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Riga is the capital of Latvia, a country located on the Baltic Sea. This beautiful Baltic state has so much to offer and Riga makes a great destination for a European weekend getaway. If you’re visiting Riga, this guide gives you 12 of the most instagrammable places in Riga and the best Instagram locations for Riga street photography, aerial photography, architecture and more.
You might also be interested in my guide to 2 days in Riga, Latvia.
Location: in the centre of Old Town - Līvu laukums, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050
Best time to visit: the square gets very busy in the day, you will need to visit early in the morning to see it without people. If you visit during the Christmas season, the Christmas market will be here and it’s a great opportunity to capture the festive atmosphere.
Līvu Square is one of the two main squares, along with Doma laukums, which house the Riga Christmas Market. But even when it’s not the festive season, the colourful buildings and other market stalls that appear here make it a great location for RIga street photography, either for architecture or portraiture. If you want to photograph here without people during the summer or during the Christmas Market season, you will need to go early in the morning before restaurants put out tables and market stalls are set up.
Look for the Blue Cow restaurant, on the west side of the square, this is my favourite part of the square to photograph because of all the colourful buildings.
I visited in November, just before the Christmas peak and was able to capture this area completely quiet at around 7am-8am.
1221 Restorāns - the blue Riga house
Location: Old Town - Jauniela 16, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: early in the morning
This is possibly the most famous of the Instagram locations in Riga, known for the vibrant blue and red shop fronts, with the blue restaurant having the image of cows painted on the front.
These two buildings are perfectly lined up with Krāmu iela street, giving you plenty of photo angles and street photography opportunities either directly in front of the buildings or from further back - see a few of my examples below.
If you want to capture this shot from further back and without people, I would suggest visiting early in the morning as this street gets busy and is also a main street for the city walking tours.
I visited this spot twice, once early in the morning to get the shots from further down Krāmu iela, and again during the middle of the day for shots right in front of the restaurant. During the day there were a few other people trying to get a similar photo so I had to wait for 5 or 10 minutes until they were done. I did visit in November though, so during the summer months it could be a lot busier.
Also in the summer, these restaurants will often put seating out the front, so you may not be able to get a shot there during the day, in which case early in the morning is best.
Please bear in mind that these buildings are restaurant business, please be respectful of their livelihood.
House of the Black Heads
Location: Old Town - Rātslaukums 7, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: in the morning before the city tours start
Located in the square immediately as you cross the Daaugava River into the Old Town, the House of the Black Heads is an official government residence and gothic landmark built after WWII. The striking colour and architecture make this an ideal Instagrammable spot.
This is the square where most tours start from as it’s on the outskirts of the Old Town, most of which is not accessible by large tour buses.
I would suggest visiting before 9am, or in the summer, before 8am.
There are plenty of different angles, including the fountain and surrounding architecture to photograph.
Riga Jugendstila Centrs
Location: Alberta iela 12, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia
Best time to visit: Any time
Cost: FREE (unless you want to visit the apartment)
This art nouveau museum is stunning on the inside and outside, being located in the art nouveau district of the city.
The museum is an art nouveau style apartment with furnishings and art from the time it was built in 1903. This staircase is located in the entryway of the museum so you can see it for free.
To get the Instagrammable shot, I suggest having your camera set up below to capture the details on the underneath of the stairs.
Continue up the stairs if you wish to tour the museum which costs 5 euro per person. (note that this price will go up to 9 euro in summer 2021).
This whole art nouveau district of the city is beautiful and full of Instagrammable places, make sure to look up while you’re walking around!
National Library of Latvia
Location: Mūkusalas iela 3, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1423, Latvia
Best time to visit: any time during opening hours: 10am-4pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. 2pm-8pm Wednesdays and Fridays. CLOSED Sundays and Mondays
Cost: FREE (you will need to sign up for a visitors pass at the entrance)
The National Library of Latvia is located across the river from the Old Town. This was my favourite instagrammable Riga discovery of my trip!
Entry to the museum is free, but you will need to sign up for a visitors pass as the security desks and leave your belongings in a locker (you can take valuables and your camera, just no bags or food and drink).
All right floors of the library are open to visitors and you can visit individually or as a group tour if you wish to go onto the outdoor roof deck - tour times are available at reception.
The weather was bad when I visited so the outdoor viewing deck wasn’t open, but the library shelving is stunning and definitely worth visiting, especially when it’s free!
Holy Trinity Church
Location: Meža iela 2, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1048, Latvia
Best time to visit: Any time
This ornate red church is a Russian Orthodox Church and it’s tucked away in a residential area called Agenskalns across the river from the Old Town.
The vibrant colour and detail of the church makes it well-worthy of its place on this list of Instagrammable places in Riga and its location means it rarely gets busy, unless it’s during church service times.
It can be difficult to get a clear shot, especially if the gates are closed. I would suggest going down the street at the side of the church to get a clear photo over the fence, like I did.
Our Lady of Sorrows Church and the Pils Laukums square
Location: Old Town - Pils iela 5, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: Early in the morning
This church is unique with its sea-blue colour and the colorful pastel buildings that surround it, making it a great Instagram location. Head to this square early in the morning to capture the colours without people or market stalls in the way of the buildings.
The square is located in the north-west, on the edge of the Old Town. You’ll need a wide angle lens or to stand far back in the square to fit all the buildings into one shot. Or try close up shots with the beautiful church.
Combine this with visiting the Three Brothers (below), as they’re on a street that leads off this square.
The Three Brothers
Location: Mazā Pils iela 17, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: Any time
Cost: FREE (including free museums admission)
These three houses date from the medieval era, making them some of the most architecturally famous buildings in Riga, so much so that the Three Brothers are home to the Latvian Museum of Architecture. If you’re interested in architecture then you might want to spend longer here as this museum is free to visit.
To photograph the three buildings together, you’ll need a wide angle lens or to stand down the street behind which is difficult as the street isn’t central to the buildings!
Herbārijs roof terrace
Location: Rooftop of Galleria shopping centre, Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia
Best time to visit: mid-morning or mid-afternoon, to avoid the breakfast, lunch or dinner time rush. Or at night to see the city lights. The restaurant is open 11pm til late
Cost: FREE but you’ll need to buy food or drinks
This gorgeous roof terrace is on the roof of Galleria shopping centre and has lovely views over Riga. It’s also a beautiful chic cafe restaurant and bar, situated in a glass house so you have views across the rooftops around you.
This is definitely one of the lesser known Instagram locations in Riga and is worth visiting for lifestyle and interior photography too. I even saw a wedding shoot happening when i was there!
I visited around midday for a coffee and cake and was seated right by the window with views across the city. Herbārijs is also a bar and open until late, so it’s great for a few evening drinks and nighttime views over the city.
The Swedish Gate and Trokšņu iela
Location: Atgriežu iela, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: any time
The Swedish Gate is one of the few remaining intact sections of the city’s fortification walls from the 17th century. This is an important historical area to photograph and it’s also located on a very photogenic street as you approach it.
However my Instagram location tip is to turn immediately left in front of the gate and onto Trokšņu iela. This alleyway is famous for its narrowness and also for being so colourful! The natural curve in the street makes this a great spot to capture the colours and a very instagrammable place in Riga!
While the area can get busy during the day, it’s definitely possible to wait a moment or two for people to pass and then you’ll be able to get a clear shot.
St Peter’s Church Tower
Location: Reformācijas Laukums 1, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Best time to visit: any time during opening hours 10am-6pm in winter, 10am-7pm in summer. Note that the tower opens later on Sundays due to the Sunday service
Cost: 9 euros for adults
St Peter’s Church Tower is the place to go for the best view of Riga. This medieval church dates from the 15th century and its tall spire is famous for the aerial view of Riga and gives you the opportunity to photograph the rooftops of the Old Town and beyond.
The tower is 123m tall and has 360 degree views of the city. I would suggest going on a clear day to see as much as possible. Also make sure to wrap up warm, it was bitterly cold and windy when I visited in November!
There are also a few exhibits on the lower floors which are free while you wait for the lift to take you up to the top.
Latvian National Museum of Art
Location: Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia
Best time to visit: during opening hours, towards the end of the day is best - 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-8pm Fridays, 10am-5pm weekends. CLOSED on Mondays
Cost: FREE to just to see entrance way, 6 euros to visit exhibitions
Whilst the whole building is beautiful and grand with its Baroque style facade, the entrance hall is the instagrammable location here. You can see this beautiful grand staircase as soon as you walk in the main entrance and you’ll be able to snap some pictures from there.
You can also buy tickets here if you wish to enter the museum. Tickets are 6 euros or 3 euros for individual exhibits.
I would suggest going closer to closing time if you want to get a clear shot of this staircase.
I hope you enjoy finding and photographing these Riga Instagram locations, let me know if you find this useful!
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