During my travels in Europe, I always make sure that I visit new places that are less crowded and still show a lot of originality culture-wise. There is no doubt that you should not miss going to France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other popular destinations in Europe. You learn so much and the experience is worth every penny. However, when you are tired of buzzing cities and bumping into other tourists all day long, a side trip to a less popular but equally extraordinary place might just make your European getaway the best trip ever.
Riga is the capital and the largest city in Latvia, a country that belongs to the three Baltic states and is located near Russia, Belarus, and Sweden. Riga is a city with so much character. Do not hesitate to book a boutique hotel in Riga’s old town to enjoy what the city has to offer. Here are the top five things you must see when visiting Riga for the first time.
1. St. Peter’s Church
A little bit of history and culture wouldn’t hurt when you visit Riga. St. Peter’s Church is one of the greatest landmarks in Riga. Its magnificent architecture, powerful sculptures, and bright colors really stand out from the crowd. It may not overshadow you with great heights but you will still feel humbled by how grand the church is.
2. Art Nouveau District
Can’t get enough of European architecture, their endless balconies and seamless knack for perfection? In Albert Street and Elizabeth Street, you will find some of the most breathtaking buildings sculpted with flowers, sphinxes, and supernatural beings. You will be in awe as you walk along the streets looking up at buildings with intricate designs, art and the overbearing shade of blue that matches the color of the sky.
3. Central Market
What is traveling without a little bit of shopping? And no, you do not have to spend a lot of money on designer clothes and accessories. Head down to Riga’s Central Market and be amazed by the vast stores and small shops selling items from fruits, vegetables and other delicacies to garments, jewelry and other things you can only find in this area. The real joy of shopping at Central Market is not about the fashionable items that you can buy but the hidden treasures that you will find that are cheap but you know you will keep forever as a reminder of your travel to Riga.
If you need a break from all the beautiful art, history and architecture and you just want to breathe and be near the sea again, Riga will not disappoint you. Jurmala is a white quartz sand beach with a 33km long stretch. You can invite your newly-found friends to go on a picnic and spend a couple of hours just watching the waves and enjoying the breeze before you go back to the city.
5. Old town
The Old Town is a great place to dine and wine. There are pubs, cafés and bars where locals hang out and party at night. It’s the place to meet and make new friends. Tasting new flavors while drinking a local beer is the perfect way to end your trip. Perhaps you will find your next destination while listening to another traveler’s story?
There is a common phrase among travelers, “go wander into the unknown”. By just walking along the streets of Riga, you can start to understand how it was greatly influenced by its dark history between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany’s invasion and yet the city is more alive than ever. You learn about the city’s history, experience local culture and visit some of the most amazing destinations in the world.
Have you ever been to Riga? Let us know in the comments section below.
As always, thank you for visiting and have a great day!
Images free at Pixabay
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