Have you been spending hours upon hours looking for and trying to find your next travel destination, but nothing sounds right? Are you interested in exploring an underrated place? Europe is full of those. Latvia, a small country in northern Europe, is the perfect place to visit. Latvia’s capital city, Riga, is the ideal city to introduce you to this beautiful country and ease you into its complex and interesting culture.
The number of cool sights and fun activities that you can do in Riga will leave you speechless. Here’s a list of the best, must-do things that you should do in Riga no matter what.
1. Riga’s Art Nouveau buildings
Let’s start with the basics; Art Nouveau is a style in architecture inspired by nature, and it is characterized by energy and originality. The detailed arcs and curves, the complex shapes, the original materials, such as glass, and mosaics are a few of its characteristics. Riga is among the European cities with the most Art Nouveau buildings. The growth of the city coincided with the expansion of this trend all around the continent.
Albert Street, or Alberta iela in Latvian, and the Centre, are full of buildings in this style. If you are interested, you can also visit the Art Nouveau Museum.
2. The Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is one of the greatest landmarks in Riga. It is a 42-metre-tall statue, which represents Liberty personified as a woman who is holding three gold stars in the air. The design belongs to Kārlis Zāle. Its goal is to honour all the soldiers that died during the country’s war for independence (1918–1920). There were talks on demolishing it over the years, but this “tragedy” was averted.
3. Religious Sites in Riga
If you are a fan of religious tourism, then you should seriously consider travelling to Riga. The city is full of churches and cathedrals that will take your breath away. We recommend you hire a car because otherwise you won’t be able to visit all of them. Enjoy Travel ensures that you will end up hiring the best car at the best prices. Then you will be able to visit all the awesome churches such as the Riga Cathedral, St Peter’s Church and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ.
4. Latvian National Museum of Art
Everything you need to know about the arts and culture of Latvia is in the Latvian National Museum of Art. This museum in Riga has one of the largest collections of Latvian cultural works. The museum was built in 1905 and it highlights the artistic renaissance of the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. You will have the chance to see and admire the works of prominent and respected names in the history of Latvia, such as Jānis Valters and Janis Rozentāls.
5. Riga Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square is well known for housing one of the most beautiful buildings in the city: the House of the Black Heads. This double-fronted building was a social club for local elites, especially singles, for parties and events. The existence of this house dates back to the 14th century, but the current buildings are contemporary since they were totally destroyed during the Second World War.
This square appears a lot in the books of curiosities because in the year 1510 they decorated a tree to celebrate Christmas and there is a monument in the exact place where this first Christmas tree was located.
6. Dome Square and Riga Cathedral
Riga Cathedral is the largest medieval church in the Baltic countries. The oldest part dates from the 13th century and is the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral. It is located in the Dome square, the largest square in the historical center of Riga and is surrounded by neoclassical buildings from the 19th century. It is located in a lively area that has many bars and restaurants.
7. Rundale Palace
The baroque palace of Rundale is surely the most beautiful palace in Riga because of the gardens and the natural environment where it is located. It dates from the 18th century and belonged to the Duchy of Curlinga. Going to Rundale Palace from Riga and returning by public transport is not the best option because you have to take two buses, so it is best to go in your own car or hire an excursion.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos