European best destinations 2024 - Riga


Discover the less trodden left banks of River Daugava.

Discover the less trodden left banks of River Daugava.

National Library of Latvia

Just across the Akmens Bridge, an extraordinary edifice rises above the cityscape. This much-anticipated construction, also called the Castle of Light, was revealed in 2014. Since then, it has become a beloved study place for students and book lovers. In addition, there’s always several exhibitions showcased throughout the building. You can also catch a magnificent view of the historical center from here.

Mūkusalas iela 3

Kalnciema street quarter

Surrounded by charming wooden buildings, this idyllic pocket of tranquility has been organizing farmer's markets every Saturday since 2008. There's also a gallery, design studio, a restaurant and wine shop on site. Head there for some local goodies, street food vans and crafty treasures. When the weather allows, the quarter also hosts open-air concerts and other performances.

Kalnciema iela 35

Lokāls Veldze

This warm and laid-back café resides across the street of Kalnciema street quarter. Here you can find simple and hearty meals such as Latvian comfort food karbonāde and soļanka and an extensive list of burgers and quintessential bar bites. To complement the meal, they have a considerable list of dangerously affordable cocktails, a few wine options and beer on tap.

Kalnciema iela 40f

Āgenskalns market

Open since 1898, Āgenskalns Market is the largest and oldest market in the neighborhood and has the status of a national cultural monument. From 2018 to 2022 the historical pavilion of the market had a renovation and it reopened in May 2022. Now everyone is invited to view the impressive changes after the renovation.

Āgenskalns Market is an inclusive, versatile and environmentally friendly public space where cultural, educational and various other events take place in collaboration with neighborhood citizens and organizations. Educational events about healthy lifestyle and environmental awareness, art festivals, concerts and theatrical performances are held there.

Nometņu iela 64

Street Pizza

Situated on a leafy corner in front of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, you can find mouth-watering Neapolitan pizza that was recently crowned as the 50th best in Europe. Averting the "do it all" trend, the restaurant solely focuses on pizza and offers excellent antipasti and a good wine list. Save room for their divine tiramisu!

Meža iela 4a

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church & Church of Luther

Graced by blue domes, the ornate, red church looks like it has been stepped out of a Disney feature. Erected in 1895, it's an epitome of the region's Orthodox church architecture. 

Meža iela 2

Torņakalns Church

Another noteworthy religious construction is the Church of Luther or Torņakalns Church. This was the first church in Latvia named after Martin Luther. Dressed in a neo-gothic exterior, the gothic interior is graced by massive iron chandeliers.

Torņakalna iela 5


The island in River Daugava hosts a great collection of wooden architectural dwellings. One of the architectural delights is the sleek Žanis Lipke Memorial. The uniquely designed museum invites visitors to learn about an incredible story of the brave man who saved more than 50 Jews from Nazis during the Second World War by hiding them in a bunker. End the walk with a dinner at Fabrika or Osta restaurant, both boasting a lovely view of the river.

Uzvaras and Arkādijas park, Māras Pond

Despite the grim history (the last public execution happened here in 1946), Uzvaras park has become the No. 1 spot for athletic residents. During warm months here, you can rent roller skates while it turns into a cross-country skiing track during the winter. Further South of the extensive Uzvaras park resides Arkādijas park. Graced by many little waterfalls and bridges, this is one of the most charming parks in Riga. Equally scenic is the greenery around Māras Pond.

Insights from a local

Local enthusiast, blogger, Agija Kola-Kanča: 

Welcome to the other side of Daugava! Life flows a bit slower, and birds are singing louder over here. Born and bred in Riga, I must admit that this part of the city is one of the most charming and exciting – full of hidden gems. Mare minutes away from the city centre, you will find yourself blissfully lost in labyrinths of tiny streets with unique wooden architecture that makes you wonder – have I accidentally stumbled into a movie set? Peppered with beautiful parks, picturesque running, and walking routes. We even have our own foodie street (Meža street) with restaurants and a pizzeria, making it into Europe's top 50 best pizza places. To be in Agenskalns is to be in the very heart of Riga, just across the river from Old town and 15 minutes away from the beach in Jurmala. 

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