Riga cruise

The narrow cobbled streets of Old Riga
The House of the Blackheads
The boulevards of the New Town

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Riga

A Cultural Capital

Rīga is the largest, liveliest and most cosmopolitan of the Baltic capitals, a great city to visit when you are on a MSC cruise to Latvia.

A heady mixture of the medieval and the contemporary, the city has much to offer architecture and history enthusiasts in the narrow cobbled streets of Old Rīga and the wide boulevards of the New Town, where beautiful examples of Art Nouveau architecture line Strēlnieku iela and Alberta iela.

The city also has all the trappings of a modern capital, with efficient and affordable public transportation, excellent shopping, and a notoriously exuberant nightlife. An MSC Cruises excursion is a good way to experience Old Rīga, grouped loosely around Town Hall Square and Cathedral Square, which forms the city’s nucleus and is home to most of its historic buildings.

With its cobbled streets, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards, it gives the impression of stepping back in time. To the east, Old Rīga is bordered by Bastejkalns Park, beyond which lies the New Town. Built during rapid urban expansion between 1857 and 1914, its wide boulevards are lined with four- and five-storey apartment buildings, many decorated with extravagant Art Nouveau motifs. If you want to see the city unfold before you, with its melange of church domes, vast parks, ribbon of river and squat Soviet creations, follow the urban throng to Šķūņu iela to St Peter’s Church, a large red-brick structure with a graceful three-tiered spire; climb the tower for excellent panoramic views.

From the doors of St Peter’s Church, Rātslaukums (Town Hall Square) is straight ahead and dominated by the House of the Blackheads (Melngalvju nams), whose facade is an opulent masterpiece of Gothic architecture and which once served as the headquarters of Rīga’s bachelor merchants, who adopted the North African, non-white St Maurice as their patron (hence the name “Blackheads”).

Must see places in Riga

Discover our excursions

5 results found

  • ETHNOGRAFIC OPEN AIR MUSEUM

    RIG02

    After leaving the port, the tour will take you through the beautiful boulevards of Riga with a chance to admire the Orthodox Cathedral, Gertrude Church, both old and new, as well as the many art nouveau buildings on the way. The tour then continues on to the Ethnografic Open Air Museum, which was founded in 1924 and is located on the shores of Lake Jugla. The museum is a great chance to find out more about local history and tradition by visiting the detailed reproductions of farms, churches and windmills from the 16th to the 20th centuries. After the visit, you will continue on to the city centre for a short walk through the historical centre of Riga, which counts as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the Freedom Monument, Theatre Square, Town Hall Square and St. Peter’s Church. Your tour concludes with your return to the port and your ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        3:30 h

      • Adults$55.00Price per person

      • Children$39.00Price per person

    • HIGHLIGHT OF RIGA

      RIG03

      This tour is a perfect opportunity to take in the major sights of Riga, the capital of Latvia, from the comfort of a modern coach. Be sure to take your camera, as there will be stops to photograph the city’s medieval architecture and beautiful examples of art nouveau style. The tour will also take you past the old town, whose skyline is characterised by a wealth of church spires, as well as make further photo stops at the 14th-century Powder Tower and Town Hall Square. To give you the best possible view of Riga’s historical centre, which is known for its wooden architecture, the coach will specially cross River Daugava. The tour concludes by returning to port and your ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
      • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        2:30 h

      • Adults$59.00Price per person

      • Children$45.00Price per person

    • INTRODUCTION TO RIGA

      RIG01

      This enjoyable sightseeing tour will introduce you to the lovely city of Riga, the capital of Latvia. The tour includes calls at the Orthodox Cathedral, the Freedom Monument and the building of the Fine Art Museum. After reaching the old part of the town, you will continue on foot to Theatre Square, with a short stop to go shopping and buy souvenirs or just stroll around and enjoy the cityscape. The tour then continues on to the town hall square and past St. Peter’s Church, St. George’s Church and St. John’s Church. A certain highlight of the tour is the brief recital of organ music at Riga’s Dome Cathedral. You will also have a chance to see the outside of the Swedish Gates and Riga Castle. Be sure to take your camera so as to capture the undeniable beauty of the city’s historical centre, which was declared a UNESCO Word Heritage Site particularly because of its unparalleled art nouveau architecture. The tour concludes by returning you to port and your ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Guests need to negotiate 15 steps to enter the Dome Cathedral. This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adults$52.00Price per person

        • Children$35.00Price per person

      • THE RESORT TOWN OF JURMALA

        RIG06

        Historically Jurmala’s natural attractions, such as a healthy climate, mineral water springs and healing mud, have always made it a highly popular spa resort on the Baltic coast. On leaving the port, your tour begins with a relaxing coach ride to the peaceful town of Jurmala and its long sandy beaches. You will be given time to spend at your leisure, perhaps walking along the lovely beaches or taking in the many cafés and souvenir shops located in Jurmala’s high street. The last leg of the tour will take you on a half-hour walk through Riga’s beautiful historical centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour concludes with your return to the port and your vessel. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
          • Duration
            3 h

          • Adults$45.00Price per person

          • Children$32.00Price per person

        • SIGULDA: THE LATVIAN SWITZERLAND

          CITY TOUR

          RIG08

          On leaving the port of Riga, your coach will first take you through beautiful forest scenery and the valley of the River Gauja. Both banks of the river are characterised by steep rocks and caves made of reddish Devonian sandstone, for which feature Sigulda is also called the “Switzerland of Latvia”. Unsurprisingly, Sigulda is a highly popular tourist destination in Latvia. Your tour of the town includes a visit to the 13th-century Turaida Castle along with its fortification tower and the sculpture park dedicated to Latvian folklore in the Turaida Museum Reserve. The brick Gothic castle dates back to 1214, the building of which was overseen by Albert, the then Archbishop of Riga. The fortifications continued to be developed into the 17th century, at which point the castle’s strategic importance began to wane. Badly damaged by fire in 1776 and thereafter left to fall into ruin, the castle only began to be restored in the 1970s. It now forms the centrepiece of the already mentioned Turaida Museum Reserve. You will then continue on to the remains of Sigulda Medieval Castle, which dates back to the 13th century and was originally constructed by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword, a military order founded by Biship Albert of Riga in 1202. Back to Riga, enjoy a walking tour of the old part of the town before returning to your ship. Please note : limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be provided in English only. As this tour involves longer periods of walking, it is not recommended for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.
          • Long route by bus

          • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

            Difficulty Level
            Strenuous

          • Duration
            5 h

          • Adults$59.00Price per person

          • Children$45.00Price per person

        The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

         

        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Latvia

        Russian vestiges and dense forests
        Russian vestiges and dense forests

        The Soviet occupation left Latvia with a large Russian minority population, and it remains a place divided by language and culture – Rīga in particular is a strikingly bilingual city, although all road signs and public notices are in Latvian.



        And although it’s the boisterous capital to which most visitors are attracted, to experience the true spirit of Latvia during an MSC Northern Europe cruise, you’ll need to head into the spectacularly unspoiled countryside, with its lakesforests and sandy beaches.

        A cruise to Latvia has one obvious destination, its capital, Rīga. Its architectural treasures, lively nightlife and countless eating options make it a prime destination for budget travellers, and it’s also popular with stag parties. 


        Places within easy reach of the capital include the palace of Rundāle, while those wishing to hit the beach can head either to the nearby resort area of Jūrmala or to the port city of Ventspils.

        In the scenic Gauja Valley, the attractive small towns of Sigulda and Cēsis can both be used as bases for hiking, biking, canoeing and other outdoor pursuits.