A few weeks ago, I decided to take a spontaneous weekend trip away. I was browsing for flights and came across a total bargain to Riga. So I thought, why not? I’ll be honest, I didn’t do any research before my trip, I was simply excited to get out there and explore again.
I arrived in Riga late in the evening and I ended up walking around the city for a while looking for where I was staying. I was immediately struck by how beautiful the city was at night, especially with all of the christmas lights.
I decided to take a walking tour of the city and joined the alternative tour of Riga. This walking tour takes you outside of the old town – which is actually only 1/300th of Riga!
We went to some interesting spots that are lesser known and our guide told us about the history of the city. I felt that it gave a different insight into Riga and it was really great to explore a different side of the city, that most visitors don’t see.
My favourite location was probably the moscow suburbs, a place that most tourist will avoid. It is the oldest district in Riga, dating back to the fourteenth century! It is a mismatch with old wooden houses, interesting buildings and jewish memorials. But it definitely has it’s own unique vibe, which I really enjoyed.
I then spent some time wandering around the picturesque old town, taking in the incredible Art Nouveau architecture. It’s difficult to not enjoy walking along the old cobbled streets and finding new and interesting buildings around every corner.
On my second day, I chose to head out of the city with a new friend (Hi Judi, if you are reading this haha). We took the train to Sigulda and the journey was amazing. The train was incredibly slow, but that allows you to take in the views of the countryside.
It was my favourite kind of winter day, bright sunshine and there were still remnants of the last snow fall. After some discussion with a helpful lady at the information office, we decided to walk to Turaida Castle.
We headed out on our walk, stopping at all of the points of interest along the way. We then took a cable car ride which was amazing! It offered incredible views of the valley below and was a lot of fun to ride on.
I would absolutely recommend getting out of the city and exploring another part of Lativia. Sigulda is only a short journey from Riga, but it feels a world away. It is totally worth walking 5km to Turaida Castle, the surroundings are beautiful and you see so many different sights along the way.
- Take a walking tour, it’s a great way to orientate yourself within the city. With a local guide you’ll see places you may never have found on your own. I joined Riga Free Tour and it was a lovely way to spend a morning. It’s especially great for other solo travellers.
- Don’t spend your whole time in the old town! As tempting as it is, there are so many different places just a short journey from Riga. You can get an insight into the lifestyle in Latvia outside of the city…. pick a place and go!
- Go to a view point, in my opinion it’s the best way to see a city. I went to the sky lounge at Raddisson Blu and enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate whilst looking out over the city. Amazing!
Let me know if you’ve ever visited Latvia, or where you think I should go next by leaving a comment below.