Latvia - 2 days in Riga

Spent two days in Riga and was quite surprised about this east European city. Actually, I have to admit my expectation before going there is to see equal scenery as in Vilnius, which means a town run down by drunk tourists. But Riga (and neither Vilnius) is not to blame for that, as the major discount airlines are offering the lowest prices from all over Europe to Riga. That obviously is the core of the finest selection of drunk tourists :) However, Riga somehow managed to not fall that deep into this category as Vilnius does.

February 4 - Visit the new built Old Town

It's a small and concentrated capital, with the old city in the center and a big river that flows beside it. Everything is within walking distance, even the most marginal areas, and walking around unhurriedly was the best mode of transport.

Things to see

The Old town was rebuilt especially for tourists in the 90s, as it was destroyed in WWII by the mean Germans. The old town is famous because it contains 800 buildings made of some special kind of architectural style, which makes architects go crazy when looking at it :)

Swimming in the Baltic sea? No thanks.

Baltic Sea
Started the Saturday in Riga with a quick visit to the beach at Majori/Jurmala, a 30 minutes train ride away. A nice surprise to see and walk along a beach which was covered in snow, it takes away all the imagination of a perfect location for a summer beach :)

How many days in Riga is enough?

Even if I had just two days, walking around the old city center was enough to catch the soul and an authentic side of the city. Wandering through cobblestone streets and alleyways, resisting in inviting cafes, with the Town Hall Square, which overlooks one of the most characteristic and famous buildings in Riga, the House of the Blackheads.

House of the Blackheads
House of the Blackheads
Riverfront with the Riga Castle, the Triangula Bastion, and the Cathedral. Perfectly located on the river these sites are part of Riga's history. About the castle, I have to admit that the outside look is not so cool and not so traditionally castle-like.

A stop at the central market. 3000 market stalls, 72,000 square meters, a UNESCO heritage site in 5 hangars where once were German airships. All decorated in an art deco style. Riga's central market is not just a market. It is a sensory, artistic and historical experience.

The impressive highlight of this area: The Latvian Academy of Science. The huge building is so different from the rest of the city style. It's one of the most important examples of socialist realism in the world.

A memorial to remind unity, independence and freedom of the Latvian people.

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