Riga’s local markets. What to expect?
There are a couple of benefits of being a relatively small country – the countryside is located only a few steps away from the biggest urbanization in Latvia, it’s capital – Riga. That means that the farmers can cultivate biological farms just at Riga’s door, and easily transport the products to markets in Riga, providing its residents with healthy, freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, and berries.
If you are in Riga and want to enjoy a less touristy experience – meet the locals in their favorite markets around their lovely capital. Smell the flavors of their national food, eat the gifts growth in gardens, farms and wild. Buy a souvenir or have a glass of birch juice, if you catch the right season!
Riga Central Market
This historical market, build in 1930, defines the panorama of Riga. Market’s trademark is Riga’s zeppelin hangars – so the farmers could sell the fresh products in every season.
In 1931 this market was recognized as the biggest and best food market in Europe. In Soviet times 50-70 thousand people visited the central market on a regular basis every day.
Riga Central Market stands as a monument in the middle of Riga, gathering Latvian traditional food sellers and loyal buyers, colors, exotic aromas, and people, fascinated by this institution. Riga Central Market provides guided market tours to show you the hidden secrets and best sellers, but you can explore it on your own, as it is located in the very center of the city and is a popular attraction by foreign visitors.
The best time to visit this market is morning when the products are especially fresh and their variety has no borders. If you choose to visit after its working hours, it is a great place to organize an urban photo session, where the architecture makes an impressive cover for your creative ideas.
Kalnciema Quarter Market
Located on the left side of Daugava River, Kalnciema Quarter has become a heart of Riga’s creative center. Located in the middle of renovated wooden Buildings, this place has the charm of a countryside community and the vibe of Berlin and Amsterdam in Riga’s original manner. Every Saturday it gathers local biological farmers, vine sellers, gourmet street food restaurants and craft artists.
Although it is a regular market, seems like every Saturday is a small celebration; Neighbors and friends meet there with their kinds and lovers, talk about this week’s experiences and memorable moments. Autumn traditionally is the richest of vegetables, but if you are visiting on Spring, don’t forget to buy a bottle of a fresh birch juice.
After visiting the Kalnciema Street market, you can take a walk around Āgenskalns municipality, enjoying little café’s, unique Architecture and art galleries. Speaking of art exhibitions, there is always one waiting for you in the Kalniciema Quarter Gallery!
Flea Market (Latgalīte)
If you want to enjoy the ultimate experience meeting with locals in Latvia, take a look at Riga’s Flea Market. You will find Leica and Minox, Matrioshka’s and old Nokia’s. This Market is one of a kind, reminding the Soviet vibes in a new Cover. The future of this market isn’t clear, so be fast and visit it right now. It is diverse, unique, makes you laugh and amazes you. This is something off the beaten track, see the local diversity and be part of it! If you can, try to have a talk with the sellers, because every object in this market has a special story behind it. If you don’t need anything, just take a walk between tradesman and their small and loaded trade tables – you might change your mind.
If you are curious about the Latvian lifestyle outside outside Riga’s fancy Old Town, which is where our boutique hotel is located , visiting Riga’s markets might just be what you’re looking for.
Take your camera, wallet and some warmer clothes for a long walk and just wait for surprises to happen. Feel like an anthropologist, go beyond the tourist groups and you will see the incredible side of Latvia’s people, products and places.