Attractions In Riga: The 10 Best

Riga, Latvia
Top 10 Attractions in Riga

Riga's beauty entices visitors from the first moments: a wide river, sea breeze, seagulls in the sky, green parks, medieval landmarks, picturesque streets, and Art Nouveau masterpieces – a stunning mix for an unforgettable stay.

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Founded in the 13th century, Riga is Latvia's capital and the largest city in the Baltic states. Its historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, notable for Art Nouveau architecture and 19th-century wooden buildings. The Daugava River, which flows into the Baltic Sea only 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center, divides Riga picturesquely, with the Old Town on the right bank.

My most visited European city is Riga, followed by Malaga (Spain) and Warsaw (Poland). A little like Stockholm, it looks beautiful in all seasons. I enjoy the romantic atmosphere of many port cities, especially when cruise ships are present. In Riga, I once took a ferry to Sweden's capital, and it was an exciting experience. Here is my list of ten Riga attractions I found the most exciting. Perhaps you might want to put some or all of them on your bucket list for your visit to Latvia's capital.

Top 10 Riga Attractions

1. St. Peter's Church

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The Lutheran Church of St. Peter, built-in 1209, is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture and Riga's oldest and tallest church. The spire of its 123-meter (405-foot) tower dominates the Old Town skyline. You can enjoy a stunning view of Riga from 72 meters (236 feet) high by taking the lift to the observation deck.

Address: Reformācijas Laukums 1, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Pētera baznīca

2. House of the Blackheads

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The 14th-century House of the Blackheads, standing in Riga's Old Town, is probably the city's most beautiful structure. In the Middle Ages, young merchants in Riga chose Saint Maurice as their patron saint; they were known as "blackheads" because Mauritius was of black Moor origin.

The façade of this architectural monument has a 17th-century Mannerism style. The building now houses a museum and a concert hall, and it also hosts exhibitions and official receptions for foreign delegations on occasion.

Address: Rātslaukums 7, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Melngalvju Nams

3. Three Brothers

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

Riga's Three Brothers, located near the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. James, is the city's oldest architectural complex. It consists of three buildings constructed close to each other at different times.

The oldest building, built at the end of the 15th century in the Gothic style with Renaissance elements on the façade, housed Riga's first confectionery in the 17th century. The mid-house dates from the middle of the 17th century. Due to its façade's Dutch Mannerism features, the complex is considered a piece of Holland in Latvia's capital. The building on the left of the row dates from the late 17th century. Its owners were artisans who lived on the upper third floor and used the first two floors as workshops.

Address: Mazā Pils iela 17, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Arhitekturas Muzejs

4. Cat House

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The Cat House, famous for a couple of cat sculptures on the roof, is a 20th-century building designed by Latvian architect Friedrich Scheffel. The cats are identical. The building's façade is also symmetrical and topped with an eagle figure. A floral pattern adorns the portal, and a winged marker figurine above the entrance decorates the door.

Address: Meistaru iela 10/12, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050

5. Park Bastejkalns

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

Bastejkalns park is a natural wonderland in the heart of Riga, with its love bridge, flowing river, soft green grass, colorful flowers, and the serenity of the fresh air. There are benches in the park. If you've been walking all day, this is an excellent place to relax. If you want, you can also take a boat ride down the Pilsētas Kanāls.

6. Riga Cathedral

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary is the largest medieval church in the Baltics and one of Latvia's most recognizable landmarks. Often depicted in Riga's souvenirs, postcards, and paintings, this building, along with the Church of St. Peter and the Cathedral of St. Jacob, dominates the Old Town landscape. The church began its history in 1211; after various reconstructions, it took on its current appearance at the end of the 18th century.

Address: Herdera laukums 6, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Rīga Cathedral

7. Riga Castle

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

Riga Castle, built in the 14th century, has a long and complicated history. Throughout the seven centuries of its existence, it has been renovated and changed its appearance numerous times. However, the purpose of this structure has remained constant – it has always been the focal point of political life, as the castle served both a representative and a defensive function. Riga Castle today serves as the official residence of Latvia's President and houses several museums.

Address: Pils laukums 3, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050

8. Riga Central Market

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

Riga Central Market is Latvia's largest and most well-known market. If you arrive in Riga by bus or train, this is the first landmark you see when you step off the platform. Five massive pavilions, built-in 1924–1930, loom over the canal directly across from the stations. Although this is a former military facility, the architecture demonstrates the pompous manor house style with Art Deco elements so popular in Latvia back then. The market was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988 and is now a top-rated attraction on all city tours.

Address: Nēģu iela 7, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Rīgas Centrāltirgus

9. Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Riga, built between 1876 and 1883 in the Neo-Byzantine style, is Latvia's main Orthodox church. The building, located in Esplanāde Park, not far from the square with the Freedom Monument, fascinates with its beauty and monumentality. It stands out from Rigas's surrounding architecture due to its unique design.

Address: Brīvības bulvāris 23, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Official website: Рижский кафедральный собор Рождества Христова

10. The Swedish Gate

Top 10 Attractions in Riga

The Swedish Gate is an architectural landmark in Riga's Old Town and a part of the city wall. Residential buildings along the city wall arose during Swedish rule in the early 17th century. For the new ones, a lockable passageway was necessary. For this purpose, the homeowner decided to demolish a hole in the house and construct a new city gate. Riga had eight gates, but only one has survived to the present day – the Swedish Gate.

Address: Atgriežu iela, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050

Where to Stay in Riga

Unsure of where to stay in Riga? For my trips, I use, a well-designed website that helps me find everything from small B&Bs to large hotel chains, vacation rentals, and homestays.

Read More Baltic States Travel Tips:

Have any questions about things to do in Riga? What about other suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below.


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