With over 800 years of history, Riga is filled with rich tradition. The coast of the city sits against the Baltic Sea, giving it an advantage as a center of culture and transport. The port is multifunctional and growing rapidly to continue taking both commercial and passenger vessels. Riga has inspired poets, artists and composers with its creative atmosphere, earning it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. With so much art and culture to discover among its medieval and art nouveau-styled streets, it is easy to see why the port of Riga has become a popular destination for cruise tourism.
Due to its vast array of architectural styles, guided tours of the city of Riga are available to cruise passengers. Guests can spend the day hitting sights such as the Riga Dome Cathedral, the Freedom Monument, and the Rundale Palace Museum while learning about the architectural styles that influenced the area. Specific tours are available to discover the Art Nouveau and distinct wooden building styles that make up the face of the city. The historic center of the city brings all the styles together and is what placed Riga on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Several impressive buildings are located here including Saint Peter’s Church that offers a panoramic view of the city. The Old Town is only 5 minutes from the port and can be seen from ships. In Old Town, a variety of restaurants give the city a lively nightlife and make for an excellent foodie journey through the city.
As visitors venture further into Riga, three attractions will stand out. First is the Riga Central Market, the largest marketplace in the Baltic region. This market has been running along the banks of the Daugava since 1930. Artisans from all over Latvia sell household goods, flowers, handicrafts, and food items. Next is the Riga National Zoological Garden on the bank of Lake Kisezers. Originally built in 1912, more than 3,000 animals from all over the world live in 20 hectares of the garden-like zoo making for a unique experience as guests weave in between the outdoor exhibitions and historical buildings. Finally, the highlight of a trip to Riga is the opera. Known as Riga’s White House, the Latvian National Opera and Ballet was opened in 1923 and hosts over 200 performances each year. This is the absolute best place to experience Latvia’s world-famous opera.
For those looking for relaxation and fun in the sun on the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Jurmala Resort City is the place to visit. Only a short trip away from Riga proper, this large seaside resort is where visitors can spend a relaxing day on the beach or grab a bite at a local café. Jurmala offers several attractions including a spa, a water amusement park and a golf club. Guests are sure to be delighted with a day spent in Jurmala capped off with a stunning sunset.
With so much to do and see, Riga is sure to be a memorable experience for cruise guests.