We arrived to Riga with friends on a cold, winter day, even though it was end of November, it felt like middle of January. First day we only had an evening in the city, a friend of mine suggested a place for dinner. It was a huge self- service restaurant, Lido Atputas Centrs, with a bar and a la carte part on different floors. The food was typical Latvian with lots of fish variations and some Russian influence with blini (pancakes) and borcs (Russian soup).
The place is huge and it has a cute, authentic style. I loved the fact that you are able to see and actually choose what you want to eat. There is a wide selection on basically all kind of food.
We chose to stay in the heart of the city, so we decided to book Hotel Roma. The location was perfect, the hotel rooms were nice, classy and clean, the only thing I would highlight as a negative fact: the rooms were noisy due to thin walls. If you are bothered by that, you better use earplugs. The breakfast room was spacious with a beautiful view and delicious food.
Next morning we were heading to the center. Everything was very close to our hotel, so it was only an easy walk. We visited the cathedral first. It's the biggest church from the medieval era and it's so impressive inside, outside. The cloister part was constructed in the 13th century, you can visit them both. I was fascinated by the colorful rose windows, special masterpieces of art. The whole church has a laid back, medieval atmosphere.
Check out the pipe organ, which is the second largest one is Latvia. They organize organ concerts here regularly, the cathedral was designed to achieve acoustic excellence, very special indeed!
Our next stop was the House of Blackheads, a special landmark in Riga, which serves as an event center nowadays. The original house was built in the 14th century and it was used as a gathering point for young, unmarried businessmen, they used to call themselves Blackheads, this is where the name comes from. The house got totally destroyed during the second World War, but it got fully rebuilt. The facade reflects various architectural styles. I personally loved the atmosphere of this spacious square surrounded by history.
The Central Market is a good 15 minute walk away from the center, it's one of Europe’s biggest markets and its pavilions used to house the giant zeppelin hangars, that were left behind by the German troops after World War I. The market has different sections and it offers an incredibly wide selection of fruits, vegetables, spices, meat. Visit the fish market and you will be amazed by the fresh catches of the day! Truly unique experience to get the vibes of local life.
Before lunch we wanted to shortly visit one more famous sight called, Three Brothers, these are the oldest medieval houses in Riga. According to the legend the houses were built by three men from a family. I loved the gothic details, lovely scene! The old town offers some more special sights and great vibes, in case you have half an hour, go for walk and you will discover history.
We chose a place for lunch in the center. The Restaurant Petergailis was cozy, traditional and the oven baked sea trout fillet was yummy. We also enjoyed a cup of mulled wine after strolling the streets all morning.
After lunch it was time for some fashionable moments, I discovered that there is a Fashion Museum in Riga and it was only a block away from the restaurant. The museum was fashion heaven, it featured old clothes and accessories from the 19th- 20th century. It's like a walk in fashion history with interactive features and a surprise room, where different eras are performed with music and light effects. What kind of dresses were worn in the Opera? What did people wear at home at the countryside? Amazing materials, precious collection. If you are into fashion, go and discover this museum by yourself!
We closed the day on the top of Riga, in the Skyline bar at the top of Radisson Blu Hotel. It's a luxurious bar with a wonderful view, cocktails, champagne and some snacks. It was a great chill out place after a long day.
A day at the beach
Jurmala is the seaside playground close to Riga, which is the ultimate place to be during summer time, but I must say, it was pretty amazing this time of the year, too. I've never seen before sandy beach with snow and cold, but it had its own charm. I loved the architecture, cool, eclectic style, wooden holiday houses looked so nice in the snow. We had a walk at the beach and looked for a Café to hide away from the cold.
36.Line Grill Restaurant was our choice for lunch. Extremely popular among locals, don't forget to book before you go! The view of the sea is precious, the place is really elegant and serves excellent food. Just look at the photos! Black mussels and Pavlova cake with berries and mascarpone cheese, pure bliss!
Our flight was leaving next morning, we had our last night in Riga. We dropped by this American jazz bar called, Moonshine, which felt like being right in Las Vegas. Very American and cool!
I definitely loved everything I experienced in Latvia. People were nice and welcoming, food was delicious. The whole city reminded me very much of Russia, due to historical reasons (being part of the Soviet Union), this kind of Russian style still shows on the city but in a good way. Hope you will ever have the chance to discover this special place! If you are getting ready for the fabulous Christmas parties and you are unsure about the dress codes, check out the FASHION site! How to set the holiday mood at home, HERE are my tips! Have a blessed Christmas and a joyful 2019!