Centred around a charming UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Old Town, Latvia’s capital is a quirky and artistic place - with an extensive collection of gleaming art-deco architecture. Trolleybuses trundle the streets, while the Old Town harbours 800 years of Hanseatic history. Church spires rocket up across the skyline, combining with sleek new architecture and spruced up Soviet-era remnants. With a quirky underbelly and beautifully preserved fairytale architecture, it’s no wonder Riga is affectionately known as the Baltic Berlin.
Ascend the tower of St. Peter's Church for a view down over the gingerbread-architecture below. The House of Blackheads is one of the city’s standouts, a historic trade guild’s meeting place, it adds grace and grandeur to the spacious town square. The much-photographed Three Brothers lean together with their pastel-shaded facades and idiosyncratic personalities. Look out across the River Daugava for an example of modern Riga - the steel and glass of the National Library building.
The Freedom Monument stands a full 42 meters tall and is a proud statue, marking Lativa’s incredibly hard-won independence. Cavernous hangers – that once housed bomber zeppelins from the First World War – now host one of Europe’s biggest and best food markets. Soak up the smells and sights of Riga Central Market, where you can taste pickles, smoked herring and piragis – local rolls, stuffed with bacon.
Take time out in brightly painted cafes and flower-laced courtyards, which serve up refreshments and dizzyingly strong, self-brewed, craft beers. Or head to the greenery of Bastejkalna Park to stroll the banks of the canal and over ornate bridges.