Welcome! You’re here because you’re interested in visiting Riga, learning some fun facts, or just want to know what & where the heck it is. Well, Riga is the capital city of Latvia, a Northern European [Baltic] country nestled between Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia. Feel free to pull out a map and get your bearings now… got it? Ok! So if you’re making a fun little trip through the Baltic countries and you have plenty of or extra time to spare – why not add Riga to the list? I only had a few days on a backpacking budget to explore this city of Latvia, so I’m sure there is much more of the country to offer. I also happened to visit in the winter when it was grey, freezing, and rainy, so my roaming, eager spirit was challenged. But despite the real lack of pep and enthusiasm in the dead of winter, the cities quirky charm managed to peak through.
Language(s) Spoken : Latvian, Russian, English
Suggested Length of Stay : 2 days
Main Beer : Aldaris
Most Popular Watched/Played Sport : Ice Hockey
Internet : Latvia has the 5th fastest internet speed in the world, ranking between Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
Latvia has one of the highest rates of fashion models per capita in the world.
Over 50% of Latvia in covered by forest, and it’s one of the most environmentally friendly countries on the planet, ranking 2nd in the Environmental Performance Index.
Crocodile Dundee was Latvian?! It’s been claimed that Arvīds Blūmentāls, from Dundaga, Latvia, was the original and allegedly killed 10,000 crocodiles. This claim is rather disputed, with Rod Ansell generally recognized as the “real” one.
Top Suggested Day Tours
- One of the most popular activities while visiting Riga is to swing by the shooting range and fire some old AKs, shotguns, and various handguns. As an American, this didn’t entice me but all guys I met from elsewhere around the world were quite about it.
- Bobsled track – If a gun range wasn’t a strange enough “highly rated” activity for Riga, trying out the Olympic sport of bobsledding might just top it. There are plenty of companies running tours from the old town, but just make sure it includes a go at this heart-racing sport.
- Naughty Squirrel -Very centrally located in the old town. Great for meeting travelers and having a loud, crazy time
- Riga Old Town Hostel & Backpackers Pub – Centrally located as well. Oh and they conveniently have a pub with the bar IN an old VW… If you don’t stay here, come drink here.
Cred: Riga Old Town Hostel
Highlights of the Old City, ‘Vecriga’
– Town Hall Square –
– The building of the Brotherhood of Blackheads –
– Cat House –
At the time, I just thought this building with cats on top was cool because, after all, I am a cat lady at heart and cats tend to be a recurring subject in my photos. But after some research, I learned that this building with seemingly displeased cats on the roof has quite a revenge tail (ha) behind it. Legend has it that a wealthy tradesman, who was not allowed to join the guild, adorned the medieval house with 2 angry cat statues whose rears are facing the great Guild house. The lesson here: be careful who you piss off.
-Jugenda Stila Nami –
This Nouveau street is lined with buildings constructed in stunning Art Nouveau architectural style of the late 1800s and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colors and details will have you staring for hours and you’ll always find new hidden details.