Latvia : The uniqueness of Riga
January 1, 1970
by Melanie Freeman
Latvia : The uniqueness of Riga
Most of the people around USA probably would be slightly confused hearing the word “Latvia”, not even talking about its capital Riga. Yes, it definitely is a small country, needless to say – quite unpopular. However, you might be missing a lot if you decide not to bother visiting it. This time I would like to talk specifically about my hometown – the capital of Latvia – Riga.
First things first, if you are planing a trip to Riga, it would be a complete shame not to visit Old Riga – the center of spectacular events, parties and shows. It is simply a colorful explosion consisting modern clubs, national food restaurants, traditional museums, magnificent fairs, luxurious souvenir shops and more, and more! It is the place where you can escape from everyday routine and sort of step into the magical town of fun and happiness.
You will certainly want to have a fancy lunch with a gentle touch of Latvian traditional cuisine in the restaurant “Key to Riga”. After that, you surely will not miss the opportunity to have a drink in the traditional and cozy bar “Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs” (“Folk club Cave Basement”). But even before that; it is practically impossible to walk by some of many fairs in which you will be able to see beautifully shining amber and silver products. If you already feel amazed – hold on to your seat, because the night life of the Old Riga is simply going to knock you off your feet!
First destination leads to another one – it is impossible to visit Old Riga without admiring the pulchritude of Riga’s architecture. Wide range of the Art Nouveau buildings can be found in the center of Riga; extensive reliefs will take your breath away. Also, a note to the beginners of the architecture exploring – in Latvia, do not forget to raise your chin up. Usually, the most spectacular works are up, near the roof or at least in the last levels of the building.
Also, schedule your time for churches – even if you are not religious. These are one of the most amazing masterpieces of the architecture you will experience in Riga. For example, Doma church, St. Peter’s church or St. Jacob’s church. And lastly, if you feel really hungry for art, visit Latvia’s National opera or Latvia’s National theater – not only for the beautiful buildings, but also for unforgettable plays.
“Laima” chocolate museum
Going further, this might be more specific, but definitely worth to see; it is the story about Latvia’s most popular and also oldest chocolate factory, which takes you back to 1870 when the very first chocolate late was made. But it is not all about the history; it is also an amazing experience inside the factory. You get to see the whole making of the sweets. There are different kinds of sweets which contains chocolate, berries, nuts, even marshmallows etc. There are even a chocolate castle (of course, it is unable to eat or touch) and in the end of tour you will see a movie about “Laima” chocolate factory. Afterwards, you are welcome to buy all kinds of different sweets from chocolate and cakes to glazed nuts and berries; the list could go on forever!
So, the next one may sound a bit banal but I am sure you will not regret this. Everyone should see the beauty of colorful flowers and romantic atmosphere which vibrates around these places. It is the perfect place to rest after a full day of exploring, with a cup of coffee and some delicious pastry from local bakery. In the most of them you will find elegant fountains surrounded by lovely wooden benches. It is also a huge pros if you are travelling with your children; in Riga parks there often are many colorful playgrounds while you can rest and enjoy the beauty of human created nature.
However, it is not the only thing to do in a park; do not miss out an opportunity to take a ride through the city canal with cute and romantic mini-ships. It will be an amazing experience – especially in the evening, right before sunset.
As I am surely heading to the last point, I would like to fit as many small things in it as possible. At the end, it’s the little niceties you remember, right? For example, these small, hidden hipster bars, where beer is five times cheaper and people – if lucky – even ten times friendlier and more open minded. These places warm up your heart; such as “Chomsky”, a vintage bookstore united with cafe, called “Mansards”, and of course, not to forget about “Kanepes Kulturas centrs” (“Hemp Cultural Center”). Different life opinions and tasty coffee or hot chocolate – and great mood guaranteed!
For the next thing, I highly recommend to go and see a movie in the cinema “Forum Cinemas”, especially – the new “Scape” hall, which is the first in Baltics to have such an amazing sound and image resolution quality. Trust me on this – you will feel like in completely different dimension! And for someone out there, seeking for adrenaline – I have something very special for you too. If you don’t get satisfied enough with popular real life escaping games from “Escape Room”, go straight to Urban exploring. Find your favorite object on web and explore not only the abandoned buildings or even planes, but also fall in to the strange piles of antique documents and papers which you can find in these objects.
This is my summary of the perfect day or even week in my hometown Riga, but listen up; it is only a small part of the amazing things you can find here. It is a call for unordinary holiday, different journey or even meaningful honeymoon. This city is equally beautiful in every of four seasons; dreamy crystallized in winter, exuberant and colorful in fall, fragrant and gentle in spring, and, of course, sunny and jovial in summer. Make your day sweeter and visit the small, yet wonderful town of miracles!