See why this huge market is affectionately known as Riga's belly when you browse hundreds of stalls for fresh produce and Latvian specialties.
Riga Central Market is one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe, attracting up to 100,000 people each day. The market is housed in five cavernous pavilions, under roofs that came from old zeppelin hangars. Come here to buy clothes, flowers, handcrafts, fish and fresh produce from Latvian farmers.
Start your browsing or shopping expedition even before you step foot into a pavilion. There are numerous open-air stalls in front of the building selling fruit and vegetables.Give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore all five pavilions, which are organized according to what they sell. There is a meat pavilion, vegetable pavilion, fish pavilion, dairy pavilion and gastronomical pavilion. Between them, there are approximately 3,000 stalls.
They sell goods that have been grown, raised and made locally, as well as imported commodities. As you walk through the market, you will see stalls stacked with familiar items such as fresh and marinated vegetables, fruit, cheeses and pickles, but there is also the unfamiliar. Consider your trip to the market as a good excuse to sample some traditional Latvian foods and ingredients. Look for Baltic style rye breads, smoked herring and saffron bread with raisins. Ask for some samples before buying. If you are here during the summer, try some kvass, a low alcohol drink made from black or rye bread.
You can also purchase non-edible goods including handmade socks, caps and scarves, as well as wicker baskets and other handcrafts, all of which make excellent Latvian souvenirs. Try your luck haggling with the vendors to get the best price.
After your visit, enjoy one last shopping trip. Directly behind Riga Central Market are late 19th-century warehouses where you can buy shoes and clothing. The styles are more influenced by Russian than Western fashions.
Riga Central Market is located next to the Riga Bus Station and the Central Railway Station, close to the Old Town. The pavilions are open daily, but they keep different hours. Visit the market’s official website for the exact times.