Though Latvia might not be the first destination that comes to your mind when making plans for Christmas, it definitely has a strong festive spirit and tradition. Did you know that Riga was actually among the first European cities that hosted a Christmas tree back in 1510? As of today, the city has no shortage of Christmas markets, popping up across the city as the season rolls around. Check out the three most amazing spots: Dome Square, Līvu Square, and Esplanade Park.
Old Riga Christmas Market
Dome Square (Doma laukums) hosts Old Riga Christmas Market, which is by far the most sought-after holiday market in Riga. Wade through the maze of lovely wooden huts, while taking in the glittering lights and sipping hot mulled wine. The fair features a large central tree, a carousel, Santa Claus, music, gifts by craftsmen, and everyone's favorite fragrant Christmas goodies.
Riga Christmas Market at Līvu Square
Just a short walk east of Dome Square, you'll find another cheerful Riga Christmas market at Līvu Square (Līvu laukums). Explore its cozy wooden stalls and an extraordinary Christmas tree made of wooden planks. Also, make sure to savor local specialties, such as grey peas and bacon.
Esplanade Park Christmas Market
A small Christmas market is nestled further northeast in Riga's famous Esplanade Park (Esplenāde). In addition to the stalls selling seasonal treats and handicrafts, the market offers intricate kid-friendly entertainment, such as playing in a small rabbit-populated village.
Fair at Kalnciems District (on Saturdays)
As a bonus, only on Saturdays, you can also discover the seasonal fair at Kalnciems District (Kalnciema kvartāls), situated across the Daugava River. The sheer superb wooden architecture is worth visiting on its own. But a charming buzzy market with artisanal foods, crafts, and live music will surely add color to your stay in Riga.
So even if your Christmas holiday in Riga doesn't happen to be a white one, you've got plenty of opportunities to get into the festive spirit. For the most up-to-date announcements regarding Riga Christmas markets, go to our External Resources section below.
If you are still hesitant about the Christmas holidays in Latvia, note that Riga ranks among the most affordable winter break destinations. So don't linger too long and book your accommodations in advance! See the options on the map below.