Spending one day in Riga is a very nice experience. 24 hours is a very good amount of time to explore all highlights in the capital of Latvia!
There are many amazing things to see and to do in this city. You can visit the old town and see some remarkable sights. And you can also learn about history at one of the great museums. Furthermore, the food in Riga is amazing!
With this itinerary for one day in Riga, you're going to make the most out of your time in the city. If you follow this guide, you'll see all highlights and have an amazing time!
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Why Spend One Day in Riga
Visiting Riga for a day is amazing. Riga is the capital of Latvia. It's a city with more than 600,000 inhabitants. More than 30 percent of all people who live in Latvia live in Riga. As it's such a large city, there are many things to see and to do!
One of the most important reasons to go here is the historical center. This center is very unique and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you love history, this is an amazing place to visit. There are many old buildings.
Besides that, Riga looks beautiful and the architecture in the city is very nice. Furthermore, there are many interesting museums in the city. There are also beautiful parks and incredible restaurants!
If you’re going to spend one day in Riga, you can see all highlights of the city!
One day is the perfect amount of time if you’re visiting Riga for the first time. But it’s also a great amount of time if you traveled here before and want to see all highlights again.
How to get to Riga
There are several ways to get to Riga. You can go to the city by airplane, bus, or train.
In Riga, you can find an airport, Riga International Airport. Many international flights go here. And when you visit Riga from a country a bit further from Latvia this is how you go here.
From the airport, the best way to get to the city center is by bus. This journey takes about 30 minutes.
If you have heavy luggage or want to get to Riga faster, you can also travel by taxi from the airport. This is faster and more convenient, but it is more expensive than going by bus.
Besides that, you can go to Riga by bus. Many international bus companies have routes going to the city from other countries.
You can also go to Riga by train. There is a good connection to neighboring countries.
Where to stay when you are one day in Riga
When you are one day in Riga, you want to stay at a place from which you can explore the city in a convenient way.
For that reason, I recommend staying in the city center of Riga. There are lots of great options for accommodation in the old town of Riga.
From there you can go to many of the sights that I outline in this itinerary. Walking to all the sights in Old Town is easy!
Furthermore, the place itself is amazing as well! There are many restaurants and other entertainment venues in this part of the city. That makes this a great place to stay.
One Day in Riga itinerary
So now you have all the important information. Let's start this itinerary for 24 hours in Riga!
Start your one day in Riga with breakfast
It is the beginning of your day and it is time for breakfast! There are lots of good breakfast spots in the city, so you don’t have to worry about that.
But what should you have for breakfast if you are here for 24 hours only? And where should you go for breakfast?
Typical Latvian breakfast includes a bread product and rye bread is very popular. This breakfast dish comes with many toppings, such as butter, cucumber, and tomato.
Besides that, porridge is also a breakfast that is very popular with Latvian people. They top this porridge with jam or fruits.
There are many places where you can get traditional Latvian breakfast and brunch. But there are only lots of places where you can have other dishes. For example, you can have bagels at Big Bad Bagels, which serves delicious food!
Wander through Riga Old Town
The Old Town of Riga has great sights to see during your 24 hours in Riga. When you go to Riga for one day, you should definitely spend some time here.
It is the perfect place to see historical architecture and to learn about the history of Riga. Furthermore, there are lots of restaurants and cafes in this part of the town.
For this itinerary, I recommend walking through the old town and go to each of its sights! Each sight is great to see and the walk itself is very relaxing as well. This is a great way to start your day in Riga!
Town Hall Square
When you visit the old town of Riga, Town Hall Square is the best place to start. This is the historic center of the city of Riga and you can definitely feel the atmosphere of the city here. For that reason, it's amazing to see it when you're one day in Riga.
The history of the Town Hall Square stretches back to the 14th century.
It is a great place to be. There are lots of shops, cathedrals, and historic buildings here. Furthermore, throughout the year, many events take place at Town Hall Square.
The most important building at this square is the Town Hall of Riga. This is a building with a tower with a clock on top of it. It is a beautiful building to see.
But the current town hall is not the original version. The second world war caused the destruction of Town Hall Square. And it also caused the destruction of its historic buildings. After that, the city rebuilt it.
You can also find a replica of the statue of Roland at Town Hall Square. He played an important role in the history of the city and people see him as a fair ruler.
House of the Blackheads
Another interesting building at the Town Hall Square in the old town of Riga is the House of the Blackheads.
The original building was here in the 14th century and it was the home of the Brotherhood of Blackheads. This was a guild in Riga for a group of people.
It is a beautiful building to see with 4 very characteristic sculptures.
During the second world, war bombings destroyed the building. It was only at the end of the 20th century that the city rebuilt it.
Only the cellar of the building is still in its original state. This is very interesting to see. There are old walls, floors and wooden stairs. Moreover, some parts of this cellar date back to the 14th century, which is amazing.
After rebuilding the House of the Blackheads, many important events happened here. For example, the president of Latvia moved his residence to the House of the Blackheads for about 4 years. Also, many concerts and operas were there.
Nowadays you can find a museum here where you can learn more about the building. And there are exhibitions where you can learn about the trading history of Riga. And you can learn about the history of the Brotherhood of Blackheads.
We continue the journey through the old town of Riga. While you are walking through this part of Riga, you can also stop at a cafe and relax a bit.
The next thing you should see in Riga Old Town is the Three Brothers. You find here three houses that are great to see! They are in beautiful pastel colors. It's definitely one of the best sights on this itinerary for 24 hours in Riga.
What’s great is that the construction of each of the buildings happened in another period. Because of that, you can see different architectural styles next to each other.
For example, the first building was there already at the end of the 15th century. You can see Gothic and Renaissance details in the style of this building.
Furthermore, the house next to it is from the middle of the 17th century. And the third house has a Baroque architectural style from the 17th century.
Seeing the Three Brothers when you are one day in Riga is something you have to do! And from there you can go to other places in the old town.
St. Peter's Church
Another great building in Riga’s old town is the St. Peter’s Church.
This church is old, and its history goes back to the beginning of the 13th century. Its construction happened in different phases. That’s why the church’s architectural style is a mix of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles.
Like other buildings in the old town of Riga, the war also destroyed the church. But the city rebuilt it after that.
Besides looking at the building, you can also do something here. You can go to the top of the church!
From there you have a beautiful panoramic view of the view. This is definitely something you want to experience when you are in Riga for 24 hours.
From up there, you can see many buildings in the city, including the ones you already saw today. Furthermore, you can see places that you go to later during this day, such as the Freedom Monument.
Another beautiful church that you can see during your one day in Riga is Riga Cathedral. Riga Cathedral is one of the most recognizable sights in Riga. And it is the largest medieval church in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Construction of the cathedral happened in the 13th century. It still exists today, so it is about 800 years old.
During the occupation by the USSR, there were no church services in the cathedral.
The Dome Square in front of the cathedral is also a great place to go in Riga. It is the largest square in Old Town and a lot of things happen here. You find here lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops.
What’s also great here is that you can see three weathercocks of the churches of Old Town from one point here.
The Swedish Gate
The Swedish Gate is an old gate in the city wall of Riga. If you like history, this is definitely a must-see. During medieval times there was a wall surrounding Riga’s Old Town. This gate is the oldest part of the wall of the Old Town and is great to see!
This place was one of the entrances to Riga. The construction of it happened in the 17th century after the war between Poland and Sweden. The Swedish took over, which is why the gate’s name is the Swedish Gate.
When you wander through the city, going here is a great way to experience more of Riga’s history.
The Powder Tower
The last historic sight in the city of Riga is the Powder Tower. Like the Swedish Gate, the Powder Tower belonged to the defensive wall of Riga. It is a very typical tower with a pointed roof.
During the occupation of the USSR, there was a different museum in the Powder Tower. Here you could find the Latvian SSR Revolution Museum. It was about an interpretation of the history of Latvia according to the Soviet ideology.
Today you find here the Latvian War Museum. Here you can see exhibits that are all about the wars of Latvia.
Go to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
Now, it's time to go to a museum! There are many amazing museums in Riga.
For example, there's the Latvian National Museum of Art. There, you can find a very large collection of national art. This museum is amazing with over 50,000 artworks. Here, you can find art from the 18th century until now.
Another nice museum in the city is the Riga Motor Museum. This is a place where you can see many antique vehicles. It's a large museum and amazing for those who love vehicles.
But if you follow this itinerary, you're going to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. This is one of the best museums in the country. You should definitely visit this museum if you’re going to spend one day in Riga! Here, you can learn a lot about history.
For example, there are artifacts and archive documents. The collection of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is very large. There are almost 60,000 things to see.
You can learn about the times that the USSR and the Nazis occupied Latvia. This was the case for more than 50 years.
First, the USSR occupied Latvia in 1940. Then, the Nazis occupied Latvia from 1941 until 1944. And after that, the USSR did it again until 1991. This museum is also a place where representatives from other countries often go to.
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia opened in 1993. And the mission of the museum is to show the things that happened in the country when others occupied it. Furthermore, they want people to remember the victims and crimes.
Moreover, one of the most interesting things to see in the museum is the audiovisual archive. There are hundreds of videos where you can see a lot about the occupations. If you're 24 hours in Riga, you should definitely have a look at these.
Lunch at Riga Central Market
You saw many beautiful buildings in the old town and went to a museum. So I’m sure you’re hungry now. And it’s time for lunch!
A great place for lunch is the Riga Central Market.
This is a great place to visit even if you do not have lunch here. You find here many stalls where you can buy fresh produce, fruits, bread, and more. Also, you can buy here different types of juices.
What’s also great here is the architecture of the place. The architectural style of the place is Art-Deco. And what’s amazing as well is that this was one of the largest covered markets when the city built it.
But let's talk about lunch at the Riga Central Market!
There are many eateries at the market where you can taste typical Latvian food. For example, potatoes and cabbage.
Or you can eat doughnuts at a doughnut place in the market.
Besides that, there is a place where you can buy Uzbek non bread with many toppings, which is like a sandwich.
Visit the Freedom Monument
After having a delicious lunch, it's time to go to the next sight!
You're going to see the Freedom Monument. This is one of the most impressive sights in Riga. If you're spending 24 hours in Riga, this is one of the things you have to see for sure.
The Freedom Monument honors soldiers that died in the Latvian War of Independence. This war took place from 1918 until 1920.
Furthermore, the monument is a symbol of the sovereignty and freedom of the country. It’s also a symbol of the independence of Latvia.
So it’s a great place to learn about the history of Latvia.
Besides that, seeing the design of the Freedom Monument is very interesting. The monument is larger than 130 feet (42 meters). This is so impressive to see! Kārlis Zāle is the designer of the monument.
You can find the monument in the center of the city and it's very close to the old town.
Go to Albert Street
After the Freedom Monument, it is time to go to Albert Street. This is a street you have to visit when you are 24 hours in Riga.
It might be the most beautiful street in the city, so walking through it is definitely worth your time!
Albert Street is famous for the Art Nouveau buildings that you can find here. The city built this street in 1901. Moreover, the architect Mikhail Eisenstein designed most of the buildings here.
Art Nouveau is an architectural style that exists in many countries. It was very popular at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. The style is very elegant to see in these buildings in Riga.
Throughout Riga, you can find many more buildings in this architectural style. In fact, about one in every three buildings in Riga’s city center is in the Art Nouveau style! This makes Riga the city with the most buildings in this style per square mile in the world.
Relax at the park
After seeing Albert Street, it’s time to go to a park! A very beautiful park in Riga is Bastejkalna Park. You can find this park on the edge of the old town of the city. It's a very large park that looks beautiful.
If you love flora, it's amazing to go here. There are many trees and plants in the park. You should definitely go here if you’re one day in Riga. But it’s especially wonderful in spring! Then there are many wonderful flowers in the park.
This is the perfect place to relax for a while. Walk around the park and enjoy nature. You can also sit down and have a little picnic! Or you can go for a jog if you want that.
End Your 24 Hours in Riga with Dinner
At the end of your 24 hours in Riga, you are definitely hungry. So let’s go for dinner! There are many restaurants in Riga that are great to go to.
You can find many of the city’s restaurants in the old town of Riga. This is very convenient as the old town is not very large. Thus, you can walk through it and see which restaurant you like best by walking by it.
One of the best restaurants in Riga is Domini Canes. This restaurant is very close to St. Peter’s Church. The dishes are delicious, and you should go here for superior service. What’s great is that the restaurant works a lot with local products that are available at a certain time.
Another great restaurant is Martinelli. This is a great Italian restaurant with excellent food. For example, you can try their pasta dishes, which are great. And they have some great starters too. Also, this restaurant has some very good wines.
Furthermore, Riits is a good restaurant in Riga. They only use fresh products that local farmers bring to the restaurant every day.
They have all kinds of grilled dishes, soups, salads, and more. Also, they have lots of vegetarian options. So if you want a delicious meal without meat, this is a good place to go to when you are 24 hours in Riga.
What’s also amazing at this restaurant is that if you don’t like anything on their menu, the chef can prepare a dish for you. He can do that with fresh products in the kitchen.
But there are so many other restaurants that are great for dinner in Riga.
No matter which restaurant you choose, you have a great time here in Riga! That’s because you already had a great day if you used this itinerary.
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