A Guide to Riga, Latvia



Riga, the capital of Latvia, has become increasingly popular in recent years, in fact it’s been called the new Prague of eastern Europe, and it’s not hard to see once you visit and discover just how much on offer there is for a weekend away.

Riga is set on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava, allowing for a beautiful river view if you go to the right places! According to Wikipedia, “It's considered a cultural center” due to the range of museums and concert halls, and no doubt the selection of restaurants and bars available. 

Riga has undoubtedly established a reputation for its architectural beauty with wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval Old Town. 

Whilst Prague might be full of tourists and provide just a bit too much “English” for you, Riga poses a better balance with a blend of European cultures and strong Latvian roots with excellent architecture throughout the city.

Eating in Riga

Food in Riga is good - and I mean really good. Rather perfectly, they don’t put an onus on making it appealing to British people. I know I’m British, but I hate it when you travel to immerse yourself in a culture and it’s more eating at Spoons than it is in the respective country.

I only spent two nights there, but you could easily spend more, and the plethora of options is overwhelming. You can do everything from tasting menus through to a casual dining underground.

Restaurant Pētergailis


Skārņu iela 25, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Pētergailis is located within the Old Town of Riga, and as described on their website it is ‘between churches St. Johns and St. Peters, right in the heart of Old Town on Skarnu street, since 1978, lies this cosy family restaurant.’

They hit the nail on the head - the restaurant is an incredibly cosy and home-like restaurant offering excellent food. The food in Riga is hearty - and the menu reflects this with red meats (beef and lamb) stealing the show, but also a selection of seafood on offer too. 

I opted for the Slowly oven baked local lamb shank with pearl barley- mushroom risotto, parsnip crisps and butter fried vegetables and I can safely say I was content with my choice, the lamb was succulent and tender, seasoned well but not too much to take away from the taste. The pearl barley and mushroom risotto was the perfect pairing, providing a creamy taste with the rich lamb taste. 

Followed by a white chocolate dessert, which was rich in taste and suited perfectly to my extremely sweet tooth. 

One of my friends from Australia did a European tour and visited this restaurant on my recommendation, and also had an amazing experience. I’d just recommend that you book before as it does get booked up in advance!  

Galerija Istaba


Krišjāņa Barona iela 31A, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia

Galerija Istaba is what I would consider, almost, a concept restaurant; located in an Art Gallery out of Old Town and more Central Riga, it offers a simple concept of food and art. 

They simply ask you to select your protein (lamb, duck, fish, whatever is seasonal and fresh that day) and everything else is brought to you at your table. 

So once you pick your protein, they bring the rest which includes salad, bread with several dipping options, two shared vegetable dishes. I opted for the duck, which was tender and flavorful and served with a beautiful jus. Everything that came with was also delicious, providing an incredibly substantial meal for less than £20 including drinks.

You can book with the link above, and make sure you do as there are only a handful of tables in this beautiful and unique place.

Easy Wine - see below but you can also eat here and it’s great! 

Places to drink in Riga

If you like a drink, then Riga will not disappoint. It has an incredible bar scene, with a blend of modern bars through to underground, candle lit bars. And the best part - if you’re coming from London then it’ll be cheap.

Folkklubs ALA pagrabs


Peldu iela 19, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Folkklubs ALA pagrabs is a fantastic place to go in Riga - it’s underground, dimly lit and lively with a Latvian band playing most evenings. It’ll probably come up if you search for bars in Riga - and for good reason - as the drinks at cheap (cocktails, wine, beers, spirits) and they offer a range of food too. 

Easy Wine


Audēju iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

One of my favourite concepts - wine dispensers. Easy Wine offers a huge array of wines, each at different measures (50ml,100ml, 150nl) depending on how much you want of each. You get a card (pre-loaded) and when inserted, you can add the cost of your wine to it. It allows you the chance to try really nice wines at a fraction of the cost. They also do food - which is great - if you’re looking for a snack. 

Kaļķu Vārti


Jauniela 20, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

The perfect place to sit outside, in the square and soak up those (SPF-protected) rays. With outside seating (they do also seat inside too) and a great selection of cocktails, wines, beers and the rest it’s definitely a great place to start. I'd also recommend the tomato salad!

Things to do in Riga

If you spend a weekend in Riga, you certainly won’t be stuck for things to do. The city is small but busy with several attractions to keep you busy. 

Wander and explore 

Riga’s Old Town is absolutely stunning, with a range of beautiful buildings and places to be admired. The architecture is out of this world, with beautiful colours making up the landscape of Riga. You can quite literally spend hours walking around, perhaps with a cheeky pit stop at some of the bars above. 

St Peter's Church 


Reformācijas laukums 1, Rīga, LV-1050

I’ll be the first to admit my interest in churches is usually minimal, but the beauty of this church is really quite astounding. If, like me, churches aren’t your thing then it’s worth going in just for the view at the top. It provides the most insane, panoramic view across Riga and the river. If it’s a clear day, you can see for miles. 

It costs just 9euros, and is well worth the money.

Central Market 


Nēģu iela 7, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

If there’s something you want, this is where you will get it. Central Market is the largest market in Europe, and it quite literally stocks everything in your wildest dreams. Whilst it’s not in the more picturesque area of Riga, such as Old Town, it’s still worth a visit. Once in, the only two things I’d say is be prepared for the fish aisle (naturally) and keep your bags on your front. 

Kronvalda Parks 

Kalpaka bulvāris 12, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

This is a beautiful park with the city canal running through. The city canal splits the park into two parts. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny day, I’d recommend a lovely walk and maybe even a picnic in the park if you can! 


  • Accommodation is cheap in Riga - stay in The Grand Poet hotel for under £100 per night. It’s a beautiful 5* hotel, with the most impressive breakfast included (which does include champagne) and is in a central location. Book The Grand Poet Hotel
  • Download Yandex to get around - it’s the Latvian equivalent of Uber and provides cheap taxis to get to and from the airport 
  • You can walk everywhere! There really is no need to get a taxi or transport to places close to the Old Town if you fancy a walk


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