How to Spend a Day in Riga
Are you friends or family of a Liden and Denz student? Or simply just wanting to visit Riga as a tourist? As a now self-proclaimed Riga ‘local’ after spending three months here, here is a handy guide on how to make the most out of your time in Riga.
After booking a hotel or AirBnB in the heart of Riga, I particularly recommend the Art Nouveau District, take a leisurely stroll down to a fantastic brunch restaurant, ‘This Place Doesn’t Need A Name’. Despite sounding like a Harry Potter villain, this chain boats a variety of healthy and delicious dishes for all dietary requirements.
Then, book an 11am tour with ‘Free Tour Riga’ to explore the rich and vibrant history of the city. On this tour you will learn about the Freedom Monument, the impressive House of the Blackheads and will potentially stumble across some of the statues I wrote about in my previous article! The beauty of these tours is that they are given by locals, so you get a knowledgeable guide who is truly passionate about their enchanting city.
If you have time to explore the House of the Blackheads more thoroughly, I strongly recommend that you do so. Not only does this museum have a compelling history, it is also beautiful. The rooms are adorned in huge paintings, glimmering chandeliers and classical music echos throughout the halls. There is a slightly discounted ticket for students upon entry. Alternatively, for nine euros per person you can get an entrance ticket as well as a glass of sparkling wine.
For lunch, for the true Riga experience, head to Lido. This buffet serves incredibly cheap dishes ranging from Chinese-style rice to Latvian meatballs. As a vegetarian, I can assure you there is something scrumptious for everyone. My favourite Lido is a short stroll away from Liden and Denz, once you go inside you’ll see why!
After satisfying your hunger, you’ll be conveniently close to the KGB building. Take a ten minute stroll to the Old Headquarters, and book the next available guided tour. For the inexpensive price of ten euros, you will see a building almost frozen in time with a fascinating history. At the end of the tour you may buy extra reading on the topics discussed during the tour. I particularly recommend the well-researched book, ‘Up Against the Wall’, by Vincent Hunt.
Is it the mid afternoon already?! You have several options for your next activity: go to the market or take a relaxing boat ride. If you go to the market, you will see an array of Latvian produce, such as fruit, vegetables and freshly caught fish. If you are staying in an AirBnB or self-catered accommodation, this is an unmissable opportunity to try a taste of Latvia without the restaurant prices.
For a boat ride, you have several options. Suitable for all budgets (and for those who want to burn a few of those Lido calories!), why not try a pedalo. Our lovely intern, Lola, recently made a short video on this fun activity, and I can imagine it would be hilarious when done with friends. For a more luxury experience, try a private motor boat, such experiences can be found on Trip Advisor. Even larger ferries are sometimes available, and are rather inexpensive. If you have more time to kill, these ferries sometimes even go to Sweden.
After a long day, I’m sure you’ll be parched, so to quench your thirst head to the Sky Bar at the top of the Radisson. As the name suggests, you won’t find a much better view in Riga. After becoming an expert on Riga, you might even be able to identify some of the buildings you have visited from above. If this option is out of your price range or is simply too busy, head to Riga Black Magic. This place is unmissable if you come to Riga. They make cocktails with the Riga Black Balsam, a delicious spirit, and pair them with truffles. I must admit, my mouth was watering upon first entering the bar as there is an immense selection of chocolates, and many of the beverages are chocolate themed.
This is a perfect opportunity to purchase some gifts for loved ones at home. Who wouldn’t want to receive a few chocolates or alcohol!?
I hope you have enjoyed your day out, and stay tuned for more activities for when in Riga!
This blog was brought to you by Emily Gray, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga
These images were taken by Emily Gray