Riga
Culture & History

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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: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

2. 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: Private Tour with a Local Guide

3. 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: 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: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

5. 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.

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

6. 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

7. 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.

Riga: 3-Hour Soviet Walking Tour

8. Riga: 3-Hour Soviet Walking Tour

On this 3-hour walking tour a local guide will take you to some of the must-see places in Riga. Visit sites that are legacies of the city’s Soviet past, and some that are symbols of Latvians' desire for independence. Learn more about the local history of the 20th century, including 3 occupations and miraculous movements towards independence. See typical Soviet-era monuments and buildings, hear about life during the occupation and enjoy great panoramic views.

From Riga: Rundale Palace & Hill of Crosses Private Day Trip

9. From Riga: Rundale Palace & Hill of Crosses Private Day Trip

The driver will pick you up from your address in Riga and firstly will take you to Bauska, where Rundale Palace is located (around 1 hour drive). There you will meet the local guide, who will lead you through the Palace and tell you a lot of interesting stories of the place. After the tour you will have some time to marvel the beautiful French Gardens of Rundale Palace. After you will have another hour drive, which will take you to Lithuania and to one of countries main highlights - the Hill of crosses. The Hill of crosses is a place near Šiauliai city, with hundreds of thousands of crosses, brought by people from all over the world. There you will have time to walk, explore and hear the unforgettable sound of crosses, which are making the music if there is a little wind. Hill of crosses is one of the few highlights in Lithuania, included into the Unesco World heritage list. Back to Riga in the afternoon.

From Riga: Cēsis, Sigulda & Turaida Castle Tour

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Riga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 327 reviews

This tour with Liga has been a wonderful experience! We can highly recommend it to everybody who is interested in the old and new Riga history and culture! Exploring her hometown by foot, ending in the huge central market to try local foods was the perfect combination. Thank you very much! Mira & Mark

very nice boatride, they tell you about the buildings in Riga and their history. The boat rider spoke excellent English. Perfect for hot days

Great tour. Amazing to try different samples with added insight into the history of the market and Latvian traditions. Definitely recommend.

Really interesting tour by Ilse. Great to learn the history of what is a beautiful city.

Great experience travelling in this small boat. Had a lovely time cruising the canal.