O I do like to be beside the seaside - in winter?
If you visit Riga in summer you will probably be advised by your guide book or tourist office to visit the Jurmala (literal translation: seaside) area. You may not be so inclined to visit in the winter, and if that was the case you would be making a mistake. The snow covered beach at Jurmala is a beautiful sight. We had a sunny day and the white of the snow, small ice flows, and swans contrasted with the dark blue of the sea. the air was fresh and the visibilty was perfect. The village of Majori, which is one of the main vallages of Jurmala, is a collection of lovely wooden buildings which stand out against the snow, which is pure white, unlike the rather grey piles of snow in Riga itself.
You can also go to Majori for spa treatments all year round. Check with the tourist office for information on opening hours etc.
- Budget Travel
Lido Atputas Centrs (Lido Recreation Centre)
Lido Atputas centrs is one of the largest corner-jointed buildings in Europe, hosting up to 1000 guests, presenting a unique type of wooden building. Latvian and European kitchen, 3 kinds of LIDO home-made unfiltered beer. Live Latvian folk music every evening 19.00 - 23.00 in the Beer Cellar. Children and their parents can enjoy special attractions and entertainment, open-air dancing, concerts, fairs and presentations. On Sat and Sun children can attend the "Family Days" where they can dance, sing, draw or just have fun together with their favourite fairytales heroes. To get to this family restaurant take bus No.A17 from central post or tram No.7 or 9 up to "Dzervju iela" or "Krasta masivs".
Daytrips to Jurmala and Sigulda
When I was second time in Riga (April 2006), I decided to make day - half days trips into Sigulda and Jurmala. Sigulda is about 50 km from Riga and it takes a bit more than 1 hour to get there by train from Riga Train station. It is nice small town surrounded by Gaujas National Park and few medieval castles.
Jurmala is Latvian seaside, about 30 km from Riga, can be reached by train too. Very nice atmosphere walking the streets full of wooden houses, bars, restaurants, relaxing walk along Baltic sea.
A daytrip to Sigulda
Sigulda is not off the beeten path but it is outside Riga. I visited Sigulda on a daytrip from Riga. It was in December and the weather was the worst, it was grey, there was some rain and on the ground there was wet snow mud. Sights are quite spread out around Sigulda so I went by bus and on foot (and got very wet feet).
The small town Sigulda is situated 53 km northeast of Riga, by the Gauja River Valley. The landscape is beautiful with rolling hills. There are many activities to do for the visitors. In the area there are many caves and medieval castles and ruins. Between the sights there are often good walking trails.
Sigulda is the Latvian centre for sports and outdoor activities. Besides walking you can in summer do horse riding, cycling, ballooning, bungee jumping and much more. If it is enough snow in winter you can go skiing and there is also bobsleigh run open on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Castles and Palaces
- Hiking and Walking
The Academy of Science
In a way I was delighted to see this relict of Soviet architecture in Riga - the typical Soviet skyscraper type building, which houses the Academy of Science. I put it here in the "Off The Beaten Path" section, because we actually never got there - it is on the other side of where we spent our time!
From what I read there is an elevator which you can take up to the 17th floor (they do charge 1,50 Lats) - this should give you an excellent view of the old city of Riga! As I said, we never went there, but it sure is an option!
The Academy of Science is situated at Akademijas laukums 1, 1050 Ríga
Everywhere you walk, a lot of green places are composing this beautiful city.
Could maybe sound strange, but even if the city could seem pretty busy, you can still find a peaceful place where to enjoy green, flowers and nice fountains.
Riga is really full of green beautiful parks.
Seems kind of tradition that when a couple gets marries, they leave a padlock with their names and wedding date attached to bridges.
Really something particular, something to leave the remember alive forever.
Bird's Eye Riga
If you want to enjoy the view of Riga from high, here's a list of places:
1 Zakusalas krastmala
Reveal Hotel Latvia
55 Elizabetes iela
St. Peter's Church
19 Skârnu iela
a city river trip
One good way to see Riga from a different perspective is by river... there are many boat trips going nearly hourly on the river Daugava - with some longer ones going as far as the baltic sea.
Basic river trips are very cheap (a few lahti) and go as far as the TV tower island and back.... not exactly a spectacular trip but interesting to glimpse on parts of town that as a tourist one would never visit.
For schedules and exact prices it's better to enquire at the tourist office - and bear in mind that very few trips run on Monday... for a wider choice, save your river trip for another day of the week.
a trip to Jurmala
A trip to Jurmala is a great relaxing way to spend a hot summer day on the shores of the Baltic sea some 20-25 minutes away from Riga by train. Jurmala in not a town, but a 20 kilometres long strip of sandy beach and a few coastal towns. Majori is the largest and most popular one - however we chose the more secluded Ljelupe...
Ljelupe is quiet... there's not too many people on the beach and there's not many places to have food and drinks by the beach... just one, in fact. To reach the beach you have to walk some 20 minutes through a forest and over bush-covered sand dunes... and then, there you are, ready to brave the dark cold waters of the sea.
Old Latvian countryside buildings grouped like small villages. Perfect place to visit if the weather is nice and you want to get out of town a bit. Open daily from 10 to 17 all year round.
It's located about 13 km outside of Riga. Take bus nr 1 from Brivibas street to Brivdabas Muzejs (there's a big signpost). The trip takes about 30 mins and the fare is 0,20 lats.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Road Trip
Sigulda, a town in the Vidzeme Region, is about an hour bus ride from Riga and is described as Switzerland of Vidzeme.
When we arrived we walked around the back of the bus station to the Sigulda Hotel (where we spotted the Canadian Luge team!). We got a decent map from the hotel and headed to the cable car station.
The cable car journey is about 3Ls one way and leave every 15 minutes.
We turned right from the cable car station to the castle ruins then followed the path down to the caves.
There are a lot of stairs down to the caves (which are more lake large gaps in the cliff face)
We walked through the woods which were lovely when we visited (October). Leaving the woods we headed to Turida Museum Reserve, the only specially protected cultural monument in Latvia. It houses a restored medieval castle, one of the oldest rural churches in Vidzeme. There is a lot to see here and it is well worth a visit.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
The tallest structure in the Baltics.
This impressive radio and TV tower is the third tallest tower in Europe and eleventh in the world (today :). It is located on an island called Zakusala in the middle of the River Daugava.
Even if the observation platform is far from the top (97 meters from the 368.5 meters total) you can have the highest view of Riga (Hotel Latvija is 95 meters total but view is at 27th floor, and Hansabanka building is 121 meters total but view is also at 27th floor, approx. 94 meters). Nice view anyway.
You can arrive taking tram number 7 and getting off at Elijas iela stop (as far as I remember). After you should find the way to cross the bridge by the pedestrian way under it. Access to the tower observatory cost 2 Lats.
Art Nouveau Treasures
Escaping WWII damage, the Art Nouveau district of Riga has many treasures. A walking tour in the area north of Old Town and the Freedom Monument, ie north of Elizabetes iela and between Antonijas and A Caka ielas, will lead to fine discoveries. The pictures are of the following:
1) University, Elizabetes iela
2) 1924 Kino Theater, Elizabetes iela, near Riga Hotel
3) State Museum of Art, Valdemara iela
4) apartment building, near corner of Elizabetes and Antonijas ielas.
Also 5) a building on Dom Square, in Old Town
- Historical Travel
In the middle of 19th century the park was formed by German rifleman union, and it was closed for other people, only later opened. Nowadays together with the sculptures of park you can see interesting glass pyramids, which are exit from underground parking, and also see colorful fountain.
Kronvalda park is located near Bastion hill.
- Adventure Travel
- Arts and Culture
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