Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Riga

It would be a pity to leave Riga without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Riga, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Latvia » Riga (See other walking tours in Riga)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.4 Km or 4.6 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Black Cat Souvenir Shop
  • Baltu Rotas
  • AS Latvijas balzams
  • Central Market
  • SIA Unavita
  • Medus veikals
  • Dzintars
  • Laima
  • Art Noveau Riga
  • Riga Spirits & Wine Outlet
Black Cat Souvenir Shop

1) Black Cat Souvenir Shop

What to buy here: Latvian Handicrafts.

Handcrafted table accessories, wicker baskets, leather wallets, notebooks and photo albums; these are among the first and most memorable things you notice when arriving in Riga. Beautiful and unique, valued for a wonderful combination of low prices and high quality, these small cultural treasures are greatly appreciated by both tourists and locals. They are also still used at weddings, parties and other celebrations and often have a story that comes along with the item.

Prices vary from $3 - $12 for an woven object, wooden toys and cups, to $60 and up for woven clothes, ceramic objects and many other distinct creations. There are also objects exclusively made, for which artists name their own prices.

Among shops, you can find handicrafts at the Black Cat Souvenir Shop. It sells a wide range of handmade creations from wood, linen, glass and ceramics. It also can be easily found, just look for the huge statue of a black cat!

Operation hours: Monday - Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm; Friday- Sunday: 10 am- 8 pm.
Baltu Rotas

2) Baltu Rotas

What to buy here: Jewelry.

There is an old belief that one should return from Latvia with a silver ring and then luck will return together with them. These silver rings are called Namejs. All around Riga you will find jewelry which still preserves traditional design and values. There are brooches, necklaces, rings and bracelets crafted based on ancient Liv designs and methods. Many pieces are quite distinctive and unique, since most artists only make limited quantities.

For those interested in traditional items, the “Baltu Rotas Gallery” features a large collection of jewelry reminiscent of ancient Baltic designs. This jewelry has greatly gained in popularity over the recent years. One of its creators, Vitauts Straupe, proudly relates in an interview how he spots their works worn more frequently, noting the Festival in Washington where he saw people wearing his art. Vitauts Straupe and his wife, Inita Straupe, get inspired from actual pieces found by archeologists. The prices for their creations range from $25 to $150 for rings, brooches and pendants, $25 - $100 for earrings and cufflinks, $50-$240 for bracelets. They also have special collections of legendary Latvian jewelry and signs.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10 am - 7 pm, Sunday: 10 am- 5 pm.
AS Latvijas balzams

3) AS Latvijas balzams

What to buy here: Riga Black Balsam.

Riga Black Balsam is considered to be one of Latvia's national symbols and is undoubtedly the most famous gift from Latvia. It holds more than 30 awards at international fairs. Its exquisite taste and fame date back 200 years, when it was first intended as a cure-all elixir. It is still used these days as a remedy for hangovers and stomach aches. The balsam is also widely used in cocktails or with coffee, the same way cognac is. Its composition comprises over 24 plants, flowers, buds, juices, roots, oils and berries, mixed in pure alcohol and aged in oak barrels, resulting in a 45% abv (90 proof) drink. The exact composition is yet to be known, being diligently held in secret by the local producers.

The prices vary from $4 to $14 depending on the size of the bottle.

All around Riga you can find specialized shops with the yellow sign: Latvijas Balzams. These are a chain of AS Latvijas balzams.

Operation hours: Monday -Saturday: 10 am - 10 pm; Sunday: 12 pm - 10 pm.
Central Market

4) Central Market

What to buy here: Traditional Latvian Wool Mittens.

These confections combine tradition, history and lasting practical value. They display a unique design and a wide variety of traditional colors, patterns and symbols. They say that each mitten tells a story, marks an anniversary or represents a certain region of Latvia. Traditional wool mittens were offered as gifts to foreign representatives at the NATO Summit in Riga in 2006. There were 4500 pairs and no two pairs were the same !

The tradition of wearing embroidered gloves has become one of the basic characteristics of the contemporary Latvian identity. Their colorful texture and creative patterns originate in the historical competition among women striving to create unique pieces. The mittens were subject to social judgment too, which also motivated them to seek the most creative and intricate designs. The resulting creations were often offered as gifts at weddings and other big events. Since the 19th century, mittens have been the traditional gifts to godparents and clergymen at a child's christening. Also, if an unmarried young woman gave a pair of knitted mittens to a lad, it was considered as a sign of engagement. These mittens could be treated as a symbolic language, their ornaments expressing happiness, grief, humility, eagerness and many other emotions.

The mittens are easier to find during winter holidays, with the opening of the Christmas Market in Riga. But there are still several specialized shops around the city. The small kiosks could be found on Livu square (Līvu laukums). The prices for the mittens range from $4 and up. A wide variety of mittens, among many other souvenirs, can be found at Riga's Central Market. Feel free to be distracted by the colorful variety of products there, but do not forget to purchase the small, knitted works of art!

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 7 am - 6 pm
SIA Unavita

5) SIA Unavita

What to buy here: Designer fur and leather handbags.

What could be better than to bring home a piece of Latvian style ? Fur and leather handbags have been made in Latvia for hundreds of years and nowadays have evolved into eye-catching masterpieces, representing the pride of Latvian designers. Such a bag can indeed be an exceptional and unique gift, carrying with itself Latvia's cultural and environmental heritage.

The bags are made from Latvian beaver, fox, raccoon, marten, and mink fur as well as cow leather. All these primary materials are legally harvested by local hunters.

One of the most popular handbag brands in Riga is “Unavita”, famed for their unique shapes and high quality materials. The company started producing hand-crafted leather purses in 2005 and is currently showing its 11th collection. Its creations are famous due to the unique input from designer Inga Rungaine, whose signature work and style reveals itself in the spring/summer and fall/winter collections. What is most interesting about the company is that they offer to make custom items based on the client's own sketches (!). An opportunity not to be missed by anyone who has ever wanted to create their own bags.

The prices for these hand-crafted, distinctive bags currently range from $130 to $230.
Medus veikals

6) Medus veikals

What to buy here: Latvian Honey.

Latvians love their honey, Latvian organic honey contains a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, which contributes to its rich consistency and wholesomeness. It is due to the specific climate of the region, which favors a wide variety of plants, that there are so many different types of honey in Latvia, from buckwheat and heather to the famous linden blossom honey. The tradition of offering honey as a gift in the region dates back to Pre-Latvian times and has been preserved in some way until today. In recent years, Latvian honey has become very popular internationally as well.

One of the most interesting stores to buy your Latvian honey from is Medus. It's a specialty store that is frequented equally by tourists and locals. It has gotten its name from the Latvian word for bee – medus. It offers a mind-bogging array of products and will contribute to your widening perception of honey production and its many uses. Aside from the usual little bottles, honey is offered in the form of large rounds which resemble cheese. On the counter there are small pots from which you can sample honey varying in taste and color, depending on the flowers which were used in its production. A small pot of honey will cost you around $3.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 8 am - 8 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 9 am - 5 pm

7) Dzintars

What to buy here: Dzintars Cosmetics.

For Latvians, Dzintars is a brand known and loved since childhood. What is not to love about it when each product is a combination of innovation and time proven recipes. The company has been offering soap and perfumery since 1949. Nowadays, it is famous for its bio-cosmetics composed of natural raw materials. Dzintars is the largest manufacturer of bio-cosmetics and perfumery in the Baltic, having more than 350 items in its production assortment. The ECOCERT organic certification organization has stated that Dzintars' cosmetics line "Organic Style" is of the highest level in organics.

The prices for Dzintars products vary. Perfumes cost from $10 and up, while prices for make-up start at approximately $4.

8) Laima

What to buy here: Latvian Sweets.

While taking a walk around Old Riga, you will notice many small shops offering chocolate desserts and confections. Latvians have always excelled at sugary pastries, honey cakes and , most importantly, chocolate, which will surprise one's taste buds with its rich flavor.

Riga's chocolate history dates back more than 100 years, having amassed a great number of traditional recipes. Among the products with the longest history is the chocolate candy "Serenade". These can be found under the "Laima" brand. It is the most famous confectionery brand in the Baltic, it has recently celebrated its 140th birthday. Its most famous candy, the "Serenade", dates back to 1937. It's composition comprises such ingredients as fruit jelly, apricots, nuts and the mysterious, but oh so craved "chocolate magic". Another sweet delight to bring back home are the Prozit boxes containing solid chocolate bottles filled with liqueur. The prices for Laima's products range from $5 to $7 per chocolate bar and around $9 to $15 for a chocolate box.

There is another option for those who crave a new, supple and exquisite taste. Venture into cafe "Emihls Gustavs Chocolate", the central cafe is situated adjacent to Hotel Reval. There, one will be served a deliciously fragrant coffee and the best chocolate in town. All chocolate confections at this cafe are handmade, created following Latvia's oldest recipes. No margarine, thickening agents or flavor enhancers here! Chocolate bars, candies and figurines can also be bought as gifts. These will be nicely warped in accurate packages and decorated with a delicate ribbon. Furthermore, the cafe organizes frequent workshops, where visitors can try their hands at painting the chocolate figurines.

Prices range from $9 and up.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 7 am - 8 pm; Saturday: 9 am - 6 pm; Sunday: 10 am - 4 pm.
Art Noveau Riga

9) Art Noveau Riga

What to buy here: Pampalu pots.

Pottery has existed in Latvia as a craft since the 10th century and, over the centuries, has evolved as a folk craft to the extent that each region of the country has developed its distinctive style, shapes, colors and ornamentation. For example the Vidzeme region is renowned for its massive and clean shapes, while the Latgale region offers shiny, baroque pots. The Kurzeme region reveals to the world jogs which astound with their monumental and aesthetic forms. One thing most do share in common is the decoration with mythological signs and symbols.

In Riga, these pots can be found with the original addition of peat bog plant roots. These roots have many uses, among which is balneotherapy, a traditional spa treatment.

If you are interested in something special, then you are welcome at Art Noveau Riga, the only store specializing in art noveau souvenirs. On the road towards this shop you will all be able to visually savour an architecture district which is excuisite for its distinctive and curious buildings and constructions. The prices for the Latvian traditional pots start at approximately $20.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 7 pm
Riga Spirits & Wine Outlet

10) Riga Spirits & Wine Outlet

What to buy here: Beer.

Travel high and low around Riga, visually savor its colorful beauty and uniqueness, appreciate its culture and art, and when you feel a little parched or tired, sit at a conveniently nearby bar or pub and continue your journey through Latvia's richness through the flavors of its beer. Beer is highly appreciated in Latvia, after centuries of German influence, a fact you will come to believe after your first gulp.

Latvian beer is considered among the best in the world. The main reason for that being the excellent quality of the ingredients used and the production process. Famed local brands are Aldaris, Cesis, Valmiermuiza and the hard to find outside Latvia - Uzavas, Bauska or Tervetas. All of these can be found all around the city at most pubs/bars and in specialized shops.

If searching for a wider variety, one can venture into the Riga Spirits & Wine Outlet, the first specialized alcoholic beverage store in Riga located in the heart of the city, or Rimi Centrs, a supermarket with a good selection of Latvian bottled beers.

Prices for beer in Riga range from $1.90 for 0,5L and up.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10 am - 10 pm; Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm.

Walking Tours in Riga, Latvia

Create Your Own Walk in Riga

Create Your Own Walk in Riga

Creating your own self-guided walk in Riga is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Riga's Specialty Shops

Riga's Specialty Shops

Riga is not only a city with amazing Art Nouveau architecture, a rich cultural life and interesting museums, it is also a great place to shop. Latvia offers so many quality local products, including ceramics, woolens and amber accessories, that it would be a pity not to bring home a gift or souvenir. Take this tour to find some of the best locally-made merchandise in Riga.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Museums Tour, Part 2

Museums Tour, Part 2

Riga, the capital of Latvia, boasts an amazing array of museums. Items on display include everything from historical artifacts and photography to antiques and modern toys. There is a museum to satisfy almost any interest. Check out the most popular museums in the historic area of Riga on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Riga's War Memorials

Riga's War Memorials

Over the years, Riga has many times served as a battleground as evidenced by the many monuments, gates and towers in the city that honor those who suffered or died in conflicts. In addition to war memorials, the city also has numerous landmarks related to Latvia's independence. Take this self-guided tour to discover some of Riga's most notable landmarks.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals

Historical Churches and Cathedrals

One great thing about Riga is that many of the city's religious buildings are concentrated in its historical center. A variety of faiths are represented in Riga, although the majority of city residents are Roman Catholic, Orthodox or Lutheran. Explore the historic churches and cathedrals of Riga on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Vecriga Walk

Vecriga Walk

Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the country's cultural center, home to many museums, theaters and concert venues. It is known particularly for gabled, art nouveau and medieval architecture concentrated in the Old Town (Vecrīga), situated on the east bank of the Daugava River and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vecrīga is also famous for its old churches, among which the most...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Museums Tour, Part 1

Museums Tour, Part 1

Often the historic area of Riga gets all the attention, as some of the city's most beautiful museums and buildings are located here. This tour, however, will take you not only to Riga's well-known museums but to some of the city's more obscure, yet fascinating museums. Take this self-guided tour to fully explore Riga's fabulous array of museums.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Traveler's Choice of 12 Uniquely Latvian Souvenirs from Riga

Traveler's Choice of 12 Uniquely Latvian Souvenirs from Riga

Reemerged after regaining independence in the early 1990s, Latvia is anxious to reveal its beauty to the outside world. The country's capital Riga is a good showroom for the country's cultural riches and traditions. Here's the list of the unique Latvian products to look for while in...