Riga
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Riga History & Heritage

Riga: Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads

1. 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!

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Riga: Culture and Food Tasting Tour

2. 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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Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat

3. 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.

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Latvian Palaces and Medieval Castles Private Tour

4. 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.  Mežotne Palace is a manor house located in the Mežotne municipality in Bauska district, in the Semigallia region of Latvia. The palace is one of the most outstanding examples of Classicism architecture in Latvia. 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. Jelgava Palace, also known as Mitava Palace, is the largest Baroque-style palace in the Baltic states. It was built in the 18th century based on the design of Bartolomeo Rastrelli as a residence for the Dukes of Courland in their capital Mitava, which is Jelgava today. The Dukes of Courland also had a summer palace by Rastrelli nearby called Rundāle Palace.  Either choose a restaurant for dinner or your driver can arrange a picnic if you prefer. After the visit to Jelgava castle, you will be returned to your accommodation. 

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Riga: Old Town and Central Market Walking Tour

5. Riga: Old Town and Central Market Walking Tour

Get an insider’s view of Riga's old town on a small-group walking tour through the city's scenic cobblestone streets. Marvel at Riga's famous sights, including St. Peter's Church, where you can climb its tower for amazing views of the city. Make your way inside the Dome Cathedral and learn about the Riga roosters, the Powder Tower, the Swedish Gate, the Three Brothers, and more. Enjoy hearing about the city's past as a mighty seaport during the Middle Ages, and take in views of beautiful medieval landmarks, such as the Old Guild House and the House of the Blackheads. Continue on to Riga Central Market, one of the largest markets in Europe, and immerse yourself in local life. Learn about Latvian cuisine and the variety of local specialties, such as smoked meats, cheeses, herring, and hemp butter. Be sure to sample the favorite foods of the locals.

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Discover Best of Sigulda and Gauja National Park In One Day

6. Discover Best of Sigulda and Gauja National Park In One Day

Beginning the tour with a pick-up from the meeting point at 8:00 AM in Riga. Taking around an hour to drive to Sigulda Town.  Explore nature's trails and local highlights in one amazing day. You’ll get in touch both with the pristine nature of Gauja National Park and the cultural legacy of the area. Hiking several short but amazing hiking trails. Yet, be ready for some 10-15 km on your feet during this unforgettable day. Wander along the beautiful banks of the second biggest river in Latvia – Gauja. Upon reaching the Gauja National Park, where the adventure starts, either in Sigulda, or Krimulda of Turaida. Not rushing as you will get a chance to visit all the major sightseeing sites around Sigulda, Krimulda, and Turaida, including Sigulda and Turaida castles. Then be comfortably returned to your hotel in Riga at the end of the tour.

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Riga: Behind the Iron Curtain 3.5-Hour Communism Tour

7. Riga: Behind the Iron Curtain 3.5-Hour Communism Tour

See Riga on foot and learn about the history of life behind the Iron Curtain on a 3.5-hour walking tour. You will be introduced to the Latgale region of Riga named Ķengarags, which is one of the most interesting and largest suburbs where locals do actually live and the way of life can be seen. During the tour you will feel just like you have stepped back in time, because almost nothing has changed in the looks and life of the Ķengarags suburbs. The one exception is that the Soviet military airplanes aren’t shaking the windows of the houses with the noise made from taking off at the nearby military airport of Rumbula. The architecture (living houses, schools, suburbs) of the Soviet times was very similar in the different parts of the union, with different cities sometimes having identical suburbs. By visiting Ķengarags you will get an understanding of the looks of other USSR cities.

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Riga: 2-Hour Walking Tour in the Old Town

8. Riga: 2-Hour Walking Tour in the Old Town

On this 2-hour walking tour you will explore the Old Town of Riga, the historical and geographical center of Riga on the right bank of the Daugava River. The Old Town covers a relatively small inner area of the old fortifications where unique monuments of medieval architecture are concentrated. The professional guide will show you around the Old Town and tell you all about the history and culture of the city, as well as answer your questions. The walking tour starts at the Town Hall Square, which was the central square of the city from the 13th century to the 19th century. The most famous building in the square is the magnificent Gothic-style House of the Blackheads. During the tour you will also see famous spots of Riga, such St. Peter's Church, the Swedish Gate, and the Powder Tower. Experience the aura of an ancient city as you walk down the narrow streets, where unique complexes of residential houses and sacral buildings are found. Here you can explore the 13th century Riga Cathedral, the Gothic-style St. Peter's Church, the beautiful Synagogue of Old Riga, the Convent Yard of the Holy Spirit, the Three Brothers residential housing complex, Riga Castle, St. George's Church, and St. Jacob's Cathedral. You can also discover Riga's hanseatic past at the Large Guild and the Small Guild, as well as at the reconstructed House of the Blackheads. Recall the medieval times, when Riga was a mighty harbor and a member of the Hanseatic League, which joined traders of the Baltic region with north Germany.

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Riga: Mini Baltic Tour Bauska - Rundale - Hill of Crosses

9. Riga: Mini Baltic Tour Bauska - Rundale - Hill of Crosses

Mini Baltic Tour includes minivan and driver and will start with a pick-up from your hotel in Riga at 10:00. During this tour, there will be 3 main stops for sightseeing. The first short stop will be at Bauska Castle (optional stop can be made at Mezotne Castle as well), arriving at 11:30. Bauska Castle consists of two parts: the ruins of the old part and the new part which was the residence of the Dukes of Courland. Your next stop will be at Rundale Palace at 12:15. This will take the longest time to see with its palaces, gardens and amazing museums. Also, there will be guided tours available for extra cost. Rundale Palace is Baroque and Rococo in style. The last and the most exciting place to see is right outside of Latvia just 70 kilometers away from Rundale Palace called the Hill of Crosses at 15:00. This is hill with thousands of crosses and prayers and exciting to see. Travel back to Riga at 17:00.

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From Riga: Rundale Palace & Bauska Castle Tour to Vilnius

10. From Riga: Rundale Palace & Bauska Castle Tour to Vilnius

This full-day day tour is the best choice for those who want to save time, money, and see the most important sights along the trip from Riga to Vilnius. Visit Bauska Castle, which is surrounded by a picturesque scenery and represents an example of military architecture (XV - XVII century). The castle consists of two parts: the fortress built especially for the use of firearms and the residential castle fortified with bastions, protective walls and earthen ramparts. About two hours is reserved to explore Rundale Palace, one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo architecture in Latvia, which sometimes is called as ‘The Versailles of Latvia’. Rundale Palace is built in the mid-18th-Century by the Russian court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, it was the summer residence of the Duke of Courland. The two-story castle contains 138 elaborate rooms, a lovely French garden and a museum dedicated to the history of Latvia. Last but not least is a unique ensemble of Lithuanian folk art - The Hill of Crosses. The monument with more than 200.000 crosses in various sizes and materials stands on Jurgaiciai - Domantai mound. During your visit at The Hill of Crosses, you will learn more about the legendary stories why the Hill appeared. In the evening finish your drive and arrive in Vilnius city.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Riga

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What people are saying about Riga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 322 reviews

We had a faboulous outdoor day with our knowledgeable and lovely guide Rolands. This tour is a long one - it takes almost 12 hours and it is worth every minute. Spending a day kayaking through the beautiful landscape Abava Valley with Rolands giving insight into Latvian culture, nature, behaviour and everything else we were asking about, was our personal highlight during our trip to Latvia. After the kayak tour we went to the northernmost vineyard. As we we were too late for the cider tasting, Rolands was so sweet as to buy as a bottle in the local supermarket, which we we tried back in the hotel. So, if you have a couple of days to spend in Latvia and you like being in the open, this tour is a must. We can highly recommend it.

Our guide Rihards was great. Despite the rain and cold, he was in good spirits, showed us interesting and historically significant places, shared a lot of information and stories with us, and provided good company. He also recommended some cool bars and nice local beers. It was a very interesting tour that showed us places we wouldn't have found by ourselves, and gave us insights we otherwise would've missed out on. It provided us with a much broader and more nuanced picture of Riga, and Latvia as a whole. Definitely recommended!

We drove just before lockdown and almost had a private tour. It was very worthwhile. The captain really tried hard and was hospitable! The boat was closed with protective foils through which you could see well but not take flawless photos. This was opened for us briefly and then closed again due to the wind! Really great!

We spent a very interesting and inforative day with our tour guide Ilze. A very sweet lady, very knowledgeable and easy to chat with. We can highly recommend this tour-

Very nice guide, knows a lot and super interesting