2 days in Riga – A Perfect Itinerary

I’m now catching up on the Latvia leg of my Baltics road trip back in May. Riga is the capital city of lovely Latvia, a Baltic country on the northern coast of Europe. It’s a small city which packs a punch and is the perfect destination for a weekend trip, or to incorporate in to a longer trip with other places in Latvia like Cesis or Gauja National Park. 2 days in the city is enough time to see a lot, and here is an itinerary which hopefully maximises the time.


Day 1

A. Town Hall Square, Blackheads House and Christmas tree plaque

Start your trip off with a coffee or breakfast in the beautiful Town Hall Square area of the city. There are lots of really nice eateries to choose from surrounded by picture perfect rows of houses.

Then head round the corner to the House of the Blackheads – the original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried merchants, shipowners, and foreigners in Riga.

House of the Blackheads

Also make sure you find the little Christmas tree nearby – this marks the spot where the very first public Christmas tree was placed in 1510!

B. St Peter’s Church & Tower

Next it’s time to head up to the best view in the city – from St Peter’s Church Tower. The church itself is nice to have a walk around, and then head skywards for some beautiful panoramas.

View from the top

C. Popular Front Museum

If you’re interested in learning more about Latvia’s journey to independence in 1991 then this museum charts the Latvian Popular Front’s (political party) rise to power and independence from the USSR. It’s super interesting and we spent over an hour there. Especially interesting is the part of the exhibition on the Baltic Way – a line of over 2,000 people holding hands all the way from Tallinn to Vilnius in a peaceful demonstration for independence.

D. Livu Laukums Square

Another beautiful square and perfect as your stop for lunch, enjoy people watching and music playing as you sit in one of the restaurants and watch the world go by for an hour or so.

Beautiful Livu Laukums

E. Powder Tower (Latvian War Museum)

For the last stop of the day, walk the few minutes to the Latvian War Museum, also known as the Powder Tower. Here you will find exhibits on Latvian history from the 1200s to the present day. It’s particularly famous for its WW1 exhibit, which has won awards internationally – and you can easily spend an hour just in that exhibit. There are also galleries on the Crusader wars, WW2 and modern day conflicts where Latvians have fought for NATO – including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

F. Evening old town stroll

One of the nicest things to do in an evening is to stroll the cobbled streets of the old town and just get lost to enjoy what you find. The cobbled streets are just stunning.

G. Dinner at Domini Canes

One of the best places to eat in town is Domini Canes. We had an incredible meal in there, but be sure to book in advance as even on a Tuesday night there were no walk-in tables available.

The most amazing cheesecake


Day 2

A. Riga Cathedral & Dome Square

Like yesterday, start your day off in a beautiful and picturesque square. Then head in to the incredible cathedral, being sure to check out the Cloisters and the world famous organ.

B. Riga History & Navigation Museum

The Riga History & Navigation Museum makes a good stop for an hour or so to learn more about the histpry of the city. The boards are all in Latvian, so you will need the English guides, but they are worth spending time reading whilst looking at the exhibits.

Outside the Museum

C. Three Brothers & Swedish Gate

The Three Brothers is a building complex consisting of three houses which form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga. Each house represents various periods of development and they are just absolutely beautiful.

Just down the road is The Swedish Gate, which was erected 1698 as a part of the Riga Wall to provide access to barracks outside the city wall. 

D. Bastion Park & Opera House

Meandering along the canals of Riga is a lovely way to spend a bit of time. We visited just as the sun popped out and the park area was stunning with lots of flowers blooming and the light coming through the trees. You can also get an icecream here, hire a boat or join a canal tour – perfect.

In the park

E. River Cruise

Within the park, there are a number of canal boat stations, where you can hop on a boat and relax on a river cruise along the Daugava River, taking in the various bridges, islands and landmarks along the way. Don’t miss the Riga TV Tower and the modern Library.

Cruising the canals

F. Freedom Monument

The Latvian Freedom Monument honours soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence which happened between 1918 and 1920. During the Soviet times it lost significance but is now a site of national importance.

The Freedom Monument

G. Corner House Museum

Next it’s time to head slightly out of the centre to the Corner House Museum, the ex-KGB building in the city during the Soviet era. Here you can read about the shocking acts during the period Latvia belonged to the USSR, including forced migrations to Siberia, torture and espionage.

At the Corner House

H. Art Noveau Walk

As you walk back from The Corner House, head to Albert iela, the heart of the Art Noveau district in Right. The buildings are absolutely gorgeous and make the perfect way to spend your final evening in this incredible city. Make sure you buzz in to the Art Noveau museum just to at least go in to the staircase – it’s perfect.

A stunning Art Nouveau staircase in Albert Iela


What do you think of Riga? We were really taken with the city and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good value city break. Thanks for reading – and as always, stay safe and happy travelling!

39 Comments

  1. The largest and liveliest of the Baltic capitals – Riga makes for a fantastic, action-packed getaway. From its wonderful architecture, modern art centres, and experimental restaurants to its buzzing nightlife, Riga is well worth visiting. I am glad to see you had a wonderful time visiting my home country, Hannah, not many people have Latvia on their travel wish list! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw I’m so glad I did it justice in my write up. Your home country is stunning Aiva, and although I only saw a very small portion of it, it really is such a wonderful place. I’d love to return some day 🙂 xx

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    1. Ah thanks John, so glad you liked it. It really is a pretty city, full of incredible architecture and lots to explore. A great European city break without all the crowds of the more famous options for sure 🙂

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  2. I had two days in Riga, but alas, I didn’t explore nearly half of the places you’d gone to! Really wished that I’d gone up St Peter’s Church & Tower for those stunning views of the city, as well as the staircase in Albert Iela…all the same, Riga is a beautiful city, and to hear about its history (along with its Baltic neighbors) is certainly fascinating!

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    1. You really have been everywhere, I feel like it’s my challenge to find somewhere you haven’t been haha! 🙂 Ahh I’m sorry you missed those, though I’m sure you probably did things I didn’t do and wished I had. The Baltics are a great region to explore, they really do have so much to offer. Thanks for reading Rebecca

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  3. Lovely scenes of the cobbled streets in the old town – it definitely asks for one to wander around. Wow, that is no small piece of cheesecake (looks delish)! Great photos of the church and cathedral … but my favourite picture is of the Opera House with the splash of pink flowers in front (oh, and that staircase)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Corna, I’m so glad you like it. Riga was definitely one of those impossibly beautiful cities, with incredible architecture everywhere. The food was also delicious (shout out to the cheesecake). Thank you for reading and have a wonderful evening 🙂

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  4. Riga looks beautiful, Hannah 🙂 Architecture of the House of the Blackheads is amazing, as is the view from the top of St Peter’s Church Tower! A stroll on the cobbled streets, dinner at Domini Canes, a walk in the park along the Daugava River and later past the Art Noveau buildings…I’m tired just imagining all of this, and appreciate you sharing your experiences!

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  5. Wow, what a beautiful city to tour with you today! The architecture is just so incredible. You certainly saw a lot in a couple of days. And anywhere that marks the spot of a Christmas tree is my kind of place. Really interesting to learn more of the history of this corner of Europe. 🙂

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  6. Riga looks like a lovely little town. I had no idea that this is where the first public Christmas tree was located. I love the architecture of the House of the Blackheads. Great timing to visit Bastion Park when all the flowers were blooming.

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