Riga On the Road

Riga, Latvia
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the point around which life in Latvia revolves. It holds a third of the country's poplulation and occupies an important location, being a port city on the Baltic Sea.

The city itself has a short but eventful history. Being a little over 800 years old, much has happened in short periods of time. Half a century of Soviet control has left its mark but in a little more than a decade, Riga has gone from independence to entry in the European Union. Nowadays, the city is becoming something of a hot spot for visitors from around the world.

For such a small city Riga has a remarkable amount to offer. The Soviets left the city with a remarkable amount of its history and architecture still intact. For example, the old town of Vecriga remains largely in its intricate medieval form with only the occasional Soviet eyesore.

But if you're looking for a bit of the Soviet legacy, look no further than Centraltirgus (Central Market), a vast Soviet-style market where, it is said, you can buy anything that is made or grown in Latvia.

For more ancient architechture, there is the Dome Cathedral, the largest church in the Baltics, and St Peter’s, with a wooden tower that was once the highest in Europe. Its observation platform offers a panoramic view of all Riga, from the Daugava River to the Baltic Sea.

Add to this an assortment of cafes, restaurants, and parks, as well as an active nightlife. Riga might be small and relatively unknown to many but it shouldn't be underestimated.