The small city of Riga is perfect for a weekend break. We left on a Friday straight after work and arrived back on the Sunday evening and easily fit everything in to those 2 days.
It isn’t very crowded, has great food, lovely parks and UNESCO world heritage listed architecture. I recommend booking accommodation in the centre because everything is within walking distance and you stumble across interesting building around every corner.
House of Blackheads
This is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Riga. It is located in the heart of old town and is now used to host cultural events and concerts. We didn’t go inside but it costs €6 to have a look at the restored rooms and different exhibits
The Three Brothers
It is surprisingly difficult to get all three brothers in one photo. They are the oldest medieval residential buildings in Riga and are said to have been built by descendants of the same family. The green house was built in the 17th century, the yellow one is from the 16th century and the white is the oldest from the 15th century.
Bastion Hill Park
The love lock bridge of Bastion Hill is where newly wedded couples have followed the tradition of attaching a padlock. This park was a lovely place to relax, it contained a few sculptures and a pond. The freedom monument can be seen in the background of this picture and is only a short walk away.
This is a monument to honour the lives lost during the Latvian war of independence, it was funded entirely by donations. It is very tall and at the top is a copper female holding three gold stars in her hands, these stars represent the three original cultural regions of Latvia.
View from St Peter’s Church
The colours of old town are best appreciated from above, the view from the tower of St Peter’s church is the best one in the city in my opinion. Unlike a lot of viewpoints I have been to it has a lift. Admission costs €9 and also includes art exhibitions that are on display in the church.
Town musicians of Bremen sculpture
This sculpture is found outside St Peter’s church and is based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The story is that a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster were being sent to slaughter but managed to escape to Breman with the hope of becoming musicians.
Along the way they saw robbers in a cottage about to have a meal so they stood on each others backs to look bigger and scare them away so that they could eat. The statue takes a political twist on the story and represents Latvians optimistically staring through the iron curtain at a new world.
The Nativity of Christ Cathedral
This orthodox church was converted into a planetarium during the soviet period but is now back to being a place of worship. It has a donation box but entry is free, photography is not permitted inside and there is also a dress code. Women are asked to cover their heads and can borrow a scarf if needed.
The old town is both beautiful and colourful even on a cloudy day. It is filled with restaurants, bars and cafe’s and we spent most of our time wandering around looking at the different buildings.
Powder tower and Jacob’s Barracks
The Powder tower used to be part of the town’s defence system. The building next to it is part of Jacob’s barracks which now consists of many shops and restaurants. It is covered with pictures of the different coats of arms of the towns and cities of Latvia.
There are a few of these shelters around the city for homeless cats.
This large cat is found outside a souvenir shop and is always happy to pose for photos.
Apsara Tea House
Found in Bastejkalns park this cafe has a view of the canal and is a nice place to have a slice of cake and a drink. You can either sit at a table or go upstairs which has floor cushions and a much better view, it was an easy decision for me.
The cafe is in a circular building which means that there is a 360° view of the surrounding park. The spiral staircase and chandelier also make a great place to take Instagram photos.
This old fashioned bike is a fixed feature outside the Ciku Caku gift shop.
These are the highlights of my weekend in Riga. Hopefully I can return one day and see more of the fascinating sites the city and country has to offer.
Visited: for 2 days at the end of June 2017.