Riga in April AKA: Our Winter Holiday in Latvia
Last April, we found ourselves with a surprise five days off, and I wanted to visit someplace new and unexpected, someplace we would most likely never have a chance to visit if we weren’t based in Germany, so I planned a trip to Riga, Latvia. Here are some highlights:
Riga is part of the Baltics and an absolute gem. We weren’t sure what to expect from this Baltic city but we had a fabulous time exploring the medieval Old Town, lounging in the underground pubs, listening to live folk music, chatting to the friendly locals and indulging in some great meals. Riga is very budget friendly, so this is a place to splurge.
You should note – this place is COLD. We visited in April and it snowed the entire time. I think this added to the medieval ambiance.
Eats: Prices are very reasonable in Riga so go ahead and splurge! We had a fabulous meal at Balzambar – great artisanal cocktails and tasty, beautifully plated food. We sat at the bar and had a fun time chatting with one of the owners who happened to be the bartending champion of Riga!
Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs: Underground pub with large potions of filling Baltic fare, traditional live music, and a rollicking vibe. Felt like we were in a festival scene from Robin Hood 😀 You can easily spend an entire evening here.
Sights around Riga:
Nightlife and Pubs:
The Armory Bar – Brad has fond memories of being on the shooting team at his school, so I was stoked when I found this armory bar for him, stocked full of weaponry from communist rule that patrons can strip down and reassemble over drinks. The bar men was very friendly and willing to help. Think: bayonets, hand grenades from across the ages, Ak47s and a rocket launcher. Interesting place. You’ll need to find plenty of cafes and bakeries and pubs in Riga if you go between Nov and April because you’ll want to pop into them every 20 minutes or so for a warm drink and some heat.
Black Magic Bar – Beautiful, atmospheric, underground bar. Felt like stepping foot in medieval Riga. Try the desserts and Black Balsam – liquour made in Riga. Not for the faint of heart.
Funny Fox – Fun, relaxed bar in Old Town Riga. Latvians are a very welcoming and friendly people. We had great fun chatting with them in restaurants and pubs and bakeries and learning about life in Riga.
Skyline Bar at the Raddison Blu – For sweeping views over the city and fancy cocktails
Where to Stay: We stayed at an Airbnb for about 30 bucks. It was fine, but very minimal. I would recommend staying in the city center, as once you are there everything is very walkable.
Transport: We walked, took Uber and shuttles. Riga has very good public transport – including heated shuttles that drive around the city, basically much more luxurious busses. They are small, deliciously warm, cheap and delightful.
I loved Riga. This gothic city stole my heart. I can’t wait to visit another Baltic city – I think Tallinn, Estonia looks gorgeous, particularly during the winter. During the summer I tend to long for tropical beach vacations and wildlife, but I love the feel of Eastern Europe or northern Europe in winter.
More Riga Photos: As you can see, no fun to be had here…