City Guides

Connoisseur’s Guide to Riga

Riga sight
Written by Aksel Ritenis


Someone once described Riga as “the Window of the Baltic.” It is certainly a very pleasant window and much may be seen from it. Whatever the time of the year, it will be Riga – the largest Baltic city, which offers the most… The city, often referred to as the “Paris of the North”, is well-known for its architectural and cultural values and rapidly developing economics.

If you are wondering what to expect – forget, any notion that the journey into the Baltic States of the 21st century is going to be a grim procession of visas, dodgy police, border controls, and street criminals. The Soviets left more than a decade ago… and Latvia is now undergoing a rapid transition to a European Union member state.

Statue of Liberty

Riga is the capital of Latvia and has a population of about 800’000 people. It was founded at the beginning of the thirteenth century. In the later Middle Ages the port flourished as a member of the old Hanseatic city League. The centre of the city is for the most part modern. The Russians have left little mark upon the architecture of the city except for the large Russian cathedral. Most of the other buildings are Germanic in style and character. A canal runs through the centre of the city, and on either side is a small but charming park.


Riga international airport (RIX), lies 10 km southwest of the city. Buses 22 (leaving from Abrenes or 13 Janvara street) or 22A (leaving from the Orthodox Cathedral) will take you there in approximately 20 – 30 minutes depending on traffic.

1) Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia Cocktail Bar on the
26th Floor – Skyline Bar
2) Summer Garden Domu Square “No Problem”
(Nekādu Problēmu)
3) Gallerie Centre for leisurely shopping, coffee or
a quick Sushi
4) Stockmann Department Store
5) Essential Nightclub

6) Vincents Restaurant for the best Chef in the
Baltics on a parr with some
of the Top English
7) Hotel Bergs Restaurant
8) Balsambar – a Black Balsam Cocktail bar in
Domu Square
9) Wine Studio (Vīna studija)

10) Jomas Street in Jurmala for a leisurely summer
stroll or relax at Jurmala which is the beach that
most Rigans go to!

Riga’s public transport system consists of buses, trams and trolley buses. They run daily from 05.30 until about 00.30 but some of the routes stop their service as early as 22.30.


Finding accommodation in Riga is a thankfully painless task, provided you book a little in advance. There are an increasing number of top range hotels mushrooming in and around the Old Town, whilst vast four star hotels are in abundance. And there’s good news for travellers too. The hostel scene is particularly well-developed in Riga with plenty of well-priced digs offering excellent facilities.


About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Axel is the Editor and Publisher of Connoisseur Magazine "for the Finer Things in Life" and has been the custodian of the magazine for over 10 years and leader of a team of freelance Journalists and Community Members who continue to make it all happen!-Join the Team at Connoisseur Magazine!

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