Many people know Riga, the capital of Latvia as ‘the Paris of the North’ and indeed the city is impressive in every way. A buzzing vibe resonates throughout and the stunning Art Nouveau architecture is captivating. Known to have the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, Riga is adorned with gargoyles and other eclectic figures all over. Its buildings radiate outwards from the castle that stands at the centre of the city and right at the city’s core is the Old Town where charming narrow streets wind their way around fairytale houses.
Riga has much to offer its visitors and there is no shortage of museums, monuments and other points of interest to explore.
St Peter’s Church
This church is a Gothic masterpiece and stands out as an icon on the city’s skyline. It is actually one of the oldest medieval buildings in the whole of the Baltic area and inside there is a veritable contrast between the plain, almost austere décor and the colourful vibrant exhibitions displayed in the aisles. You can take the lift up to the steeple where the views are panoramic. Admission for the church and tower is at the bargain price of €7.
The centrepiece of Riga has to be its castle, which was once the hub of operations of the Livonian Order. Over the decades the castle has had many roles and has morphed into different forms. Today it is the outside only that appears to have castle-like features and only from certain angles. The president of the country lived here until 2013 when the building suffered fire damage, but once the restoration has been completed the president will take up residence again. Although currently you can’t visit the inside of the castle, a walk around the exterior is highly recommended.
The Art Nouveau Museum
Although the city itself is a museum in its own right, if you are really into discovering more, head to the Art Nouveau Museum where Konstantīns Pēkšēns, one of the city’s most famous architects, lived. Inside, the interior appears like a middle-class 1920s apartment. There is a beautiful ornate staircase, wonderful geometric shapes, typical period furniture and the original stained glass in the dining area. You can watch a video too that tells you all about architecture in the city. The museum is open from 10am to 18pm and entrance only is €5.
How to Get There: Riga
Riga Airport is a short transfer from the city itself and receives regular flights from London, Paris, Dusseldorf and Milan, among other European cities. We at Shuttle Direct offer efficient and reliable airport transfers which you can book in advance should you wish. Why not complete your journey and reach your hotel in an organised and hassle free manner? Let us get your holiday off to a great start.
Where to Stay
Guesthouse Jakob Lenz – Our choice of budget accommodation in Riga is the Guesthouse Jakob Lenz, a short walk away from Albert Street with its Art Nouveau architecture. The rooms may be basic but they are classic and comfortable and all have free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have cable TV and en suite too. Should you choose to self cater there is a kitchen for guest use. Only 1.2km from the Old Town and close to other attractions, this is a good budget option in the city.
Clarion Valdemars – Ideally located in a beautiful Art Nouveau building, Clarion Collection Hotel Valdemars is a 5-minute stroll from the Old Town. All rooms are decorated in pastel colours and have simple wooden furniture. There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and each room has heating, a safe and a hairdryer available. Guests can make use of the small gym as well as the recreation room. This is a good choice if you want to spend a little more in Riga but are still looking for 3 stars.
Hotel Bergs – Our 5-star accommodation choice in Riga is Hotel Bergs, the boutique hotel only 500m away from the Old Town. With air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi, a gym and a sauna, guests can really kick back and relax here. The rooms are all elegant and beautifully decorated, with under floor heating in the bathrooms which all have a bath and a shower. There is a trouser press, washing machine and minibar available in every room as well. Staff are on hand 24 hours a day and there is a massage parlour at the hotel, plus car rental services. The restaurant offers local cuisine among international fare and there is a hotel bar. Close to many of Riga’s attractions, this hotel is perfectly situated.