Introduction

Travellers visiting Riga are first of all attracted to the Old Town and nearby Art Noveau architecture district. They are the real gems of the city. But Riga has many other faces and things to offer. One of the neighbourhoods worth exploring and close to the city centre is Kipsala, firstly because of its stunning views to Old Riga and secondly for beautifully renovated wooden houses. Kipsala is an island located between the Zunda Channel and the Daugava River. Its area is almost 200 hectares. The island is 2,7 kilometres long and 500 metres wide. Historically, fishermen inhabited this area. To go there, you just need to cross Vanšu Bridge on foot or using public transport. Here are 7 things to do in Ķīpsala for your enjoyment.

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1) Count towers of Old Riga together with Riga tower counter

To do this after crossing Vanšu Bridge, walk under the bridge along the river until you reach the green area next to Swedbank central building where the sculpture of Riga tower counter is located. Watch a gorgeous Riga panorama across the river. How many towers can you spot?

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2) Admire restored wooden buildings 

Turn back and walk Balasta Dambis (dam) heading towards the sea. Admire central Riga views on your right and beautifully restored wooden buildings on your left. Balasta dam is unique by itself as a hydro technical building. It’s a steep stack of rocks protecting the coastline, with a little paved street on top of it. Have a closer look at the following houses: number 52, 58, 60a, 66a.20 kipsala riga latvia 128079821 kipsala riga latvia 128081022 kipsala riga latvia 128081224 kipsala riga latvia 128081425 kipsala riga latvia 128081527 kipsala riga latvia 1280819

Continue your wooden architecture exploration with buildings at Ogļu iela 6 and 8. It’s interesting that the building now located at Ogļu iela 6 was moved there from Riga city centre.29 kipsala riga latvia 128091729 kipsala riga latvia 1280922

Leave it for later but don’t forget to visit the gorgeous Laubes house at Zvejnieku Street 5a.

3) Attend Lipkes Memorial

Turn left from Balasta dambis to Mazais Balasta dambis to visit the memorial to brave man Žanis Lipke and his life. During World War II, he saved from death more than 50 Jews by hiding them in a bunker designed exactly for this purpose under his shed. Address Mazais Balasta dambis 8.30 kipsala riga latvia 128088831 kipsala riga latvia 128090832 kipsala riga latvia 1280895

Address Mazais Balasta dambis 8.

4) Have a meal at trendy Fabrika restaurant

The Fabrika (factory) restaurant that you are seeing now until the 20th century was, in fact, a factory producing plaster. “Fabrika” is located in one of the parts of the former factory. Keeping up with the level of an upmarket restaurant, it offers an exquisite menu, with its main focus on sea food that is also priced accordingly. If you are going out for a dinner, make sure to reserve a table in advance, especially during summer when a floating terrace is also open for public.

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5) Check what Ķīpsala International Exhibition centre has to offer

Continue your way from Fabrika restaurant by Enkuru iela while reaching the gorgeous Laubes house at Zvejnieku Street 5a.50 kipsala riga latvia 1280942Then carry on, turn left on Zvejnieku Street and check what is on offer at Ķīpsala International Exhibition centre, the largest in the Baltics. Among many other exhibitions, the annual Baltic Tour exhibition is held there in February with a wide range of travel companies and offers presented.51 kipsala riga latvia 128095052 kipsala riga latvia 1280948

6) Notice the renovated campus of Riga Technical University

Riga Technical University (RTU) is the oldest in Latvia, established in 1862. It has nine faculties and almost 15 000 students. This campus appeared in Kipsala in the 70s.61 kipsala riga latvia 128095262 kipsala riga latvia 1280954

7) Cool off in the Daugava River in summer time

Getting back to the starting point of your tour at Ķīpsala public transport stop, you can cool off at the nearby River Daugava beach. Changing cabins are available, along with beach football and volleyball courts. Unlike the nearby Baltic Sea beaches, you don’t have to walk half a kilometre to get wet. Just dive right in! A café is also available as well as a playground for kids that looks like a pirate ship.

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Practical information

Ķīpsala is just a twenty-minute walk from the Riga centre. If you are going there on foot, the best way is to cross the River Daugava across Vanšu Bridge. If you take public transport, you have to get off at the stop “Ķīpsala”.80 kipsala riga latvia 1280880

Covering all the sights and having a meal can take half the day. If you skip the meal, a few hours for a visit may be sufficient.

Have you been to Riga? Share your impressions in the comments section!KipsalaRigaN

  • Published by Anita on August 12, 2017

 Author: Anita Sāne

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About the author
Anita is a part time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman
from Latvia, 
traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner
planning and executing her travels by herself. Follow Anita also on Instagram.

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Comments   

Jen
#14 Jen 2017-08-21 15:33
Love those restored wooden buildings, need to go! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post and photos!
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baia
#13 baia 2017-08-21 07:42
Kipsala looks beautiful. I like colorful small buildings, thus the town seems like my cup of tea. I am definitely adding into my to do list of Riga and recommending this place to my friend you plans on visiting Riga in October
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Mark D. Go
#12 Mark D. Go 2017-08-21 01:31
Wonderful set of things to do and places to go. I love the city's architecture and the surrounding nature
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wanderlust vegans
#11 wanderlust vegans 2017-08-20 22:42
Kipsala looks like such an interesting neighbourhood. The restored wooden buildings look fantastic. I love the style and the paint jobs are fantastic. Cooling off at the Daugava River also would be something I'd like to do there while visiting. The beach looks nice. It's great you got a chance to check out some history at the Attend Lipkes Memorial. Imagine that, he saved 50 lives, what courage that must have taken.
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JasChen
#10 JasChen 2017-08-20 20:53
I'm not sure how I've never heard of this beautiful place prior to this but I'm super glad to have found out more about it. Kipsala seems like such a cute and quaint neighborhood and I'm definitely hoping to visit Riga now. Thanks for sharing!
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Bruce Schinkel
#9 Bruce Schinkel 2017-08-20 20:37
I've wanted to visit Riga and really enjoyed this overview of Kipsala! I'm a big fan of checking out architecture when I travel and love those towers and wooden buildings
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Janine
#8 Janine 2017-08-20 12:31
What a great showcase on this part of Latvia.
I have always wanted to go and clearly must hurry up and go. Beautiful pictures too.
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julz
#7 julz 2017-08-20 12:22
Have never been but it's fun how much it looks like Scandinavia :) love the first pics of the old houses :)
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Marlies
#6 Marlies 2017-08-20 11:45
I have never heard of Riga. Always nice to learn more about this county. Those wooden houses are so pretty! Besides looking at the houses the Lipkes Memorial looks really interesting. Thanks for sharing :)
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Sara Broers
#5 Sara Broers 2017-08-17 16:36
What a charming town. I have never heard of Riga, but I now know how charming it is.Add in some great food and a river, you have yourself a winning destination!
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