Riga’s UNESCO-listed centre and European Capital of Culture status makes it one of Europe’s hippest locations. Offering vibrant nightlife, farmers' markets and photogenic soviet-era architecture, the Latvian capital attracts visitors looking for an enriching weekend escape and robust party atmosphere.
Formerly a thriving Baltic sea port, Riga acted as a vital trading point for growing empires. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Latvia was free to make its own way – a choice visible in the progressive culture and art scene present across the city today.
Riga’s Old Town is where you’ll find the best examples of its art nouveau architecture, such as the Town Hall Square and House of the Blackheads – a 14th-century guild building once frequented by merchant seamen. Other points of interest include the former KGB building, the Latvian National Museum of Art and the Panorama Observation Deck, where you can enjoy views of the Daugava River. For traditional Latvian delicacies, head to Riga’s Central Market which is a former art deco military hangar. Here, you’ll be able to sample pickled cucumber and smoked eel before exploring the trendy Spikeri district.
Featuring cheap beer prices and fun bars, Riga's fast becoming a popular spot for prenuptial celebrations and boozy holidays. Stop by Black Magic bar for medicinal hangover cures that were once favoured by 18th-century Latvian royalty. Alternatively, the Latvian National Opera or the Riga Ballet offer something a little more high-brow with a nostalgic nod to the city’s Soviet traditions.