This morning you will be met by your guide on the pier for a tour of Riga’s Old Town. You will visit the 13 century St. Peter’s Church which was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt by the Russians. A good place to start any tour is atop the spire, where you can see the whole of Riga laid out before you. This is the perfect way to get your bearings before you wander down the cobble-stoned streets.
As you stroll through the Old Town, you will view the famous House of Cats with cat sculptures perched on the top of its roof and hear about the intrigue surrounding these feline figures. Good examples of medieval dwellings are the Three Brothers, dating to the 15th Century when Riga was part of the Hanseatic League. Also see the House of Black-heads and the Town Hall miraculously risen from the ashes of war.
In the afternoon, we suggest a tour through Riga’s Art Nouveau district which features impressive examples of the style. In total, there are some 800 Art Nouveau buildings in Riga, many of which were designed and built by Latvian architects including Mikhail Eisenstein (the father of the famous director Sergei Eisenstein). On Alberta Street, you may decide to stop at the Art Nouveau Museum and see an authentic apartment from the time, faithfully restored.
Continuing along Elizabetes Street, you will reach the Central Market where some old Zeppelin hangars have been converted into market halls specializing in different types of wares.
Time permitting, you may decide to spend some time in the Bergs Bazaar – a pedestrian area of shops and restaurants inspired by the 19th -century arcades then so popular all over Europe. It was originally built between 1887-1900 by Kristaps Bergs, who was one of Latvia’s first modern real estate developers.