Riga sights: what to see on your own in one day
Riga in one day

Riga sights: what to see on your own in one day

The capital of Latvia is familiar to everyone born in the USSR: many Soviet movies about Europe were filmed here. Therefore, even when you first arrive in Riga, its streets seem very familiar. The UNESCO list has not left out the pearl of the Baltic States: ancient churches, medieval buildings and wooden architecture have been preserved here.

Interesting Facts:

  • Riga is the only European city in which temples of five different religious denominations are represented.
  • There are three free WI-FI points per square meter, so you can always be connected. Wireless internet is even available in cabs.
  • One third of the local residents are Russian.
  • In Soviet movies Riga played the role of Europe: London, Bern, Paris.
  • Parking costs are even higher than in Moscow.
Riga sights

Old Town (Vecpilseta)

The old core is the center and heart of all European cities and the most popular place among visitors. The center of Riga with its many cobblestone streets and ancient architecture is also a point of attraction. Restaurants and cafes with outdoor terraces line the cobblestone paths. Here you want to stop time, take a leisurely stroll and take with you the unique atmosphere of coziness and warmth.

A must do in Old Town:

  • Visit the narrow Rosen Street, where you can touch opposing walls with your hands at the same time.
  • See a panorama of the city from St. Peter’s Church.
  • Walk around the craft fair.
  • Try Vetsriga cakes — Riga custard cakes with delicate cottage cheese filling.
The streets of Old Town
The streets of Old Town
The streets of Old Town
The streets of Old Town

Church of St. Peter (Rigas Sv. Petera baznica)

The highest point of the old town attracts tourists with the opportunity to see the city from the height of the 72-meter tower: red tiled roofs, old buildings, medieval atmosphere.

Nowadays the church functions not only as a religious institution: exhibitions and concerts are held here.

  • Opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00, Mondays off
  • Admission: adult 9 €, student 7 €, pupil 3 €
  • Website
City panorama
City panorama
City panorama
City panorama

Dome Cathedral (Rigas Doms)

The name comes from Latin — «Domus Dei» («House of God») and «D.O.M." (abbreviation from Deo Optimo Maximo, «To the All-Good Greatest God»). Now it is the main building of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. The main pride of the cathedral is the organ, built in 1884. At the time of its construction it was the largest in the world: height — 25 meters, 7000 pipes.

Opposite is Dome Square, named after the cathedral. This is where the city’s festivities often take place. Find a special point on the square, stand on it and you will see three roosters on the peaks of ancient churches.

Monument to the Bremen Musicians (Bremenes muzikanti)

A donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster: anyone who has read a Grimm Brothers fairy tale or watched a Soviet cartoon will recognize them. The sculpture was donated in 1990 by sister city Bremen in honor of the end of the Cold War, when Latvia gained independence. Rub the Donkey’s nose and make a wish!

Mencendorfa House (Mencendorfa nams. Ridzinieku maja-muzejs)

Externally, the house is a typical architectural ensemble of the XVII–XVIII centuries. But that’s not the most interesting part of the house: legends say that Abram Kunze, the creator of the world-famous Riga balsam, lived here. A whole exhibition hall is now dedicated to him. From the basement to the attic, the building is filled with unique artifacts, furnishings and interior items and immerses the visitor in the past.

  • Working hours: from 11:00 to 17:00, Mon, Fri, Fri day off
  • Admission: adult 5 €, students 3 €, pupils 1 €, family 7 €
  • Website

Town Hall and Town Hall Square (Centra rajons)

The very heart of Riga, old and new. In the Middle Ages it was the place for executions, later it became a market square, and now it is just a place for a stroll.

  • Access is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

House of Blackheads (Melngalvju nams)

The appearance of the building has changed many times, and it is no longer known what the original structure looked like. The House of Chernogolovs was built in XIV for the military trade guild of the same name, which existed until 1940. Nowadays, the House of Chernogolovs hosts private events and guided tours of the building.

  • Hours of operation: from 10:00 to 18:00
  • Cost from 6 €, price depends on the excursion
  • Website

«Three Brothers» (Trīs Brāļi)

Walking around the city, it is difficult to pass by three buildings stuck to each other. Despite the fact that they were built at different times, today it is difficult to perceive them separately. The brothers also have sisters, which are located in Tallinn. The buildings epitomize the evolution of architectural style from XV to XVIII centuries from Gothic to Baroque. Today it is home to the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the Latvian Union of Architects, the Latvian Museum of Architecture and the editorial office of the magazine Latvijas Architektura (Latvian Architecture).

  • Admission prices vary greatly depending on the exhibitions. Please check all information on the website before traveling.

Black Magic Bar and Pharmacy (Riga Black Magic)

It is simply impossible to pass by this place: aromas of herbs are in the air, the interior of the bar is made in the spirit of antiquity, and the menu contains original recipes of dishes with Roman balsam.

The bar used to be the site of Kunze’s pharmacy, where they sold Riga balsam, which he created in 1752. The balsam might have remained unknown if Empress Catherine II, who was visiting the city in 1789, had not fallen ill and was not treated by Abraham Kunze. Catherine liked the effect of the remedy so much that the tincture began to be produced at the state level.

  • Opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 22:00
  • Website
I took a sample
I took a sample

After walking the streets of Riga, you can quickly get to Jurmala and take a refreshing dip in the Baltic Sea. Read about the best beaches near Riga.