European best destinations 2024 - Riga

Why Riga and Latvia

Why this city is incredible

Due to being on the crossroads between east and west, Riga historically has always been a focal point of interest and influence that has resulted in a considerable diversity of all periods and styles in the architecture of Riga - from the very city centre to the cobblestoned medieval old town, boulevards and “wedding cake” architecture to small streets, almost rural places, soviet decay mixed with charming and diverse neighbourhoods, at the same time also remaining close to the airport, beaches, woods, small towns, castles, and manors.

Beautiful city - we have heard this exact comment so often from Riga city visitors that it is time to get rid of Latvian modesty and say it ourselves - we are a beautiful place with diverse architecture and the ability to double for a wide range of locations and time periods creating every kind of mood. 

Art Nouveau, Medieval, Wooden, Soviet architecture in Riga

Riga is a living illustration of European history:


  • the relatively well-preserved medieval core in the Historic Centre
  • the 19th century semi-circle of boulevards with a green belt on both sides of the City Canal
  • later-period urban planning structure, as well as the quantity and quality of Art Nouveau architecture, which is unparalleled anywhere in the world
  • wooden architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries (former suburbs)
  • Central market
  • Soviet suburbs
  • The Ethnographic Open–Air Museum (old rural houses)

Along with the Riga Old Town and Art Nouveau architecture, the wooden architecture of Riga has been included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


Outside Riga

Everything in and around Riga (also in rest of Latvia) are relatively close and you can considerably save time and money on travelling between filming locations.

Travelling outside Riga will lead you to:


  • Castles and Manors of different styles and times (and Rundale Palace)
  • Small towns
  • Villages and farmsteads

  • Mature local industry producing world-class products 
  • Good value for money, competitive rates, no unions
Lower costs than Western Europe with the wide range ability to double many places from Western Europe and also double Russia or Soviet time, but is overall safer than Russia.

Everything in and around Riga (also in the rest of Latvia) are relatively close and you can considerably save time and money on travelling between filming locations.

It is easy trough Riga to access the rest of wealth of Latvian locations, for example:

Cinevilla backlot - only filming backlot in Baltic region ~1,5 h car drive from Riga. Large-scale scenery covers about 15 hectares, plus over 100 hectares of adjoining land, specializing in the early 20th century buildings, but can be adjusted to other older periods, vintage steam locomotive and passenger railcars, 60 m long railway platform, canal and historic bridge.

Continuous sandy seaside (500 km of it) - You can have a shooting in the city center and within 30 min car drive reach beach and forests. There are no paid or private beaches in Latvia. Latvia is one of the rare places in the world where you can ski on the beach in winter.

Jurmala - the largest resort town in the Baltic States with beautiful wooden summer villas ~ 50 min drive from Riga city center. Nicknamed Saint-Tropez of Latvia, Jurmala stretches for 26 kilometers along the sea displaying the 20th century art nouveau wooden architecture heritage and wealthy middle-class villas from earlier centuries.

Rundale Palace - one of its kind in the Baltics – can double for Winter palace in St.Petersburg or even Versailles ~ 1 h car drive from Riga. Built in the mid-18th century in baroque style.

Aerodium vertical wind tunnels - Aerodium vertical wind tunnels can be used to capture true to life skydiving action scenes for the next blockbuster or commercial. Tried and trusted by Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise. Allows you to shoot realistic free-fall episodes, thus replacing expensive and risky jumps from an airplane.~ 1 h car drive from Riga.

Kuldiga town - Kuldiga town has preserved its medieval appearance and charm. Kuldīga has maintained not only the urban layout, but also the city scape and significant architectural fabric dating back predominantly to the 17th and 18th century ~ 2,5 h car drive from Riga.


Riga and Latvia are a part of a bigger filming region – North Star Film Alliance 


Perhaps it is strange to hear about nature when talking about a capital city, however Riga is a well-matched representative of one of the greenest countries in Europe.

Distinct four seasons. 17 hours of sunlight in summer. 4 hours of magic light in summer


Riga has always been related to the waters (city canal, river, lakes, seaside), and therefore it is no wonder that this capital city has nine public swimming places approved for use, ranging from lakes to rivers and even the shores of the Gulf of Rīga, all within Riga city limits. 

Splendid views

Riga is a fine spot to witness some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the world, as well as epic clouds. Certain weather conditions could cause the sky to render itself into a variety of vibrant colors (hues and shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, violet, indigo explode in the sky above Riga – especially in winter and early spring).

Parks and gardens

Some say Riga is one giant park. Well, it is definitely very green city. For example, the city canal that was established after the demolition of the medieval fortifications of the old city was gradually turned into the continuous park zone around the Old town. While Riga’s oldest park is already 300 years old, not only parks and gardens, large tracts of the city are covered in open spaces and forests.



What Filmmakers Say

We were looking for empty prisons, and there are very few in Europe. And then we got the Brasa prison in Riga, which is a gift for a filmmaker. We shot four different prisons in one prison there. We actually chose Latvia because it was the only place in Europe you could shoot these scenes.

Regner Grasten
Producer, The Bereaved, 2021

I would like to thank the talented and professional film crew that worked with me in Latvia. Their experience made it possible to shoot the film in a very short period of time. We understood each other perfectly.

Sergei Loznitsa
Director, Ukraine
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