Stenders: Handmade Soap
If you're are looking for something beautiful to bring back home, try the soap shops of Stenders. It's a local factory where soap, bath salts and milks are handmade. You you choose from around 70 different scents.
What to buy: Soap in all scents, bath salts etc.
What to pay: less than 1LVL for 100g of soap
- Luxury Travel
Central Market: Bring a large bag!
The Central Market it one of the biggest in all of Europe and its really a place to visit even if you don't really want to buy something.
Of course you can get all kinds of local and imported foods aswell as souvenirs to take back home. You can also find cafés, hairdressers and a post office here.
There are lots of stalls outside the five big halls aswell.
What to buy: Delicious honey e.g.
- Food and Dining
Riga Gift Shop: Very good souvenir shopping
This pleasant shop near our hotel proved to have a very good range of souvenirs, all of good quality and nicely presented, and with friendly service too. A great little place to shop for gifts to take home or souvenirs for yourself. There are t-shirts, decorative items for the home, jewellery (amber, inevitably in Riga, but some other pieces too), edible treats such as chocolate and sweets, scented candles and more.
I was travelling light so restricted myself to just a few small items - some postcards (they sell stamps too, by the way, and even have post box inside the shop), a cute black cat fridge magnet for Chris who loves cats (3.50€) and also a little bottle of Black Balsam for him (2.50€) and some toffee decorated with a cat logo (70c). A nice selection of small mementos.
Next tip: a medieval restaurant
Bergs Bazars is a mixture of residential and commercial area. It is sort of a courtyard right behind Bergs Hotel and has a lot of nice little shops and cafés and restaurants. On every second and fourth Saturday you will be able to find an Eco market here and once in awhile there is a very small fleamarket here as well!
We did not really buy anything here, but we did enjoy a hot chocolate at Emihls Gustafs Chocolate Place - yummy!
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!
Amber, etc.: Street stalls in Old Town
There are many street vendors in Old Town selling amber, knitted goods, matryushkas, and old Soviet medals and such. You can find to vendors on Kalku iela, off Livu Square, and around St. Peters Church
What to buy: Amber, knitted items such as hats, mittens, and socks, and linen items
What to pay: Haven't purchased any off the street, but expect to pay less than in the shops
Linen at the Ethnographic Museum
Several of the old buildings in the ethnographic museum have shops selling tradition crafts. Near the entrance, this shop sells linen and knitted wool items. The quality is good, and the prices are a bit lower than what you would pay in Old Town.
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.
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.
- Women's Travel
- Gay and Lesbian
Galerija Shopping Centre: Galerija Centrs
This is a rather posh, extremely bright and modern shopping centre in the heart of Old Riga. Mainly clothing but you can get anything over about 4 floors of shops, selling everything from hot chocolate, cigars and music.
If shopping is your thing then you'll enjoy this centre. It's all very smart, the ground floor is a cobbled interior street and there's plenty of decent shops to spend your cash in. Not so much a place to buy souvenirs as a new wardrobe.
- Gay and Lesbian
boutiques and shopping centres: Shoes!
One of my favourite items, shoes! =)
Latvia is a shoe-lovers paradise (at least if you come from boring Finland). Shoes are very cheap and there are sooo many beautiful pairs to choose from. Whether it is Versace and co or 7 Ls leather sandals you're after, you are spoilt for choise. A couple of tips for other shoe-lovers like me:
Centrs shopping centre has a whole floor dedicated to shoes in the old town.
If you go towards the river from the Centrs, on Audeju iela, there is a nice shoe shop just about 50 metres away.
Origo shopping centre in the new town has many different shoe stores, all with competitive prices.
Palazzo Italia in new town sells designer fashions from Gucci and the likes.
Sadly I cannot remember the name of the place in the old town border which sold Versace. It is a small shopping centre and there are a couple of upmarket clothing and shoe stores inside. You can go in also from Basteja street. The entrance advertises a money exchanger right before the Marika money exchange office.
What to pay: 5 Ls upwards
- Women's Travel
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
Rimako towel shop: Towel heaven
The reason to come here is mainly to shop for towels of all shapes, colours and sizes. This is a factory outlet for a company that produces towels for export, particularly to the German market. There are more different types and styles of towels here than you can imagine, and the nice thing is that the choice is so different compared to Finland for example. Prices aren't too bad either.
What to buy: Towels, bath towels, tea towels....
What to pay: We paid about 10 euros for 4 small and 2 big bath towels.
Larelini: Linen factory outlet
If you go to Latvia, you definitely have to bring home some of the good quality linen products that are to be had. Linen used to be flaxen coloured and little variation in the decorative themes, but these days, you can get anything your heart desires - at a price of course. Linen is expensive where I come from, and it isn't exactly terribly cheap in Riga either, but there are shops and then there are outlets.
Fancy shops in Riga that sell linen stock high quality items, but they are quite expensive, even when converted into Euros.
However, this little secret hideaway factory outlet is a place you can get linen at a good price by any standards. This is in fact a factory outlet that is some distance away from the fashionable shopping streets, but well worth a detour.
Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm and Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm.
What to buy: Linen in any shape, form and size; curtains, table cloths, tee towels, bedding...
What to pay: Less than at home.
Gallerija Centrs: Fashionista shopping in the Old Town
This is a shopping centre with a flair. This is the place the youngsters go and this is where you will find all the trendy brands of clothing, footwear, accessories and other stuff. It might not be the cheapest place around, but there is a lot to choose from.
This place has gone through a major face-lift in recent years. I first visited in 1992 and if I had not been back in between then and now, I wouldn't have recognised the place! It has changed so much.
Back in 1992, this was called Universalveikals (universal shop...). All stuff would be on shelves behind the counter. You would ask to have a look at something and the shop attendant would hand it over (well, you could touch it only if you looked trustworthy). Then if you decided you wanted it, the attendant would write a receipt, with which you would tag to the closest cashier, queue up for a little while and then tag back with a receipt of payment. Then you would get your thing all wrapped up and ready to go. This was how it was in days yonder :) Now it's just a matter of self-service and paying up.
What to buy: Coming from Finland, the piece the resistance proved to be eye glasses. They are horrendously expensive in Finland, but here my mum and husband have found glasses for about a third the price in Finland, and the choice of frames is great. The lenses may not be great quality, but at least you can buy affordable designer frames for your lenses, if you choose to get them at home.
Other than that, we did some clothes shopping here too, and then some gourmet shopping at the ground floor in Rimi, and at Emihls Gustavs chocolatier.
What to pay: Probably less than for the equivalent at home.