Small is beautiful. Riga is. You should grab a bike and check-in it..
Yes, check-in, because today in hundreds of cities worldwide people marked calendars as #4sqDay.
16/4 each year has some kind of location attractive project going on and as for Riga – I experimented with a rented bike in order to find out – can one gets acquainted with city during couple of hours.
After all – how hard could it be?
Summertime on a bike
Summer starts with a day when a lazy tourist can get a bicycle easy in a city. Because You can enjoy the vibrancy of Riga, see the real (sometimes unpolished) city only during a bike ride. Public transportation works too. As for options to take lonelyplanet book with You or use app in the phone.. You are in a country with top 5 fastest internet and smooth 4G mobile net – You should opt for mobile app, of course.
No city can be discovered via official tourist guide nor via window of (probably) extra comfy tour bus. So if You are really looking for such a city/bicycle adventure – You can do it in Riga. At least three businesses are offering bicycle rental services (one even EV bike) and I used Sixt bike last week to test it.
First of all – one can do it without a relentless training. A city bicycle has brakes and three speed gear system which is more suited for cruise around and not eating racing records. You can get Your bike sweep ahead of some hipster fixie if that’s the goal, but chasing other riders You will probably miss some beautiful building in Riga or a cafeteria, or a park.. Let’s just say – this city is meant to be enjoyed slowly. And the bike rental option is just confirming that (You can download nextbike app for Your mobile here).
One of 20+ places You could start a bike ride (there are so many bike rental spots around city centre at present and couple more to come during next few weeks) is hotel Latvia – one of the few “skyscrapers” in Riga. Remember that small is beautiful, so here in Riga a skyscraper can be a bit different from New York City cloud-touching buildings.
Birds view or a cellar exploration
In Foursquare Latvia is most popular venue under “hotel” category (Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija) and the option to enjoy picturesque sight from the Skyline bar on a top floor. 976 Photos added by Foursquare users. Check them out too!.
Another view from a top is from St.Peter’s church, another from TV tower in Zaķusala (with 368 meters height it is a third highest building in Europe) or via platform on top-floor of the Academy of Science. Ride to the spot You prefer, explore the city!
Riga is Culture Capital of Europe this Year. You will be seeing posters with upcoming concert or exhibition announcement, but I would recommend to save in your “bookmarks” interactive web of Riga2014. There are some Foursquare tips from Riga 2014 also, this particular one invites You to explore Old town Riga – Vecrīga.
Indeed Old Town is a small territory one can ride trough and criss-cross in a few hours. The Foursquare venue of Old Town contains various tips and hundreds of photographs (a staggering number of 1800+ of them) collecting precious memories of a first visit or just another meeting with friends.
Some famous restaurants are in Old Town or in the Quiet Cnetre. Do not hesitate to stop, park Your bike and go for a foodie adventure. Restaurants andbars in Riga are playing and experimenting with Foursquare specials, so You should not forget about this rare, but present option during Your Riga explorations.
Bridges, bikes and locals
If You are on a bike, You should remember that it will be some sort of adventure to find a correct route, because separate bike lanes are not yet a common thing in Riga. If one did not forget to bring a smile in hand luggage, there will be no problems to share street, crossing or pedestrian lane during Your journey. Bike on a city street was a bit of hipsterish rarity five years ago nowadays there are hundreds of other bicycle owners and (at least from my experience) it goes just fine.
You should cross at least one of bridges over Daugava river in Riga and see the green part of city – Pārdaugava. The neighbourhood where new National library building is waiting for the opening, where You will find a Riga and Japanese city’s Kobe friendship monument or a beautiful “bride” park – Arkādija whre are a handful of small bridges to cross.
Explore Riga, check-in!
All pictures were taken with Sony Xperia Z1 Compact phone and edited / post processed in Pixlr or Snapseed.