Saturday, 23 May 2015

The ultimate travel guide to Riga

Riga is an amazing city that truly has something for everyone. For history buffs, architecture aficionados, culture vultures, foodies... you name it. Now that we've survived of the blog's virtual tour of Latvia, it's time to put it all together for the ultimate, one-stop-guide to Riga.

Enjoy!

FOR FOODIES

Markets

Even in the supermarket era, markets have retained their popularity. Riga Central Market is the biggest in Europe and it's easy to spend hours poring over the selection. In the summer do check out the nightly Farmers' market! 

Read all about it on the blog over here.




Kalnciema market is one of Saturday highlights. In the summer it's also open on Sundays. Local small producers and artisans bring wonderfully bohemian feel to this charming wooden house district. 

Read all about it on the blog over here.




Berga Bazar's Saturday market is full of similar bohemian charm. The area is also home to a restaurant called Andalusian Sun (!) but unfortunately we didn't get a chance to try it...




Restaurants


Sunday can only get off to a fantastic start over brunch at  brilliant restaurant Bibliotēka no1. 

Read all about it on the blog over here.

For more brunch suggestions, please see here.





Dinner here is a spectacular experience that no foodie should miss. Best dinner of my life.

Read all about it on the blog over here.





Restaurant ran by a new generation of chefs. Treats for eyes and stomach. 

Read all about it on the blog over here.





Good value for monet, this restaurant is popular among the locals, too. Combines Latvian traditions with international cuisine. Famous for cocktails based on green juices.




Cafes

Old town and historic centre house more adorable cafes and patisseries than you can count. Rigensis is a charming Old Town staple - cafes don't get much more traditional than this. Try their strudels. 





Parunāsim advertises itself as the most romantic cafe in Old Town. This small, cosy cafe tucked away in a quiet courtyard has coffee, cakes, wines and music with great service.





In case you happen to find yourself around Gertrūdes iela street, do check out quaintly Parisian Muffins and More (no prizes for guessing what their specialty is!) A big recommendation for the lemon!




For wine lovers

Wine culture is a relatively recent arrival in Latvia, but quickly becoming more and more popular. Riga has some lovely wine bars that you should make time for. 
Vīna Studija for instance has has a couple of places around the city. They also do theme evenings and tastings.

For more wine bar recommendations, just check here.





FOR CULTURE VULTURES


Located at the edge of the old town National Opera is worth a visit, too. Ornamental, traditional and full of gilded glamour it's everything you would expect. It's affordable, too: ticket prices start at €10. We went to see Madama Butterfly (the highlight of The Boy Next Door's trip) but the calendar for the remaining has other treats in store too: for instance Tosca, Rigoletto, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake.






ARCHITECTURE AFICIONADOS

If you're into architecture, Riga is for you. From the picturesque old town to the Art Nouveau glory, there's plenty of eye candy. For blog's tour of the old town, just go here.

For the most impressive views (a.k.a. the best selfie settings!) check out St. Peter's cathedral.

I myself fell in love (is it possible to fall in love with a building in a non-insane-as-seen-on-Channel 4-documentaries-sort of way?) with this Latvian Science Academy that majestically towers over the neighbourhood of Riga Central Market. For me it was so very New York, locals on the other hand call it "Stalin's birthday cake" (?!)




A tour in tram 11 (departs from behind Opera) gives you a great insight on the bewildering diversity of architecture in Riga.

You'll see the Art Nouveau gems in Krišjāņa Baronan street, oh so bohemian wooden houses of Miera Ielan street, the Soviet-era blocks of the suburbs and the very weird mix of Kokneses Prospekts. The are houses Tudor-style mansions, castle-like structures, sleek contemporary houses, Chechovian villas and derelict small sheds that can only house axe-wielding, serial killing rapists. 


FOR HISTORY BUFFS


The museum, located at the corner of Brīvības iela and Stabu iela street is a great way to get to know this very sinister chapter of Latvian history. Open daily (except on Tuesdays), admission €5. Guided tours in English available at least on Sundays at 11am. Creepy, but informative. 

Real all about it on the blog.






Located in the area next to the Central market, this museum has an interesting approach to the very dark time in Europe. Open daily (except on Saturdays), free admission, donations welcome. 

Read all about in on the blog.




When planning a trip, we found Riga tourism agency Live Riga extremely helpful. Their website has all the information you could possibly need and it's available in English.

For our full trip, just click here!



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ANYONE FOR SECONDS?



     

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