16 Quick Reasons You Need to Visit Riga, Latvia


There is one question that visitors to Riga most often ask.

No, it’s not about the city’s current economic situation, or what time of year is best to visit. In fact, it’s more of an observation, rather than a question:

Riga is bubbling over with life, and has become the creative epicenter of the Baltics. There’s so much going on, especially when it comes to culture. So, why Riga? And why right now?

Historically, Riga has been a crossroads; a melting pot of various nations and cultures. The city has always lived in close cooperation with nature, and nature is still an important part of its residents’ daily lives – with many public parks, forests, squares, lakes, and city canals. Riga has everything from hills and islands to beaches. Nesting birds and even beavers call it home. And despite its relative compactness, many of its sites are within walking distance, from urban pulse points to green relaxation zones. It’s an atmosphere of both dynamic city life and romantic rural idylls.

Here are just a few reasons to visit Riga.

  1. It’s the culture capital of the Baltics. Riga offers dynamic cultural life, with everything from top-level artists performing at the Latvian National Opera to popular music concerts.

  2. It’s an architectural pearl. Riga is a mix of old Gothic churches, wooden and medieval buildings, and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture. The Riga Radio and TV Tower is also the tallest building in the Baltic States, at 368.5 m.

  3. It’s a capital of Gastronomy. Riga’s restaurants offer a tasteful gastronomic journey. You can try everything from traditional Latvian food to exotic tastes.

  4. It’s the perfect place for an active holiday. Activities vary from orienteering to motorsports. There is definitely something for everybody.

  5. It’s where centuries meet. Riga is more than 800 years old, and each century has left its mark in the city’s soul.

  6. It’s a city for beauty and wellness. Riga is the place to go for spa treatments, beauty procedures, and even traditional Latvian baths.

  7. It’s a city for your business. Riga is perfect for organizing conferences, exhibitions, and team-building activities. Its excellent infrastructure makes it the perfect place to organize a professional event.

  8. It’s the European capital of free Wi-Fi.

  9. It’s full of song and dance. Every five years, Riga hosts 40,000 participants from all over Latvia for the Latvian Song and Dance Festival.

  10. It’s a place to celebrate. The first documented display of a Christmas tree was in Riga in the year 1510.

  11. It’s a place to shop. Riga’s Central Market is one of Europe’s biggest markets.

  12. It’s a place of value. Riga is the third most expensive property space on the newest version of the Monopoly game board.

  13. It’s green. Riga is one of the greenest cities in Europe. (Forests in Latvia take up 50% of the country’s territory!)

  14. It’s a place to get in the game. Residents of Riga enjoy watching some of Latvia’s most popular sports: ice hockey and basketball.

  15. It’s got fame. Some famous people who hail from Riga: world renowned dancer, choreographer, and actor Mikhail Baryshniko; world chess champion Mikhail Tal; Grammy Award winning music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Andris Nelsons; and Elina Garanca, one of the brightest stars in the world of opera music.

  16. It’s the home of Riga Black Balsam, an herbal liquor of about 45% alcohol by volume that was developed in the 18th century. It is often considered to have medicinal uses even today, aiding such ailments as digestive problems and the common cold. It is made from 24 different plants, roots, spices, and oils, and is highly regarded by experts from all over the world for its outstanding quality, resulting in more than 100 awards at international fairs.

So, what are you waiting for? Get a ticket to WITS Europe 2019 and join us in Riga right now!

Special thanks to LIVE Riga, our WITS Europe 2019 hosts, for providing these fun facts and photos.

Ariel Goldberg