and souvenir shops. Probably the most popular sights though are the churches. The 13th century Riga Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church’s tallest steeple spire, and St. George’s Church being the oldest building in Riga, are all sights you can’t miss on a walking tour in Riga. And if cycling is more what you are looking for, Riga has many self-serve bicycle rental stations scattered around town that rent bicycles for about 1 € per hour or 9 € per day. Another great way of getting an overview of the city is to take a boat ride on Riga’s canals and Daugava River that goes along green parks and boulevard. Get an authentic and local shopping experience by visiting the biggest indoor market in Easter Europe: Riga’s City Central Market. Meet locals, enjoy the Latvian ambience and taste some of Latvia’s delicates; salty cucumbers, sausages, Kvas (a famous bread drink) and of course: home-made Latvian liqueurs and vodka.
Any time of year you choose to visit, Riga will have something to entertain you. During summer, you must attend the summer solstice festival where the city is alive with events and parades or attend the World Choir Games in July that is often referred as the “Olympics of Singing”. If you come in the wintertime the Christmas spirit really glows in Riga. The tradition of decorating Christmas trees began in this city way back in the 16th century and there is nothing quite like going to exact spot the first decorated Christmas tree once stood.