Riga shops

Riga shopping

TravelSavvy guide to shopping in Riga

Did you know?

Between the wars Riga was known as the 'Paris of the Baltics'

Riga Christmas Market is held on Dome Square in December

There are many street vendors in Old Town selling amber jewellery

The Central Market in Riga is the biggest market in the Baltics

Riga city break shopping guide

Take a big shopping bag with you when you go to Riga. The days of empty shelves in Eastern bloc countries are long gone.

Riga offers holiday shoppers all the quality and variety they need. There is everything for the holiday shopper, from traditional street markets to up-to-the-minute shopping malls.

Be warned though, Western labels are a major status symbol in Riga so top brand names tend to be expensive.

However, everyday items, along with tourist-type gifts can be picked up cheaply. Riga also has its fair share of fake designer clothes, jewellery and watches.

Riga shop opening

Many small shops close on Sunday but this is by no means universal now as shopkeepers cash in on the growing tourist trade. Most shops open at 10am and close at 6-7pm.

Main shopping centres open daily to 10pm and some supermarkets and pharmacies open 24 hours. Tourist shops tend to be clustered in the centre of the Old City and near the Regal Hotel in the New City.

Riga markets

Riga Central Market, housed in Zeppelin hangars, is one of the biggest in Europe and a great place to visit. (See Offbeat sights) You can buy just about anything there - from Riga food to Riga souvenirs. You will also find cafes, hairdressers and even a post office.

If you don't enjoy the crush of a big market then visit the stalls daily at Vidzemes, just north of the city centre. There is the even cosier daily Latgales Market on Sadonikova and the Flower Market on Terbatas seems to be open all the time.

Riga Christmas Market is set out on Dome Square in December. Around 50 decorated stalls cluster around a large Christmas tree and there is a wide selection of gifts and plenty of mulled wine.

Riga souvenirs

For those looking for gifts to take home, Riga offers some distinctly Latvian presents that are different from the run-of-the-mill gifts. Street sellers hawk their wares outside St Peter's Church and on Skarnu St, selling amber, knitwear, paintings and Russian dolls.

Amber: A favourite for gifts, pure Baltic amber has been found in Egyptian tombs and was traded in Greek and Roman times. The Latvian word for amber is dzintars.

Black Balsam: This thick, black and bitter drink is marketed as a medicinal tonic. The recipe has been a closely guarded secret since the 1700s.

Laima Chocolate: A famous local company, their chocolates can be found in speciality shops and have been made in Riga since 1870. Look out for 'Serenade' chocolate, the oldest and best-guarded Laima recipe - and, to bring home, Prozit boxes containing solid chocolate bottles filled with liqueur.

Woollens: Riga is a great place for hand knitted woollens, many decorated with traditional Latvian geometric designs of the sun, stars and fir trees.

 
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TravelSavvy city breaks in Riga