Riga Christmas Market is a popular attraction that takes place annually in the heart of Riga, Latvia. It is a vibrant and enchanting event that draws visitors from all over Europe and beyond. The market is known for its festive atmosphere, delicious food, and unique handicrafts.
The Riga Christmas Market takes place in Doma laukums (Dome Square), Livu Laukums, and Esplanade Park. Visitors can expect to find an array of wooden huts decorated with glittering lights, selling everything from traditional Latvian handicrafts to festive treats. The market offers a wide range of activities and entertainment, including live music performances, ice skating, and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
The Riga Christmas Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of Christmas in Europe. With its picturesque location in the heart of Riga, visitors can combine their visit to the market with a tour of the city’s historic landmarks and attractions. Whether you’re looking to indulge in some festive treats or find the perfect Christmas gift, the Riga Christmas Market is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.
History of Riga Christmas Market
Riga Christmas Market is a beloved annual event that has been a tradition in the city for many years. The market takes place in the heart of Riga’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The market is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, who come to enjoy the festive atmosphere and the many stalls selling traditional Latvian handicrafts, food, and drinks.
The first public Christmas tree is said to have been erected in Riga in 1510, making it one of the oldest Christmas traditions in Europe. The tree was decorated with paper flowers, and the tradition of decorating Christmas trees quickly spread throughout Europe.
Christmas in Riga is a magical time of year, and the city is beautifully decorated with lights, garlands, and Christmas trees. The Riga Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions during the holiday season, with its stunning architecture and beautiful Christmas decorations.
The Way Through the Christmas Trees is a popular tradition in Riga, where a path is created through the city’s many Christmas trees. The path leads visitors through the city’s most beautiful streets and squares, and is a great way to experience the festive atmosphere of the city.
Today, Riga Christmas Market is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe, attracting visitors from all over the world. The market offers a wide range of traditional Latvian handicrafts, including woolen mittens, hats, and scarves, as well as wooden toys, candles, and Christmas decorations. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Latvian food and drinks, including mulled wine, gingerbread, and smoked meats.
Overall, Riga Christmas Market is a wonderful way to experience the magic of Christmas in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Location and dates
Riga Christmas Market, one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe, takes place in the heart of Riga’s Old Town. The market spreads across several locations, including Doma Laukums (Town Square), Dome Square, Livu Laukums, and Esplanade Park.
The market opens on December 3, 2023, and runs until January 8, 2024. The market is open every day, except for Christmas Eve when it closes at 6 pm. On Christmas Day, the market is open for business as usual. On New Year’s Eve, the market stays open until 2 am.
Doma Laukums is the main location of the Riga Christmas Market and is home to the Old Riga Christmas Market. Here, visitors can explore the enchanting ensemble of wooden huts, glittering lights, and a large central tree. Dome Square is another popular location for the market, where visitors can find a wide range of traditional Latvian crafts, including handmade woolen socks, mittens, and hats.
Livu Laukums is a newer addition to the Riga Christmas Market and is located near the Daugava River. This location is famous for its ice rink, where visitors can skate while enjoying the festive atmosphere. Cathedral Square is another location worth visiting, where visitors can find a range of handmade crafts, including jewelry and ceramics.
Esplanade Park is a beautiful location that features a small Christmas market, which is perfect for families with children. The market offers a range of activities, including a carousel, Ferris wheel, and other attractions.
In addition to the main Christmas markets, there are also smaller markets located in the Kalnciems district and Riga Central Market. These markets offer visitors a chance to explore the city’s local culture and traditions, including traditional Latvian food and drinks.
Overall, the Riga Christmas Market is an excellent destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of Christmas in Latvia. With its beautiful location, festive atmosphere, and range of activities and attractions, the market is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Riga Christmas Market is a magical event that takes place every year in the heart of Latvia’s capital. The market is known for its festive atmosphere, beautiful decorations, and wide range of local specialties. Here are some of the highlights of the market:
Christmas Tree: The market is home to a giant Christmas tree that is beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments. The tree is a popular spot for taking photos and enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Gifts and Crafts: The market is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. Local artisans sell a wide range of handmade items, including wool socks, ceramics, jewellery, and wooden toys.
Food and Drink: The market is a food lover’s paradise. Visitors can enjoy traditional Latvian dishes such as sausages, grey peas, sauerkraut, and bacon. There are also plenty of sweet treats like gingerbread cookies, cinnamon rolls, and roasted almonds. Visitors can wash it all down with hot mulled wine or a cold beer.
Live Music: The market is known for its lively atmosphere and live music performances. Visitors can enjoy traditional Latvian music, as well as choirs and music ensembles.
Shopping: The market is a great place to do some Christmas shopping. Visitors can browse a wide range of stalls selling everything from handcrafted souvenirs to local delicacies.
Carousel: The market features a beautiful carousel that is popular with children and adults alike. Visitors can take a ride and enjoy the festive atmosphere from above.
House of Blackheads: The House of Blackheads is a historic building in the heart of Riga that is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Visitors can enjoy concerts and other events in this stunning venue.
Cathedral Square Christmas Market: The Cathedral Square Christmas Market is held on Doma Laukums and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The market features a wide range of stalls selling everything from wool sweaters to linen tablecloths.
Overall, Riga Christmas Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of the holiday season in Latvia.
Food and drink
Riga Christmas Market is a food lover’s paradise. Visitors can indulge in traditional Latvian cuisine and festive treats while enjoying the holiday atmosphere.
One of the most popular drinks at the market is mulled wine, which is made with red wine, spices, and sometimes fruit. The warm and spicy drink is perfect for cold winter nights and can be found at various stalls throughout the market.
Gingerbread is another festive treat that can be found at the market. The Latvian version, called piparkūkas, is made with honey, cinnamon, and ginger. These sweet and spicy cookies are often decorated with icing and make great gifts or souvenirs.
For those looking for a heartier meal, Grey Peas and Bacon is a must-try dish. This traditional Latvian dish consists of boiled peas and bacon and is often served with rye bread. It may not be the most visually appealing dish, but it is delicious and filling.
Sauerkraut is another staple of Latvian cuisine that can be found at the market. This fermented cabbage dish is often served as a side dish and pairs well with meat dishes.
Overall, visitors to Riga Christmas Market can expect to find a wide variety of delicious food and drink options. From warming mulled wine to hearty Latvian dishes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Accommodation and recommendations
Riga Christmas Market is a popular winter destination, and visitors can choose from a variety of accommodations to fit their budget and preferences.
For those looking to stay near the market, the top pick is Neiburgs Hotel. Located directly opposite Riga Cathedral, this stylish boutique hotel offers quality design features and impeccable service. Other nearby hotels include the Revelton Suites Riga and the Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga.
There are also many affordable winter break destinations in Riga, with plenty of options for budget-conscious travellers. The Old Riga Christmas Market is a must-visit destination where visitors can enjoy tasty foods and drinks or buy authentic Latvian souvenirs at a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.
Visitors can also choose from a variety of accommodations in Riga, including hotels, hostels, and apartments. Some popular options include the Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel, the Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa, and the Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel.
When choosing a hotel in Riga, visitors should consider factors such as location, amenities, and price. Some hotels offer special packages for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which can be a great way to save money while enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Overall, Riga Christmas Market offers a range of accommodations and recommendations to suit every taste and budget. Whether visitors are looking for luxury hotels or affordable winter break destinations, Riga has something to offer everyone.
Shopping at the market
The Riga Christmas Market is a perfect place to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs. Visitors can find a wide range of handcrafted items made by local Latvian artisans, including beeswax candles, creative kits, wall decor, and casting candles.
For those looking for traditional Latvian gifts, the market offers a variety of options such as woolen mittens, hats, and scarves. Visitors can also find handmade pottery, wooden toys, and jewelry.
Farmers from all over Latvia come to the market to sell their fresh produce, including honey, jams, and pickles. Visitors can also try traditional Latvian dishes such as sauerkraut, smoked meats, and potato pancakes.
One of the highlights of the market is Santa’s House, where children can meet Santa Claus and his elves. The house is decorated with Lapland-style ornaments and is a popular attraction for families.
Overall, the Riga Christmas Market offers a unique shopping experience, with a wide range of products and gifts available. Visitors can support local artisans and farmers while enjoying the festive atmosphere of the market.
The organizers of the Riga Christmas Market take safety very seriously and have implemented various measures to ensure the safety of visitors. Some of the safety measures in place include:
Security personnel: There are trained security personnel present at the Christmas market to ensure the safety of visitors. They are stationed at various points throughout the market and are available to assist visitors if needed.
CCTV cameras: The market is equipped with CCTV cameras that are monitored by security personnel. This allows them to quickly respond to any incidents that may occur.
Bag checks: To ensure the safety of visitors, bags are subject to random checks at the entrance to the market. This is a standard procedure at many public events and is done to prevent any prohibited items from entering the market.
Fire safety: The Christmas market has a fire safety plan in place that includes fire extinguishers and emergency exits. Visitors are advised to familiarize themselves with the emergency exits and to follow the instructions of security personnel in case of an emergency.
COVID-19 safety measures: The organizers of the Riga Christmas Market are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have implemented various measures to ensure the safety of visitors. These measures include hand sanitizing stations, social distancing markers, and mandatory mask-wearing in certain areas.
Visitors to the Riga Christmas Market can enjoy the festive atmosphere while also feeling safe and secure. By following the safety measures in place and being aware of their surroundings, visitors can ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience at the market.