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Riga

Culture & History

Our most recommended Riga Culture & History

Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

1. Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

Climb aboard an eco-friendly canal boat to see the sights of Riga from a different perspective as you cruise along the Daugava River. Escape the crowds of the city center as you set sail from the pier by the Freedom Monument at the 18th-century fortifications known as the Triangula Bastion (Bastejkalns). Glide gently under historic bridges and see landmark attractions such as the elegant home of the Latvian National Opera, Europe's largest market and bazaar at Riga Central Market and the UNESCO World Heritage monuments of the Spīķeri Quarter.  Get amazing views of the Vecrīga district (Old Riga) as you cruise towards the Riga Passenger Terminal and Yacht Club Andrejosta. Make your way back towards the departure point and get stunning views of Kronvalda Park and the Latvian National Theatre.

Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

2. Riga: Private Tour with a Local Guide

Meet the local guide at your Riga accommodation and head out on a walking tour to explore the city. You’ll be in good hands with a knowledgeable local who is eager to share all the tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your visit. Start by getting familiar with the neighborhood where you’re staying. Hear about the best places to eat and shop and learn the easiest ways to get around. On this customized tour you’ll see some of the top attractions and hear about more that you can visit on your own after the tour. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable navigating the city and confident you have all the information you need.

Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

3. Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

Wander through centuries in House of the Black Heads! Feel the magic atmosphere of luxurious halls of celebrations, decorated with brilliant chandeliers and a gallery of royal portraits. Explore the mysterious medieval cellars and elaborate historical rooms with a surprising silverware collection. For the past 700 hundred years, the House of the Black Heads has pleased and enraptured inhabitants and guests of Riga. This is one of the most magnificent buildings in Riga, preserving both the unique historic heritage of the legendary Brotherhood of Black Heads and the history of Riga. For centuries House of the Black Heads was the cultural epicenter of Riga, gathering the most respectable inhabitants of Riga and their guests, during celebrations organized by the Black Heads and their successors. This building, which is situated in the heart of Old Riga, is the symbol of Riga and among the central premises of representation of Riga – not for nothing also the President of Latvia has chosen House of the Black Heads as his temporary residence for almost four years!

Riga: 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

4. Riga: 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Take advantage of a 2-day ticket to the Riga hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour bus, and see all of the city’s attractions on one easy tour. You can take the full city tour which consists of 4 different lines and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. As you tour, an audio guide will provide an informative commentary in 10 languages. Get excellent views of city attractions as you cruise, such as the Freedom Monument, Riga Castle, Orthodox Cathedral, former KGB Headquarters, churches, embassies, and other significant sites. Stops include: • Town Hall Square • National Opera Building • Art Nouveau District • Hotel Latvija • Central Railway Station • Central Market • Riga Ferry Terminal

Riga: Private Sigulda, Turaida, and Gauja National Park Tour

5. Riga: Private Sigulda, Turaida, and Gauja National Park Tour

Embark on a personal and immersive adventure on a private van tour from Riga to Sigulda and Turaida. Customize your itinerary to your preferences and visit sights such as Gauja National Park, Sigulda Manor and Castle, and Turaida Castle. Sit back and relax in the comfort of your private vehicle and watch the landscape change from city streets to lush greenery as you head out of Riga. Make your way to Sigulda, a town near the river Gauja that is also known as the Switzerland of Latvia by locals. Marvel at the Gauja valley with its dense forests, meandering river, and the Gauja National Park. Stop to stroll through the park before seeing the Sigulda Medieval Castle ruins, the new Sigulda Castle, the Turaida Castle museum with its watchtower peering above the trees, and Gutman's Cave, the widest and highest cave in the Baltic countries. Cross the river on the optional cable car ride for a different perspective of the region or enjoy a glass of local wine made in the Cremon Winery at Krimulda Manor. See local craftsmen and women at work to gain an insight into local and cultural life before heading back to Riga. This half day tour is a must for those who have visited Riga and Jurmala before and is especially recommended for bloggers and social media fans.

Riga Explorer Bike Tour

6. Riga Explorer Bike Tour

On our Riga Explorer Bike Tour, we want to show you Riga beyond the Old Town, the parts of the city that you might never find on your own. We are local residents of the city, passionate about where we live, and we want to share it with you, warts and all. We'll meet you at a convenient point, pick up some comfotable bikes and head off to explore the city. The Moscow suburb awaits, an area of the city full of history and the site of the Jewish ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Its decaying wooden houses stand in sharp contrast to the gloss of the Old Town or the splendour of the Art Nouveau buildings. We'll ride through the heart of Riga, where most Ridzenieki (the people of Riga) like to hang out, and on to the Great Cemetery, now a strange mix of graveyard and park, before returning to our starting point.  This is a great way to see Riga, get some exercise, help the environment and learn more about what the city is like today, and how it got this way. Join our Riga Explorer Bicycle Tour and see the true Riga.

From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

7. From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

Take a full-day tour of the beautiful green area of Northern Latvia. Explore Cēsis (the ancient city of Livonia and Brothers of the Sword base) and the picturesque town of Sigulda. Enjoy a day of rich history with medieval monuments, as well as spectacular natural scenery. Trip Itinerary: Medieval castle ruins of Cēsis You experience the castle in a way the people did centuries ago — your guides will light up a candle in the lantern and you will be on our way. You will explore the dark stairs, medieval corridors, and rooms with the help of candlelight as there is no electricity in this 13th century castle. This complex of castle buildings, preserved for centuries, is regarded as a landmark of monumental architecture, which reflects artistic styles from the Livonian period. Cēsis St. John’s Church St. John’s Church is one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia. The church was built in the beginning of the 13th century when Cēsis became one of the most important German power centers in the Baltics, from 1237 up to 1561. Medieval castle ruins of Sigulda The Order of the Brothers of the Sword began building Sigulda castle in 1207. Initially, it was a castellum-type fort. Following the defeat of the Brothers of the Sword in 1236, the Livonian Order modified it. Goodman's cave The Gūtmaņala (Goodman's Cave) grotto is the most popular and biggest cave in Latvia. It was formed over the course of 10,000 years by water gradually eroding sandstone. The grotto is a protected geological site and the oldest tourist attraction in Latvia. Museum reserve and medieval castle of Turaida Turaida Museum Reserve is a beautiful heritage site and former village that was named "garden of the gods" by the locals. Turaida is a wonderful place to get to know the Latvian way of life, culture, history, and spirit. The 42 hectares of grounds are replete with archaeological, architectural, historical and art monuments, all of which provide an account of the events from the eleventh century onwards.

Sigulda Day Tour - Castle Ruins, Gūtmaņala Grotto, & More

8. Sigulda Day Tour - Castle Ruins, Gūtmaņala Grotto, & More

There is so much to see and do in Sigulda that sometimes it is difficult to fit it all in. This comprehensive tour led by a professional guide, is designed to show you around the historic highlights of the city in just a day. Ride the aerial cableway in Sigulda. Opened in 1969, this is the only one of its kind in the Baltic States. The cableway was built in cooperation between Sigulda and Chiatura, a city in Georgia, and offers spectacular views over the city. Explore the Sigulda castle ruins and the new castle. The Order of the Brothers of the Sword began building Sigulda castle in 1207. During the Great Northern War, the castle was destroyed never to be restored again. However the convent building with its famous gothic window plus the main gate tower still stand, and offer an insight into a bygone age. Delve deep into the Gūtmaņala grotto. This is the most popular and vast cave in Latvia. It was formed in the course of 10,000 years by water gradually eroding sandstone, and is a protected geological site. The cave is the oldest tourist attraction in Latvia. Marvel at the ancient inscriptions lining the walls. A trip to the Turaida Museum Reserve should not be missed. The 42 hectares of the reserve feature archaeological, architectural, historical, and art monuments, dating back from the 11th century.

Latvian Palaces and Medieval Castles Private Tour

9. Latvian Palaces and Medieval Castles Private Tour

Be collected at your accommodation in Riga and be driven straight to the region of Bauska city. Visit several palaces from the 18th century and one crusader's castle from the 16th century. Rundāle Palace, formerly Ruhenthal then Ruhendahl, is one of two major baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia. The other is Jelgava Palace. Rundāle Palace was built in two periods, from 1736 until 1740 and from 1764 until 1768. It is situated at Pilsrundāle, 12 km west of Bauska.  Bauska Castle is a complex consisting of the ruins of an earlier castle and a later palace on the outskirts of the Latvian city of Bauska. Either choose a restaurant for dinner or your driver can arrange a picnic if you prefer. 

Riga: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

10. Riga: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

Explore three of Riga’s most essential districts on a half-day combined food tasting and cultural walking tour. Hear stories from the history of the city, and see the world’s largest collection of art nouveau architecture. Begin your tour in charming Old Riga, where the beautiful, centuries-old buildings speak extensively about Latvian culture - one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Highlights of Old Riga (also known as “Vecrīga”) include a reconstruction of the medieval city wall, Riga Cathedral, and the House of the Blackheads. Next, go to the remarkable Art-Nouveau district, where a local guide will explain more about the meaning of symbols hidden behind the beautiful façades. See masterpieces of art nouveau architecture at banks, offices and apartment blocks on almost every street corner. End with a food tasting tour of some typical local food in Riga Central Market. Sample mouth-watering, ecologically-grown local produce in the beautiful art deco and neoclassical market, Europe’s largest market and bazaar.

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What people are saying about Riga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 327 reviews

The Gauja National Park tour with Rolands was the highlight of our trip to the Baltics. Natural beauty, great food, and am amazing guide. Rolands really made it a special day for everyone, especially the kids... Not an easy task for any guide. Would definitely use i-Dā Adventures again!

Edita was very friendly, helpful and professional. Her knowledge of Soviet Latvia is second to none and provided a perfect pace and itinerary.

Very interesting visit offering the possibility of seeing the city from another angle.

Friendly outgoing guide fluent in English. Very good audio presentation.

Small boat, very personally briefly explained the tour.