Instagram-Worthy Spots in Riga, Latvia / by Yulia Denisyuk

Ten locations to visit in Riga, Latvia for a great photo

If you are as active a member on the popular Instagram platform as I am, then you know this: finding Instagram-worthy locations for a great photo is an important part of trip planning. I spend quite a bit of time before each trip to scout possible locations for that one great photo! My primary sources include hunkering down on Google, asking my local friends, as well as mining the app itself. Many great spots, however, are found through the old-fashioned trial and error. 

Here are 10 spots I found to be Instagram-worthy from my recent trip to Riga, Latvia. I have deliberately stuck to the Old Town area, but let me know in the comments if I missed any spots there or in other parts of Riga!

1. House of Blackheads

Location: in the heart of Vecrīga (Riga Old Town), directly in front of the Akmens Bridge that connects the center of Riga with its suburb parts. Bring wide lens to fit in all the gorgeous buildings surrounding the square.

2. Rigas Doms

Location: Riga Old Town, a few blocks north from the House of Blackheads. The Riga Cathedral is the postcard symbol of the city, and the surrounding area is a perfect starting point of exploration of Riga's many tiny streets. This spot is also the most likely location for annual Christmas markets.  

3. Petera Baznica (St. Peter's Church)

Location: Riga Old Town, across the street from the House of Blackheads. The tallest peak in Riga offers the best views of town and the nearby Daugava river, in my opinion. If you visit in winter, come prepared: the air at the top of the 130 meter spire is freezing. If you can, bring telephoto lens for the up-close shots of the city below.  

4. Rozena ielā (street). 

Location: Riga Old Town, just behind Rigas Doms. Come here at dusk for tight shots of the narrow street and bring wide angle lens.

5. Riga Art Nouveau Museum

Location: North of the old town centre, on Alberta iela (street). About one third of buildings in Riga are built in the Art Nouveau style (called Jugendstil), but the Art Nouveau Museum's main draw (for me) was its stunning spiral staircase. Bring wide lens!

6. Akmens Bridge

Location: near Latvia National Library. The motor/pedestrian bridge is a great spot to capture multiple shots of the city. If you're facing north, the Old Town across Daugava river, with Rigas Doms and St. Peter's Church piercing through the cityscape, will be on your right. On the left: the ultra modern building of the Latvia National Library will be sure to delight you. Bring a tripod if possible to capture some long-exposure shots of the ongoing traffic at dusk. 

7. Tirgoņu ielā (street)

Location: Riga Old Town. The main street between the House of Blackheads and St. Peter's Church, Kungu iela, will eventually turn into the smaller Tirgonu iela. This street is one of the best examples of Art Nouveau in the Old Town, perfect for those umbrella jump shots!  

8. Jauniela

Location: Riga Old Town, near Riga Doms. One of the many tiny streets around the cathedral, Jauniela street is sure to get you into medieval spirit. Bring wide angle lens to fit in all the details into frame. 

9. Kaku Nams (The Cat's House)

Location: Riga Old Town, few blocks west of Rigas Doms on 10 Meistaru iela. An iconic building in the old part of Riga has an interesting legend associated with it. The building's owner, a rich and prominent Rigan, was trying to become a member of the venerated Blackheads traders society and they wouldn't take him. To annoy them, he turned the cat statue around so that its behind was directly facing the Blackheads Great Guild building... once they had accepted him into membership he turned the cat statue back around. Passions were running high in the medieval Riga!

10. Trīs brāļi (the Three Brothers)

Location: Riga Old Town, near Riga Castle on Maza Pils iela. The Three Brothers are a building complex of three houses dating back to the late 15th century. Bring wide angle lens for sure as the houses sit in a narrow street. If you do forget your wide angle lens (like I did), worry not - there are several nooks and cranny alleyways nearby to make up for the loss!