How to Spend an Amazing Weekend in Riga, Latvia
Summer might be over and winter blues may have kicked in, but fear not Riga is the perfect autumn destination to liven up the duller months. The dynamic and trendy capital of Latvia can be reached by Baltic Air for as little as £60 return from Gatwick making it one of the best cheap city break destinations in Europe. Indulge yourself in the cosmopolitan city that offers a treasure trove of rich history and culture, foodie heaven and a thriving night life.
What to Do
There are so many points of interest and places should visit in 48 hours including:
- The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the ex KGB headquarters are fascinating and chilling. Book the cell tour for the student price of €2 you get an incredible insight into one of the 20th century’s most harrowing chapter of history.
- Visit St Peters Church. The Medieval monument is one of the cities most treasured sites. The platform at the top offers panoramic views of the entire city.
- The covered market located in four old Zeppelin hangars is not to be missed. It is Europe’s second largest market, and showcases the real and raw Riga. It sells possibly anything you could ever need and it is great way to spend a rainy morning.
* When visiting the old town remain vigilant as petty crime and pickpocketing does occur in these areas. The Riga Tourism police can be helpful in the event of any problems +371 67181818.
Where to Stay
You can find accommodation for all budgets, here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in Riga:
- The Naughty Squirrel Hostel is located centrally in the old town and was voted the best hostel in Eastern Europe. It is the ideal place to meet people and party, as well as to enjoy the bustling centre. Dorm rooms available from £10.
- Air B&B is also a very good option when visiting the Latvian capital. Two bed rentals can be found for around £20 a night.
Where to Eat & Drink
You can find a big selection of cafes, restaurants and bars, here are some of the highlights:
- Cheap eats include Big Bad Bagels and Street Burger they offer tasty and contemporary food, or the Lido chain suits those looking for a more traditional bite.
- Independent coffee shops such as MIIT, which offers a vegetarian breakfast buffet, or DAD Café are symbolic of Riga’s café culture and are well worth spending a lazy afternoon in.
- Riga has an abundance of bars, from the self service Easy wine and Easy beer (a dream come true!), to microbrewery Labietis for ale lovers. The Armoury Bar is also a great option if you are looking for a bar with a lively atmosphere and quirky soviet-esque décor.
Where to Party
Anyone who has an insatiable appetite to party Riga has it all! A city catering to all tastes ranging from karaoke bars that you try to avoid, but ‘ironically’ end up in singing Despacito in…? To the wannabe ‘hard rock café’ playing Russian folk music in the basement at four in the morning and heavy rock in the floor above. But so you don’t have to endure such nightmares, here are some of Riga’s best haunts…
- Puce is a favourite. A popular club with free entry, that attracts a crowd of young people and fellow travellers. It plays popular hits and slightly more questionable music in the downstairs cave… what is there not to love?
- ONE ONE is a cool venue, with the party taking place in an old factory. Hidden in the hip Miera street and nestled between other bars and restaurants it is a MUST.
- Mainstream Kalkuk Varti is located in the old town with the club predominately in the cellar with access to a balcony in which you can dance until sunrise. Typically, €5 entry.
- Alternative Autentika which has recently emerged on Riga’s nightlife scene plays a host of Europe’s new and emerging indie bands, as well as dance and trance.
* Be mindful to never leave drinks unattended and seek trusted recommendations on other clubs and bars to avoid being scammed.
View more travel and safety tips for Latvia on the FCO website or check this Foreign Travel Checklist before you go for a stress free weekend of immersing yourself in the rich history and charm of Riga and drinking in the plentiful bars.
By Eve Willis