Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia Travel Guide


As part of our Baltic Sea Cruise with Royal Caribbean, we were lucky to visit a city we never had on our radar: Riga! We were completely surprised by what this city had to offer in almost every way. We really wish we had more time in this beautiful city and would love to make our way back one day. Here were our favorite experiences during our 1 day in Riga!

I. Nouveau Arts District

Our first and arguably most important stop: Riga's Art Nouveau District. Riga's Art Nouveau District is well known around the world because it features a much higher number of buildings in the Art Nouveau style than, well... anywhere else in the world! That's right, the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture in the entire world. Why are there so many in Riga? The answer is actually a simple one. When this architecture style was at its most popular, Riga was experiencing a time of financial prosperity. We found the architecture to possess a somewhat whimsical fairytale feel. We're big fans.


II. Black Magic Apothecary Bar

We're usually not ones to seek out bars when we travel, but in Riga we made an exception. One of our favorite experiences of our entire trip and top recommendations in Riga is the Black Magic Bar. Instantly after walking into the bar you get a very strong Harry Potter vibe (a pattern for this city).  There are many rooms on the first floor, but the most exciting part is through the secret door (shhhh).

Downstairs, you discover the alchemist's laboratory complete with dimly lit candles, ancient looking medicine bottles, and jars of Riga Black Balsam. Black Balsam is a traditional Latvian black liqueur made from 24 different herbs and botanicals. It should be on your to-do list to try, but we were no match for it and couldn't finish our drink!


III. Riga Old Town

Riga is one of the most visually stunning cities we've ever been to. It's one of those cities where you don't even necessarily need a list of attractions. You can pretty easily walk around and take in the beauty, discovering little gems along the way. See what we mean??


IV. House of the Blackheads, St Peter's Church Tower & Riga Cathedral

House of the Blackheads is one of those iconic city sites that probably you probably see in your mind when you hear its name. Such a unique and historical building to admire. Most of the ornamentations of the building were done as early as 1580!

The Riga Cathedral boasts major Harry Potter vibes (and you know that wins points in our book.) Their Dome Pipe Organ is the second largest pipe organ in Latvia and we sat for a short concert. Admittedly, Alicia loved the concert a bit more than I did. If your partner loves classical music, this experience is one to do! Find performances on their website here.

We heard that the view of Riga from St Peter's Church Tower is breathtaking. Unfortunately for us, the tower is closed on Mondays.