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Experience Riga

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Travelsphere Experience video

Explore the fascinating Latvian city of Riga with its magnificent art nouveau architecture and lively Central Market. A visit to the spectacular Rundale Palace and Garden completes this 4-day holiday.

Short Breaks

4 Days from £579

Sep 2017 - Sep 2017 Departures

Overview

What's included

  • Return flights from Gatwick with Air Baltic
  • 3 nights in a 3-star hotel
  • 4 meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Travelsphere Tour Manager and Local Guide
  • Overseas transfers and other transportation

Included holiday highlights

  • 
 Walking tour of Riga’s Old Town
  • Sightseeing tour of Riga’s Old Town including entrance to the Art Nouveau Museum and a visit to the Dome Church with a concert of organ music
  • Taste products during a visit to Riga’s Central Market
  • Explore Rundale Palace and Garden

Itinerary

Depart on your scheduled flight to Riga and transfer to your centrally located hotel.


After time to freshen up, you’ll discover the cobblestone streets of Riga’s Old Town on an included walking tour, which ends with a welcome dinner in a traditional Latvian restaurant.

After breakfast, join your Tour Manager and Local Guide for a sightseeing tour of Riga’s Old Town and its surroundings. The city is thought to have the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe and today you’ll explore the area where many where many of Latvia’s most famous artists, writers and scholars once lived.


Included in your tour is a visit to the Art Nouveau Museum, located in the former apartment of Latvian architect Konstantins Peksens. Built in 1903, the building’s highlight is its grandiose spiral staircase and the apartment rooms have been restored to resemble those found in the home of a middle-class Rigan family at the beginning of the 20th century.


Next, we continue to the Dome Church, where you’ll enjoy a short concert of organ music before moving on to Riga’s Central Market. Occupying a series of buildings once used as Zeppelin hangars, the market sells a variety of produce including meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables. During your visit you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a tasting of some of the local goods on offer, such as fish, meat, bread and sweets. The rest of the day is free for you to explore more of Riga at your own pace.

Today we include a visit to Rundale Palace and gardens. You’ll travel about 40 miles out of Riga to visit this splendid palace which is considered by many to be the most magnificent piece of baroque architecture in the Baltic states. Used as a filming location for the BBC series ‘War and Peace’, the palace was built as a summer residence for the Duke of Courland Ernst Johann von Biron in the first part of the 18th century. It was badly damaged during the two world wars and restoration work was finally completed in 2014.


You’ll have plenty of time to explore inside the palace, where highlights include the Golden Hall, the White Hall and the Duke’s bedroom. Outside, why not take a stroll through the beautiful French-style park surrounded by a canal.

Today you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Accommodation

The Ibis Riga Centre is a vibrant hotel that has recently been refurbished into one of the outstanding midscale hotels in the centre of Riga, just 90 meters from Central Station. The inspiring design of the rooms, the modern Book Lounge and the charming round the clock light meal restaurant represent the new concept of the ibis brand. Riga old town and the Freedom monument are within a 500 m radius of the hotel.

Located in Riga’s Old Town, facilities include a restaurant and bar. Guest rooms feature en suite facilities, air-conditioning, TV, hairdryer and safe.

Ibis Riga Centre

Travelsphere have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the hotel images provided on this website and images of room types displayed may vary to those offered on your tour. Therefore due to the possibility of inadvertent errors we do not guarantee their accuracy. Hotels, airlines used and flight times are subject to change and will be confirmed in your final documents.

Dates and Prices

Departing from

Departure date

Duration

Was

Now

Status

 

London (Gatwick)

Friday 08 September 2017

4 Days

£579

SOLD OUT

SOLD OUT

Outbound
Air Baltic

Friday 08 September 2017

Departs

09:25 London (Gatwick)

Arrives

14:10 Riga (Intl)

Operated by

Air Baltic

Inbound
Air Baltic - BT

Monday 11 September 2017

Departs

15:40 Riga (Intl)

Arrives

16:40 London (Gatwick)

Operated by

Air Baltic

What our Tour Managers say

We asked our Tour Manager to sum up what they really love about this tour. Here's what they said:

I love this tour because we see the very best of this splendid city and nearby countryside, its lively historic old town, its unsurpassed art nouveau quarter, the bustling market and the culture and sophistication of the opera and Rundale Palace... and it’s fun to be there.
John Parry - Tour Manager
 
Experience Riga - October 2016

Tour Blog by Yvonne

Travelsphere holiday creator, Yvonne, recently went to Riga to experience first hand the places that feature on our new Experience Riga short break. Read Yvonne's blog below to find out her impressions of Latvia's capital...

48 hours in Riga

Travelsphere holiday creator Yvonne in RigaWhen I told friends and family I was going to Riga, many of them asked "Where’s that?!" I can tell you it’s not as far away as you may think - it’s one of the Baltic capitals and is about 20km from the Gulf of Riga and is really easy to get to!

Getting there

We flew from Gatwick with Air Baltic into Riga and the flight only took 2 hours 40 minutes; the flight was comfortable and the staff were friendly. If flying in economy, you can buy sandwiches and snacks on board and they are reasonably priced. If flying Business, a complimentary meal is usually served which is good quality plus there’s a bit more room too.

About Riga

Riga is the capital city of Latvia and is 2 hours ahead of the UK. Riga airport is just a 15 minute drive by car to the city centre.

6 facts about Riga
  • In 1991, Latvia regained its independence from the Soviet Union
  • In 1995, the historic centre of Riga was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list
  • In 2001, Riga held a celebration in honour of its 800th anniversary
  • In 2014, Riga was named European Capital of Culture
  • Riga has the largest number of free Wi-Fi hotspots per square kilometre in Europe
  • Latvia won the Eurovision song contest in 2002 and hosted the contest in Riga in 2003
First impressions

We had a quick panoramic tour of the city on the way to our hotel and I was surprised at how green the city is - there are trees and green spaces everywhere. With the River Daugava running through the centre and the Gulf of Riga not far away, the air was clean and fresh - it’s clear that Riga is a city that is well looked after. What a great first impression!

River Daugava
Freedom Monument
Riga restaurants
Sightseeing tour of Riga

We had a guided tour of Riga with a really interesting guide. We took a walk through the cobbled streets of the Old Town - the Dome Cathedral is beautiful and has one of the world’s largest pipe organs. We also saw the old Guild Houses, Old Riga Castle, and many wonderfully restored buildings, now home to cosy restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops. The architecture everywhere is stunning with the influence of Art Nouveau - I was impressed as there’s so much to look at and photograph.

The National Opera backstage tour was great, especially when we stood on the stage looking at the auditorium - magical! Next stop was the Art Nouveau Museum which is really interesting and gives you an idea of how a middle class family lived in Riga at the beginning of the 20th century.

Riga Central Market is a vibrant place to visit with many locals doing their shopping here. Originally each pavilion was built as a German army aircraft (Zeppelin) hangar and now they’re used for dairy, meat and fruit and vegetable produce.

Dome Cathedral
Guild Houses
Art Nouveau Museum
Food & drink

We ate out at a local restaurant and tried Baltic Herring with Rye bread for starter which was really tasty and light. I highly recommend trying it. It’s also worth sampling the Black Balsam which is a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur - you can have it on the rocks, mixed with Vodka or even in your coffee! It’s also used for medicinal purposes to treat colds (apparently!). According to legend, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia became ill during a visit to Latvia but was cured after drinking Black Balsam.

For the best view in town, head to the Skyline Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija. It’s located on the 26th floor and has great views of the city - just fabulous as the sun sets over the city. The ladies toilets have even better views, so ladies, make sure you take your camera in with you!

Central Market
Black Balsam
View from Skyline Bar
Rundale Palace & Gardens visit

We took a drive out of Riga (about 70km) and arrived at Rundale Palace which was built as a summer residence for the Duke of Courland Ernst Johann Biron in the first part of the 18th century.

It’s described as one of Latvia’s hidden gems and was used as one of the filming locations for the BBC’s War & Peace. It has the feel of a Russian Palace because the same architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli also designed the Winter Palace and Catherine Palace.

The rooms are decorated with authentic 18th century furniture, paintings and china. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, and the bedroom of the Duke. The palace also has a beautiful French-style park surrounded by a canal.

Rundale Palace entrance
Rundale Palace interior
Rundale Palace and gardens
Riga in a nutshell

Riga is the perfect short break destination - easy to get to, safe, reasonably priced once you’re there, beautifully kept, stunning architecture, friendly locals and clean air. I was pleasantly surprised by what Riga has to offer and would recommend it to anyone wanting to get away for a long weekend - there’s so much to see and do!

Tour Image Gallery

Images shown below are courtesy of Travelsphere employees and are representative of this tour but we cannot guarantee that all destinations or activities shown will feature on a particular departure.

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