Riga holidays

Riga city breaks

TravelSavvy guide to city breaks in Riga, Latvia

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Riga originates from the word 'ringa' meaning 'winding river'

Travel guide to city breaks in Riga

The biggest holiday city in the Baltics, Riga has a reputation both good and bad. The good side, they say, is very good and the bad, well it can get pretty grim.

On the plus side Riga has a beautiful city centre, full of cobbled courtyards and turn-of-the-century vistas that will take your breath away.

Its streets boast some of the best examples of Art Nouveau in Europe and Riga has a cafe society to match, making it an attractive cheap flight holiday destination.

On the downside is a raucous night life often marred by yobbo stag party Brits whose idea of a good holiday night out is to urinate freely on national monuments.

Riga, of course, is no stranger to late night revellers. It was once the holiday playground for the Russian military, and Communist colonels headed here regularly to taste its sizzling night life.

Since the break with Communism, Riga has gained in reputation as a fun-filled, fast-forward holiday city, especially in the air travel market, and the locals seem keen to re-establish its pre-war eminence as the 'Paris of the Baltics'.

However, the rise in booze fuelled Riga stag weekends has earned it a 'Bangkok of the Baltics' tag, with a city centre nightlife mostly given over to lap dancing and strip clubs.

Latvia's economy, so long in the Soviet doldrums, is now booming and holiday breaks are big business. Fortunately, the city values its past as much as it welcomes the future. Old buildings aren't being ripped down for modern concrete towers (except for a few Stalinist monstrosities) and the centre is now a World Heritage Site.

This is a rising star in the city break holidays market and one of Europe's most exciting weekend break destinations. It's a pity that those now flying in on Riga air travel stag party holiday booze-ups are nowhere near as charming as their hosts.


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Riga Black Balsam

All city break visitors to Riga are sure to encounter this odd item on just about all drinks menus in the city - Black Balsam. The Black Balsam of Riga is a dark, herb flavoured liqueur that is guaranteed to bring a fiery sting to your throat.

Riga boat trips along the canal

A popular offbeat attraction on a city break holiday in Riga is a boat trip on either of the Riga city waterways. Riga ha two river networks, the Daugava River, which runs all the way to the coastal strip at Jurmala, and the smaller canal network

Riga Salsa Festival poster

Riga may not come to mind when you think of hot salsa dancing but the Baltics is where to head for these days. Each year the Latvian capital puts on a summertime Riga Salsa Festival with a four-day celebration of the Latino rhythm dance craze.

Great Guild Hall Riga

Very popular sights for Riga city break visitors are a pair of Guild Halls that sit right next to each other. In fact, it's almost impossible for the visitor to miss these two fabulous buildings which stand near Livu square in the very heart of Riga.

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TravelSavvy city breaks in Riga, Latvia