The city’s airport, Riga International Airport, was built in 1973 and replaced the old Spilve Airport. It is only a short distance away from the city centre, approximately 11km. Renting a car is a great way to experience the beauty of Riga and Latvia.
What is There to Do in Riga?
Situated in the Riga Old Town square is the House of Blackheads. Destroyed during World War II, the building has been reconstructed to a high standard. Boasting iconic architecture, the House of Blackheads is most certainly a place to see when in Riga Old Town.
You may notice a spire in the city’s skyline; this belongs to St Peters Church which is also in the Old Town. Go inside and on a clear day walk to the top for a stunning view. Here you will see the Daugava River that travels through the city and into the Baltic Sea.
The Freedom Monument of Riga is definitely worth seeking out. Known locally as Brīvības piemineklis, it’s a memorial honouring the soldiers killed during the 1918 – 1920 Latvian War of Independence. The high monument holds three stars at the top which symbolise the three regions of Latvia, Lettgallen, Courland and Livland.
Riga has numerous large parks where you can while away an afternoon. One of the parks, Esplanāde, has a number of water fountains and benches. This park is also the home of the National Museum of Art which can be found to the north end. Inside this museum you will find pre-World War II Russian and Latvian art on display among the marble columns.
On the Daugava River banks is Riga Castle. Built in 1330, the castle is currently home of the President of Latvia however several parts of the castle are also home to a number of museums. There have been several reconstructions to parts of the fortress throughout the years and even a fire in 2013.
Day Trips From Riga - Explore Latvia
On the outskirts of the city, approximately 15km away, is the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. Here there are dozens of farmhouses, churches and windmills which provide a record of bygone Latvian country life. The National Fair of Applied Arts are also held here. Just head east out of the city and you will find this museum beside Lake Jugla.
Gauja National Park is a wondrous sight and only a short distance from Riga by car. Whether you wish to embark on a nature trail, or immerse yourself in the history of the area at Āraišu Lake Castle, you will not be disappointed.
Head to the beautiful Lake Burtnieks, which is great for a relaxing day out. Soak up the amazing views and tranquil surroundings. You could head in the opposite direction and locate Lake Engure. Here, at certain times of year you can spot a vast array of bird species and maybe even a Latvian Blue cow!