As fancy as it sounds. Modern and chic but simultaneously very historical. This trip was more special as our travel butterflies are not used to of having such long pauses in home country. After slogging hard in work for whole Q1 2019, our wanderlust was bulging out to make us leave the 9 to 5 schedule behind and hit our next travel destination during Easter break.
We visited Riga two times in one week’s difference. The first visit was combined with Lithuania through Fly, and the very next week we happened to explore the Baltic region again by Cruise and touching St. Petersburg, Russia was the biggest motivation to opt in for this option. Will share the details in a separate blog.
Being named the European Capital Of Culture in 2014, Riga is a small, historical yet modern, artistic and Balsamic flavored city. (Balsam is a traditional Latvian alcoholic drink made with many different natural ingredients) .It is part of Baltic group of countries and situated in eastern north of Europe. Since 2004 it is part of EU, 24% population is Russian and 70% people speak Russian here.We stayed at Wellington spa and hotel during our first visit which was in city center and do recommend. Hotels are bit expensive here, so always keep an eye on the deals. Our next visit was by cruise, so you should not miss out chance covering it through one of those Baltic cruises.
Must See sites: Riga is worth exploring slowly and on foot to notice It’s most nuanced details.
1) Freedom moment- History in Riga is complex, and you can explore the impact of the Russian and German occupations. Riga got independence from Soviet in 1992, just 30 years old self sufficient country standing on her own yet competitive.Freedom moment has survived in world war
2) House of blackheads: – most picturesque and typical Northern Europe architecture. 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried merchants, shipowners, and foreigners in Riga
3) St. Peter’s church – Church from 1209, history of the church can be divided into three distinct periods: two associated with Gothic and Romanesque building styles and the third with the early Baroque period
4) Riga cathedral: it is city cathedral and is famous for its musical organs. The entry ticket is 5 euro, which for us personally bit overhyped. You can plan visiting during concerts. Below is the picture of cathedral inner view. Saving your 5 Euro’s 😉
5)Three brother buildings – Complex consisting of three houses, situated in Riga, Latvia. The houses together form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga. Each house represents various periods of development of dwelling house construction 15th, 17th and 19th century respectively
6) Make a wish – It was a gift from Riga’s sister city Bremen. Go around the back of St Peter’s Church and you’ll find the statue of a donkey, dog, cat and rooster standing on top of each other. Apparently, it’s considered good luck to rub their noses and the higher you reach, the better your luck. . Touch for good luck!!!
7) Riga castle – not a great building .. ruined in world war . Only a symbolic building where prime minister hosts the foreign delegates
Things to experience.
What to do in Riga this summer ?
1. black magic famous for balsam – Riga Black Balsam is a traditional Latvian balsam made with many different natural ingredients.Black Balsam is also used in traditional medicine. It is supposed to be a good cold remedy and is used to treat digestive problems. We got our bottle from there. It is a Must
2. Vinarium Civitatis Rigensis: Medieval themed restaurant. This place would remind you a lot of hollywood movies based in medival times and Game of thrones !!
3. Lido- Shout out to all the Grilled kebab lovers on the planet. Though we are vegetarians, so we opted for salad and Mushroom rice, which were unique and very Latvian in their own way. It is economical and offers the best Latvian cuisine in town. Do not forget to try Latvian cold beetroot soup, which is most popular in local eats. For beer lovers, They offer good Latvian beer
4. Singh’s grill – for Indian taste buds, authentic Indian Punjabi cuisine. Do try their paneer bhurji.
5. The Golden coffee Cafe: Haven’t been there but was recommended by friends. You can try out if you plan to stay longer in the city. It’s a friendly, hospitable, cozy and vibrant place that uses highest quality seasonal products, mostly locally sourced and turn them into what could be called the new modern Latvian cuisine.
6. Walk 2 Wok – for economical and authentic Chinese food
7. Enjoy the national musical instrument , Kokle , on the streets of riga
8. Enjoy beer in noon and balsam in nights . Latvia is a beer loving country and balsam is the historical alcoholic drink available in different flavors