Riga, along with the other cities in the Baltic states, is an often overlooked destination in Europe. This includes for people travelling with a dog, particularly as Latvia isn’t the easiest place to reach with a dog and without your own car.
But after visiting Riga last summer, I heartily recommend spending a weekend or longer here. There’s a wealth of gorgeous art nouveau architecture, not to mention it’s charming old town and affordable dining. It’s also quite a dog-friendly destination. Find out how to get to Riga with your dog, plus what to do once you arrive.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Riga
While visiting Riga, I recommend adding the following dog-friendly sightseeing options to your itinerary.
1. View the Art Nouveau Architecture
The highlight of my visit to Riga was walking along Alberta iela, Strelnieku iela and Elizabetes iela and admiring the magnificent art nouveau buildings. These streets are outside of the Old Town proper, in the newer area developed in the early 20th century, and a significant reason for the city’s World Heritage listing.
Viewing Riga’s art nouveau architecture is a great activity to do with your dog, mainly because most buildings are privately owned, so can only be viewed from the outside. Both yourself and your dog have to stay out on the street.
The main building you can enter is the Riga Art Nouveau Museum, which naturally doesn’t allow dogs inside. However, I recommend popping briefly just inside the building to check out the beautiful stairwell at the entrance. There’s also a terrific art nouveau shop nearby that was okay with my small dog joining me inside.
2. Explore the Old Town
For more art nouveau gems, don’t also miss exploring the Old Town proper in Riga. Although this section of the city is also home to a wealth of architecture from many different eras.
My favourite building was probably the re-built House of the Blackheads. Unfortunately, I didn’t visit the interior, partially as not surprisingly four-legged friends can’t accompany you inside. However, it’s a must to admire its magnificent facade.
3. Hang Out in the Parks
Weaving through the centre of Riga is the Pilsētas Kanāls, or City Canal. You’ll pass over this when walking between the Old Town and the main art nouveau district or the rest of Central Riga. It’s the remains of the city’s former moat, and these days is lined with multiple parks.
During the summer months, it’s a beautiful area to retreat to and enjoy the plentiful shade and greenery, ideally with an ice cream from the many vendors. While there are no off-leash dog areas amongst the parklands, it’s still a great spot to walk with your pup on a leash.
For an off-leash dog option, instead head further north to Viesturdārzs Park. Next to the formal park, in between Eksporta iela and the trainline, is a large off-leash dog park including agility equipment, one of the best dog parks in Riga.
Dogs on Public Transport in Riga
Dogs are allowed on public transport in Riga. Small dogs in a carrier are allowed for free, while for larger dogs you’ll need to buy a pet ticket for €1.50. No more than two dogs are allowed per person, on a short leash.
If you’re flying in or out of Riga, one of the easiest ways to travel to Latvia with a dog, there are regular buses that travel all the way to the airport on the edge of the city, with standard fares applying. It’s a refreshing change to the usually exorbitant costs of travelling to and from airports, and entirely dog-friendly.
Find out more about the transport options to travel to Latvia with a dog
Dog-Friendly Dining in Riga
While staying in Riga, we dined out multiple times at restaurants that allowed our dog inside. However, we always made sure to ask first, and it didn’t seem that common for dogs to join their owners. In summertime, there are many outdoor dining terraces, usually covered, and I recommend sticking to them.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Riga
Roughly fifty-percent of hotels in Riga allow pets to stay with you, according to the survey that I did of hotel pet policies across Europe. This ranks Riga ahead of cities such as Paris. Always check to see if any additional rules apply, such as limits on size or number.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.
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