Riga is the capital of Latvia. The Latvian capital is vibrant and funky, pulsating with a magnetic energy that stays with visitors long after they leave the city. Divided by the Daugava River, the capital mixes quaintness with Art-Nouveau architecture, large parks, an intriguing historic quarter and cobbled streets lined with steeples, glitzy nightclubs and thriving restaurants. The fairy-tale city was once nicknamed the “Paris of the East,” but Riga is quickly making a name for itself thanks to its timeless elegance and lavish beauty.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Latvia then the best time to visit Latvia is between April and September. Birders will enjoy the spring and autumn migrations, with flocks of ducks, geese and divers, and the autumn foliage is a sight to behold.
Top Places to Visit in Riga
1. St. Peter’s Church
Built in 1209, it is the city’s oldest religious institution, and the tower boasts one of the best views of the city. St. John’s Church, located just a few blocks away, is only slightly less spectacular and definitely worth a visit.
2. Porcelain Museum
Contains an extensive collection of 19th and 20th-century porcelain artifacts, and the Sun Museum, one of the most bizarre sights in the city. The museum details the importance of sun mythology in Latvian culture, which is surprisingly interesting and thought-provoking.
3. National Museum of Art
Featuring pre-WWII Latvian and Russian masterpieces, and the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, whose most interesting pieces include an executioner’s sword from the 16th century and the mummified hand of a criminal.
4. Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
A must-see sight for every visitor to Riga. Located on the outskirts of the capital, the museum grounds are home to transplanted historic buildings from all over the country, including dozens of windmills, farmhouses and churches. Walking through the museum is like taking steps back in time to a simpler bygone era of country living.
5. Bastejkalns park
One of the most lovely places in the capital is the Bastejkalns park, which includes Japanese and Chinese-inspired pagodas and a Bridge of Love that spans the Pilsetas Canal. Recently married couples solidify their love by leaving locks on the bridge and throwing the keys into the waters below.