Moment of truth.
Before we even discuss what to do in Riga, Latvia, I have a confession.
I’d only heard of Latvia from watching some of the Olympic games. So I was really excited to visit Latvia on the rest of my ‘tour’ and exploration of The Baltic States (check out the post on Estonia here).
Latvia is situated between Estonia and Lithuania and borders Russia. The capital of Latvia is Riga and remarkably just about twenty-five years ago, Latvia got removed from the Soviet Union, a fact which I find quite interesting. In the light of this, the country is trying to create its own identity one that is devoid of what it used to be under the power of the Soviet Union.
As a Black American woman in Riga, I’ll be very candid. When first arriving, the air felt stiff and rigid. No, there weren’t any ‘racist’ interactions, but I could very clearly see that Black Americans don’t frequent the country; which is exactly wanted to experience the country! Through conversations with some of the Millenials I met, I learned there were an understanding and appreciation of American culture. There were conversations about Trump, “privilege”, and approaching life differently than that of our parents.
It was really amazing to see the parallels and #lifegoals of millennials are quite the same in many corners of the world.
My core focus was on the city of Riga. When you come to Latvia, make more time to visit other cities. What I quickly noticed about Riga, was experiencing firsthand everything modern and everything medieval, #AtTheSameTime.
It is the largest city in Latvia and it houses over one-quarter of its population. An interesting but distinctive feature that I noticed about Latvia is the fusion of the old and new. Looking around, you will see how new structures are being put up in contrast to the old ones, like a 100+-year-old church. If you’re an art buff, you’ll appreciate the Art Nouveau architecture all over. You should even swing by the museum dedicated to it.
Apart from its distinctiveness with regards to modern architectural developments and contrast to the old Riga, the capital of Latvia, is rich in culture and packed with the full sweetness of history, Riga houses many museums and concert halls. Riga is very easy to navigate as residents mostly take walks to wherever they are going as against public transport so if you are visiting for the first time, you really have no worries.
If you’re into spas, then you must take the time to enjoy a spa treatment in Riga. There are many nice, clean, and affordable spas all around. I happened to stumble into a great spa in The Old Town. For access to the steam rooms, sauna, pools, and showers were about $12. If you have more time, then please do yourself a favor and get a massage treatment.
Where to Stay:
Oh. As for places to stay; Europa Royale Riga was centrally located, which made the city very accessible. Many residents walk everywhere because most of the things you need aren’t too far. While Uber is not in Latvia, make sure to take Taxify to and from the airport to keep your costs low.
Latvia is quite inexpensive. The food is amazing and reasonably priced. Oh! And if you have a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet, don’t fret! Riga has quite a few options to choose from, so you won’t get bored quickly.
While I wouldn’t consider Riga a “foodie” city, there was enough variety. There was a South Indian restaurant that was tucked away that served authentic and phenomenal food (sorry, can’t remember the name!).
Popularly regarded as the city that richly blends the old and new, it should be your number one spot if you need to have a feel of the good old days! If you are also looking to see nature at its finest, this city looks like an unbelievable work of art in itself and is definitely a place you want to be and don’t forget to give yourself a treat in the process of touring the city too!
View Riga, Latvia firsthand through the Travel Guide Vlog Below:
While my trip to Riga, Latvia was in partnership with Norwegian Airlines, all opinions are my own. Special thank you to Latvia Travel for helping to make Riga amazing. Also, thank you to Europa Royale Riga for hosting me.