Riga tours and excursions
Several operators run river cruises, taking in local architecture, passing small islands and sometimes venturing out to the Gulf of Riga. Head to the Akmens Bridge and you should be able to catch a boat nearby.
A number of companies offer walking tours of Riga, which can be booked at the main tourist office in Old Town. However, a self-guided walking tour is probably the best bet. A good place to start a walk is at the Occupation Museum on Kalku iela, before heading into the Old Town. The majority of the sights in Old Riga are located on or near Skanu iela (the second right turn after the Occupation Museum), including St John's Church and St Peter's Church. Almost all of the main sights are located within a compact area in Riga’s Old Town.Website: http://www.liveriga.com
Amber Way operates the Riga City Tour. Pick-up by bus is from outside the opera house, on the edge of Old Town. This tour incorporates the 13th-century churches and Old Town’s UNESCO-protected art nouveau masterpieces. Other companies offering bus tours include Riga City Sightseeing.Tel: +371 6727 1915; +371 2776 2776
Once a favourite holiday destination of Communist Party members, this string of small seaside towns and resorts, complete with hotels and spa retreats, stretches 30km (19 miles) west along the coast from Riga. The attractions are sweeping beaches, sand dunes, pine trees and old wooden houses. The only drawback is the incessant forest ticks. Jūrmala is served by regular trains on the Kemeri-Tukumus train line from Riga's central station. All trains stop at Majori.Tel: +371 6714 7900
Riga Motor Museum (Riga Motormuzejs)
This truly bizarre museum located 8km (5 miles) east of Riga's Old Town, looks just like a car showroom at first glance. Closer scrutiny reveals a collection of over 100 vehicles, which includes the former wheels of such renowned car buffs as Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and East German dictator Erich Honecker. The wax figures are a nice touch, creating the surreal sight of the late Brezhnev sitting proudly in his Rolls Royce or Stalin in his specially modified armoured car. The museum can be reached by bus 15 or 21, or trolleybus 14 or 18, and is open daily 1000-1800.Tel: +371 6702 5888
About 18km (11 miles) southeast of Riga lies the site of Latvia's Nazi tragedy. Between 1941 and 1944, several thousand innocents (including many Jewish people from Riga) were murdered at the concentration camp at Salaspils. Today, the camp is preserved as a reminder of those dark days and also houses a museum. The poignant inscription at the entrance reads ‘Behind this gate the earth groans'. Salaspils is easily accessible by electric commuter train and by car. It is open daily, 24 hours. Free admission.Website: http://www.salaspils.lv