Hello to the Baltic State of Riga!
Riga is a beautiful part of Europe definitely worth a visit if you are looking to shower yourself with its artistic charm. The city vibe crosses between medieval and metropolitan feel, famous for its cobbled-stoned streets and Art Nouveau buildings . Not to mention Riga is also rich with its traditional cuisines and can sweep you off your feet with its Latvian breweries and it’s own herbal liquor, Black Balsam.
As city-break destination: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
As a word: crafty
As a destination: solo or large group of friends
Currency: Euro (€1= U$1.12)
This trip assumes group travel of five, car rental from Riga; souvenirs & personal expenses are not included.
Total damage to the Piggy Bank per person: £90 – £118 (U$122 – U$150)
Petrol £3 (U$4)
Lunch £11 (U$15)
Dinner £11 (U$15)
Accommodation £45 (U$59)
Bottomless Brunch at Skyline bar (Optional) €24 (U$27)
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO RIGA?
Riga does get really cold in Winter. It has been said that in Winter, the Daugava River freezes with temperature going as low as -15 to -20 degrees Celcius. Although in saying that, I can imagine how enchantingly beautiful this place will look in Winter. Summer is, as any of other European countries, will be the peak of tourist season as the weather get warm but it is a very short window between mid-June to end of August before the season change into Autumn. Autumn and Spring will also be a good time to go with the changes of colours of the trees and landscapes.
HOW TO GO TO RIGA CITY CENTRE FROM THE AIRPORT?
HOW TO GO TO AROUND IN RIGA?
Riga’s Old Town is not big and can be easily done by foot. The walk between Old Town to Alberta Iela will take approx. 10-15mins max. There is actually no better way than doing it by foot unless you drive although driving can be a challenge with the narrow alleys and the amount of tourists walking around the area. Make sure you check on the street parking in terms of the charges. Red Zone Parking are not free even throughout the night. Other street parking outside of the Old Town or Red Zone are free from 5pm onwards and free on Sundays.
48 HOURS ITINERARY IN A JIZZ!
10:00 – 12:00 – Drive to Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 – Enroute back to Riga
16:00 – 20:00 – Old Town Riga
20:00 – 24:00 – Dinner, Rest
10:00 – 12:00 HILL OF CROSSES, LITHUANIA
A spent time around the Baltic States wont be complete without a road-trip to its next door neighbours. If you have decided to drive, 1 hour 40 mins away, you can get into the Hill of Crosses, a Catholic pilgrim stop located at Northern Lithuania. There is approximately more than 100,000 of crosses on this hill. The site represents the peace, hope, love and sacrifice during the Soviet resistance to Lithuanian Catholicism. It has been claimed that the Soviets tried to get rid of this site as much as three times yet overtime people still keep coming back putting crosses on the hill.
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch at Šiauliai
Not far from the Hill of Crosses, you can easily hopped down to city of Šiauliai , the fourth largest city in Lithuania. It’s a quiet little town but flock of tourists from the Hill of Crosses stopped by for a little break before continuing to their next destination. This town is the main leather production engine for Lithuania. It was said that during World War I, 85% of the whole city was completely burned down and revived again during the Soviet era.
< We were too hungry to take photos at this stage of the day 🙂 >
16:00 – 20:00 OLD TOWN RIGA
Visiting Old Town Riga is a visit to a UNESCO site for its architectural and historical value. The most prominent site being the House of Blackheads which stands out the most on Riga’s tourist postcards and travel sites. The House of Blackheads history went back to 14th century of a group of of foreign merchants defending the city from invasion. This group was also known as the Brotherhood of Blackheads which is also famous in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Three Brothers is the oldest dwelling complex in Riga. It has been said that the houses are built by three brothers, white by the eldest, yellow by the middle brother and green by the youngest though this was never confirmed.
Should you choose to stay around the Old Town, there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can try traditional Latvian cuisines. Riga is actually popular for its night life, local bars and given the city’s ambiance, you definitely want to give it a try. We opted Province Restaurant which conveniently located just below our apartment. I recommend their homemade fishcake cutlets, potato pancakes with salmon tartar just to name a few of their traditional cuisines.
10:00 – 12:00 ALBERTA IELA
Also known as Albert Street. This is one of the most well known street in Riga, best known for its Art Nouveau architectural buildings. A visit to Riga is a must visit to this street. Walking through this street is like walking to an open museum discovering great collection of beautiful and unique creation a of the talented Russian architect, Mikhail Eisenstein. You will see there is no same sculptures on each of the building on the street and each building will have its special theme to it.
13:00 – 15:00 RADISSON BLU LATVIJA SKYLINE BAR
You do not want to finish your sightseeing in Riga without checking out Riga’s full skyline across Daugava River. Visit Level 26 of Radisson Blu hotel, you will find a Skyline bar with a scenic view of the city. Should you wish, the bar has a special bottomless brunch menu for €24. Although not far from the hotel, you can find LIDO, a traditional local canteen-style restaurant where you can choose large variety of Latvian dishes at your own wish and pace. Explore more of Latvian pancakes, pork, beef ribs, Kvass (local bread rye soft drinks) and desserts for cheaper rates.
RADISSON BLU LATVIJA HOTEL SKYLINE BAR
15:00 – 17:00 ESPLANADE PARK OR FOLKKLUBS ALA PAGRABS
Spend the last bit of Riga at Esplanade Park. One of the things I like about Riga is probably how well they kept their parks along its canals. It definitely worth a stroll along the National Opera. Should you want to taste the last bits of local Latvian breweries, I recommend the basement Folkklubs bar for a great Latvian atmosphere and a cosy place to chill before you head out.
FOLKKLUBS ALA PRAGABS
17:00 – OFF TO NEXT DESTINATION OR HEAD TO AIRPORT
WHERE TO STAY IN RIGA?
Heart of Old Town Apartment is an easy, convenient location to stay around Riga. It is located in the heart of the Old Town, right next to the St. Peter’s Church and 2 mins walk to the House of Blackheads. The apartment is a good size of a group stay, however, should you be on a solo visit, twin/double room stays are also affordable in Riga.
TIPS FOR RIGA:
- Visit Central Market for Latvian fresh and organic produce. Unfortunately, we went on a National holiday when the market was closed.
- If you can pull in more days to go to the Baltics, definitely consider the Baltic States road-trips which usually cover Tallinn and Vilnius.
- Definitely give Black Balsam a go.