Riga, the capital of Latvia, offers several spectacular vantage points from where you can see a broad, unobstructed panoramic sceneries which provides a great overview of the city.

In this article you'll find the most comprehensive list of publicly available panoramic viewpoints in Riga - both those where you can see Riga from above and also beautiful panoramic skyline perspectives from ground level. You'll see photos from each sight, a short description and practical information of location, entrance costs, etc. 

St Peter's church tower observation deck


This is by far the most popular vantage point in Riga. Many of the city's classic panorama views you find on the internet are taken from here. St Peter's church tower offers an observation platform at the height of 72 meters (it's accesible by an elevator, so you can spare your legs for more city exploration walks on the street level). 

St Peter's church is located in Old Town, right in the middle of the city, thus it provides centrally located panorama point to whole Riga. The views are good indeed - you can see the sea of Old Town's and historical centre rooftops, compositions with Daugava river and the modern buildings on the other bank of the river, up to soviet apartment block districts in the periphery. 

Practical information. The entrance fee is quite expensive - 9 EUR (students got it for 7 EUR, pupils - 3 EUR, and for the children up to 7 years old the entrance is free). Opened from Tuesday to Sunday - doesn't work on Mondays. Working hours - in winter season (September-April) from 10 to 18 (Tickets office: 10-17), Sundays - 12 to 18, in summer season (May-August) from 10 to 19 (Tickets office: 10-18), Sundays - 12 to 18.  




Science Academy observation deck "Panorama Riga"


Another great and increasingly popular observation point to Riga is the so called "Stalin's birthday cake" - a highrise of Stalinist Classicism built at the 1950ies, similar to buildings in Warsaw and Moscow. From it's panorama deck at the height of 65 metres (which has plenty of space and is never overcrowded, btw) you can see Riga centre from southern side with excellent perspective to Central market, Daugava river, National library, Railway bridge and Old Town. Take a look to the opposite direction and see the less fancy (but still charming) side of Riga - historical suburb of Maskavas forstate, as well as Riga TV Tower in the distance. 

Practical information. The adult entrance fee is 6 EUR (one ticket for a child up to 12 years old together with the family - for free). Opened only in the season from April to November, every day from 10 to 22.  




Radisson Blu "Skybar"



On the top floor of Radisson Blu hotel highrise there is a skyline bar - a place which offers probably the most beautiful panoramic view of Riga. The harmonious scenery includes centre boulevards and parks, Old Town and almost all the highrise accents in one, charming view. Especially beautiful it gets in blue hour when the lanterns are switched on, the streets turning yellow/orange, the trees remains green and the rooftops turns blueish. On the opposite direction the panorama leads your eye in voyage over the 19th/20th Century "belle epoque" age (Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and other  styles) buildings' rooftops, layouted in impressive perimetrical quarters. 


The downside of this location is that the view is seen through windows so reflections of interior can be very disturbing and annoying, especially if you're photographing and trying to get high quality pictures. Heavy and difficult post-processing will be required to at least minimize reflections.



Practical information. Technically the entrance is free, but as it is the restaurant/bar, it would be polite to order some drink. They're not cheap in this place but with just a coffee you could go with few euros. However there's another complication - the place is very popular and that means if you want to be sure you get to the table at the window to Old Town side, you must likely should make a reservation before. Btw, there is also an option to see the views to southern and northern sides of Riga from the staircase windows (and the view to Old Town is visible also from the toilett next to the Skybar but, well, it doesn't seem to be the most appropriate place to enjoy the scenery :)).  




Riga TV Tower observation deck


Riga TV Tower is the highest structure in Riga (368 metres) and it offers vast panoramic views from it's 97 m high observation deck - the highest publicly accesible point to see the city. It's an interesting experience to get there - the elevator takes you up through one of three inclined support "legs" of the tower.   

TV Tower is located on an island between the left and right banks of Daugava river so the closest are nature views - trees, grass and bushes and water. City centre skyline is visible in distance, together with the left bank modern buildings and the green suburbs of Agenskalns, Tornakalns. On the south-eastern side an interesting views to soviet time urbanity can be seen - dense commieblock districts of Krasta masivs, Plavnieki and Purvciems.

The worst thing about TV tower observation deck is (was) it's windows - they were oxidized thus got tinted in yellowish tones. Of course, it makes much harder to get good photos. But this is already outdated information because... 

Practical information. TV Tower observation deck is closed for public since May 2019 - the tower is being reconstructed. The ambitious reconstruction project costs insane amount of money - 50 million euros - and so the result should be no less than spectacular, incredible and amazing (it better be!). The downside is that the tower won't be accesible for tourists for several more years  - it is expected that the reconstruction could be finished in 2024. 




Kipsala (Balasta dam) and Vansu bridge


Balasta dam is the waterfront of Kipsala island - a beautiful area itself with renovated wooden houses and a cobblestoned old street right at the river bank. What makes it the most tempting real estate area in whole Riga is the superb panoramic views to Old Town (and Citadele area) which opens up from this place. Due to arcuated shoreline Riga skyline is dynamically changing here - just a few steps and you see yet another composition of medieval church spires. At the far southern end of Kipsala island, next to Swedbank tower you see a classical Old Town skyline and there is also a square with benches to sit and enjoy the scenery. Vansu bridge is right next to it - it's a bridge which connects Kipsala island to centre. Also from this bridge you can find many beautiful skyline perspectives both to Old Town & Citadele and also left bank. 

Practical information. The areas are free and open public spaces. To get there you must first go to Krisjana Valdemara street in centre and then proceed to western direction, to Vansu bridge. 





AB dam and Akmens bridge



AB dam is the place from where to see the most classic skylines of Riga old church spires. Old Town is directly opposite to this place thus the panoramas are much more stretched than from Balasta dam or Vansu bridge. AB dam is renovated, modern LED lanterns and benches are installed there and it is quite a popular place to enjoy the city's panorama between locals. 

Akmens bridge (which connects) AB dam with the centre (Old Town) offers a rather unique sight - it's the best ground level perspective to both Old Town and modern buildings on the left bank seen together in one composition. To the other side from the bridge there is also an interesting views to Railway bridge, TV tower, Central market and National library.

Practical information. It's easy to reach AB dam and Akmens bridge by foot - just a 10 minutes walk from Townhall square in Old Town. The access is public and free. 




Albert hotel Lounge bar



Albert hotel Lounge bar is the place from where to enjoy nice lower perspective skylines of Riga roof-tops. The bar is situated at the 11th floor and it is high enough to see over the most of other centre's historical buildings. There you can use a telephoto zoom to catch some interesting and original compositions of Riga urban puzzle, starting with the nearby "silent centre" (Alberta street Art Nouveau quarter) rooftops. 

Practical information. Go to Albert hotel lobby and take an elevator up to 11th floor. There is no official costs to visit the terrace but, of course, it would be polite to buy some drink. 




Radisson Blu Daugava panorama floor



Observation floor of hotel Radisson Blu Daugava offers the view of Riga skyline from 10th floor perspective. The perspective is similar as to views from AB dam (which is located down below there) but with heightened perspective, letting observe rooftops, more varied skyline compositions, etc,

Practical information. The panorama floor can be reached through the main lobby, by accesing elevator and going to highest floor, then another one floor by stairs.  




Department store Gallery Riga rooftop



Department store "Galleria Riga" rooftop is (or at least initially it was) publicly accesible place to observe the city from elevated perspective. Here fragmented compositions of city skyline with main verticales of Old Town and surrounding areas can be seen (the roof is not high enough to offer holistic panoramas though).

Practical information. Gallery Riga is located very close to Radisson Blu hotel highrise, on Dzirnavu street. Rooftop can be reached by taking elevator to 8th floor. However it's not clear whether the rooftop is still freely available to everyone who just wants to come here and enjoy panorama - because most area are occupied by restaurants and last time when I was up there even narrow passages weren't left open to visitors. But one can always take a chance, maybe something will change back to good there.   




Department store "Stockmann" & Forum Cinemas building terrace



Another place to look at Riga centre rooftop-level skyline is Forum Cinemas building 6th floor - there is a cafe with outdoor terrace. It offers views to Aspazijas boulevard and 13th Janurary street, as well as some highrise spires sneaking above Old Town roofs. 

Practical information. Go past ticket desks of the cinema, to the main stairs and climb up to 6th floor or use the elevator inside the shopping mall.  




Central Station clock tower



Central station clock tower is located next to Forum Cinemas/Stockmann building but the views from it's sky bar are quite different (also a bit higher). Unusual perspectives to Old Town skyline, nice views to Raina boulevard and interesting look at one of the most dynamic street junctions in Baltic states - Marijas, Satekles and Merkela streets. Also Central market area can be seen. The main disadvantage is the usual one in the places with glass windows - the damn reflections.

Practical information. Central station clock tower is easily noticeable, it's located on the front of station building, in Central station square. There is an elevator which leads up to 8,9 and 10th floors level - there is a sky bar located on 3 floors (connected with staircase as well). The prices, of course, not the cheapest here, but a coffee or something for a few euros with a bonus of great views over the city is worth it. In daytime the place is quite empty, in evenings could be more crowded.   




National Library



Reading rooms of Latvian National library has windows with a views to centre and Old Town. You have to register as a visitor to access these floors. There is also a special panorama deck in the highest floors (11th and 12th floor - they're accessible to regular visitors in Saturdays and Sundays) but for photographers it's rather unusable because of many small black dots on the window glass. The view from library is quite similar to the view from Radisson Blu Daugava hotel building but from a bit different angle and a bit higher. The bridges and Old Town skyline are well visible. 

Practical information. You'll have to leave your bags in special wardrobe (the camera is allowed to take by hand) - to lock the doors until you came back, 1 EUR coin is needed. Then go to information desk and they will tell you the next instructions. 




Dzeguzkalns hill



Dzeguzkalns is the highest natural elevation point in Riga (27 m) and it offers several view corridors to Old Riga and some other parts of the city from around 3-4 kilometres distance. Dzeguzkalns park itself is a charming area to take a walk and in several places the narrow panoramic perspectives can be found. 

Practical information. The park is free of charge. To reach it you have to go to Ilguciems district (see the map). The easiest route by public transport is 5th tram. 




Hotel Ibis Style restaurant floor


Ibis Style hotel occupies a highrise building (former Karavella hotel) in Petersala district - neighbouring suburb of centre to north-western side. There you can see an unusual views of Riga from 12th, restaurant's floor. Part of the surroundings are industrial scenes - Riga port areas. The views to centre side are interesting, perspectives and compositions of skylines you won't see from any other place. 

Practical information. As always with a restaurant - there isn't an official entrance fee but it would be weird to just march in there, stand at the windows and take photos of Riga :) It would be polite to take at least some drink or a small meal. The good news is that the place isn't of the most expensive ones, and also it's not of the most popular and crowded ones. The hotel itself is reachable from city centre by foot - it is a some 3 km walk from Central station area.     




Ziemelblazma park observation tower



Newly built, 37 metres high Ziemelblazma park tower is located some 10 km from Riga centre to north, in Vecmilgravis district, and from there you can see a very different perspective of Riga. It's mostly the rough side of the city - the nearby commieblock district, mighty industrial facilities like Riga Shipyard, Riga port infrastructure, Bolderaja woodworking factory, etc. At the same time, the tower itself is surrounded by a beautiful French style park but the centre skyline with it's churches and other highrises are still visible in the far background. Another eye-catching feature is the Kisezers lake to the eastern side. 

Practical information. Observation tower is open in the warm season - this year from May. The regular adult ticket is 1,50 EUR, for students, pupils, seniors - 1 EUR. 




Bumbukalnins observation tower



If you're an adventurous type you can go to the most distant and hardest-to-reach public vantage point of Riga - Bumbukalnins observation tower. It's a wooden sightseeing tower which is built in the pine forest of  Bolderaja dune, about 10 km from Riga centre in air distance. There are vast nature areas around - forest to one side and Spilve meadows to the other. But at the horizon the most comprehensive Riga skyline can be seen - from Bumbukalnins tower it's possible to see all Riga highrises in one panoramic view. Not only centre but also, for example, highrises of Imanta district.

Practical information. There are no direct public transport route to Bumbukalnins tower from the centre (although it's possible to use connected routes and then take 36th or 56th bus, take a look at Riga public transport map: https://saraksti.rigassatiksme.lv/index.html#stop/1195/map). It's about 15 km long route. The tower itself is free of charge.    




Interactive map of all the places - you can easily open and use it in your Google Maps navigator when you walk around the city - just click on the "see bigger map" icon on the right upper corner:


MAP OF THE BEST VANTAGE POINTS IN RIGA, LATVIA


Photo Places

Photo Places

Travel Guide with beautiful photos and exciting descriptions of the most amazing and unique places in Baltic states and Europe. All content made by ⒸIkars Kublins. Contact me by e-mail: ikars.kublins@photoriga.com

Post A Comment:

0 comments: