Cities Direct

Riga

Top Attractions in Riga

CENTRAL MARKET (CENTRALTIRGUS)

CENTRAL MARKET (CENTRALTIRGUS)

Popular with both locals and tourists alike, Centraltirgus is the largest open market in Europe dating back to 1930. You’ll find all manner of traditional crafts, food and drink, electrical items and other curios for sale, all housed in five vast former World War I Zeppelin hangars, each measuring 35 metres high. Lively and captivating, the Centraltirgus provides an authentic and atmospheric alternative to the standard city sightseeing and is without doubt a Riga pre-requisite.
FREEDOM MONUMENT

FREEDOM MONUMENT

Towering above the city, this bronze-topped monument was unveiled in 1935 and symbolised the long-held dream of freedom from the constraints of German landlords and the control of the Russian Monarchy. The tallest structure of its kind in Europe known locally as ‘Milda’, the Freedom monument became the rallying point for nationalist protests in the late 80s and early 90s, yet today is more frequented for its changing of the guard, taking place every hour between 9am and 6pm.
MUSEUM OF THE OCCUPATION OF LATVIA

MUSEUM OF THE OCCUPATION OF LATVIA

Housed in the former US embassy building, this museum offers a rather sobering and haunting audiovisual history not only of the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Latvia during World War II, but also of the tumultuous events in Latvia’s quest for an independent state in 1991. Exhibits detail the terrible living conditions of the Siberian labour camps and the horrific crimes committed against the Latvian people. Not an easy visit, but a thoroughly thought-provoking one nonetheless.
RIGA CATHEDRAL

RIGA CATHEDRAL

Leading the charge as the largest seat of worship across the Baltics, Riga’s enormous cathedral was founded in the early 13th century and is as renowned for its expansive size (the walls alone are two metres thick) as it is for its mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural styles. Inside, the grandeur of its organ, one of the biggest in Europe with 6,768 pipes, reflects its expansive setting and is played almost daily before evening mass.
PETER’S CHURCH

PETER’S CHURCH

Dedicated to the patron saint of the city, St Peter’s Church (Petera Baznica) dates back as far as 1209 and served the Catholic faith until 1523 when it turned Lutheran. Destroyed several times over the centuries, most recently in 1941, the church is recognisable for its distinctive red-brick structure and its soaring 200-foot spire, reputedly the tallest in Europe. Climb up to the observation deck and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular sweeping views across Riga.
LATVIAN ETHNOGRAPHIC OPEN-AIR MUSEUM

LATVIAN ETHNOGRAPHIC OPEN-AIR MUSEUM

Situated on the outskirts of the city along the shores of Lake Jugla, the Latvian Ethnographic Museum occupies over 200 acres of bucolic Baltic countryside and should be considered a Riga essential. Amidst the pastoral landscapes you’ll encounter costumed workers and over 100 traditional wooden buildings – farmsteads, windmills, fishing villages, churches and other historic structures – from each of the country’s four cultural regions, collectively paying a fascinating homage to a bygone era.
HOUSE OF THE BLACKHEADS

HOUSE OF THE BLACKHEADS

Dating back to 1344 when it was used as a fraternity house for a guild of unmarried German merchants, the House of the Blackheads was partially destroyed during World War II, flattened by the Soviets in 1948 but painstakingly recreated and reopened at the turn of the century to coincide with Riga’s 800th birthday. Boasting a Gothic style with a Dutch Renaissance façade, the house is without doubt one of the city’s most attractive architectural treasures.
POWDER TOWER

POWDER TOWER

Riga’s 14th-century cylindrical Powder Tower is the sole survivor of 18 original towers that once populated the city walls, albeit with nine Russian cannonballs embedded deep within its redbrick walls. Formerly serving as a gunpowder store, prison, torture chamber and German fraternity house, today the Powder Tower plays host to the Museum of War, highlighting Latvia’s various wartime associations dating back to medieval times, with particular focus on the War of Liberation and World War II.
RIGA MOTOR MUSEUM

RIGA MOTOR MUSEUM

Situated a stone’s throw from the city centre, the Riga Motor Museum offers a fascinating overview of automotive history. The largest antique car museum across the Baltic countries, the museum exhibits a variety of cars, bikes and mopeds originating from Latvia, pre-war and Soviet-era vehicles, military machinery and race cars and yet by far the star attraction has to be its Kremlin Collection, including Stalin’s armour-plated limousine and Brezhnev’s Silver Shadow Rolls Royce.
RIGA ART NOUVEAU CENTRE

RIGA ART NOUVEAU CENTRE

Although the city boasts a number of architectural styles, Riga is particularly renowned for its superb array of Art Nouveau buildings, particularly in the New Town. For those with a particular interest in this style of architectural and decorative design, the Art Nouveau Centre on Alberta iela is a worthwhile visit, for it was the former home of local architect, Constantīns Pēkšēns, who designed over 250 of the city’s buildings.

CITY BREAK SEARCH