Riga
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Riga Culture & History

Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

1. Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

Climb aboard an eco-friendly canal boat to see the sights of Riga from a different perspective as you cruise along the Daugava River. Escape the crowds of the city center as you set sail from the pier by the Freedom Monument at the 18th-century fortifications known as the Triangula Bastion (Bastejkalns). Glide gently under historic bridges and see landmark attractions such as the elegant home of the Latvian National Opera, Europe's largest market and bazaar at Riga Central Market and the UNESCO World Heritage monuments of the Spīķeri Quarter.  Get amazing views of the Vecrīga district (Old Riga) as you cruise towards the Riga Passenger Terminal and Yacht Club Andrejosta. Make your way back towards the departure point and get stunning views of Kronvalda Park and the Latvian National Theatre.

Riga: Private Sigulda, Turaida, and Gauja National Park Tour

2. Riga: Private Sigulda, Turaida, and Gauja National Park Tour

Embark on a personal and immersive adventure on a private van tour from Riga to Sigulda and Turaida. Customize your itinerary to your preferences and visit sights such as Gauja National Park, Sigulda Manor and Castle, and Turaida Castle. Sit back and relax in the comfort of your private vehicle and watch the landscape change from city streets to lush greenery as you head out of Riga. Make your way to Sigulda, a town near the river Gauja that is also known as the Switzerland of Latvia by locals. Marvel at the Gauja valley with its dense forests, meandering river, and the Gauja National Park. Stop to stroll through the park before seeing the Sigulda Medieval Castle ruins, the new Sigulda Castle, the Turaida Castle museum with its watchtower peering above the trees, and Gutman's Cave, the widest and highest cave in the Baltic countries. Cross the river on the optional cable car ride for a different perspective of the region or enjoy a glass of local wine made in the Cremon Winery at Krimulda Manor. See local craftsmen and women at work to gain an insight into local and cultural life before heading back to Riga. This half day tour is a must for those who have visited Riga and Jurmala before and is especially recommended for bloggers and social media fans.

Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

3. Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

Meet the local guide at your Riga accommodation and head out on a walking tour to explore the city. You’ll be in good hands with a knowledgeable local who is eager to share all the tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your visit. Start by getting familiar with the neighborhood where you’re staying. Hear about the best places to eat and shop and learn the easiest ways to get around. On this customized tour you’ll see some of the top attractions and hear about more that you can visit on your own after the tour. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable navigating the city and confident you have all the information you need.

Riga: Nearby Manors and Castles Tour

4. Riga: Nearby Manors and Castles Tour

Tukums, located only 70 kilometers from Riga, is full of interesting tourist attractions. It was only announced as a town in 1795, but still had people living there well before. Strolling down the historical streets of old town you will feel like you are in the 19th century. On every house is information ergarding who lived there at that time, and the modern sculpture of Katrina of Tukums will impress anyone that encounters it.  You will visit Hunting Palace, built in the beginning of the 20th century for the Mayor of Riga of that time, before visiting Jaunpils Castle, built in the year 1301 still one of the few medieval castles with its original appearance preserved. Jaunpils Castle is a typical construction of the Livonian Order fortress and was built by master Gottfried von Horn. Up to the present day came many legends about the fearless, Matthias von der Recke, who was the owner of the castle in the 16th century. Jaunpils Castle and its surroundings have many legends and mysteries. Today you can visit the church built at the end of the 16th century next to a water mill with an age of 200 years, it is here that you can truly feel the aroma of the romantic era. On the way back, you will make a pit stop at the local winery “ Abavas vini”, which is worthy to both see and taste the produce of.

Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

5. Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

Wander through centuries in House of the Black Heads! Feel the magic atmosphere of luxurious halls of celebrations, decorated with brilliant chandeliers and a gallery of royal portraits. Explore the mysterious medieval cellars and elaborate historical rooms with a surprising silverware collection. For the past 700 hundred years, the House of the Black Heads has pleased and enraptured inhabitants and guests of Riga. This is one of the most magnificent buildings in Riga, preserving both the unique historic heritage of the legendary Brotherhood of Black Heads and the history of Riga. For centuries House of the Black Heads was the cultural epicenter of Riga, gathering the most respectable inhabitants of Riga and their guests, during celebrations organized by the Black Heads and their successors. This building, which is situated in the heart of Old Riga, is the symbol of Riga and among the central premises of representation of Riga – not for nothing also the President of Latvia has chosen House of the Black Heads as his temporary residence for almost four years!

From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

6. From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

Take a full-day tour of the beautiful green area of Northern Latvia. Explore Cēsis (the ancient city of Livonia and Brothers of the Sword base) and the picturesque town of Sigulda. Enjoy a day of rich history with medieval monuments, as well as spectacular natural scenery. Trip Itinerary: Medieval castle ruins of Cēsis You experience the castle in a way the people did centuries ago — your guides will light up a candle in the lantern and you will be on our way. You will explore the dark stairs, medieval corridors, and rooms with the help of candlelight as there is no electricity in this 13th century castle. This complex of castle buildings, preserved for centuries, is regarded as a landmark of monumental architecture, which reflects artistic styles from the Livonian period. Cēsis St. John’s Church St. John’s Church is one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia. The church was built in the beginning of the 13th century when Cēsis became one of the most important German power centers in the Baltics, from 1237 up to 1561. Medieval castle ruins of Sigulda The Order of the Brothers of the Sword began building Sigulda castle in 1207. Initially, it was a castellum-type fort. Following the defeat of the Brothers of the Sword in 1236, the Livonian Order modified it. Goodman's cave The Gūtmaņala (Goodman's Cave) grotto is the most popular and biggest cave in Latvia. It was formed over the course of 10,000 years by water gradually eroding sandstone. The grotto is a protected geological site and the oldest tourist attraction in Latvia. Museum reserve and medieval castle of Turaida Turaida Museum Reserve is a beautiful heritage site and former village that was named "garden of the gods" by the locals. Turaida is a wonderful place to get to know the Latvian way of life, culture, history, and spirit. The 42 hectares of grounds are replete with archaeological, architectural, historical and art monuments, all of which provide an account of the events from the eleventh century onwards.

Riga: Half-Day Jewish History Tour

7. Riga: Half-Day Jewish History Tour

Riga is the largest city in the Baltics and the capital of Latvia. Once called the 'Paris of the North,' it is an architectural gem of medieval houses with Gothic gabled roofs, Renaissance guild houses, Baroque homes of the wealthy and Art Nouveau housing by Jewish architect Mikhail Eisenstein, being able to compete  to that of Prague, Vienna or Barcelona. Distinguished Jewish philosophers of the 20th century, Yeshayahu Leibovich and Sir Isaiah Berlin, film director Sergej Eizenstein, world chess champion Mikhail Tal and photographer Philippe Halsman have been living here. It is possible to visit the Riga Synagogue (Peitav Shul) – the only synagogue that survived the Nazi period, and is still in use today. Here, you can learn how the Torah scrolls were saved. The Maskavas suburb with its unique wooden housing is the historical Jewish square. Never before a ghetto until the Nazi years, Maskavas Forstadt became the main area of Jewish settlement in the 19th century. The first Jewish secular school is now operating as a private Jewish school. Likewise, the historical Jewish hospital Bikur Holim is still in use. The site of the Great Choral Synagogue (Die Greise Hor Shul, Gogol Shul) is now a memorial, and evidence of the Nazi inhumanities brings back memory of many people who have helped to save Jewish lives. The old Jewish cemetery, Rumbula and Biķernieki Forests, where mass murders were carried out, now are memorials and a place of contemplation. The Riga Ghetto Museum, located on the border of the former ghetto territory, is one of the rare places in Europe that experienced no architectural changes and small wooden houses where people lived, still stand there. Names of more than 70,000 holocaust victims are engraved in the walls of a museum. The excursion will be designed according to your wishes.

Riga: 2-Hour Walking Tour in the Old Town

8. Riga: 2-Hour Walking Tour in the Old Town

On this 2-hour walking tour you will explore the Old Town of Riga, the historical and geographical center of Riga on the right bank of the Daugava River. The Old Town covers a relatively small inner area of the old fortifications where unique monuments of medieval architecture are concentrated. The professional guide will show you around the Old Town and tell you all about the history and culture of the city, as well as answer your questions. The walking tour starts at the Town Hall Square, which was the central square of the city from the 13th century to the 19th century. The most famous building in the square is the magnificent Gothic-style House of the Blackheads. During the tour you will also see famous spots of Riga, such St. Peter's Church, the Swedish Gate, and the Powder Tower. Experience the aura of an ancient city as you walk down the narrow streets, where unique complexes of residential houses and sacral buildings are found. Here you can explore the 13th century Riga Cathedral, the Gothic-style St. Peter's Church, the beautiful Synagogue of Old Riga, the Convent Yard of the Holy Spirit, the Three Brothers residential housing complex, Riga Castle, St. George's Church, and St. Jacob's Cathedral. You can also discover Riga's hanseatic past at the Large Guild and the Small Guild, as well as at the reconstructed House of the Blackheads. Recall the medieval times, when Riga was a mighty harbor and a member of the Hanseatic League, which joined traders of the Baltic region with north Germany.

Riga: Self-Guided Audio Tour

9. Riga: Self-Guided Audio Tour

See the sights of Riga at your own pace and according to your schedule on a self-guided walking tour. Download an audio guide onto your MP3 player and get a fully detailed map to help you explore. Explore Riga, the city that only recently gained independence from Russia in 1991. This blossoming city of culture is quickly becoming a popular spot for tourists and other Europeans and the world is taking notice, with Riga being named the "European Capital of Culture" in 2014. Its architectural buildings are definitely worth viewing when visiting the area, with the great Riga Castle and St. Peter’s Church being at the top of the list. You can walk down the flat streets and check out the interesting restaurants and cafes with unique drinks only served in Riga. On this audio tour you will also see the Town Hall Square, the House of Brotherhood and the Blackheads, the Museum of the Occupation, the National Opera House, the Freedom Monument, and the Swedish Gate. There is also an optional addition to see the Central Market.

Riga: Interactive City Discovery Experience

10. Riga: Interactive City Discovery Experience

All the information you need for your adventure will be provided by an email from the local partner. Start the game at the Latvian National Opera House where you will solve the first of 10 riddles. Each riddle takes you from one hidden location to the next. Unlock local recommendations and fun facts as well as the history of the city. Every riddle is made up of cryptic directions and a question. To answer the question, you can try as many answers as you like. If you’re stuck, ask for a hint or skip a riddle. Discover spots in Riga that most locals don’t even know about. See popular sights such as The Freedom Monument, the Art Nouveau district, Kronvalda Park, Esplanade Park, and Vērmanes Park from a different perspective. Step away from the crowded streets of the Old Town to discover the parks and monuments of Riga, and meet some of the people who helped create Latvia. Each riddle you encounter helps tell the story of Riga from independence to today. This riddle route is for history lovers and will help you understand how Latvia became a country, and then reclaimed its independence from the Soviet Union. Along the way get local recommendations for food and drinks.

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What people are saying about Riga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 327 reviews

Was a great tour! The guide is very passionate and knowledgeable. The pickup point was a good central location and ended up being across from my hotel! The only thing I could suggest would be an earlier tour. This tour is in the afternoon and does not give you much time to stroll around after if wanted. In fact we had to be a little rushed due to time. But, not anything to truly complain about. Would be great if it was a morning tour so we could go back and buy stuff that we tried and explore more on our own after the tour. But, if you want to do one of the city tours in the morning it works perfectly because you can do this tour after. You can truly say you got a great sampling of the market with this tour. With a little of bread, meats, cheeses, vegetables, fish, and drinks! Love that it included a drink and alcohol tastings. Highly recommend this tour for anyone wanting to get a good history, information, and Latvian tasting at the market!

A great authentic Latvian experience. Our guide Guna was knowledgeable, punctual and extremely helpful, friendly and obliging. Stayed on after the tour to give us some advice and helped us find information on local attractions. Couldn’t recommend this tour enough. Guna really was a fantastic guide.

It was a great tour! It was particularly nice being able to go to the Central Market with a local; we loved everything we tried (soup, smoked fish, open-face sandwich, and more). We learned a lot about the city as well.

The tour guid was amazing, you Get to try a lot of localfood. Highlig recomand to try

Amazing tour full of interesting facts and tastes :)