Riga in Winter – Is Riga Worth Visiting?

Riga, Latvia was more of an afterthought for me. I added it onto a trip to Tallinn to visit the Christmas market. I love when you have no expectations for a place and then they blow you away. That was Riga for me. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not Riga is worth visiting, I hope this post about Riga in the winter will convince you certainly it is.

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Riga Live Square in the winter

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About Riga, Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of the Baltic country of Latvia and has roughly 605,000 residents. The city is located on the Gulf of Riga on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Daugava River. There are multiple bridges that span the river since the city is on both sides. The old town, however, is small and concentrated entirely on the east bank.

History of Riga, Latvia

The history of Riga is incredibly complex. I can hardly do it justice, as much as I’ve tried to learn. The following is a summary of major turning points, but feel free to scroll right past if you’re just here for info on what to do in Riga.

Riga historical Jauniela street in the winter

Middle Ages

Riga was founded in 1201 around the time when German merchants and Christian missionaries arrived. Throughout the centuries that followed, war and many changes in power (Polish and Swedish) led to different cultural influences but Baltic Germans remained a dominant group.

Latvia was conquered and incorporated into the Russian Empire in the early 1700’s. Throughout the late 19th century and early 1900’s, there was growing nationalism and a desire for Latvian identity. German remained the official language until 1891 when Russian was made the official language of the Baltics under Russian Empire rule.


As a result of WW1, the Baltic countries were given to Germany in 1917 in a treaty with Russia only for that treaty to be renounced when Germany lost the war and the Baltic countries claimed their independence in 1918 from both Russia and Germany. This was followed by a period of instability and chaos and a war of independence. It wasn’t until after 1920 that the Republic of Latvia was truly self governing and Latvian was the official language.


Most Germans living in the Baltics were removed from 1939-1944 under Nazi “population transfers” back to German occupied Poland where they were given the homes and farms of Poles who were forcibly removed. This was part of Hitler’s plan to reunify all ethnic Germans under one land.

During WW2, the Baltic countries were occupied by the Soviet Union initially with rigged elections for a pro-Soviet government. Massive executions and deportations began of anyone involved in the previous democratic government, and the KGB headquarters were set up,

From 1941-1944, Riga was occupied by Nazi Germany. It was a very confusing time because some Latvians celebrated the arrival of Nazis to liberate them from the Soviet Union. There were different resistance groups who supported each side or neither side, those who switched alliances, and the Nazis would kill those who had cooperated with the Soviets and vice a versa. Mass killings took place, the Riga ghetto and a concentration camp were formed. Most of Latvia’s Jews were killed.

By the end of WW2, most of Riga’s old town was damaged by bombing. Many historical buildings were restored and some had to be reconstructed as copies. When the Red Army reconquered Latvia in 1944, mass deportations to labor camps began again of resisters, “Nazi conspirators,” and anyone who opposed the Soviet Union.

Soviet Era

For the next four decades, the Baltic countries would be subjugated to Soviet Union control and a massive importation of Russian population replaced those lost in the war and to deportations. Workers were brought in from Russia, Ukraine, and other areas and factories and labor jobs grew. By 1989 the population of ethnic Latvians in Riga had dropped to 36.5%. Today it is back up to 47.4% Russians make up 35.7%. In contrast, some 63-72% of the entire population of Latvia is ethnic Latvian.

Baltic Independence

Finally in 1991, Latvia and the rest of the Baltics regained their independence after years of resistance and with the collapse of the Soviet Union. They have since joined the EU and NATO. The old town is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Latvians have been vocal about their opposition to Russia. The street where the Embassy of the Russian Federation is located was recently renamed to “Independent Ukraine Street.” Many ethnic Russians remain in the country.

If you love to nerd out over history like me, the Museum of History of Riga and Navigation has a great website describing each of these eras with images of the museum displays for these time periods.

alleyways of Riga Latvia


Latvians speak Latvian, one of the two main surviving Baltic languages (Lithuanian being the other). Latvian seemed to split from Lithuanian around AD 800. Many people think Estonia and Latvia have similar languages but in fact Estonian is a Finnic Language which is unrelated to Baltic languages.

The oldest known written Latvian was from the 1500’s. Until the 19th century, the Latvian language was considered a peasant language by the upper class Baltic Germans and German was the dominant language. During the wave of Latvian nationalism, Latvian language grew in popularity, until Russian rule and Russification. After Latvia’s first independence in 1918, Latvian became and remained the official language.

Russian is still widely spoken among around 34% of the people in Latvia. It was also the official language during Russian rule. The Russian minority as well as many Latvians (especially the older generation) speak Russian. In 2012 Latvian citizens voted NOT to adopt Russian as an official language.

There is also a historically protected minority language spoken by about 8% in Latvia called Latgalian.

English was widely spoken and we had no trouble communicating with people in Riga, especially in touristy areas.


Riga has one of the largest concentrations of Art Nouveau architecture in the world with at least 800 buildings of the style. Riga experienced an explosion of growth at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Hundreds of apartment buildings were built in the art nouveau style during the height of its popularity to expand outside of the old town.

Riga Art Nouveau architecture


The largest religion in Latvia is Christianity at 79% and the most popular denominations are Lutheran, Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. But 21% of the population says they are not affiliated with any particular religion. Those identifying as religious Jews or Muslims are incredibly few.

Currency and the Cost of Travel

Latvia has been a member of the EU since 2004 and adopted the Euro in 2014.

We found Riga to be lower than some European countries and higher than others. It was a bit less than back home. They have experienced inflation just so like the rest of the world. The costs seemed comparable to Tallinn, which is where we’d come from right before Riga. Here are some examples of prices we paid on average for things:

  • Flat white/cappuccino – 3.50 euros
  • A main dish at a nice restaurant – 18-26 euros
  • Cocktails at a nice bar or restaurant – 10-12 euros
  • Lunch – 8-16 euros

Credit cards are readily accepted everywhere. They don’t give you the option to add tip so it’s a good idea to have some change. I read that 10% tipping for good service is standard.

Getting Around Riga

Riga Old Town is incredibly walkable and small. There are a number of attractions we wanted to see outside of the old town, but they weren’t typically more than a mile or so from the square. We did a lot of walking each day to see as much as possible though.

Getting to and from the airport or bus station was easy and we used the Bolt app which is very popular in the Baltics. The ride between the airport and old town takes about 15 minutes or less and cost 11.70 Euros plus tip. From the bus station was less than 5 Euros. Riga also has public transport with buses and trams.

Riga Library and river view at sunset

How Long to Spend in Riga

When I planned my visit to the Baltics, I planned for 5 days in Tallinn and 4 days in Riga. I felt like that was appropriate. I could have easily spent another couple days or longer in Riga as well. You can never see it all, right?

To see the entire old town of Riga, visit some museums, and see some interesting areas outside of the old town, I recommend a minimum of 2 days in Riga. However if you can get more, you won’t be disappointed. I asked my boyfriend how many days he thinks you need and he says a solid 3 days minimum. So there’s that.

What to Pack for Winter in Riga

Riga has a relatively cold climate in general. They have four seasons, but even in the summer it is not typically very hot, with averages in the 70’s. For the purpose of this post, we are talking about visiting Riga in the winter, and temperatures are usually in the 30’s Fahrenheit or lower. We had snow the entire week in the Baltics and temperatures ranged from single digits to mid 20’s.

At least in my opinion, it’s better to be prepared with warmer clothes than you think you’ll need. I actually brought not one, but two puffy long coats and I wore them both at the same time.


Here are my go-to necessities for a cold winter destination:

I swear by these thick, fleece-lined tights for under pants OR with a warm dress.

X-CHENG Fleece Lined Tights Sheer Women - Fake Translucent Warm Pantyhose Leggings Sheer Thick Tights for Winter
You must have a warm hat or something to cover your ears.
MaxW Winter Wool Ear Muffs for Men and Women Cute Fluffy Earmuffs Soft Cozy Outdoor Ear Warmer
A long puffy coat is essential. I would pick what you bring based on the weather forecast. But I brought one huge one like these because it would be in single digits.
Columbia Women's Lake 22 Down Long Hooded Jacket

If you’re like me and your feet go numb and cold before anything else, splurge and get yourself some heated socks. They are pretty amazing. I just wish I’d brought them on this trip.

Lastly, get yourself some really warm boots. I find that the ones with a shearling or wool lining are the warmest. And chances are the streets will be wet with sloppy snow so go for waterproof.

Where to Stay in Riga

There are so many beautiful places to stay in the Old Town of Riga. I personally would choose somewhere close to the Dome. Everything in the Old Town of Riga can be walked to in around 5-10 minutes. This is a long list, but I always try to research hotels for you as if I were booking them myself, taking into account price, reviews, location ratings, and specific location. So I hope it’s helpful.

Sherlock Art Hotel

We absolutely loved our stay at the Sherlock Art Hotel. I was hosted by this hotel, but I reached out to them because it was where I wanted to stay and my standards for location, reviews, and value are quite high. Sherlock Art Hotel is more of an apartment style so there is no front desk and you’ll check yourself in. The 17 rooms are quite large with kitchenettes and beautiful bathrooms. They are classically styled, each with a different Sherlock Holmes theme. The hotel takes its namesake from the Soviet TV series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, filmed in Riga in the 1980s.

Riga Sherlock HotelRiga Sherlock Hotel Room

Dome Hotel

This was one of my first choices as well. The location is rated 9.9 They also have a Turkish bath and sauna on the roof as well as an elegant restaurant. The Dome Hotel is considered a 5 star hotel.

Grand Palace

Definitely one of the most high end 5 star hotels in Riga Old Town and rates are quite reasonable. They have a sauna and fitness center.

Neiburgs Hotel

Good rates, beautiful building and rooms. Location is rated as 9.9!

Hotel Gutenbergs 

I mention this one mainly because of the rooftop restaurant view of the dome. Otherwise, the rooms are a bit dated and with carpet…eww.

Relais le Chevalier 

A beautiful and affordable hotel in a great location. Good price and value.

Blue Bird Hostel

Location can’t get much better and the building is beautiful. Great prices even for a private room and bathroom. Very clean and elegant for a hostel.

Riga Tirgonu Iela Blue Bird

Home is Where the Heart Is

I couldn’t find this on Google maps to compare reviews and photos, but on Booking the reviews are great and it’s located on, in my opinion, the prettiest street in Riga. It’s just a single apartment and the view out the window is just lovely.

What to do in Riga in the Winter

There is no shortage of museums, restaurants, bars, churches, and beautiful streets to wander in Riga. I was easily amused for 4 full days. Most everything I’ll talk about for what to do in Riga is applicable to all seasons, but I’m focusing on visiting Riga in the winter.

Riga Christmas Market

Riga Christmas Market

Visiting Riga in the winter is particularly unique because you get to experience the Riga Christmas market. I found this market to beautiful, authentic, and absolutely magical. The market is smaller than many European Christmas markets but I actually found that a relief. It was easy to see everything and there wasn’t a bunch of junky booths. They had nice, handmade things. There are people cooking on open fire and authentic foods.

Riga Christmas marketRiga Christmas Market stalls in winter

When is the Riga Christmas Market?

The Riga Christmas Market runs from early December (usually the weekend 4 weeks before Christmas) to the first week of January (Sunday after the first week). In 2023, the Christmas market was open every day.

Monday-Thursday: 11-9
Thursday-Saturday: 10-10
Sunday: 10-8

These hours can vary on Christmas and Christmas Eve and New Years though.

Riga Christmas Market

Where is the Riga Christmas Market

The Christmas market is located in the Dome Square in Riga Old Town. The beautiful Riga Cathedral looms over the festivities. It’s not a large square, and the market is small, but perfectly located and easily walkable to all over the old town and nearby areas.

Riga Christmas Market and cathedral

Go on a Walking Tour

I always try to do a donation based or affordable walking tour when I arrive in a new city. I think it’s the best way to learn an overview of the history, get your bearings of the layout of the city, and learn some unique tidbits about certain landmarks. The guides are always willing to give you great advice on restaurants and less touristy things to do as well.

Visit Riga Museums

It seems the Baltic countries really like their museums and both Tallinn and Riga had so many, I could never have had time to see them all. Unlike Tallinn, Riga doesn’t have a city card that you purchase to get into all the attractions. But the good news is the entrance fees were extremely reasonable and often free, so I spent way less money in Riga than Tallinn visiting museums. I won’t include all of them here, but I’ll list the ones I prioritized and a couple I missed that I think would be worth it.

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

I completely missed this one, but it provides a history of Riga’s history with an emphasis on culture and science featuring artwork, weapons, photographs, and interactive displays in a stunning building. In the winter, they are closed on Monday and Tuesday. The hours are 10-5 and tickets cost 5 euros.

Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

This is such an excellent, extensive museum that takes you through the occupation of Latvia by the Germans and Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991 as well as honoring the victims of gulags (prison camps) in Russia. The entry tickets are 5 euros and they are closed Thursday and Fridays as well as some holidays. Give yourself at least a couple hours for this museum if you can.

Riga Occupation Museum

Museum of the Popular Front

The Popular Front was a political organization in Latvia in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s that resisted Soviet occupation and devoted themselves to Latvian independence. I visited this one on my own while Chris was napping and I spent a fair deal of time here. There are a number of different rooms with time period decor or displays along with educational material. It was free, and quite fascinating.

Riga Museum of the Popular Front of Latvia

Latvian Museum of Architecture and the Three Brothers

You can’t miss this spot, if even for just seeing it from the outside. The Three Brothers are a trio of the oldest houses in Riga from the medieval period. From right to left the houses were built in the late 15th century, 1646, and late 17th century. Restorations took place in 1955-57. Museum entry is free, but they are closed on the weekend, which I think is why I missed actually going inside this one.

Riga Three Brothers Museum of Architecture

House of the Black Heads

This iconic building dates back to 1334, however it was destroyed in WW2 and reconstructed in 1999. It was used as a spot for meetings and feasts for social organizations, particularly the Brotherhood of Black Heads, who were German merchants. Entrance is 7 euros and a 1 hour guided tour is 30 euros. On the last Sunday of the month, you can join a guided tour for free and pay just the entrance fee.

You’ll find the House of the Black Heads in the beautiful square of Rathausplatz.

Riga Latvia House of the Black Heads

The Powder Tower

This is Riga’s War Museum housed in the 14th century fortification tower. Entry is free, but we didn’t realize that so we didn’t walk around beyond the initial entrance. Reviews state that descriptions are in Latvian only, so it may hard to appreciate it as much as other museums if you only speak English. Visually though, I think it looks fascinating with historical military gear with an emphasis on the 20th century when Latvia had to fight for its independence twice.

Riga Latvia Powder Tower

The Corner House

Outside of Riga’s old town, the Corner House was approximately a 1.6 km or 20 minute walk. We were visiting a couple coffee shops in the area so it was perfect to pair with a walk to those. The Corner House is the previous KGB Headquarters where citizens of Latvia were interrogated and incarcerated for being “enemies of the state.” Cost of a guided English tour is 10 euros, no children under 12. You can visit the main floor exhibit, but the tour will be much more interesting where you’ll see prison cells, interrogation rooms, and hear stories from the guide.

Riga the Corner House

Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum

As with any Holocaust Museum, it is depressing to visit but well worth it for a solemn look at the experience for Latvian Jews during WW2.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all Riga’s amazing museums. But you can find more HERE if you’re interested. They are closed on Saturdays and have limited hours on Friday so keep that in mind. Entry is by donation.

Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum

Paula Stradiņa Medicīnas Vēstures Muzejs

This unique museum features the history of medical technologies, instruments, medicinal products, health and wellness, etc. I actually forgot to go here, but I really wanted to. Entrance is only like 2.5 euros for the permanent exhibition.

Visit the Riga Central Market

Riga Central Market is a massive indoor and outdoor market selling everything from produce, meat, seafood, spices, quick meals, clothing, and antiques. It is free to enter and totally fun to walk around and see what you can find. It’s around 1 km or 15 minutes walking from the center of Old Town in old hangars. This is a great place to grab an affordable lunch or snack if you want to save money too.

Riga Central marketRiga Central Market

It is located close to the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum so plan to visit both at the same time if you want.

Take a Dome Tower Tour

The Riga Dome is worth visiting at any time. It’s a beautiful medieval church, started in 1211, but fire and sieges of the city left significant damage over the centuries that had to be rebuilt.

They have midday concerts, you can visit the organ balcony, or come for their worship service. But the most unique experience, I think, is to take the Riga Dome Tower Tour. Their website says it must be booked at least 3 days in advance. There are two options for the tours: 1) during opening hours on weekdays for 10 euros or 2) after the Cathedral is closed at night for 20 euros.

We did the after hours tour for 20 euros because I wanted to see the Christmas market down below lit up at night. You can see more details on their website HERE and from there, click Book a Tower Tour which will direct you to email them your requested date.

Make sure you are comfortable with enclosed, tight spaces and climbing 217 steps for this tour.

Riga Christmas market from above in Riga Cathedral dome

Go up St. Peters Church Elevator

St. Peters church is probably the second most imposing church after the Riga Cathedral. It’s a beautiful 15th century brick church with a multitiered spire. Inside you can read posters to learn about the history of Christianity in the Latvia region. You can also see concerts here.

It is 9 euros for adults to visit the church and take the elevator to the tower – yes, there’s an elevator. So if the Riga Dome with 217 steps isn’t quite your style, this is a great option for the second best view of the city. If you just want to visit the church and not go up to the tower, it’s just 3 euros.

Riga St Peters ChurchRiga Latvia view from St Peters Church

Alberta Iela “Art Nouveau Street”

The absolutely beautiful Albert Street is known for being one of the best examples of Art Nouveau architecture. It is a little over a a kilometer from the old town, but a beautiful, worthwhile walk to see. These apartment buildings were mostly designed by the same architect and built during a boom in growth in Riga during the beginning of the 20th century at a time when Art Nouveau was at its height in popularity around northern Europe.

Riga Art Nouveau architecture

  • Alberta iela 4-9, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

Riga Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral

Riga Nativity of Christ Orthodox cathedral_

This orthodox cathedral is from the 19th century and is outside the old town of Riga. The interior is very ornate and colorful. This is free to visit and it’s a perfect spot to stop in and warm up in the winter as you’re exploring outside of the old town. Just a couple hundred meters toward the old town, you’ll come upon the Freedom Monument dedicated to the Latvians who lost their lives during their fight for Independence from 1918-1920.

Riga Freedom Monument

By walking this area, you’ll also get to see the lovely Bastejkalna Park. I imagine in the spring and summer, it’s just beautiful.

The Cat House

I almost left this off the list, because there isn’t really anything “to do” here. It’s just a pretty building with two cat statues on top. The story goes that the house was built in 1909 and the owner commissioned two copper cats with their backs arched and tails raised, to be placed on the pointed roofs, their behinds pointed at the neighboring Great Guild for refusing his membership.

  • Meistaru iela 10/12, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Riga Canal and River Cruises

I’m adding this purely as a bonus thing to do in Riga, but it is not applicable to winter in Riga. When we were there, the river was frozen. But from April till October, there are frequent daily river cruises lasting about 1 hour where you can learn about and see Riga from a unique perspective. Prices range from 12-20 euros depending on the type of tour. More info HERE.

Riga River Boat Pier in the winter

Where to Eat and Drink in Riga, Latvia

The food and drink scene in Riga, Latvia thoroughly impressed me. I didn’t really know what to expect before arriving, but the dining, coffee, and drink options surpassed my expectations. Here were some of my favorites.

Where to Get Coffee in Riga

Finding specialty coffee in a city is my obsession, so rest assured I’ve got you covered.

Riga Rocket Bean Espresso_

Conta: Right in the heart of the old town, Conta is in a cute little alley right around the corner from where we stayed, the Sherlock Art Hotel.

Rocket Bean: This one is outside of the old town, about 2 kilometers, in a more modern area. It’s definitely worth the walk, especially if you can combine it with a visit to the Art Nouveau street in the same area.

Riga Rocket Bean Espresso_

Other notable places I’d had on my list but didn’t make it there (mainly cause we kept going back to Rocket Bean and Conta because we loved them): Kalve, The NED, and MiiT. We also really liked our coffee we had with breakfast a couple times at Zvaignze Cafe.

Where to Eat in Riga

As I mentioned, Riga really impressed me with good, affordable food. Here were some of our favorites:

Zvaigzne CAFE: I mentioned they have good coffee, but this cute little cafe also has a delicious and well priced breakfast. I had an omelet each day and it also came with a really nice, fresh salad, which I love a hearty healthy breakfast to start my day…before I gorge myself on all the pastries all over the city. It’s a little outside of the old town, but the walk is really nice and I think it’s fun to see the “real” Riga outside of the magical old town.

Riga Zvaigzne CAFE omelet

This Place Doesn’t Need a Name: This adorable tiny restaurant is just down below the Sherlock Art Hotel so it was a huge bonus that it was practically connected to our building. We went here two or three times because we enjoyed the atmosphere and food quite a bit. Breakfast was good and we also had a good burger one evening.

Riga the place that has no name restaurantRiga Place that needs no name restaurantRiga the place that has no name christmas bar

The Christmas decorations are so good! You can definitely pop in and see if they have any open tables, but I recommend a reservation especially on a weekend.

Rozengrāls: This is potentially my favorite restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The way Rozengrāls seems like it is hidden underground makes it even more special. It made sense when we learned it had been an old 13th century wine cellar. The entrance is very unassuming, with wooden heavy doors, no window, no huge signs. When you go in, you follow candlelight down the dark stairs and it opens up to an underground, medieval themed restaurant. It’s like a scene out of Game of Thrones.

Riga Rozengrals Restaurant Riga Rozengrals Restaurant

A themed restaurant like this could be cheesy if not done right, but this restaurant does it very well. Don’t miss going to the restrooms then following the dark candlelit tunnel past skeletons to another part of the restaurant. Definitely make reservations!

Riga Rozengrals food

DOM: We didn’t eat here, full disclosure, I was trying to save money. But it’s highly rated and in the most photogenic building in town.

DOM restaurant

Domini Canes: This highly rated restaurant is classy and would make a perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion.

Late Night Munchies: We will probably be talking about these burgers for the rest of our lives. I wish I had a picture of myself eating one, as it looked like a crime scene, but alas, my hands were too messy to touch anything.

We went for lunch here at least 2-3 times and literally shared a burger because they were big and filling. I could’ve eaten one myself though. It’s a no frills kind of place with stools to sit on at one big counter. The burgers are like 6-14 euros. Try the Americano.

Booch: I missed this one but it looks like such a great healthy restaurant if you’re craving salads, veggies, blended bowls, etc.

Sweet Treats in Riga

Parunāsim: This cute little hidden cafe calls itself “the most romantic cafe.” The decor is really adorable and it’s right by the Three Brothers.

Riga Latvia Parunasim Cafe

Beze Confectionary: Beautiful desserts as well as sandwiches and salads to takeaway.

Pippa Waffles: This is a good little sweet snack if you’re craving it. The waffles are small and affordable, so it won’t totally overwhelm you or ruin your next meal.

Moltto Coffee: Cute little shop with desserts and coffee.

Fika: I didn’t make it here but it looks delish and they have coffee too. Brownies and other desserts. You can also buy specialty groceries and baking supplies.

Crumble Cake: They serve tea, coffee, and, well, crumble cakes, as well as local ice cream served on vintage dishes.

Where to Have a Drink in Riga

No Saints: This may have been one of my favorite speakeasy style bars on our trip to the Baltics. Google maps takes you the correct area, but it can be quite confusing to find. You have to go down the alley from the main street and it feels very residential At the end of the alley is a staircase that goes way down in the dark. The only indication that it wasn’t someone’s home, were two candles flickering at the top of the stairs. The interior is very cozy and the vibe was fantastic. Definitely have a reservation.

Black Magic: This bar functions as a cafe, bar, confectionary, and historical old pharmacy where a pharmacist was purported to have developed the Riga black balsam recipe for the famous Latvian drink, an infusion of herbs with healing properties. The interior is really beautiful and moody. Their menu includes chocolates, desserts, cocktails, liquors, coffees, and other drinks. You can make table reservation online or try your luck with just stopping in. You can also just come in to purchase specialty chocolates, which would make nice gifts.They offer chocolate making classes as well as balsam tasting.

Riga Black Magic BarRiga Black Magic Bar

Secret Event: This is a really unique speakeasy style bar hidden down some unmarked stairs at the back of a little square. Google maps will take you there. The decor and seating is super cozy and there are back rooms if you want more privacy. The bartender was incredibly friendly and brought me a shot on the house after I’d paid right as I was leaving. We didn’t have a reservation and nobody asked us if we had one, which was a nice change. Maybe on the weekends it would be a good idea.

Riga speakeasy Secret Event Riga speakeasy Secret Event

Summary of Visiting Riga in the Winter

I hope this post has convinced you that Riga is definitely worth visiting at any time of year, and winter is no exception. Riga in the winter is a Christmas fairytale. A few checklist items to remember before you visit:

  • Download Google offline maps for walking around without using data.
  • You can use Google Translate app camera function for reading any signs or menus that aren’t translated already.
  • Download the Bolt app (similar to Uber) for getting around farther distances.
  • Get a small amount of cash in euros for tipping around 10%.
  • Get a downloadable eSIM from Holafly or a similar company. Get 5% off with my link.
  • Make reservations at any restaurants or bars you don’t want to miss, especially Rozengrals.
  • Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Pack very warm in the winter – don’t forget a hat and gloves!
  • Bring your camera! Riga is such a photogenic city.

Riga Latvia in the winter

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3 thoughts on “Riga in Winter – Is Riga Worth Visiting?

  1. Mike

    This is the most amazing and enjoyable trip report and travel write-up I’ve seen in a while. It’s so interesting, and so professionally done. Best of all, it’s a fun surprise that this trip to Riga was an afterthought destination … a side trip for the main trip to Tallinn. I’ll have to look on Jessica’s Instagram to see if there is anything there about Riga, just out of curiosity, but I’m going to re-read and re-visit this “My Feet Will Lead Me” report on Riga to savor the fine details. Great trip, great report!


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