You are here
Christmas markets in Riga
With many diverse Christian denominations and a strong pagan streak, Latvians celebrate Christmas (or the Winter Solstice) with gusto.
In fact, there is evidence that the world’s first ever Christmas tree was put up in Riga way back in 1510, so Latvia has as much right to the title of “the home of Christmas” as the North Pole!
Not every Christmas is a white one, but it is easy to get into the seasonal spirit.
Just follow the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine to the Christmas markets around the city.
Lovely gifts include hand-knitted shawls and mittens and socks, aromatic candles, artisanal spoons and other woodwork. And take a break from shopping with traditional delicacies like grey peas and bacon, perfect on a crisp winter day.
In the city centre, there are markets on Doma laukums and Līvu laukums squares, as well as in Esplenāde Park (which has the added attraction of a cute “village” populated by real rabbits). And on Saturdays, head across the Daugava River to the Kalnciema kvartāls market.
As for the presents Latvians buy at the markets, they get to open and enjoy them on Christmas Eve. But even if you have to wait for the next day, a piece of Latvia will bring Christmas joy into your home.