The largest city in Latvia and the capital, Riga is the largest city of all the Baltic states and almost a third of all Latvians live here, making it a popular tourist attraction due to the number of landmarks, shops and restaurants that can be found here.
Due to Riga being popular with tourists, hotels can be expensive here. By booking a Top Secret Hotel with LastMinute, you can get excellent discounted rates on a number of top hotels in the city, giving you more money to spend on seeing the sights and dining out in some of Riga’s top restaurants.
There have been a number of suggestions for how Riga got its name, the most popular being that it is derived from the Liv word of ringa, meaning ‘loop’ due to the loop of the Daugava River which resulted in a natural harbour being formed. During the Middle Ages Riga developed as a centre of Viking trade, with the local population being mainly made up of fishermen, tradesmen and later craftsmen. Throughout the 12th and 13th century there was a period of Christianisation of the Liv population, and a large influx of German merchants aided the economy of the city. During the First World War Latvia and the other Baltic states were given to Germany for a brief period, before the Armistice in November 1918 resulted in Latvia declaring its independence on November 18th 1918 and declared Riga as the capital city. World War II saw Latvia annexed by the USSR before being occupied by the Nazis between 1941-1944, which resulted in a Riga Ghetto being formed for the Jewish population, with many of these being killed in 1942. During the Cold War period Riga became populated with Russians and other citizens of the Soviet Republic, and by the end of the Cold War the amount of Latvians living in Riga was only slightly more than 1 in 3.
Due to the vast history of the country, one of the top attractions in Riga is the Latvian War Museum. With free admission and English translations provided on the main displays, exhibits include an interesting display of military uniforms from around the world, with information on how Latvians have fought in various nations in significant numbers. Elsewhere there are displays showcasing military artefacts, medieval history, and a display about Latvia during the Second World Two and the effect it had on the country and the population as a whole. Also in Riga you can find the magnificent St Mary’s Dome Cathedral, which houses one of the largest organs in the world with 6,768 pipes. The building was first completed in 1270, and everyday at noon there is a fantastic organ concert with a very cheap entrance fee that is popular with tourists and locals. In the city centre you can find a number of top restaurants at very reasonable prices, so take the opportunity to try some authentic Latvian cuisine and dine in style.
By booking a Top Secret Hotel with LastMinute, you can enjoy staying in a top hotel in the heart of Riga without having to pay expensive rates. With the money you save on discounted accommodation you can enjoy dining out in some of Riga’s top restaurants, or visit more attractions in and around the city.