Riga's charisma shines through from the moment you arrive. Find out what to see, how to get around and where to stay.
Frequent Riga flights have made the city easy to reach and, in recent years, its lively nightlife has also made it a popular destination for hen and stag parties.
Riga is a great place to visit, with more of a big-city feel than its Baltic cousins, Vilnius and Tallinn. The city offers something for everyone, with many historic sites in its old town reflecting its 13th century origins.
As a port in a strategic location, Riga has been an important trade centre since ancient times. As such, it has been subject to many cultural influences, particularly those of Sweden, Germany and Russia. Its historic city centre, east of the Daugava River and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflects its membership of the Medieval Hanseatic League. As the capital of Latvia, it was part of the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1991
Make sure you visit the city's churches, particularly the Dome Cathedral, St Peter's Church and the smaller but equally beautiful St Jacobs Church. Visitors to the city also like to have their photograph taken beside the statue of Riga's patron saint, St Jacob.
Riga is not just about churches, though. Visit the Central Market, the biggest in Europe, and then wander round admiring the art nouveau masterpieces of architect Konstantins Peksens. Before you leave, have a look at the Swedish Gate, along the line of the old city wall, and Liuu Laukums Square.
The National Museum of Art is significant not just for its fine collection but for the historically significant buildings that house it. The city's Ethnographic Open Air Museum is the largest outdoor museum in Europe. Also notable is the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, commemorating the country's occupation by the Nazis and then the Soviets.
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