Last year in November I had a week off work and was feeling a bit bored so I thought I’d start look around for cheap airplane tickets (this is a big hobby of mine) and ended up finding tickets to Riga, hotel included and all. They were so cheap it was almost free.
Now before this trip I had practically no knowledge of the city other than it was the capital of Latvia, but the hotel had an indoor pool and was just an hour and a half away by plane from Copenhagen. And knowing me, I just can’t back away from a good bargain, so I booked the trip and convinced my boyfriend to come with me.
That autumn was a season full of spontaneity for me, the fact that I died my hair turquoise blue a few weeks earlier can maybe give you the idea.
Now there weren’t a lot of tourists in Riga and the older generation of Latvians spoke little to no English. But we got by with nodding, pointing and smiling a lot.
The weather was cold, it was in the middle of November after all, but not freezing.
The Art Nouveau District
One of the most interesting things about Riga is the art nouveau district. The buildings are beautiful with its overdecorated facades with statues of naked ladies, leaves and scary gargoyles. We visited the museum dedicated to art nouveau where you get to explore the apartment where the Latvian art nouveau architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns lived. The apartments insides still had the original kitchen, bathroom and furniture and it was quite interesting. Unfortunately taking pictures inside the museum cost extra and I was too frugal to pay.
The hotel we stayed at was called Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa and it was quite cosy. It did cost extra to use the pool but it was worth it. Ending a cold day with a swim and some sauna time sure was a treat.
The coolest bar/café in Riga is called Black Magic and the interior is just amazing. It feels like walking into a shop in Diagon Alley or some other magical place. We didn’t try the chocolate but we bought three bottles of their balzam, Rigas national liquor, with us home. But don’t go there for the balzam if you’re not a fan of strong spirits. The taste gets some time getting used to.
Warm alcoholic drinks were all the rage in Riga in wintertime and we caught on the trend and ordered in warm apple cider, warm cranberry drinks, Irish coffees and mulled wine everywhere we went.
We stayed in Riga for four days but we could have easily make due with just three, on the last day we mostly wondered around and didn’t really know what to do after check out. So I’d say if you’re interested visiting, plan a weekend trip. The city is great for a romantic getaway and to do some shopping since the prices are lower than in most other European cities but don’t expect it to be as cheap as visiting Poland for example.