A couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed a short break in Riga, Latvia’s capital city. The decision to visit this Baltic country was fairly spontaneous; I was researching a weekend in Prague for hubby’s birthday, but left it too long to book and the flights ended up way too expensive.
But the flights to Riga were a steal, and as soon as I saw them I was intrigued.
Latvia still isn’t on most people’s radar as a travel destination, although it has become popular with stag parties (more on that later).
As soon as we arrived, I was struck by how pretty the Old Town is, with its cobbled streets and beautiful architecture. Riga is also full of amazing restaurants, cafes and bars, many of which have been renovated to a stylish modern finish, with lots of glass and twinkling lights.
The centre of Riga is fairly compact and it’s easy to walk around. I spent time exploring on my own in the early evening, as I wanted to capture a few more photos while hubby watched the football.
Venturing out of the Old Town, the city has that austere, Soviet feel – it reminded me a lot of Warsaw, in Poland. But there are some striking new buildings, including the unique looking National Library.
We visited in March and the weather was still cold, but I’d love to return in the summer. Riga has some lovely parks and green spaces, and seemed to be gearing up for spring, as the setup of various bars and outdoor seating areas was well underway in many of the large, open squares.
As we wandered the streets of Riga’s beautiful Old Town, the tourists we encountered were mostly Russian or German, rather than English. But over the next few years, I can imagine this city growing busier as travellers from the UK discover what it has to offer.
And that’s where we come back to the stag parties, or bachelor parties for any American readers. Our flight to Riga from Leeds Bradford was completely full, mostly of Latvian people. But there were two large stag parties too, who naturally drank quite heavily before and during the flight and made a lot of noise.
This ended up with one guy being arrested on arrival, after attempting to stagger down the aisle to the toilet as the plane was preparing to land!
We didn’t see a lot of rowdy party goers while in Riga itself, but it would be a shame if the city was only known to British tourists as a party destination, rather than for its culture and history.