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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The Bastion hill is one of city's largest hills, which also previously was called as cockleshell hill, but personally I know anyone, who would say so. The hill was made artificially in the 19th century, taking down city's banks. In the green park, there are many pathways, where one can enjoy nice views, city canal and also small waterfall.
From it's beginning there aren't survived pavilion, which was located on the top of Bastion hill. But there is restored swans' house, which one can see on the bank of city canal.
In the park there are five stone memorial sites for victims, who suffered from guns in 1991.
Bastion hill is situated near Monument of Freedom and also closely to Old city.
Vermane's garden or simply just Vermanitis was opened in 1817, and was named by Vermane - merchant widow's name. In that time she invested a lot in new park's development. There you can see many sculptures and also pedestal in honor of madam Vermane, which is guarded by two lions. In the park many things haven't survived from past times. During summer you can refresh and relax here from city. You can also take with you some meal and take a rest here looking to the nice fountain.
As part of the Latvian defence of the Barricades in trying to protected their newly declared freedom in January 1991, several people were shot dead.One of them was Raimonds Salmins. He along with the other victims has been granted a memorial stone in Bastion Hill park, which separates old and new Riga, in recognition for his heroic valour in defending his country. Even in winter, people come to lay flowers on his memorial stone and pay silent respect to him.
I like very much to visit markets, and here in Riga there is a great market very well located, just in front of both train station and bus station.
Here you find some places (bars) where you can taste the local food.
Close to the Central Market you can find quite a selection of dogs of all races and even more all thinkable mixes for sale, mostly presented in cardbord boxes.
In Soviet time it was not very appreciated by the authorities to grow dogs in the cities.
The 19th century Russian Orthodox cathedral on Brivibas iela was converted to an astronomical observatory during the anti-religious Soviet era. Since independence it's been restored to it's proper use, though locals still refer to it as the 'Planetarijs'.
Location: Brîvîbas 23
Alberta Street carries the name of the man who founded Riga. Now it is one of the most beautiful and splendid streets in the city, representing all tat Jugendstil can offer. The construction of this street took place in a rather short period of time - from 1901 till 1908. The authors of the magnificent buildings are M.Eisenstein, N.Mandelstam and K.Pekshens.
These buildings are rich in picturesque details, free composition and perfect performance. You will find astonished faces, masks, large number of different animal sculptures etc.
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