kamila

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

Riga Old Town in pictures

It took me three visits (well, three and a half) to finally warm up to Riga. I used to think it’s pretty much soulless and kind of fake, now I believe it’s the coolest one of all the Baltic capitals. As it turned out my timing was always wrong – I was there either on the weekends when Riga Old Town was crowded (majority of tourists were stag parties and we all know what that means) or with the terrible weather. And I always limited myself only to the old part of Riga while most of the best things can be found beyond it. But during my latest visit I’ve also slightly changed my mind about Riga Old Town itself, it’s not that bad after all!


Would you like to visit Eastern Europe? Let me help you with planning your trip! Click here for more details!

History of Riga Old Town

Riga Old Town is the historic and geographical center of the city. It was founded at the very beginning of 13th century and very quickly it gained the importance due to the Hanseatic League. Riga has become one of the main cities in the area, center of trade and transit. The location played an important role for Riga too – where Daugava river comes to the Baltic Sea. The city has been under Swedish, Polish or Russian rule and this diversity can be seen in the Riga Old Town very well. There are some 500 buildings in this area and they represent various architecture styles, from Gothic to Art Nouveau and Modernism.

Probably the most famous and most photographed buildings in Riga Old Town is the House of the Blackheads, dating back to the 14th century. What we can admire now, however, is just the rebuilt version as the building, together with neighboring and equally beautiful Schwab House, was destroyed during the World War 2. These days the House of the Blackheads is the (temporary) residence of the president of Latvia. It’s a nice starting point to explore the Riga Old Town, especially that’s the tourist information is located in the Schwab House.

My visit in Riga Old Town

I’ve learnt from my previous mistakes and this time I left exploring the Old Town for the end of my weekend in Riga. I stormed twice through it but without stopping to admire a narrow cobbled lane or an interesting piece of architecture. It all had to wait till Monday noon. And it was the best decision ever! Over the weekend I’ve managed to enjoy other cool spots in the city and finally really liking it so when I returned to the Old Town I didn’t have to try hard to like it, I’ve already known Riga is a great place to visit. Also my timing was so much better now: after a gloomy weekend the weather was again really good and the weekend crowds were gone. There were still some tourists around but their number didn’t overwhelm not spoil the place.


Sorry to interupt but would you like to be the first one to read my posts (mostly) from off the path places in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Middle East? Then sign up to my newsletter! I promise no spam, just new posts landing directly in your mailbox. Simply click on the picture below! Thanks!

newsletter


I still think Riga is the last one of all the Baltic capitals when it comes to the historic center but it definitely has its moments. While in Tallinn I felt like I was transformed to the medieval times and in Vilnius I always enjoy how the Old Town is a mix of past and present I appreciated Riga Old Town for the blend of architecture, the cobbled lanes and the charming corners. But still I couldn’t feel any kind of vibe in the Riga Old Town, it seemed to be superficial in a way – could be due to too many stag parties and the place changing for their needs (the problem we also deal with in Cracow, Poland). It surely was pretty but still kind of soulless. Perfect for couple of hours of wandering around and falling for the charming corners but Riga has so much more to offer and all the best things can be found outside of the Old Town.

Below you have couple of pictures of Riga Old Town so you can see it really looks lovely.

Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town     Riga Old Town
Riga Old Town
Have you been to Riga? Did you like it? What’s the prettiest Old Town you’ve visited?


In Riga I stayed in Hotel Skanste and while the place itself was ok the service was really terrible and for that reason I’d suggest avoiding it (they tried to overcharge me and Booking had to get involved – kudos for their customer service). However there’re many other accommodation options in Riga, you can book a place for yourself here!


Are you planning a trip to Eastern Europe? Do you like that region as much as I do? I’ve created a Facebook group where you can look for advise or inspiration and share your travel stories and pictures from Eastern Europe and beyond. Join now!


If you think of visiting Latvia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:

If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the „destinations” page.


love, kami 2

If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 22.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter!

Print Friendly
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
4 maja '16

Related Posts

There are 13 Comments.

  1. I prefer Riga to Vilnius when it comes to the Old Town. Maybe because of all the trafic we’ve encountered in Vilnius, even in the smallest streets. And I am still looking forward to visit Tallin! Maybe this year :)
    Aleksandra Makulska latest post…Majówka last minuteMy Profile

    • I must say I’m not a big fan of that part of Europe, though I wouldn’t mind hanging around the streets of Tallinn…and actually I have no idea why ;) Lots of pics, Kamila! I have no doubt you enjoyed that place :)
      Hamak Life latest post…Dzisiaj narysujemy szokMy Profile

      • kami
        21:17 03/06/2016

        maybe you should give the area another chance, sometimes it happens that we need couple of visit to fully appreciate the place. That was my story with Riga too!

    • kami
      21:16 03/06/2016

      True about the traffic, there’re hardly any cars in Riga Old Town. but Vilnius felt much more authentic to me. I’m really curious how you’re gonna like Tallinn once you get there. It’s crazy beautiful!

  2. Not so long ago I was doing research for my work about Riga. I came to the conclusion that it is a really interesting city. The only problem is that this city is not on our travel routs.
    Old Town on Your photos looks nice, just for a short walk.
    And maybe You know if Riga has some good viewpoints?
    balkanyrudej latest post…Serbia według Rudych RodzicówMy Profile

    • kami
      21:20 03/06/2016

      Baltic countries are so close that it shouldn’t be difficult to go there even for the long weekend, you should step out of your travel routes every once in a while! And in fact I do know about good viewpoints! I can recommend you at least three but I’m sure there’re even more of them!

  3. 12:17 09/05/2016

    Oh jakie superowe zdjęcia! Art Noveau to jest to, co tygrysy lubią najbardziej. Ryga jest na mojej liście, już od dawna, ale zawsze coś wypada… Dobrze jest zatem poczytać i na pewno wrócę do twojego wpisu, gdy juz się zdecyduję tam pojechać

    • kami
      21:21 03/06/2016

      Dziękuję! I trzymam kciuki, żeby szybko się udało pojechac, bo to naprawdę przyjemne miasto!

  4. I’ve never been in Riga so I need to go there to find out if the city has an atmosphere or not. I do not like big cities but sometimes we can find there nice architecture. You showed us a lot of nice photos but still I’m not sure if this destination is for me. The only solution is to go there and try :)

    • kami
      21:22 03/06/2016

      Then you definitely need to go and find out for yourself ;) I’m sure you’d enjoy it too!

  5. Nie byłam jeszcze w Rydze, ale widzę, że pięknie jest i warto się wybrać. Moim ulubionym jest toruńskie stare miasto, byłam tam kilka razy i za każdym razem odkrywam coś nowego. U mnie ciągle Polska, więc może dla kogoś nudy, ale wychodzę z założenia, że wolę poznać lepiej kraj w którym mieszkam, co nie znaczy, że ograniczam się tylko do Polski ;)
    Magdalena Nieścierowicz latest post…Rajgród – miasteczko nad jezioremMy Profile

    • kami
      21:25 03/06/2016

      E tam nudy, Polska jest fantastyczna! i zdecydowanie warto ją poznać, bo mamy się czym pochwalić! Toruńskie stare miasto też bardzo lubię, ostatnio przy -20C zwiedzałam i też było fajnie! a Rygę polecam jak tylko się okazja nadarzy!

  1. Pingback: Taizé Riga | Packing list for the winter Taizé European Meeting

Leave a Reply

*

CommentLuv badge

Let’s become friends!

Join me on Facebook for even more travel updates!