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Riga

Culture & history

Our most recommended Riga Culture & History

Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

1. Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

Climb aboard an eco-friendly canal boat to see the sights of Riga from a different perspective as you cruise along the Daugava River. Escape the crowds of the city center as you set sail from the pier by the Freedom Monument at the 18th-century fortifications known as the Triangula Bastion (Bastejkalns). Glide gently under historic bridges and see landmark attractions such as the elegant home of the Latvian National Opera, Europe's largest market and bazaar at Riga Central Market and the UNESCO World Heritage monuments of the Spīķeri Quarter.  Get amazing views of the Vecrīga district (Old Riga) as you cruise towards the Riga Passenger Terminal and Yacht Club Andrejosta. Make your way back towards the departure point and get stunning views of Kronvalda Park and the Latvian National Theatre.

Riga: 1.5-Hour Old Town Walking Tour

2. Riga: 1.5-Hour Old Town Walking Tour

Go beneath the surface of Riga, from its founding 8 centuries ago at the Daugava River to its transformation into the beautiful and artistic city that you see today. Walk past the city's most important landmarks and learn about the people who made Riga what it is today. Learn about the Bishop Albert of Livonia, who founded the Latvian capital in 1201, and about the many foreigners who have since left their mark on this city. Discover the city's Medieval Hanseatic Old Town and enjoy the splendors of the Dome Cathedral. Enjoy the Big and Small Guild Houses and their Gothic and Neo-Gothic styles. Photograph the Riga Castle, the current residence of the President of Latvia, and see famous spots such as St. Peter’s Church, the Swedish Gate, Powder Tower and many others.

Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

3. Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

Wander through centuries in House of the Black Heads! Feel the magic atmosphere of luxurious halls of celebrations, decorated with brilliant chandeliers and a gallery of royal portraits. Explore the mysterious medieval cellars and elaborate historical rooms with a surprising silverware collection. For the past 700 hundred years, the House of the Black Heads has pleased and enraptured inhabitants and guests of Riga. This is one of the most magnificent buildings in Riga, preserving both the unique historic heritage of the legendary Brotherhood of Black Heads and the history of Riga. For centuries House of the Black Heads was the cultural epicenter of Riga, gathering the most respectable inhabitants of Riga and their guests, during celebrations organized by the Black Heads and their successors. This building, which is situated in the heart of Old Riga, is the symbol of Riga and among the central premises of representation of Riga – not for nothing also the President of Latvia has chosen House of the Black Heads as his temporary residence for almost four years!

Riga: 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

4. Riga: 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Take advantage of a 2-day ticket to the Riga hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour bus, and see all of the city’s attractions on one easy tour. You can take the full city tour which consists of 4 different lines and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. As you tour, an audio guide will provide an informative commentary in 10 languages. Get excellent views of city attractions as you cruise, such as the Freedom Monument, Riga Castle, Orthodox Cathedral, former KGB Headquarters, churches, embassies, and other significant sites. Stops include: • Town Hall Square • National Opera Building • Art Nouveau District • Hotel Latvija • Central Railway Station • Central Market • Riga Ferry Terminal

Riga: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

5. Riga: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

Explore three of Riga’s most essential districts on a half-day combined food tasting and cultural walking tour. Hear stories from the history of the city, and see the world’s largest collection of art nouveau architecture. Begin your tour in charming Old Riga, where the beautiful, centuries-old buildings speak extensively about Latvian culture - one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Highlights of Old Riga (also known as “Vecrīga”) include a reconstruction of the medieval city wall, Riga Cathedral, and the House of the Blackheads. Next, go to the remarkable Art-Nouveau district, where a local guide will explain more about the meaning of symbols hidden behind the beautiful façades. See masterpieces of art nouveau architecture at banks, offices and apartment blocks on almost every street corner. End with a food tasting tour of some typical local food in Riga Central Market. Sample mouth-watering, ecologically-grown local produce in the beautiful art deco and neoclassical market, Europe’s largest market and bazaar.

Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

6. Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

Meet the local guide at your Riga accommodation and head out on a walking tour to explore the city. You’ll be in good hands with a knowledgeable local who is eager to share all the tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your visit. Start by getting familiar with the neighborhood where you’re staying. Hear about the best places to eat and shop and learn the easiest ways to get around. On this customized tour you’ll see some of the top attractions and hear about more that you can visit on your own after the tour. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable navigating the city and confident you have all the information you need.

Riga: Old and New Walking Tour

7. Riga: Old and New Walking Tour

Delve into the mysterious charm of Old Riga. Admire the luxurious Art Nouveau buildings and learn about their former inhabitants, stop to photograph "The Three Brothers". Meet your guide in the city center and start exploring. Walk past the most important cultural and historical highlights of Old Riga such as the Town Hall Square, St. Peter’s Church, Convent Yard, St. John’s Church, and St. John’s Yard, Discover the bustling Liv Square and admire the colorful "Three Brothers" residential complex. See the Riga Cathedral and St. Jacob’s Church and learn about the richest and most influential residents who once called Riga's Art Nouveau buildings home.

From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

8. From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

Take a full-day tour of the beautiful green area of Northern Latvia. Explore Cēsis (the ancient city of Livonia and Brothers of the Sword base) and the picturesque town of Sigulda. Enjoy a day of rich history with medieval monuments, as well as spectacular natural scenery. Trip Itinerary: Medieval castle ruins of Cēsis You experience the castle in a way the people did centuries ago — your guides will light up a candle in the lantern and you will be on our way. You will explore the dark stairs, medieval corridors, and rooms with the help of candlelight as there is no electricity in this 13th century castle. This complex of castle buildings, preserved for centuries, is regarded as a landmark of monumental architecture, which reflects artistic styles from the Livonian period. Cēsis St. John’s Church St. John’s Church is one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia. The church was built in the beginning of the 13th century when Cēsis became one of the most important German power centers in the Baltics, from 1237 up to 1561. Medieval castle ruins of Sigulda The Order of the Brothers of the Sword began building Sigulda castle in 1207. Initially, it was a castellum-type fort. Following the defeat of the Brothers of the Sword in 1236, the Livonian Order modified it. Goodman's cave The Gūtmaņala (Goodman's Cave) grotto is the most popular and biggest cave in Latvia. It was formed over the course of 10,000 years by water gradually eroding sandstone. The grotto is a protected geological site and the oldest tourist attraction in Latvia. Museum reserve and medieval castle of Turaida Turaida Museum Reserve is a beautiful heritage site and former village that was named "garden of the gods" by the locals. Turaida is a wonderful place to get to know the Latvian way of life, culture, history, and spirit. The 42 hectares of grounds are replete with archaeological, architectural, historical and art monuments, all of which provide an account of the events from the eleventh century onwards.

Walking Tour of Riga's Beautiful Art Nouveau Architecture

9. Walking Tour of Riga's Beautiful Art Nouveau Architecture

Discover Riga's most amazing art nouveau buildings on this walking tour of Latvia's largest city. A century ago, Riga, just like other European cities, was swept away by a style of architecture and living inspired by a longing for creative freedom and daring opulence. This style became known as art nouveau. By learning from nature, delighting in bunches of flowers, and ornamentation, art nouveau rendered Riga more lavish, mysterious, and seductive. Raise your eyes upwards and discover Europe’s most beautiful art nouveau buildings while you learn the fascinating history behind them. Walk away with a newfound knowledge and appreciation for the relatively recent art form.

Riga: Behind the Iron Curtain 3.5-Hour Communism Tour

10. Riga: Behind the Iron Curtain 3.5-Hour Communism Tour

See Riga on foot and learn about the history of life behind the Iron Curtain on a 3.5-hour walking tour. You will be introduced to the Latgale region of Riga named Ķengarags, which is one of the most interesting and largest suburbs where locals do actually live and the way of life can be seen. During the tour you will feel just like you have stepped back in time, because almost nothing has changed in the looks and life of the Ķengarags suburbs. The one exception is that the Soviet military airplanes aren’t shaking the windows of the houses with the noise made from taking off at the nearby military airport of Rumbula. The architecture (living houses, schools, suburbs) of the Soviet times was very similar in the different parts of the union, with different cities sometimes having identical suburbs. By visiting Ķengarags you will get an understanding of the looks of other USSR cities.

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What people are saying about Riga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 327 reviews

Amazing personal tour of Riga. We enjoyed every second and learnt so much. Liga is so friendly and knowledgeable. We saw many sites and tasted lots of Latvian foods. 100% recommend!

This was an excellent tour of the huge Central Market. There were lots of samples. The guide was very organized. Highly recommend!

Eva the best guide ever - extremely knowledgeable, friendly, kind, and proud of her native Latvia. Best around!

It was wonderful trip through the canal, but we wish to continue to the river,the weather was not helpful.

A really nice, relaxing way to see and learn about Riga.