Known for its vibrant nightlife, Riga is the largest and most energetic of the Baltic capitals. The city is home to the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world, and visitors can find modern bars and clubs tucked snugly alongside colourful historic buildings. Music-lovers won’t want to miss the opportunity to see one of Riga’s world-famous operas, which are performed from September to June.
Begin your visit by strolling along Alberta Street, pausing to admire the most extensive collection of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. This historical district is home to residential buildings, restaurants, and shops, each featuring classical facades with majestic lions and grotesque goblins. From there, walk the twenty minutes to Riga’s Old Town, a twisting maze of narrow cobbled streets and Gothic spires. Visit the red-brick Riga Cathedral, the largest medieval church in the Baltic and home to one of the biggest organs in Europe. If it’s views that you’re after, continue to St Peter’s Church, a 13th-century church with sweeping views over the red roofs of the Old Town.
Feeling peckish? Riga offers an exceptional selection of food inspired by Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisine. Visit Riga’s Central Market, housed in a series of WWI Zeppelin hangars, for fresh and local produce such as hemp butter, pig snouts, and fried lampreys. Alternatively, check out one of Riga’s many exciting restaurants in the Old Town. The food is excellent value, and visitors can enjoy a three-course meal with drinks for 20 or 30 euros. If you’re planning to extend your evening, don’t miss the chance to try Black Balsam, a traditional liqueur made with different plants mixed in vodka. Just make sure to sip cautiously; even Riga locals will tell you that the drink is strong.
Visitors that are looking to escape the city for a day should consider visiting Jurmala, a breath-taking seaside resort located just 30 minutes from Riga. With miles of white sand fringed by pine trees, charming timber cottages, and excellent health spas, Jurmala is the ideal place to unwind. The town is known for being the place to see and be seen, and it was once a popular retreat for the Russian royal family and Communist Party bigwigs. Today, Jurmala still plays host to rich and glamorous clientele.
* prices based on cheapest quotes made in Skyscanner.net throughout 2018