Located just across the square from the house of the Blackheads are two good souvenir shops.
Suveniri is a tiny shop, stacked full of souvenirs and all types of gifts at pretty reasonable prices. The quality was good, and this was where I bought my souvenirs from, and I was real happy with what I bought. Souvenirs include ceramics, glass bottles and wooden carvings, dolls, amber, anything you can think of!
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
The best souvenir to buy in Riga would be Amber.
The locals find it washed up along the Baltic coast where they collect it to sell to tourists.
This amber has made the region renowned amongst jewellery lovers, traders and archaeologists.
Amber dates to 20 to 50 million years old and is fossilised resin of ancient conifer trees, formed by pressure and time. It's a transparent golden colour, and I found it made into jewelery and into all types of different souvenirs.
In folklore, it's believed to be good for love, strength, luck, healing and protection, calming for hyperactivity and relieving stress. It is a very soft substance and should be worn with care to prevent marring the stone.
Amber is beautiful to look at and comes in 250 colours or shades, changing colour in the different light. Its shades range from greenish to a warm, reddish orange, and pieces can often include tiny insects, flowers or pieces of bark which were trapped when the sticky tree sap fell to the forest floor millions of years ago.
There are many shops and market stalls selling beautiful, locally-made pendants, all types of jewellery, and also private traders..
Be careful when buying.
Look out for a white pearling and sediment within the resin.
- Women's Travel
Sakta Flower Market: Flowers...24 hours a day!
This was a pleasant and very enjoyable place to visit - lots of flowers available, and the stall holders very feiendly and always on the look out for a sale.
The market is open 24 hours a day and demonstrates the need and desire for northern Europeans to enjoy the fruits of the sunshine no matter when in the year takes their fancy!
What to buy: Flowers of course
Narvesen: A tradition in kiosks!
Narvesen is a Norwegian chain of convenience stores/news agents, and is one of Norway's largest convenience store chains with 440 stores.
Narvesen was established in 1894 by Bertrand Narvesen.
Narvesen stores also exist in Latvia; I used one of them in Riga to buy postcards, stamps and bottled water.
What to buy: convenience goods!
Riga Central Market: Hanging around in hangars
The central market is located in and around four Zeppelin Hangars vacated by the German Imperial Army when they left Latvia. If you are at a vantage point looking out over the city, you can't miss these buildings.
Actually you can get anything at the market place. Mostly food, but also shoes, hats, clothes, beauty articles, music...
This is such a fun place to go and have look, even if you don't actually fancy buying anything at all. This is the place where the locals come for groceries.
The food is displayed nicely, and the prices lower than in the supermarket. There is also a certain charm with the way trade goes here. Prices for food are, as far as I could tell, not really negotiable, but other items you can haggle for if you want to.
There are old ladies also selling plastic bags, as a means of providing shoppers with really nice plastic bags (!) and as a means to earn a living. We do not haggle for the prices of these bags as they are cheap and the ladies selling them are trying to get by on a very meager pension.
What to buy: Food is the main thing here, and we usually go for caviar here (well, we have the luxury of home cooking as my mother lives here). The prices are much lower than at home and the quality good, if you know how to check it. Ask to try some, and if it smells and tastes strongly of fish, it's going off. Fresh caviar has a taste of sea and salt that is pleasant.
What to pay: 100 grams cost something like LVL 15-18 last time I checked.
Rigas Balzams stores: Sparkling wine - Rigas shampanietis
What to buy: Riga champagne is tasty and costs only a fraction of the proper namesake from France. There are different types; we usually go for pussaldais (semi-sweet) or pussausais (semi-dry).
Rigas balzams is another local drink, a bit like Vana Tallinn from their neighbouring country to the North, or Jaegermeister. It is very flavourful and traditionally considered very good against colds ;) not to my taste, but then again, to each his own. The Rigas balzams bottle is a brown ceramics bottle and it looks rather nice.
What to pay: Much cheaper than at home in the supermarket, more at the airport though not outrageously expensive.
- Wine Tasting
The Central Market
The Central Market in Riga is THE shopping facility per se - it is the biggest market in the Baltics and people from all over Latvia come here to sell their goods. It is located near the central railway station and is housed in 5 huge halls that in former times were hangars for zeppelins. Each hall has a specific emphasis, like meat, fish, vegetables, dairy products and groceries. Outside you find more vegetables, flowers and clothes. Look at this interactive map for the exact location - or just go there and discover it yourself!
The market is open every day from 7 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays and 6 p.m. on all other days.
What to buy: We bought smoked fish, cheese and vegetables there - and could not resist those fantastic mushrooms either!
Klippan Saule: Stock up on woollies
Local handicraft is still good value for money in Riga, and also foreign companies have realised the value of investing in the local textile business. That is why the Swedish company Klippan has paired up with the local company called Saule (= Sun). Saule have products intended mainly for the Latvian market (well, the locals come here too) as well as products intended also for the international market.
This is the factory outlet, the factory is just opposite in Bruninieku iela.
What to buy: The woollen throws and blankets are particularly good value I think. There are different types with traditionally Latvian patterns and more trendy ones as well as the age-old classics. There are also throws with cashmere and mohair mixed with wool -- luxurious! Also the cotton ones are nice.
What to pay: We bought 2 woollen throws and 2 cotton ones for 100 euros, which is pretty much what we'd pay for 1 in Finland.
liquor stores all over town: buy balzams
What to buy: Riga Black Balsam is a local herbal drink (there are 24 herbs and ingredients in it), bitter in taste and medicinal, too if drunk straight - at least after it is rumoured to have cured Catherine the Great of Russia. For pleasure you can use it as a component of many interesting cocktails. Here are just some:
Black Shooter: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 1 part peach juice
Hot Black Currant: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 4 parts hot black currant juice
Fresh Black Cranberry: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 0.5 parts cranberry liqueur, 4 parts cranberry juice
Black Mojito: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 4 parts Sprite, half of smashed lime, fruit syrup, crushed ice
Innocent Balsam: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 0.5 parts peach liqueur, 3 parts peach juice, 3 parts ice-cream, 1 canned peach
Riga Coffee Black: 1 part Riga Black Balsam, 0.5 parts coffee liqueur, 4 parts coffee, 1 part whipped cream
What to pay: It depends on the size of the bottle
Its just the biggest market in town, the Baltic, Europe, or the world?
What to buy: Everything! Mainly food, also clothing, souvenirs, delicacies, everything that you could want
What to pay: Not a lot, here's the place to hunt out bargains...
- Budget Travel
Souvenirs in Latvia
So, when visiting other countries, is great to buy some souvenirs. So, I would like to describe three main in my opinion and what I bought. It is:
Very great soup with different smell and different influence to body - like with eucalyptus, with flowers and so on.
Beer. The most I liked Cesis beer. One another famous beer producer is Aldaris.
Laima chocolate and sweets. "Laima" company is very famous in Latvia and you can find some shops of chocolate things in old town.
Hipp: food for your baby
Do not worry,Riga is normal European city,so you can easily find some food for your baby girl at supermarkets or you can use special shops like Hipp,Milupa etc.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Matryoshka dolls: Babushka dolls
Matryoshka dolls, also known as Babushka dolls, can be bought on the streets in Riga. Almost 40% of the population in Latvia are of russian origin, so there are no short supply of russian crafts.
What to buy: Matryoshka dolls.
- Arts and Culture
GALERIJA CENTRS: GALERIJA CENTRS
A BIG SHOPPING MALL. FIVE FLOORS WITH ALOT OF SHOPS. BUT IT´S NOT SO CHEAP, ALL THE STORES ARE BIG CHAINSTORES THAT YOU CAN FIND IN ALL OVER EUROPE.
IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PICTURES OR VIDEORECORD BEWARE OF THE SECURITY GUARDS THAT WALKS AROUND, EVIDENTLY IT´S FORBIDDEN TO TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOFILMS.
LOOK AT MY VIDEO OF GALERIJA CENTRS SE THE GUARD COME TO ME AND TRY TO TAKE MY CAMERA (WHAT AN IDIOT). LIKE I´V GIVE HER THE CAMERA SO SHE COULD ERASE THE PICTURES!!!!!
What to buy: NOTHING SPECIAL.
- Gay and Lesbian
- Women's Travel
Amber and Designer
Amber is sold everywhere from street market stalls to high street shops.
The Ancient Balts traded Latvian amber with the Romans and Ancent Greeks for it was famed throughout Europe. It still remains popular in traditional Latvian jewellery.
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