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Riga Holidays Overview
The capital of Latvia, Riga combines a cosmopolitan big city atmosphere with quaint cobbled streets, and a historic old town. Like the rest of Latvia, Riga is determined to shed its austere Soviet image and has developed a vibrant, energetic restaurant and bar scene alongside its fairytale castles and churches.
The largest city in the Baltics, Riga has a population of almost 800,000 with roughly 40% of Latvian origin, and 40% of Russian origin. It straddles the Daugava River and is situated about 15km inland from the Gulf of Riga coastline.
Riga was badly damaged during both world wars, but between the two it became an intellectual and cultural centre, nicknamed ‘Little Paris’ as Western diplomats, journalists and spies used it to get close to Stalin’s Soviet Union. Forming part of the former USSR, Riga became an industrial and commercial powerhouse after World War II, producing rolling stock, washing machines, mopeds, trams, and computers.
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holidays - Top Events
Contemporary Culture Festival
Known as White Night, the Contemporary Culture Festival in Riga takes place in September and features art exhibitions, musical performances, films, and survival projects. Entry to all the festival exhibits is free of charge.
This international music festival, held in Riga in early July, involves musicians from all over the world. A master class is held at Latvian Radio Studios, offering the chance for musicians to learn new skills from one another and to make music together. There is a separate children’s festival that gives young people the chance to perform music and dancing.
Festival of Light
Riga’s Festival of Light, known as Staro Riga, takes place in November. It includes special performances featuring fire, fireworks, lights and music against the backdrop of the night sky. Original light based artwork and light displays take place throughout the city, linked together by a walking tour, and many of the cities monuments and buildings are imaginatively lit.
holidays - How to Get There
Flights from Australia to Riga take a minimum of twenty six hours and SAS operates a route with two stopovers in Bangkok and Copenhagen. An alternative route via Bangkok and Helsinki is covered by a combination of Qantas, British Airways and Finnair.