Glory to the low-cost carriers that entered Ukraine. Thanks to them, you can fly to most neighboring countries just like that, for the weekend, and it’s not that expensive. If you buy tickets in advance, there are options for up to 50 euros round trip to any European capital.
So why not fly to Riga? No, of course, you can get to the capital of Latvia by land transport. But you will have to travel more than 800 kilometers through at least two borders. It is better to spend this time on pleasure.
Riga is the capital of the Republic of Latvia. Founded in 1201. The population, according to the latest data, is a little less than 700,000 people, about a third of the country’s population. It is located on the seashore, where the Daugava River flows into the Gulf of Riga of the Baltic Sea. The sea serves as a natural climate control: it warms in winter and cools in summer. Therefore, although Riga is north of Kyiv, it is not much colder here, and you can go here at any time of the year.
Riga is a very beautiful city. The entire city center has been declared an architectural monument and UNESCO heritage. Since 1201, it was very difficult for local residents to build a city: the marshy lowland was regularly flooded. For several centuries, the inhabitants of Riga brought earth, sand, stones from the surrounding area… Even the English merchant ships, which went to Riga for goods, loaded bricks into the holds instead of ballast – there was a lack of quality building materials in the city. Building on this shaky ground was a matter of conscience. As a result, most buildings in Riga are architectural monuments and are protected by law.
And there are also a lot of green squares and parks, including the amazing Conrad Park. Good cobblestones, the absence of garbage on the streets and the general well-being of the city create a wonderful background for beautiful houses. You will be surprised how many photos you will bring back from this trip.
Every hour, a melodious chime sounds in the center of Riga. It’s the clock ticking at the city hall. In 2016, Riga celebrated the anniversary of the favorite composer of Latvians, Raymond Pauls. In his honor, the clock at the town hall was set so that every hour one of the melodies written by Pauls was played. In addition, you can hear street musicians of all kinds in Riga. Music festivals are often held here. Opera, electronic and rock music festivals are held here every summer, not to mention various performances by popular singers.
All this takes place in the famous Jurmala. This suburb of Riga is located right on the shore of the Gulf of Riga. Grand concerts and competitions have been held here since ancient times. In short, music lovers will have something to do in Riga.
Riga is lucky with natural resources. On one side is the sea, on the other – northern forests. There are many types of fish here, starting with the famous sprats. There is also forest game, as well as mushrooms and berries. Hundreds of types of kvass, beer and tinctures. And if this is not enough, then Riga is a commercial city, like Odesa, only in the North. You can buy almost everything here.
But a righteous tourist always tries to taste the specialties of local cuisine. First of all, it is baking. Riga residents love fresh buns, and small pastry cafes will be found on every corner. For lovers of a healthy lifestyle, there is good news: here they know how to handle rye flour perfectly, baking from it is even tastier than from harmful white flour.
If you are going to have a heavy dinner, you can safely order any dishes with wild mushrooms: they will taste great. Unexpectedly good a traditional side dish of gray peas in a creamy meat sauce, although it does not look very appetizing. For dessert – bread with cranberries and whipped cream. By the way, the dairy products here are of high quality, so feel free to try the ice cream. And you can wash it down with traditional drinks, or with cocktails based on the famous Riga balsam.
And note, these pleasures will be much cheaper than in Finland or Scandinavia. So why not go?