Riga - Latvia

After having a relatively rough twentieth century, much of which was spent under Soviet rule (with stints under first the Kaiser and then Hitler), Latvia is a country that is gripped with the spirit of rejuvenation. Nowhere is this more clear than in capital city Riga. Since joining the EU and NATO in 2004, Latvia has wholeheartedly embraced Gordon Gecko style capitalism and Riga is now, for better or worse, the economic hub of the Baltic States.

The Historic Centre of Riga is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is noted for its German Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) architecture which actually surpasses the German cities destroyed by war.


Jugendstil (Art Nouveau)

Jugendstil is all about fancy stucco swirls, human faces and bizarretowers growing from the tops of buildings. An afternoon spent exploring the New Town will give travellers more than an eyeful of Jugendstil.


Brivibas Piemineklis (Freedom Monument)

This striking monument was funded and built by the citizens of Riga in 1935 and is a potent national symbol for Latvians. A popular Soviet-era joke was that the Freedom Monument was really a travel agent, as laying flowers at it guaranteed a one-way ticket to Siberia (courtesy of Moscow)!


Riga Doms (Riga Catherdral)

The foundations for Riga Cathedral were laid on St Jacob's Day in 1211... and the building remains one of the city’s most iconic structures. The museum has a permanent exhibition about Riga between the World Wars, alongside maps and images of Old Riga. The cathedral’s organ is particularly striking. Admission is free.


Latvijas Okupacijas Muzeja (Occupation Museum of Latvia)

As befits a country so regularly occupied by foreign powers, Latvia has a museum dedicated to Occupation. Riga’s Occupation Museum gives visitors a glimpse of Latvian history from the Soviet and Nazi occupations of the late 30s and 40s, to Latvian independence in 1991. Free admission.


Centraltirgus (Central Market)

Riga's Central Market sits in five old airship hangars and offers tourists a real taste of Riga life. Locals come to pick up cheap fruit and vegetables, which may be all you can afford if you accidentally took a wrong turn the night before.


European City Guides
Useful Resources


The coldest months in Riga are January and February, when the average temperature falls as low as -6°C...  but temperatures as low as -20°C to -25°C are a fairly regular occurrence.

Summers in Riga are relatively warm, with an average temperature of 18°C.  

Most summers see some days where the mercury reaches 30°C.

Useful Links

Riga Weather (BBC)

Riga Airport

Riga Official