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Walking in and Around Riga: Everything You Need to See in Latvia’s Capital

Friday, January 18, 2019 0 Comments

Walking in and Around Riga, Latvia
Shivering fingers and frozen toes didn’t stop us from pursuing our morning agenda in Riga, Latvia. Our troop of South East Asian blokes wanted to do a leisure walk around the city center and understand why this underrated city stood out from our Baltic city must-visit list.

Located near the mouth of the River Daugava, the capital of Latvia is small, quaint, and historical. It is home to more than a mouthful of cool museums, cultural centers, and unbelievable architectures. I like the city, particularly because it’s way inexpensive compared to neighboring European capitals, and you can easily navigate your way around the city, without wanting or needing to rely too much on Google Maps and all that. It took us two full days of incessant wandering and exploring every inch and corner of Riga’s Old Town, which is copious with many shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.


Quite early in the morning and just skipping breakfast, we decided to hunt for the familiar cultural spots in Riga, like the Nativity Cathedral, Freedom Monument, Bremen Town Musicians, Victoria Park, and Miera Lela, which is the hippest place in Latvia. It took a bit of time, because it was also freezing cold when we were there, so our bulky boots, and marshmallow jackets sort of prevented us from brisk walking like a stereotypical Singaporean style of walking. Hahaha!

One thing that you’ll clearly notice when you decide to explore the city on your own via foot trips and walkathons is that there’s this timeless charm about Riga. The Old Town alone, which is over 800 years old full of history, and even recognized as an official UNESCO Heritage Site, is like pieces of pictures from an old fairy-tale book. The magnificent architectural masterpieces and the simply romantic cobble stoned streets are so relaxing to look it. Some pockets of the city look a bit run down to be honest, but that’s what keeps Riga real and relatable. You can feel how their history struggled and fought for their own independence through the outstanding works of art seen across Riga too.


While I must agree that if it is your first time in Europe, you can skip Latvia; I would say that it’s worth visiting if you would like to see the real side of the Baltic countries. Personally, this is my favorite country among the rest of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). I think Estonia and Lithuania are equally special, but Latvia has something more than meets the eye that you have to experience firsthand.

Just a bit of an insider info – did you know that the Baltics have been dominated by the Swedish Empire, Germans, and a bit of Russian Empire? So needless to say, you’ll see very distinctive influences of food, culture, and architectural styles almost everywhere. I was quite intrigued as to how it turned out, especially since it initially seemed like it was more dominated by the Swedish culture… but the more we wandered around, the more I discovered more of its Russian influences and of course, the Latvian spurs of signature styles. Now, what do you think? Check these Latvia photos out and let me know?


[LATVIA TRAVEL] Read the rest of Explore Latvia Travel Blog Series:


Tourradar

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 60 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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