Riga – Beyond The Old Town

It is about bloody time I told you about our little trip to Riga isn’t it? We went over the Easter weekend (we took an extra day either side just so we could explore this city even more!) and it was so much more interesting than I expected. Before I start, if you are expecting tales of how I went to all the museums and saw all the sights then you are probably going to be disappointed because we didn’t do much of the tourist stuff at all. Riga, like most European cities has an Old Town, which is very pretty but in my opinion slightly overrated. Don’t get me wrong, I walked around it and spent some time taking photos of all the pretty buildings but they were just the same as EVERYONE else’s photo’s. What I found way more interesting was was was beyond the Old Town…

Our Airbnb accommodation was about a half hour walk from the old town, which meant as well as getting super fit by doing all that walking everyday, we also got to see parts of the city that perhaps we wouldn’t have had we stayed more centrally. What surprised me most about Riga was how varied the architectural styles were. There were brightly coloured, rather extravagant looking buildings and right next door would be a run down wooden house. Maybe I am wired but I found this much more interesting than the perfectly picturesque building in the Old Town.

Another thing that surprised me about our stay in Riga was just how cold it was! I knew it would be much colder than the UK but I thought with it being April, it would be about 10 degrees. How wrong I was! Most days it was literally freezing and on one particular day it snowed quite heavily. Seeing snow was really nice though, we hardly ever get any here in Doncaster so to see a sprinkling of the white stuff was a treat and it gave the whole city a much more magical feel!

I feel I need to say something about the locals too. Before heading to Riga I had been warned that Latvians are not a very friendly lot. I was a bit skeptical about such a statement because well, I just like to think the best of people and surely an entire national can’t be that unfriendly?! Turns out Latvians are lovely. Maybe they aren’t the smiliest people in the world but they are helpful and happy to have you in their city. We had absolutely no problems at all!

Like I said earlier, we didn’t spend a lot of time in the old town and we didn’t go to any museums so I can’t really give you a definitive guide of what to see and do. In regards to places to eat we spent a lot of time in Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs which has a really great atmosphere. It sells lots of great beers if that is your thing, and the food is AMAZING and really reasonably priced. We went there three times for dinner, so tried a lot of the menu and I can tell you whatever you pick will be delicious! We also found ourlseves a great coffee shop called Miit (because we all know how fussy I am about my caffeine fix!) which as well as serving excellent coffee also has great food options for vegetarians. Speaking of food, it is worth visiting the market, which is one of the largest, and most visited in Eastern Europe. There is every kind of food you can imagine for sale and even if you don’t buy anything it is a great opportunity to mingle with the locals as this is where they all buy their food from.

Riga is definitely a city that deserves a lot more attention. I had such a fun time there and it one of those cities that is great to explore by just walking around. I will be sharing more of our adventures very soon, specifically the day trips with took from the city!

Have you been to Riga before? What did you think of it?

 

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