If you only have one day to explore Riga, the capital of Latvia, you should try to make the most of it and check out my Perfect Day: Riga Itinerary below! You can wander through the old town, pick up lunch at the market and enjoy it in the parks, study Art Noveau and even learn a little about the modern history of Latvia!
If you only have one day in Riga, I recommend that you stay in the center of Riga, for example at the Radisson Blu Ridzene, so you can walk to all the major sights easily.
Start your day with a walk through the old town. You can wander through the narrow, winding cobblestone alleys, check out the beautiful squares, the old palace and many churches and stunning guild houses. After taking in the historic sights, make your way to the market halls – it used to be “shopping central” for Riga and still offers lots of local foods from pastries and breads to cheeses and meats and all kinds of assorted stuff at very reasonable prices. It’s a great place to pick up a picnic lunch of bread, cheese and cold cuts and head to the park and canal ringing the old city for a little break, surrounded by greenery.
Once you have regained your strength, make your way to the Freedom Square and on to the Museum of Occupations. It chronicles the modern history from the initial Soviet occupation in 1940 through the Nazi occupation in World War II and until independence in 1991. It provided a mix of information boards and interviews with victims, providing chilling insights into Latvia’s recent history, much of it not well covered in our schools!
It is an important part of history – but very tough to stomach and after finishing at the Museum, you can head to the nearby embassy quarter for an Art Noveau tour! You can still see some buildings prior or in the progress of restoration, while others have been restored to its former glory! Make sure to take your time to discover the many interesting details on the facades of the buildings! If you want to learn more about Art Noveau than you can gather from the outside, head to the Art Noveau museum to see an apartment interior of the time, complete with furniture, artwork and costumes of the era!
After all this sightseeing and walking, you have earned a nice dinner! Make your way back to the old town and pick one of the many restaurants lining the pedestrian streets or around the squares. You get good food at reasonable prices and can do some sight seeing as the day slowly settles. I enjoyed Domini Canes for an upscale dinner just behind the church, but there are plenty of other local and International choices to fit your cravings!