This article will provide you with everything you need to know before spending 2 days in Riga.
I recently visited Riga, the capital city of Latvia, during my Baltic States Road Trip and it was awesome.
Explore the historic, UNESCO world heritage site that is Riga’s old town. There is magnificent architecture, vibrant eateries, and cobblestone lanes.
This 2-day Riga itinerary will let you know the best things to do, the best bars, and more!
You can expect to visit the House of the Black Heads, St. Peter’s Church, The Freedom Monument, and the awesome central market!
There is also helpful information on where to stay, the best guided tours, and how to get around.
Whether you’re spending a weekend in Riga or more, it’s somewhere you should definitely visit whilst in Latvia.
There are lots of fun things to do in Riga, this guide will give you all the information you need!
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2 Days in Riga Itinerary
So you’re wondering:
What is there to do during 2 days in Riga?
Use this 2-day Riga itinerary for inspiration and to help plan your trip. You can navigate around the different attractions from here.
Let us know in the comments what you think of this Riga travel guide!
2 Days in Riga Itinerary
Old Town Walking Tour | Riga Cathedral | Riga Castle | Riga Food & Drink
Swedish Gate | Parks in Riga | Guided Tours in Riga
Day 3 (Optional):
Riga Coffee | Jacob Barracks | Riga Castles & Palaces
What is Riga famous for?
Riga, the capital city of Latvia, is famous for its amazing medieval old town, cultural highlights, and the beautiful River Daugava. The old town, a UNESCO world heritage site, is pedestrianized and full of lively shops, restaurants, and outstanding architecture.
2 Days in Riga Itinerary Map
Here is a map of the main attractions you will see on day one of your 2 days in Riga.
- The Freedom Monument
- St. Peter’s Church
- House of the Black Heads
- Riga Cathedral
- Three Brothers
- Riga Castle
- Riga Central Market (Optional Extra)
- Riga Food & Drink
2 Days in Riga Itinerary – Day 1
On your first day in Riga, I would recommend doing a full walking tour of Riga’s old town and a few additional attractions.
If you are interested in having a guide for your tour to learn more about the local history of Riga then you could consider Getyourguide
Riga Free Walking Tour
Below I’ve outlined a Riga walking tour itinerary for you. I think this is the best way to kick-start your 2 days in Riga.
The Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is a memorial to commemorate the lives lost during the Latvian War of Independence. It is located next to Bastejkalna park near the entrance to the old town. A fantastic place to start!
St. Peter’s Church
The tower of St.Peters Church in Riga is more than 130 meters tall! Dating back to 1209, there is lots of history to read about whilst there.
It will be one of the highlights of your 2 days in Riga.
House of the Blackheads
The House of the Blackheads is the next stop on your walking tour. It was originally constructed for a guild called the Brotherhood of the Blackheads in the 14th century. Unfortunately, it was bombed during the second world war but it was subsequently reconstructed at the end of the 20th century.
It’s a great sight to behold!
This is in the center of the old town so it’s a great spot to stop for a mid-morning coffee or snack in one of Riga’s many cafe’s
A 5-minute walk away is Riga cathedral, your next attraction.
Dating back to 1211, It’s The Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Riga! It’s also located at Dome Square, the largest square in the old town. You will have plenty of space to step back and take photo’s
The Three Brothers buildings! An architectural delight just 5 minutes walk away from Dome Square.
Interestingly, they are the oldest dwelling houses in Riga, with each of them representing various construction time periods
Riga Castle, founded in 1330, is located next to the River Daugava. Taking a walk there is also a good excuse to see the river, which is great on a summer’s day.
Riga Central Market
If you have enough time (and energy in your legs) then you can make the walk over to Riga central market for the final stop of the walking tour.
It is Europe’s largest market/bazaar and is actually included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list!
You can get something to eat there or alternatively check out the next section on food and drink in Riga.
Food and Drink in Riga
Riga has an awesome, vibrant nightlife. Whilst visiting, we went to lots of bars in and around the center.
My favorite bar was The Armoury Bar. It was tucked away, served great drinks and the bartender was really friendly. In the bar, there are lots of guns and other memorabilia in cabinets.
If you ask the bartender, then the cabinets are unlocked so you can handle the weapons.
There was also an American-themed bar that had these awesome hot rods outside.
Latvian food and drink are delicious. A few things to make sure you try…
- Aldaris beers – Brewed locally in Riga
- Black Balsam – A tasty highly alcoholic herbal liqueur!
- Rye bread with Jāņi Cheese – A traditional speciality
- Delicious fish – Served picked cold or smoked.
The nightlife will be one of the highlights of your 2 days in Riga so be sure to take a walk in the old town during the evening.
If you are interested you can also check out this Riga Food and Beer Evening Tour.
2 Days in Riga Itinerary – Day 2
On the second of your 2 days in Riga, you have a few options to choose from. In the morning you could go back to the old town and view a few things you may have missed on day 1.
- Riga Swedish Gate
- Parks in Riga
- Guided Tours in Riga
Riga Swedish Gate
The Swedish gate is basically a part of the old town which used to be an important entrance into the city for trade purposes. There are cafes nearby so it’s nice for an early morning stop-off before you get on with your second day!
Parks in Riga
Whilst spending 2 days in Riga I enjoyed finding the green open spaces. Riga is fortunate to benefit from some nice parks right within the city.
This photo was taken in Bastejkalna Park which is close to the Freedom Monument. If you walk through the park heading north you will reach Kronvalda Park and south to reach Fountain Nymph.
If you fancy a slightly longer walk you can cross the River Daugava to enjoy Victory Park
Guided Tours in Riga
When I am visiting cities and I want to go on a guided excursion, I generally use Getyourguide because of the ability to book quickly online.
Here are a few options in and around Riga for your second day.
Riga Itinerary Day 3
You have an extra day in Riga, lucky you! Here are a few suggestions which involve getting out of the city and exploring more of what Latvia has to offer.
Riga Old Stock Exchange
But first, here is another spot for your morning coffee stop! Go and check out the old Riga Stock Exchange and have a brew.
The Jacob Barracks shows the coats of arms for Latvia Parishes!
If you have an extra day then why not get outside of the city and see more of what Latvia has to offer! Here I have outlined 3 options of places you can go. You can either do it with a guide or by yourself.
Here are three options for a potential day out on your third day in Riga.
This is a 7 hour guided tour including pick up and drop-off at your accommodation in Riga.
- Visit the incredible Kemeri National Park in Latvia
- Experience the Baltic sea and a fishing village
- Extra stop offs at Jūrmala and the sulphur water spring
- Great for bird spotting!
This trip starts at 09:30 am and the duration is 8 hours. Pickup and drop-off included!
- See the beautiful Latvian countryside
- Visit Sigulda Castle, the bosleigh track, Gutmana Cave and Cesu Castle!
- Additional stop off at a secret Soviet bunker.
This tour also involves pickup and drop off and the duration is 8 hours, starting at 10:00 am.
- Learn about Latvian history at famous castles and palaces
- Rundale Palace, Mezotne Palace, Bauska Castle and Jelgava Palace!
Other Things to do in Riga
If you still have time during your 2 days in Riga here are a few other options!
- Visit the Latvian National Museum of Art
- Make a stop off at the Museum of Occupation of Latvia
- Check out the Latvian National Opera
- Walk to Powder Tower
- See the animals at Riga Zoo!
- Grab a coffee at Dome Square
- Learn more about history at the Latvian War Museum
- Admire the Riga Radio and TV Tower
Where to stay in Riga
As with everywhere else, there are a number of options when deciding where to stay during a weekend in Riga.
The hotels in the center are surprisingly affordable but if you are on a budget you could consider either a hostel or an Air BnB which is located slightly further from the center.
We stayed a short walk from the Freedom Monument.
Here is a list of several accommodation options in Riga.
Liberty Hotel – Great 3 star hotel near the Freedom Monument with free breakfast and rooms at a budget price.
Royal Square Hotel & Suites – 5-star hotel at surprisingly reasonable rates right in the center of the city!
The Naughty Squirrel Backpackers
Cinnamon Sally Backpackers Hostel
Tree House Hostel
Air BnB can be an excellent option for finding accommodation options in Riga
Options range from studio apartments in the center of the city budget alternatives further out.
Riga Travel Tips
Here are my travel tips for your 2 days in Riga.
My thoughts on Riga
I had a great time in Riga. I would say what stood out the most was the friendly people in the old town. I visited many of the bars, cafes and restaurants and it was fun chatting to some of the locals.
We went to a stand-up comedy night which turned out to be in Russian, an interesting experience!
The old town itself is fun to walk around and there is lots of great architecture to look at. It did not take long to drive to Riga from Tallinn so if you have time I would definitely try to fit a trip there too.
Check out my other article: 2 Days In Tallinn
Costs in Riga
As with any destination, the amount you spend will really depend on what kind of activities you want to do and whether or not you are eating out a lot.
Price-wise it was about average for a typical European city.
Hotel room for 2: $40+
Hostel: Dorm – $14+; Private – $45+
Air BnB: $45+
Metro / Bus: $1.25
Day travel card: $7
Bike rental: $5+
Taxi from airport to center: $25
Take-out meal: $8+
Beer in local bar/pub: $5
Beer in a high-end bar: $9
How to get to Riga
Fortunately, Riga is easily accessible by all forms of transport!
There are many flights direct to Riga International airport from all over Europe. In addition, you can take the ferry from Helsinki and drive through Estonia or take buses from other major European cities. There are also great transport links from Russia, Belarus, Turkey, and Israel.
There are also trains and good quality roads into Riga, should you wish to take one of those options. During my baltic states road trip I had no issues covering large amounts of miles on the roads. The traffic was fine.
How to get around Riga
Like Tallinn, Riga is easy to navigate on foot. Most of the city center accommodation is reasonably priced which means staying close to the old town and walking everywhere is a good option.
Alternatively, there is a fantastic network of trams, buses, and trolleybuses. You can also get taxis easily which are metered, which avoids you being charged an unreasonable price.
Best time to visit Riga
Riga has 850,000 residents and is a great place to visit during the summer. The midsummer festivals which take place on 23/24 of June are an important part of the local culture but of course, it can be very busy during this time.
Christmas is also a great time to visit as you can enjoy a mug of warm mulled wine at the Riga winter markets.
The busiest time in Riga is between May and October.
How to save money in Riga
Relevant money-saving tips for 2 days in Riga:
- Book tours in advance on Getyourguide
- Buy a Riga Transport Card
- Buy Euros in advance to get a better FX rate.
- Book accommodation with free breakfast
- Use public transport where possible.
- Book a hotel with free parking if you have a car
Riga Card Benefits
A great way to save money on transport in Riga is to purchase a Riga Card. This gives you unlimited usage of Riga public transport and a variety of attractions in the city. It also provides discounts on museums, restaurants, and other services.
24Hr – (€)25
48Hr – (€)30
72Hr – (€)35
Practical Information for Visiting Riga
- Timezone: Eastern European Time (GMT+2)
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Power: Two pin socket
- Internet access: Excellent
- Drinking Water: Do not drink water from the tap without boiling first
Safety in Riga
- Be careful of pick pockets
- Double check cover charges and drinks prices in restaurants
- Use an anti-theft backpack.
- Most scams revolve around nightlife, so don’t leave drinks unattended
Check out this in-depth article on World Nomads about safety in Riga, Latvia.
Further Reading for Your 2 Days in Latvia
I hope my 2 days in Riga itinerary has been helpful to you.
To help you further plan your visit to Latvia, here are some useful resources:
- Lonely Planet Guide to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Public transport in Riga
- Cost of living information for Riga
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Iain founded The Road Trip Expert in 2019 and continues to manage the website to this day. The inspiration to start the blog came during an extensive road trip around Europe with two friends that spanned several months and involved over 25,000km of driving. He started backpacking in 2014 and has had the pleasure of exploring over 60 countries. Read more on the About page.