24 Hours in Riga, Latvia

15 Sept 2018: I've redesigned this site - there might be some bugs on how it displays/looks. Give me a few days to go over every page!
Share Link

What do you want to do?

Share a link to your friends, or visit my profile on social networking sites?

Click to share this page:
   
Or click to visit my profiles:
   

About me

Hi! Welcome to Complete City Guides!

Complete City Guides mascot logo

My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)

I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.

So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.

Popular Posts
12 Coolest and Unusual Hostels You Have To Check Out!

24 Hours in Riga, Latvia

Riga is the capital of Latvia. Latvia is one of the three Baltic states (Lithuania is below it, and Estonia is above it). Its other land borders are Russia to the east (Kalingrad) and Belarus to the southeast.

We recently spent a weekend in Riga, just to explore the city and hang out there. It was a fun city. While it isn't especially huge, it is nice if you like to wander and explore a city. The city center felt like any other city in Western Europe, but as soon as we walked out the city center it did start to seem like a poorer country (but, maybe we just walked into the worse areas...).

Arriving in Riga

The airport in Riga is quite tiny, and it was really fast to get through. When leaving the airport we found the bus to the city center straight away (it was just parked up, waiting for passengers). We bought our 1-way tickets from a machine at the bus stop, and made our way to the city center. (It took around 25 minutes from Riga airport to the city center by bus, and cost just over €1).

We had an apartment booked, so we got off in the city center (the final bus stop - the bus station - is on the other side of the town. It is obvious when you are in the city center - we got off by a big shopping mall) and using GPS on our phone easily found the apartment.

The Old Town Area

I love cities with a small, condensed center. And Riga has it! There is a main square area in the Old Town. It isn't anything particularly beautiful, but it is still nice.

The whole city center area felt really safe. There were the usual souvenir shops (selling magnets, etc) but they weren't everywhere. The city definitely didn't feel like a tourist hotspot.

We soon came across an Irish pub, Maloney's Pub Riga, and popped in there for a quick pint.

While in there we thought it was about time to actually research the city. Until that point, we hadn't really looked at what to do in Riga. One of the things we saw on a few websites was the Cat House, so after downing our drinks we went to find it.

The Cat House, Riga

The Cat House (Latvian: Kaķu nams) is a famous building in the old town area of Riga. It was built over 100 years ago in 1909. It is named "The Cat House" because of its two cat sculptures on the roof. The original owner of the house, who disliked the members of the Great Guild, first added the cats so their tails were turned towards the house of the Great Guild. But they complained and it was ordered to turn the cats around so they face the guild house.

Exploring some back streets in Riga, and finding a cool cafe

We spent some time wandering, seeing what the back streets were like. Near the old town area, the buildings look like any other city. But further from that area and we saw a lot of wooden buildings:

We did come across a cool little cafe. It promised "Free Hugs at the Bar", and was in a cool looking side street.

It had a door on the ceiling (the photo is a little hard to see...)

Buildings, buildings, buildings

Large churches and cathedrals:

There were quite a few churches and cathedrals that we saw, but this one was the most impressive.

It is the Nativity of Christ Cathedral. Find out more details here.

Known as the Kristus Piedzimšanas pareizticīgo katedrāle in Latvian, it was designed by Nikolai Chagin and Robert Pflug between 1876 and 1883. It is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltic area. We didn't go inside, but people told us it is impressive

Old town:

"Three Brothers":

The Three Brothers is a building in Riga that contains three houses. Together they form the oldest complex of houses in Riga. The oldest one dates back to the late 15th century. Find out more here.

House of the Blackheads:

The House of Blackheads is a cool looking building on the Riga Town Hall Square.

The original building dates back to the 14th century. It was built for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, which was a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. It was completely flattened by German bombs in 1941, so the current building is a reconstruction that dates back only around 20 years.

Freedom Monument

The Freedom Monument is a memorial that honours soldiers that were killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1919-1920).

Other Buildings We Saw

Latvian Academy of Sciences

We made our way to the Latvian Academy of Sciences, and on the way passed a market. It was a sunday morning, but not too busy:

But then we got to the huge Latvian Academy of Sciences:

And the view from the top
And the view from the top
And one final stop before we left Riga - the cat cafe

We had been to the Krakow Cat Cafe, so thought we would check out the Riga cat cafe. It is called Minka Cat Cafe, and is quite a walk from the old town area. It seemed more like a cafe/restaurant first, that also had cats as a distraction (we tried some of their dishes - they were tasty). The one in Kraków felt like it was primarily about the cats, with the option of small snacks as just something to do while you are there.

But, like I said, the food was tasty. And we did see a couple of cats...

Date Posted
April 20th 2017
Tags 
Cities 
Countries 
Want To Know Best Riga Tips and Secret Gems? Read On...

I love Riga - get my tips and best things to do in Riga, straight in your email inbox!

Use Pinterest? Share this post:

Complete City Guides

Hi! I'm Patrick! I love travelling, and has been travelling most of the year for over 10 years now. Now I share my trips, tricks and advice here on CompleteCityGuides.com.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for more updates...

Comments (4)

Show/Post Comments

Next To Read:

Exploring Bangkok's Lumpini Park and The Monitor Lizards
10

May

Exploring Bangkok's Lumpini Park and The Monitor Lizards

Lumpini Park is often called "Bangkok's Central Park" - just, you know, with big scary looking Monitor Lizards! Read on to find out about what you can get up to in Lumpini Park, and how to get to Lumpini Park. And of course, important information to know about those scary looking reptiles!

Posted: Thu 10th May, 2018

Bangkok

Top North American Destinations
26

Jan

Top North American Destinations

Want to find some awesome places to go and visit in North America? Read on! This guide has the best and popular places that North America has to offer. You could plan the most epic of all road trips if you include all these stops!

Posted: Fri 26th January, 2018

Travel Guide to All The Thailand Beaches and Cities That You Will Want To Visit
7

Feb

Travel Guide to All The Thailand Beaches and Cities That You Will Want To Visit

When people backpack or travel around Thailand, they often start in Bangkok. But where should you head? What is there to see and do in Thailand other than Bangkok? Read on to find out in this ultimate guide to all the other places you can see in Thailand.

Posted: Wed 7th February, 2018

Bangkok

Top 7 Things To Do in Minsk
15

Jan

Top 7 Things To Do in Minsk

Minsk is probably the only European capital city that is largely untouched by masses of tourists. It isn't a city full of attractions, but there are certainly enough things to see and do to keep you entertained for a few days. Here are the top 7 attractions and things to see and do in Minsk, Belarus.

Posted: Mon 15th January, 2018

Minsk

Elephant Nature Park - Ethically See Elephants in Chiang Mai (And What Really Goes On There)
11

May

Elephant Nature Park - Ethically See Elephants in Chiang Mai (And What Really Goes On There)

Thailand is famous for its elephant related tourist attractions. However many of these involve cruel training methods or cruel elephant rides. "Elephant Nature Park" in Chiang Mai is an elephant sanctuary that seems to really care about their elephants. Read on to find out about our trip to the Elephant Nature Park, and find out what we think of it and how they treat their animals

Posted: Fri 11th May, 2018

Chiang Mai

Travel Blog Weekly Roundup: September 24 2018
24

Sep

Travel Blog Weekly Roundup: September 24 2018

Lots of interesting posts around the travel blog world in the last week or so. Here are some which have caught my attention.

Posted: Mon 24th September, 2018

iamge
20

Sep
2018

Ultimate Guide to Safe Travelling! 35 Tips For Travelling Abroad Safely!

The time you spend abroad on trips can be some of the best days of your life. However it can also go very bad, very quickly. There are many aspects to staying s...

68 Likes

24

11

Sep
2018

Complete Guide to Planning a Thailand Trip! Places to visit, What to do, and Travel Tips for Thailand

Thinking of planning a trip to Thailand? Thailand is one of my favourite destinations. Let me show you everything you need to know about Thailand, including whe...

127 Likes

5

About Me

I'm an Australian who has lived in Europe for most of my life. I work online, travelling with my laptop, working online and exploring cities for months at a time.

Read my blog