Riga has in recent years become an increasingly popular weekend destination, and more and more people are discovering this Baltic gem. After the fall of the USSR, Latvia and especially Riga has evolved tremendously. There are plenty of things to do in Riga, but the Spas are without a doubt the most popular thing to do along with strolling around in the old town.
In this article, I have made a list of my favorites when it comes to attractions and things to do in Riga as a tourist.
House of Blackheads
According to me, this is the city’s finest building, and checking out the House of Blackheads is definitely something that everyone should do in Riga. The building is full of beautiful details and stunning architecture.
Black Magic Bar
Try the city’s famous drink; Riga Black Balsam and at the same time enjoy some handmade truffles at the Black Magic Bar.
A cafe that offers a unique experience. The interior is decorated like an old pharmacy house, and the staff has authentic costumes.
Address: Kalku iela 10th
Town Hall Square
Riga’s Town Hall Square is a very beautiful and picturesque. All around you will find several beautiful buildings, sights, and some cozy cafes, restaurants, and bars. At one edge of the square, you can see the Houses of Blackheads, which is an exquisite building, known for its beautiful architecture.
Right next to the square is also the famous St. Peter’s Basilica, which is another popular tourist attraction.
Sigulda is only 20 minutes away by train and offers natural beauty and adventure for the whole family.
If you have time, I can highly recommend a day trip here to try any of the activities here. Among other things you can go for a ride at a summer toboggan, explore caves, go winter bob or cable car over a ravine, or why not just take a closer look at the old castles and fortresses from the medieval times.
If you visit Riga during the summer and feel like a dip in the Baltic Sea, this is the place to go to. Jurmala Beach is within a short distance of 45 minutes by train. Nature is almost untouched, and there is plenty of ambers to pick and cute little Villekulla houses (Pippi Longstocking) to watch.
Pamper yourself at a spa
Riga is just like Tallinn a spa destination that grows every year that passes. And it’s not only luxurious facilities available; there is something for every budget without compromising on quality.
The standard is high but at significantly lower prices. So if you have not scheduled a spa visit in Riga, I suggest you have a look at one of the spa facilities below.
A luxurious spa, which consists of six floors. The selection is good, and the environment is perfect for couples and travelers who just want to relax and take it easy.
Aqua Villa is a day spa that is very affordable. The treatments are performed by skilled therapists who know what they are doing.
Recommended for a quick spa experience!
For a full day of spa treatments and baths, the Opera Hotel is one of the best places. The spa is fresh and has good class, and there are also special treatments for children, making it suitable for the whole family.
Riga’s Old Town
Like in many other cities, it is the Old Town that is the city’s heart and soul. Beautiful buildings are lined up one by one with quaint cobbled streets filled with charming cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Sure, the old town is somewhat touristy, but to stroll around the old town is still one of the must things to do in Riga as a tourist.
This central market is one of the largest food markets in Europe. Every day the market is visited by about 100 000 visitors, who come here to shop and eat. There are plenty of dishes to choose from, and there are also local crafts and other souvenirs.
If you like traditional markets, don’t miss out on this one!
St. Peter’s Church
From here you get one of the city’s best views at 80-meter above ground, in the church’s tower. Besides the view, the church is also worth a visit if you like fine architecture and old buildings.
Free Walking Tour
In Riga, there is a Free Walking tour available, just like in many other European capitals. The tour will showcase the best of Riga and let you learn more history about all the places you visit. If you are interested in culture and history and like to go on guided tours, I can heartily recommend this tour.
Other attractions and things to do in Riga
Latvian National Opera
Do you like opera, ballet, and concerts? Then it is worth to take a closer look at the Latvian National Opera. There are both classic sets and those of a more contemporary style. Prices are low and provide excellent value for money.
If you’ve never been to an opera or ballet, this is the perfect place to go for the first time, because it’s both cheap and good.
If you go to Riga with children, it is almost a must to visit Raksi. Here are all sorts of activities that suit all ages, for example, you can paddle a kayak, try river rafting and paintball. Raksi is located about 90 km outside Riga.
Musee Art Nouveau
The architecture of Riga consists mainly of Art Nouveau / Jugendstil and in this museum you can walk into an old house with a classic Art Nouveau style and take a closer look at the kitchen, pantry, Pigkammaren, bathroom, toilet, pantry and several other details.
If you are interested in architecture, this is an interesting thing to do in Riga.