Riga Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the best things to do and see in Riga
Latvia’s capital is known for its Art Nouveau architecture, friendly people and diverse cultural identity. Start here with my basic Riga travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Riga travel blogs.
When to Visit
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Riga weather-wise is in late spring or early summer. At this time, the weather should be good enough (and the days long enough!) for you to explore outdoors without it being too cold, and the crowds in the cities shouldn’t be too bad. That said, winter can be a magical time in Riga, especially leading up to Christmas when the city is lit up with festive lights. Fall is also quite lovely, with the leaves changing color and the fewer crowds being a good reason to visit at this time of year.
Top Things To See
Art Nouveau architecture – With more than 800 buildings in an Art Nouveau style, Riga’s architecture is something to look out for. The street Alberta iela is a great place to start, with almost all the buildings there designed by the genius Mikhail Eisenstein.
Museum for the History of Medicine – In equal parts gruesome and fascinating, this weird museum is most notable as the place to see the taxidermied corpse of Vladimir Demikov’s two headed dog experiement. Strange but true.
Street art – The street art scene in Riga is alive and well, with pieces strewn throughout the city, with everything from local anonymous works to larger murals by internationally renowned artists such as ROA and others.
Although it’s a small city, taking a tour around Riga will save you time and get you in to some areas of the city you might otherwise overlook, so it’s definitely worth you time to consider one. Take a look at this selection of Riga tours.
LGBT – Gay Riga Travel Guide
As the capital of Latvia, Riga is the center for gay life in the country. These are a few of the best things you should know about visiting gay Riga.
XXL – Riga’s biggest and oldest gay club, this is a great option for a fun night out, whether you’re more into dancing and being silly or cruising and getting dirty.
Varaviksne – Latvia’s first gay sauna, this place is clean and good value. There’s a bar, steam room, dry sauna, jacuzzi and all the other facilities you’d expect of a sauna.
Mozaika – The biggest queer organisation in Latvia, they put together talks, events, conferences and workshops throughout the year and are responsible for the March for Equality during the annual pride parade.
More gay travel resources here.
Riga Hotel Deals
Riga has plenty of cool and quirky hotels, as well as all the big chains you’d expect. They’ll likely get full when there’s a conference or special event in town, so definitely consider booking in advance. I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be really useful for finding last-minute deals.
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