Free Things to Do in Riga, Latvia

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After spending a little longer than planned in Riga – I realized very quickly I had fallen in love with the city, and it became my favorite of the Baltic capitals. Arriving in early summer, we were lucky enough to get the first of the good weather in Latvia and knew that this would only make our exploration of Riga more enjoyable. Interested in free things to do in Riga? Keep on reading!

The towering church spires, stone streets of the old town, and the infectious cafe culture that radiates the central Old Town has left fond memories of my time in Riga. A budget can be an issue when visiting Latvia and Europe in general, as high costs often deter tourists from spending time in large cities and exploring ancient old towns.

Free things to do in Riga

When it comes to traveling the Baltic region, it is not as budget-friendly as you would suspect, and many of the attractions in the Old Town of Riga can be overpriced. But, the city still offers free or budget-savvy attractions. Additionally, you might want to check out what other things to do in Riga.

Take a free walking tour Riga

When in Riga, it’s likely you’ll want to get to know the city. There are two options for walking tours in Riga, and I’d suggest you do both. First up, take the Old City free walking tour of Riga around the historical center of Riga. Find yourself weaving in and out of tourists, cafes, bars, and more as you get to know that Riga’s Old Town is, in fact, quite new.

Free things to do in Riga
Photo: Makalu

Then, take Riga’s alternative free walking tour for a bit of perspective. The guide takes you to Riga’s suburbs and around the lesser-known but authentic and old areas of Riga. Leave the Old Town behind and discover Riga’s Soviet history through unique streets and curious architecture.

Although walking tours are usually free, it is often polite to tip the guide based on your experience. Always remember this element of a ‘free’ walking tour.

Explore Riga’s market

Another great free thing to do in Riga is exploring Riga’s market. Riga Central Market is actually one of the largest in Europe and is located in the most bizarre World War Two zephyr hangars. The market space and location itself are worth a visit, and you’ll understand exactly why from the outside when you see the imposing structure that was relocated to Riga after the end of World War Two.

Free things to do in Riga
Photo: Jacques Bopp

Inside the market and the three buildings, you can find almost anything. Local seasonal fruit and veg in all shapes and sizes can be found along with locally sourced meats and fish with a traditional Latvian twist. Preserving food by pickling is common in the Baltic countries, and Latvia is no exception, so expect lots of jars with pickled contents. The market is free to enter and a great way to spend an afternoon or morning in Riga.

Visit the beach

This one is semi-free because your train ticket to Jurmala will cost you around €4 in return. But it’s worth it. Head to Jurmala from Riga’s central train station and spend a day on the Baltic Sea, or maybe even indulge in a spa break at the Baltic Beach Spa.

Jurmala is a fun little tourist hub just outside Riga that attracts locals and Russian tourists. The small shopping street can be explored and enjoyed – its quaint styling of wooden buildings and colorful decor is worth a photo. The beach itself in Jurmala is clean and well kept. The blue water and yellow sand are well complimented by the backdrop of varying trees and nature that frame the beach’s sands.

Free Things to Do in Riga, Latvia 1
Photo: Gatis Vilaks

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Walk the length of the beach and enjoy the sun. Events such as volleyball tend to take place on the beach and are usually free to watch. Take your own drinks and snacks to avoid spending money in Jurmala to make this the ultimate budget excursion.

You’ll also find a water park close to Jurmala, outside of the city of Riga – worth nothing for the summer months or travel with young children.

Alternatively, if you don’t like the coast, it’s worth taking a scenic train journey towards the coast to experience the lush forests that lace the side of the train tracks. Riga trains themselves are slow-moving, but it’s certainly a fun experience to take a ride on these retro locomotives.

Enjoy Riga’s green spaces

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Photo: Sabine

Riga is filled with stunning green spaces and picture-perfect parks. Experience the great outdoors and indulge in some nature. Remember the name Victory Park – spend a few hours enjoying the lush greenery and fit in with the locals who you’ll find enjoying the outdoors, especially in the warmer weather. There is wildlife and great weather in Riga, especially during the summer months. Enjoy the outdoors with a picnic as a budget option and a free thing to do in Riga, Latvia.

Appreciate the Gulf of Riga

Riga famously sits on The Gulf of Riga and the Daugava River. Take a stroll along the river banks and cross the impressive traffic and footbridge into the suburbs of Riga away from the old time. Enjoy an evening stole and prepare for a colorful sunset with great views of Riga’s Old Town Churches’ spires from across the water.

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Photo: Vanilla Smile

Test out your photography skills to capture some of the boats that pass below you from the bridge. Have a walk along the Daugava River’s lengths and experience the activities that take place during the warmer months along the stretch of road that runs adjacent to the water. We were lucky enough to watch some cycling – free, of course!

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🏨 Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking.com.

❣ Pre-book a private car transfer with Welcome Pickups to your hotel.

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☀ Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here.

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3 Comments

  1. Latvia seems so unassuming and underrated! One of my good friends is from there and I’d absolutely love to go. I definitely agree with you on doing a free walking tour. I joined one in Prague a few years ago and it was one of the best tours I’ve ever taken!

  2. I’ve never heard of Riga before but it looks like a beautiful place to visit. The green spaces and the beaches are simply mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing the free things to do in the city.

  3. I have yet to explore Europe and was just brainstorming about potential travel destinations to visit in the continent on my first trip there. Riga does offer a fantastic blend of old (by its historic centre and Old Town) and new, nature (with amazing landscapes from the beach and gulf) and urban areas. Would love to visit! 🙂

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