‘Autumn is a rich man’, according to a Latvian proverb. Autumn is harvest season in Latvia – Latvians can finally reap what they sowed from delicious mushrooms to quinces, porcini to freshly hinted venison. Enjoy the picturesque parks covered in autumn foliage, indulge in culture and food at seasonal festivals and explore the city’s history.
What could be better than to witness marvellous sunsets and discover the Latvian capital from above while it is dipped in bright red, orange and yellow and the air is a crisp as ever. At Panorama Riga, you can see Riga from a bird’s-eye perspective at the height of 65 metres and see the city like never before!
Located on top of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, the circular panorama observation decks offers the most beautiful view over the city. From here, you can see some of the most important sights of the city, for example you can see the National Library of Latvia as well as the beautiful promenade of the river Daugava, the Old Town and the Central Market.
The declared mission of the Riga International Film Festival, the IFF, is it to promote Riga’s rich history and culture and advocate for an open, intelligent and active society through films and by encouraging dialogue between filmmakers and viewers. Established in 2014, the festival has quickly become one of the most popular cultural events in the country and is one of the cultural highlights during autumn in Riga.
Taking place in October each year for 10 days, the screened films mostly represent the Baltic states and the Nordic countries but the IFF also introduces the local audience to new developments in the international industry. The selection of films mirror contemporary cinema as well as classics, covering multiple genres and with a focus on high quality – a perfect escape from a gloomy autumn day.
Autumn in Latvia bestows the culinary scene with delicious seasonal delicacies. A colourful rainbow of quince, porcini other kinds of mushrooms, fresh venison, pumpkins and plums enrich the restaurants’ menu cards from September onwards.
Either pick the fresh ingredients yourself at the Central Market or enjoy these fine flavours at traditional and seasonal restaurants. The Riga Restaurant Week that takes place throughout two weeks in October is the ideal time to explore the local culinary scene. During these special two weeks, Riga’s restaurants serve an array of delicious tastes and 3-course menus for an especially affordable price.
The Bastejkalns Park, also known as Bastion Hill, is copious park located right on the Eastern edge of Riga’s Old Town and surrounds the Pilsētas Canal that once was the city’s old moat, protecting the Old Town from invaders. Created in the 19th century, the park is considered to be not only one of the most romantic spots in the Latvian capital with its narrow paths and boulevards with trees but also consists of monuments to remind Latvia’s difficult past.
A stroll through the park in autumn is especially beautiful. Wander through the golden alleyways and past the river as well as various sculptures while the leaves rustle under your feet, marvel at the bridges over the canal dipped in fog or take a break from sightseeing on one of the many benches on a sunny day.
An one hour drive away from Riga, the Kemeri Nationalpark is the ideal destination to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This park is home to some of the most popular swamps in all of Latvia and a wide variety of birds, and offers a fabulous walk through the raised bogs via the Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk.
These raised bogs are unique in Europe and especially beautiful during autumn. The boardwalk overall takes around one and a half hours and consists of two loops, a small one of 1.4 km and a long one that spans over 3.4 km. Wandering through the realm of moss, small bog pines, dark lakes and surrounded by the scent of marsh spurge is truly a magical experience and will even be rewarded with a magnificent view over the moorland from the viewing platform.
Watch the city centre come to live during the annual Riga Harvest Festival. The festival is truly an experience and is celebrated in the whole country around 21st to 23rd September. Its roots can be traced back to the old, pagan festival Miķeļi, a Latvian autumn equinox. The Latvians call this holiday Apjumības because it marks the day when the last grains could be harvested. Not only is winter coming, it also bring old ghosts and spirits with it.
During the festival, Riga's Central Market is filled with stalls from craftsmen and farmers. Here, you can find fresh and regional produces including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and baked goods as well as handmade, traditional crafts. The market is accompanied by joyous folk songs and customary dances on the Cathedral Square, making the festival a thoroughly delightful experience you shouldn’t miss to get a glimpse into the local culture.