This charming Baltic capital may be short on actual sights but is long on ambience. In fact, the top activity is just walking around old town through medieval cobbled lanes where church spires greet you at nearly every turn. As in Vilnius, the budding food scene is in full force with a number small restaurants worthy of your attention. Come here for the atmosphere and food and don’t worry too much about checking off the sights.
Lonely Planet Walking Tour
Although we generally like Lonely Planet walking tours for getting acquainted with a new city, the one for Riga is poorly written and confusing to follow. We followed it as best we could and found it a pleasant walk. It takes you through the maze of cobbled streets in the old town center and then across one of Riga’s picturesque tree filled parks to a street lined with great examples of early 20th century Art Nouveau architecture.
The plain interior of Riga’s Dome is not worth the 5 euro entrance fee. If you are unsure a peek over the ticket office (inside the front door) will give you a sense of what the interior has to offer, plain white walls without much adornment.
If you like food markets the covered market, a 10 minute walk from old town, is a nice bright venue of fresh and smoked fish, dairy products and baked goods, fruits and vegies (inside was skimpy in late September, but the outside stalls were still full) and fresh meats. Each section is housed in a separate building with hallways connecting them.
Across from the dairy products and baked goods there is an international food court of tempting offerings – soups, sushi, grilled meats and fish, hot dogs and sausages covered in layered toppings and tempura to name a few. We were so excited to see the variety of food stalls on our first visit that we came back for lunch the next day. Unfortunately the two stalls we tried, Asian noodles and Bao Burgers were both disappointing, lacking the simple execution of great flavors that makes street food so good.
September 22-23, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Baltics Road Trip page.