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Cruise ships dock at the quay on the Daugava River in Riga, where facilities and services are fairly limited. The quaint Old Town is only a ten minute leisurely stroll from the quay along the waterfront, with the Art Nouveau district being a little further away.
An up-and-coming destination with a wealth to offer individuals, couples and families, Riga is the largest and capital city of Latvia. Here there is an endless supply of superb shopping opportunities, excellent restaurants and alluring museums which provide hours of entertainment. With so many architecturally intricate and detailed buildings to appreciate, fans of Art Nouveau will be in their element in Riga.
Riga is the ideal holiday destination for those who want a quiet break to discover one of the finest cities in Europe. Here you can spend hours exploring the city’s stunning streets, lined with beautiful buildings, monuments and statues which you’d be hard-pushed to find elsewhere. However long you plan on visiting this culturally-rich city, we recommend taking in at least one of these sights:
Museum of the Occupation: a must-see for anyone visiting Riga, this museum covers the 50+ years during which Latvians were subjected to the Soviet and Nazi occupation. Here you can find out all about life in Latvia under a communist and fascist rule, with the help of genuine donated photographs, artefacts, documents and posters. The museum is free to enter and all the descriptions are written in English, leaving you with no excuse to miss out.
Riga Art Nouveau Museum: housed in an apartment which forms part of a building constructed in 1903, the Riga Art Nouveau Museum is the youngest in the city. Here you can explore the apartment which was previously occupied by distinguished Latvian architects, writers and artists and revel in the affluence. The lavish stairways, surrounded by excellent paintings, lead to breathtaking studies which will take you back over 100 years.
Riga Zoo: this zoo is the perfect place for families to spend the day in Riga, with a remarkable collection of enclosures. During the spring and summer you can take the time to enjoy a picnic on the grass whilst watching the newly-born animals play. If you visit in winter you’ll have the chance to see snowy owls and arctic foxes, as well as a handful of nocturnal animals in the indoor exhibits.
Shops are scattered quite evenly throughout the whole of Riga, with the greatest number of stores being concentrated in the centre of the city and in Old Town.
In Old Town, Valnu Street and the adjacent Basteja Pasaza are the best places to go for fashion and accessories. Here you’ll find a fantastic mixture of European high street and top-end designer labels, such as Zara, Calvin Klein, Guess and Emporio Armani.
Jekaba Kazarmas, Tirgonu and Laipu all offer a wealth of souvenir shops, with a few art galleries and antique stores scattered in between. If you’re interested in taking home an authentic Latvian souvenir, take a look at the handmade dolls and wooden toys, natural linen clothes and jewellery made of gold, silver and amber.
As one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the Baltics, Riga provides a wealth of opportunities when it comes to dining. Whether you’re in the mood to sample some local cuisine, international favourites, or contemporary gastronomy you’re guaranteed to find just what you’re craving in Riga.
Latvian food is quite hearty, with many recipes based on potatoes, cabbage, pork, beef and fish. Some popular specialities include meat croquettes, pork ribs, steamed sauerkraut, baked potatoes with sour cream and dark rye bread.
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