The BEST Unexpected Layover: Riga, Latvia
On our way to Tallinn, my BFF and I had a delayed flight that left us in Riga, Latvia for a night and day. Initially we were super annoyed but it turned in to the BEST day and we were so sad to leave! I for sure hope to get back there someday – we were so impressed!
When we landed at the airport at midnight and learned that we had to stay, we didn’t even really know where we were and had no idea what to expect or do the next day. But we turned our frowns upside down, stepped out of our hotel on a brilliant sunny day and had a whirlwind 7 hours exploring this little unknown (to us) city. I’ve gathered a very light travel guide based on our short experience and the final conclusion is: GO THERE!
Where we stayed: Tallink Hotel, downtown
Our airline put us up here, so we had no choice. But it was a perfect location, only a short walk to old town, shopping, taxi’s readily available, free breakfast, comfortable bed, friendly staff, etc etc…no complaints here and I think its very moderately priced. PLUS, when we walked out the next day to begin our adventure the Hop on Hop off Bus Tour stopped directly in front of us…so we took it as a sign and…
To Do: Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
I know I know…you either love or hate them. But it’s such a small city that a round tour is about 45 minutes and its a great way to get the lay of the land (especially if you have zero idea of where you are). Sidenote: We both love them.
Mr. Page Bookstore
(located in the hip Miera Street Republic)
If you at all a book lover, this is worth the trip to Riga alone.
Mr. Page is a small independently run book store which began purely from a love of well designed books. The owner would collect beautiful childrens books on all of her travels and had amassed such a cool collection that her friends all told her she should open a book store, thus Mr. Page was born. Each book is specially curated based on content and the book cover. You’ll never see so many gorgeous books that you want to read in one place (I bought 3 even though I only had carry on luggage).
Oh, and the best part is – when you walk in you’re actually given white gloves for browsing. If this doesn’t prove that a top quality person owns this, I don’t know what does 😉
Also located in the cool Miera Neighborhood, M50 design store will totally delight you with all of the Latvian made jewelry, clothes and home decor items. When you’re finished then step next door to the M50 bar/cafe where you can find more design items plus the worlds most amazing ham and red pesto croissant. If you spend 50 euros or more in the design store, you’ll get a stamp and can enjoy a free coffee.
And sadly, that’s where it ended since we had a plane to catch. Thanks Riga for our favorite day of the long weekend!
Traveling with Kids?
I can’t find information about it on the internet, but there is a really cool beach/playground/volleyball area right on the Daugava River next to Krisjana Valdemara (Street) which seems to have a bar and plenty of entertainment for everyone. Looked really cool from the Hop on Hop off bus!
You’ll also find a lot of cool parks complete with bounce houses sprinkled around the city, we must have ran in to at least 2 on our short tour.
Have fun and feel free to email me with any questions!