15 unforgettable things to do in Riga in winter (2024)

Are you planning a trip to Riga in winter? In this post, I’ve handpicked the 15 best things to do in Riga during Christmas and the winter months.

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Riga is a magical place, and winter adds its own unique charm to the medieval capital of Latvia with snow and fewer crowds.

The weather might be cold and snowy, but there are still plenty of things to do here.

Ready to plan your Riga winter itinerary?

Let’s get to it!

things to do in Riga in winter - Christmas market (2)

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15 things to do in Riga in winter

1. Join a walking tour of the Old Town

My favorite thing to do in Riga is walk around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town to explore historic buildings, squares, and cobbled streets.

While you can explore the capital on your own, a walking tour will take you through Riga’s key areas:

  • Riga Old Town
  • The Art Nouveau district
  • The Central Market

A guide will tell you about the history and culture, and you’ll also get to try some traditional Latvian food.

Book here – Best of Riga Walking Tour (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Riga in winter - riga Old Town winter

2. Riga Cathedral

Riga Cathedral is one of the oldest sacred buildings in the Baltic states, dating back to 1211.

This Gothic and Romanesque-style cathedral is famous for its large organ, built in 1884 with over 6,700 pipes.

It’s quite unique so make sure to go inside.

Riga, Latvia

3. Riga Central Market

With over 3,000 stalls, Riga’s Central Market is one of Europe’s largest markets!

It’s located in repurposed World War I Zeppelin hangars, where you can taste local foods like smoked meats, cheese, and bread.

Signs are in Latvian, but on a guided tour of the market, you will taste the best traditional Latvian foods and learn about the market’s history since its opening in 1930.

Book here – Latvian food tasting at Riga Central market (⭐ 4.5/5)

Riga, Latvia

4. House of the Blackheads

One of the most important Riga landmarks is the House of the Blackheads.

It was built in the 14th century and is known for its Dutch Renaissance architecture.

The building was originally for a guild of merchants and is a crucial symbol of Riga’s history and culture.

Things to do in Riga, Latvia

5. Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

Latvia has been under Soviet and Nazi rule, and The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia focuses on these occupations of the country.

If you’d like to know more about the history and its effect on Latvian society, this is an important stop.

I think now, in light of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, it’s imperative to educate ourselves about these horrors so we can fight against them.

Riga, Latvia
The Museum of Occupation

6. Try ice skating

On a more joyful note, Riga has a few good open-air rinks in the city center. The one near the Freedom Monument is particularly popular.

7. Visit the shooting range

If you’re looking for a unique activity, you should try this shooting range tour!

You’ll learn the safety rules, then shoot from four types of guns: Glock17, Kalashnikov, Winchester, and Beretta 92FS.

And you’ll get to keep your targets and take photos with the weapons before getting dropped off back at your hotel.

Book a tour – Try real weapons – Winchester, Glock17, Kalashnikov, Beretta 92FS (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Riga in winter - Shooting range

8. Husky dog sledding experience

This private 3-hour tour gives you a unique winter experience with husky dog sledding in a Latvian forest. Just hear this review:

Great people, great experience! The dogs are happy to be cuddled and are great and sweet. They are great pulling friends.

Berwin, Dec. 2021

Book here – Ultimate Husky dog sledding experience (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Riga in winter - latvia Husky dog sledding

9. Christmas Market

If you visit around the holidays, make sure to experience the magical atmosphere of the Christmas market.

It’s located in the Dome Square in Old Town and is open from late November until early January.

things to do in Riga in winter - Christmas market

10. New Year’s Eve Celebrations

You can also celebrate New Year’s Eve in Riga.

The city lights up with fireworks and the Old Town gets super festive.

You’ll find special menus at bars and restaurants, and the crowds are way more manageable than in bigger European cities.

things to do in Riga in winter - riga fireworks

11. Latvia Bobsleigh and luge track

Have you ever tried bobsledding?

I did it a few months ago in Dolni Morava on the second-longest bobsleigh track in Europe, and it was so-much-fun! I laughed all the way down.

In Riga, you can try it, too.

On this unique tour to Sigulda, you’ll get to ride down the Olympic Bobsleigh Track – on ice in winter and on wheels in summer.

Check rates – Latvia Bobsleigh and luge track ride experience (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Riga in winter - Latvia Bobsleigh

12. Have a sip of Riga Black Balsam

Poland has vodka, Scotland has whisky, and Latvia has Black Balsam.

Black Balsam is a Latvian herbal liqueur mix of sweet, sour, and bitter.

It’s been around since the 18th century and is pretty much a national treasure.

You can drink it straight, mix it in cocktails, or even use it in desserts. Definitely give it a try when you’re in Riga—it’s a local must-have.

13. Trip to The Hill of Crosses Lithuania

If you’re up for a day trip, I highly recommend this small-group trip to Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses.

This 19th-century pilgrimage site has thousands of crosses and is a symbol of Baltic resistance.

You’ll also stop by Jelgava, a beautiful city with pretty, historical landmarks.

Book here – Trip to The Hill of Crosses Lithuania (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Riga in winter - Hill of Crosses

14. Riga Art Nouveau

Riga has the most beautiful Art Nouveau neighborhood I’ve seen.

Aside from Riga’s Old Town, make sure to visit Albert and Elizabeth Streets where you can find the unique architecture inspired by nature and mythology like flowers and mythical creatures.

Riga has 800 Art Nouveau buildings, and many of them are concentrated here.

Book here – Riga Art Nouveau walking tour(⭐ 5/5)

Riga, Latvia

15. Enjoy a day at the spa

My favorite thing to do in Riga?

That has to be visiting Espa Spa. I spent a whole day there the last time I was in Riga.

Espa offers massages, facials, saunas, and several pools to help you relax and rejuvenate.

Riga, Latvia

FAQ – Riga in winter

Is Riga worth visiting in winter?

Yes, definitely! Riga is worth visiting in winter.

The city has a festive vibe, a great Christmas market, and winter activities like bobsleighing, husky dog sledding, and ice skating. Fewer tourists also mean a more relaxed experience.

Just dress warmly!

Is Latvia worth visiting in winter?

Yes, Latvia as a country is worth a winter visit. It offers snowy landscapes, winter sports, and cozy, less-crowded cities.

You’ll find Christmas markets, ice skating, and even dog sledding. Just be prepared for cold weather.

Read next: 10 amazing reasons to visit Latvia right now

Is Riga good for Christmas?

Yes, Riga is great for Christmas. The city has a festive atmosphere, beautiful Christmas markets, and holiday decorations.

What is Latvia like in winter?

Latvia is cold and snowy in winter, with temperatures ranging from -6°C to 3°C (21°F to 37°F).

It’s a good time for winter sports and enjoying festive city atmospheres.

More posts about Latvia you might like

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