A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a spontaneous weekend trip to Riga, Latvia. I didn’t do any research before the trip, I was simply excited to be going on a solo trip to explore again.
I arrived in Latvia late in the evening and in my usual fashion, I ended up walking around Riga for a while before I could find the place I was staying. I was immediate struck by how beautiful Riga looked at night, especially with all of the Christmas decorations lighting up the city.
On my first morning in the city, I decided to join a free walking tour of the city – I went for 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 take the time to 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. 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 the second day, I chose to head out of the city with a new friend I met at breakfast. We took the train to Sigulda and the journey was wonderful. 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 a walk, stopping at all of the points of interest along the way. We then took a cable car ride which was really worth the price. It offered incredible views of the valley below and was a lot of fun to ride on.
I would absolutely recommend taking an extra day to explore outside of Riga. Sigulda is only a short journey from the city, but it feels a world away. The 5km walk to Turaida Castle is such a great way to explore the countryside and appreciate how beautiful this country is.
- 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 trip in the Old Town. As tempting as it is to spend your whole time in the city, there are so many different places just a short journey from Riga. You can get a deeper insight into the lifestyle in Latvia – simply 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.
Have you ever been to Latvia?