What to see in Baltic States
Nestled at the mouth of the River Daugava on the Baltic Sea, Riga is Latvia’s huge capital city and the largest of all the Baltic capitals. Adorned with decorative Art Nouveau architecture and picturesque streets, Riga has long been a popular city break destination, and with one look at its UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, it’s easy to understand its popularity. Gothic spires, bustling markets and a tantalising gastronomic scene make a trip to Riga an excellent choice for culture vultures and foodies alike. Trendy bars, creative districts and experimental restaurants are just a few of the city’s hidden gems. Travel in winter for snow-globe-worthy street scenes or visit Riga in the winter months to enjoy the nearby beaches of idyllic Jurmala.
When it comes to what to see in Riga, you’re spoilt for choice whatever your interests. Stately buildings, colourful markets and some of the finest architecture you’ll ever lay eyes on, Riga is an unmissable destination. Riga’s Central Market is the perfect place to get to know the locals. Here, you can discover Latvian fare and unique local produce at Europe’s largest market, housed inside gigantic World War II Zeppelin hangars. If cobblestone streets and medieval architecture is more your thing, discover the delights of Vecriga, the local name for the Old Town. With countless galleries, museums and quaint cafes and tea houses, this is the heart of Riga and is exceptionally pretty. This is where you’ll find much of the city’s famed Art Nouveau architecture and historic guildhalls. Sat on Town Hall Square is one of the city’s most recognisable buildings: the House of the Blackheads, an imposing red-brick structure. Despite being almost completely destroyed over the course of the tumultuous 20th-century, the House of Blackheads has been resorted to its former glory in recent years and provides an interesting insight into Riga’s Hanseatic past. Other notable buildings to explore on a holiday to Riga include the ‘Three Brothers’, the city’s oldest houses, and Riga Cathedral, first built in the 13th-century and an enduring symbol of the city, as well as being the seat of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. Finally, Riga’s Russian-influenced past can be seen in the Nativity of Christ Cathedral, an Orthodox Cathedral built in the traditional Russian style.