Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the Women in Travel Summit in Riga Latvia. This conference was the perfect chance to learn more about blogging and in particular travel blogging. There was a whole host of amazing speakers present on the day and I learnt a ton about travel blogging, which I will be using to improve my blog over the coming months. This trip also gave me the chance to explore the wonderful city of Riga in the Baltic country Latvia
In this post, I will share with you you the best things to do in Riga when you've only got a weekend. Riga is a wonderful city, full of colourful personality filled architecture, great places to eat and drink and there's plenty to see. Latvia is underrated and is often overshadowed by other European countries and cities like Budapest. Riga is also a very cheap destination. We hired a full apartment for a weekend in Riga and paid just €21 per night so I highly recommend it as the perfect budget weekend break destination. So what did we get up to:
Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
One place worth a visit is the Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral. This beautiful yellow brick church is capped with gilded cupolas and was previously a Planetarium but since 1990 it has been returned to use as a church. It was built in 1876 and some of the church's more ornate details were destroyed by the Soviets but it underwent extensive restoration and has been returned to its former glory. It sits on the edge of the Esplanade Park and it really is a sight to behold. I highly recommend a visit this beautiful building, it's gold domes are really a sight to see.
The Three Brothers
The Three Brothers is a series of building. These three buildings situated in the centre of Riga, together this trio of buildings represents the oldest complex of houses in Riga. Each house is built in a different era and and represents a different artistic style. One of the buildings date from the late 15th century and has a Gothic style. The house next door was built in 1646 and has a Dutch Mannerism style and then the last house of the three is narrow in design and Baroque in style and was finished off in the late 17th century. These colourful beautiful buildings really are a work of art. If you are a fan of Copenhagen's colourful facade then Riga will be right up your street.
St Peter's Church
Next we get to St Peter's Church. This beautiful building is the perfect place to get the best views of Riga. Take the lift up to the top and you can see out across the whole city. I got my best photos of Riga from this particular spot. I paid less than €10 for a ticket up to the top, luckily the lift goes from the second floor so you don't have to walk up hundreds and hundreds of stairs. The lift journey is every 10 minutes or so you may have to wait a little while but you won't regret it. The church itself is a Lutheran church, of course dedicated to St Peter. It was built sometime around the Year 1209 and the history of the church can be split into 3 separate periods. Two associated with the Gothic building style and the third with Baroque. I can't overestimate just how beautiful the view from the top of church is. The church is fairly ordinary and normal in church style but the view once you get the top is unrivalled anywhere in Riga.
House of the Blackheads
There's something special about this building, you'll never have seen architecture like it. It is Riga's most iconic landmark and has a wide and varied history. This is to Riga what Buckingham Palace is to London.
The Freedom Monument
Address: Central District, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia
Due to the history of foreign occupation in Latvia, Freedom is highly celebrated in the country. The Freedom Monument was erected to celebrate and commemorate the lives that were lost in the fight for freedom. The monument itself is tall and imposing and is situated next to a beautiful park.
Parunasim Coffee Shop
This lovely little coffee shop is situated down a small alley and claims to be one of the most romantic places in Riga. I've never seen a cafe like it this place. It really does defy description. We sat at a tiny table in some comfy armchairs and I enjoyed some of the most amazing red velvet cake I've ever had in my life. The coffee was amazing and they also offered a range of alcoholic beverages so I had a nice hot glass of mulled wine which was the perfect thing for a cold weekend in Riga. This place is kitsch at its best, with a great ambience and atmosphere and a truly unique decor. I highly recommend a visit!
On the Saturday night, we hunted for somewhere amazing to eat and stumbled across this unique restaurant. This restaurant operated a little bit differently to any other restaurant I've been to before, as they charged an entrance fee to sit down. Apparently this allows them to keep their costs low, the food was gourmet in style but low in price. I had a three-course meal with a cocktail and my guest had a burger with some fries and a drink and we paid less than £30 for both of us. I couldn't fault the food. I had Confit of Duck as my main and it was out of this world. They also did the best chocolate desserts so I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful restaurant. The atmosphere is great, the decor is great and the food was amazing. Cocktails came in at less than €4 each, so even if you are just looking for somewhere to go out for drinks this would be a good choice.
Where to Stay
I'd highly recommend checking out Airbnb for places to stay in Riga. You can find places to stay from just £9 per night. There's a wide variety of accommodation options from beds in dormitories to multi-bedroom apartments.
How to get around
Taxis are incredibly cheap in Riga! We made our way around the city by taxi. And never paid more than £4 per journey. Uber isn't available there so you'll need to install Bolt app. Taxis are plentiful and you'll never have to wait long for one to arrive. Highly recommend it. Unlike Uber it shows you the full cost when you book your taxi.
The average temperature in Latvia is +6°C. The warmest month is July, where the average temperature is 17°C. The coldest months are January and February, when the average temperatures are are around -5°C.