At the beginning of 2020, I imagined the Summer of this year to be full of travels. Maybe even full two months of exploring the world. However, the reality was a bit different.
For the first time in my travelers’ “career”, I had to do the last minute travel plans. Why? Because the situation of the pandemic was changing very fast. One day I was making an itinerary for a Poland trip. And the other day I decided to stay safe and visit Latvia and Estonia instead.
In two days, we made our itinerary, booked hotels and Airbnbs, and were ready to hit the road.
Our first stop – Riga
We arrived at Riga on a rainy afternoon and after a long day in the car, we were tired. So tired, that couldn’t get ourselves out for a dinner and ordered food via Wolt. A tasty pizza and cokes are the perfect dish to start the vacay!
The next say, we were ready to go out and find out what Riga has to offer.
Hipster area in Riga – Tallinas Ielas kvartals
I have to mention, that we were in Riga before. And the old town kind of was all we saw. But this time we stayed a bit further from the old town and, apparently, we were very close to the hipster area of the city.
When visiting Riga, in order to feel the hipster vibe, I highly recommend going to the Tallinas Ielas kvartals. It’s a hidden spot, with garages around and nothing fancy. However, once you come to the spot, it’s glorious.
Lots of cafes and tasty street food, amazing graffiti everywhere where possible, laid back and stylish people, and a wonderful vibe… I wish I could be there right now again.
The Tallinas Ielas kvartals was the first spot we went to, ate some baos and wraps, and moved on to the further locations.
On the Miera iela we found lots of boutiques, tea shops, and other cool little stores.
Our favorite there was Mr. Page bookstore.
Have you ever been to a bookstore where you are given gloves? Well, this is the place! In this bookstore, they have only one copy of each book. Therefore, to keep them good-looking, they ask all the visitors to wear gloves. Very interesting experience it was, I must say. And the selection of books was great – from fiction, planting, and photo albums to books for kids and postcards.
Video Game Museum
Another cool spot which we enjoyed a lot was the video game museum. What seems like an ordinary video game store, actually is also a museum, just not many people know that.
On the second floor of the store, there’s a wide selection of old computers and various video games. And, the best thing is, you can play them. Yup, you can play the old school Mario, Pacman, Nintendo games many others.
Oh, and there’s no time limit how long can you be there. We left this place only after we tried out all the games they had. And, of course, we played our favorite ones multiple times.
Latvian Academy of Sciences
Once it’s time for sunset, make sure to find the best spot possible – this is the rule I love to follow.
Some time ago, when I was visiting Riga with a friend, we watched sunset from a Sky Bar. This time, we chose the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
I don’t know whether it was because of the pandemic or what but the observation deck had just a couple of people up there. This was a good thing. We could enjoy the views of the sunset from various spots and felt safe while keeping the distance from others.
However, I wouldn’t say it’s the best spot to watch the sunset. It’s quite pricey, cold and… at the Sky bar it was much more comfortable. Plus, instead of paying for ticket we bought drinks and the price was the same. So the next time we’ll be in Riga, we’ll find a bar somewhere high.
Some other spots…
If you’ll have a car while visiting Riga, I highly suggest you get out of the city and visit Kemeru Purva laipa.
Kemeru Purva laipa
Kemeru Purva laipa is a bog broadwalk near Jurmala which offers wonderful views you probably haven’t seen elsewhere.
First, let me tell you, if you’ll want to visit this place, make sure to write it’s full name in Google maps, Waze or other navigation app you’re using. We’ve wasted some time trying to find this spot and almost gave up but on the last try we found it.
The bog broadwalk has two routes – one 1.4 km long and another 3.4 km long. We took the longer route and believe everyone should take it. It gives you views to many bog lakes, small pine trees, strange plants, insects, and birds.
There’s also an observation platform on the longer route which gives you a chance to see the area from above.
Well, and the last spot we went to was the Jurmala beach. We were lucky to enjoy the sea calm as a lake, the white sand, and very little people. A calm afternoon with a book, Rubik’s cube, and salty weather made our day. And I believe it can make yours, no matter the season.
Old Town of Riga
That is all we saw this time when visiting Riga. Wondering, how about the old town? Well, we got so interested in the unusual parts of Riga that we skipped the old town. It was partly because we’ve been there a few years ago and still remember lots of places vividly. But if you haven’t been to the old town of Riga yet, you must visit it.
How long does it take?
When planning my trips, I always want to have a clue about how long it takes to visit all the places.
So this route of visiting Riga took us two full days. We arrived at Riga in the afternoon, then had two full days two explore the city, and left the other morning.
We haven’t visited the old town, just the hipster areas on one day and the bog and Jurmala on the second day. But if you want to visit the old town, it definitely can be done during the two days visit.
We just like to enjoy slow mornings with a brunch and leave our place around midday. So if you get out a bit earlier than noon, you’ll manage to see it all in two days.
But, of course, if it’s possible to stay there longer, stay. There are plenty of other interesting places to visit.
And here you can find the cool spots in Latvia.