If you have the luxury of time, both Tallinn and Riga are worth visiting. But if you must pick only one destination – then my recommendation is to explore Tallinn!
I visited both cities in the summer of 2021 and I loved Tallinn so much, that I even made it my base for a while.
Let’s compare both cities side-by-side so that you can make an informed decision about your next destination.
Riga is the perfect city for those who are looking for a short-time stay or weekend getaway. You can explore Riga in 2-3 days.
It offers plenty of historical attractions, as well as affordable fine dining options that won’t break the bank. And in general it is more affordable than Tallinn.
Here are my top reasons why I think Riga is worth visiting:
Riga is a city that is brimming with history, and its museums are the perfect place to explore it. One of the most iconic historical attractions in Riga is KGB House.
I typically do not share the enthusiasm towards museums. But this one is a totally different story. It was the highlight of my trip to Riga.
Located on Brivibas Street, this building was once used by the Soviet secret police as an interrogation center during their occupation of Latvia from 1940-1991.
Today, it has been turned into a museum where visitors can learn about the dark history of Soviet rule in Latvia. The museum features artifacts such as original documents and photographs detailing interrogations and arrests carried out at KGB House during its time as an operational facility. Visitors can also view recreated cells which were used for prisoners before they were transferred to other facilities or executed.
This unique experience provides insight into one of the darkest periods in Latvian history and should not be missed when visiting Riga!
Ķemeri National Park
Ķemeri National Park is a great destination for those looking to explore the unique natural beauty of Latvia.
One of its most popular attractions is the Kemeri Bog Boardwalk, which offers visitors a chance to take in stunning views of the bogs and tiny pine trees.
The boardwalk stretches for 3 kilometers (the biggest one; and I suggest you take this one), winding through areas that are otherwise inaccessible due to their wet nature. As you walk along this path, you will be able to observe rare species of plants and birds.
For those who prefer more active pursuits while exploring Ķemeri National Park, there are plenty of opportunities available such as hiking trails and cycling routes.
National Library Of Latvia
The National Library of Latvia is an ideal spot for digital nomads to get some work done.
Not only does it offer a tranquil atmosphere perfect for focused productivity, but there’s also fast Wi-Fi access and plenty of comfortable seating areas. All in all, this library provides exactly what you need if you’re seeking out a productive workspace!
With its blend of modern creativity and captivating medieval charm, Tallinn is the perfect destination for digital nomads seeking an inspirational work environment and plenty of activities.
Here are my top reasons why I think Tallinn is absolutely worth visiting:
Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi Creative City is a vibrant hub of creativity and culture located in the city of Tallinn. It is an area filled with independent shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafes that are all designed to inspire visitors – from art-lovers to foodies.
From live music performances to workshops and events, there’s always something new happening at Telliskivi Creative City!
Tallinn’s Old Town is a charming and historic area of the city filled with cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. My favourite attractions in this part of town iare St. Catherine’s Passage, a magical alleyway lined with tiny shops, cafes and restaurants and Meistrite Hoov – a hidden courtyard.
With 46 kilometers of coastline along the Baltic Sea, Tallinn has plenty of beautiful beaches to explore. Kopli Lines Beach Promenade is one my favourite.
Plenty Of Day Trip Options From Tallinn
Tallinn is the perfect starting point for a variety of day trips. From Viru bog – a stunning nature reserve located just outside of Tallinn, to Rummu quarry – a submerged limestone quarry that has now become a popular swimming and diving spot with abandoned prison nearby.
Thanks to its close proximity to Helsinki, Tallinn is a great stopover if you’re planning to explore Finland further or if you are looking for a day trip to Helsinki.
There you have it.
These were my reasons why both Riga and Tallinn are worth visiting. From historic attractions to natural beauty, each city has something unique to offer. I highly recommend a visit to both cities if you ever have the chance!
However, I believe that my favorite destination is definitely Tallinn – its blend of modern creativity and captivating medieval charm make it absolutely worth visiting!
I hope this post helped you decide if you should visit Riga or Tallinn.
Let me know your choice in the comments below.