Riga is a small, but extraordinarily alluring and dynamic city.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mostly for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture.
With almost 700,000 inhabitants Riga is the center of cultural, economic, political and gay life of Latvia, and the largest city of the Baltic states. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, and the shores of the Baltic sea.
Note that the population is 45% Latvian and 35% Russian, as, before independence in 1991, the city was the fifth largest city in the Russian Empire.
The City center is compact, and getting around is easy as most of the sights are contained in a small area. You can easily explore walking by your own or with a friendly local Gaybassador to show you around.
Moreover, the city is pretty cheap compared to West European or American standards, so you can have a great time there without getting broke.
Take your time walking and admiring the old city, crammed with beautiful churches and elegant palaces, such as the blackhead building, which is one of the most iconic buildings of old Riga, historical Art Nouveau districts, remarkable museums, pedestrian streets, exquisite gardens, and parks …
Riga has the most significant collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the world,
as the city experienced an unprecedented economic and demographic boom in the early years of the 20th century. From 1904 to 1914 between 300 and 500 new buildings were built each year.
Albert Street is the place in Riga with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings.
Iconic National Museum of Riga and the Museum of Contemporary Art are filled with treasures that you should not miss it.
You can also admire some strange pieces of Soviet architecture, such as the radio and TV tower of Riga, which is, with 368 m, one of the tallest structures in Europe.
After a full day visiting, have some rest and joyful time in the trendy area of Riga, packed with creative restaurants, hipster cafés, art galleries, antique shops, and young designer stalls.
The gay area in Riga
Riga is the only city in Latvia where you can find dedicated gay bars. There is no specific gay district in Riga. Even if there aren’t as many gay bars as in Berlin or Paris, the atmosphere is very friendly, and people are very welcoming with tourists
The biggest gay event in Riga is the Baltic Gay Pride, which takes place every three years.
Actually, this is a unique concept in the world: the Baltic Pride is the official Pride celebration for the three Baltic States, rotating between Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius.
Day trip from Riga
Some of Latvian most impressive attractions are right on Riga’s doorstep.
Rundāle is a Baroque Palace, which is often called ‘the Versailles of the Baltic.’
It was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, one of the most famous architects of 18th century, who worked as well on the fantastic Winter Palace of St. Petersburg.
Jūrmala is a great beach destination since
19 th century.
The beach is 33 km long backed by 4,000 historic wooden houses. If you are brave enough, try t
Exciting museums, lovely walks in the city, gay bars and trendy restaurants … Riga is a perfect destination for a cultural or festive weekend, traveling alone, with friends or with your beloved one.
Finally, Riga is a strategical position to visit Latvia, as it is only a few hours trip by car to enjoy fascinating and gay-friendly Baltic cities such as Vilnius or Tallinn. And now that you are used to the cold, you can as well consider a trip to Warsaw, Helsinki, Berlin or even Oslo and Stockholm.
Or to explore seaside villages, fantastic countryside and to admire breathtaking landscapes.