The Latvian capital Riga is the largest city in the Baltic States
With more than 700,000 inhabitants, the Latvian capital Riga is the largest city in the Baltic States, and this is where the heart of the republic beats. Riga is easy to reach with daily connections from Amsterdam, Berlin/Tegel, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Helsinki, Munich, Oslo, Vienna, and many more European cities.
The most photographed motif is the House of the Black Heads on Rathausplatz. It is worth spending a little time on the square and admiring the impressive facades in Flemish Art Nouveau, the inscriptions, and the astronomical clock. If you want to enjoy a unique view of the old town, you should climb the 120-meter-high tower of the Petrikirche. The church has been set ablaze by lightning several times. Most recently, it was damaged by bombs in the Second World War, but today, it shines again in its former glory. The skyline bar on the 26th floor of the Reval Hotel Latvija also offers a great view of the city – if you arrive early, you might be able to get a window seat.
Riga is also known for its millions of years old, precious amber that glows reddish, golden, or yellow. They are used in many industrial settings, including science and cosmetics. Particularly beautiful, modern amber jewelry can be found, for example, in the “Amber Room.”
Anyone staying in Riga should also try the cult drink Black Balsam, a bittersweet schnapps made from herbs, roots, and flowers. The Black Balsam allegedly healed Tsarina Catherine the Great when she fell ill while visiting the city. The tastiest snack in Riga is pankukas (pancakes) – best with bright orange salmon caviar and lots of sour cream.
Anyone looking for a souvenir should listen to the young Latvians. They swear by the products of the Stenders soap factory. These natural, handmade fragrance pieces and cosmetic products with fruity aromas and intense colors are available in various shops in Riga, for example, in the Origo shopping center at Stacijas Laukums 2, near the train station.