IN GOOD COMPANY WITH ICE KING. 7+ best spots for winter activities in Riga. UPDATED 30.01.2021

O winter! My winter! Thou have been fiercely messed up by climate change lately. Thou have been loosing your February permafrost to soon-becoming national sports in January - pavement-skating. Thou snowfall and temperature swings have become as infrequent as performances by Nicolas Cage.
Albeit the winter climate is more unpredictable than ever, every now and then it is still is somehow promising. For that reason, CAPITAL R recommends 5+ peculiar spots and activities one needs to visit in Riga to enjoy the fun, fray, fitness and fix ice and snow can offer.

capital riga, rīga ziemā, vecrīga, oldt town, morning in riga, 2019

Dozens of square kilometres of ex-dune forests with a light change of terrain for your Nordic skiing. Dozens of square kilometres of frozen water surfaces. Get your own skis or skates, and follow where the public transport takes you - Riga is actually full of locations for a light winter exercise.

Although the weather can sometimes be a downer, any of the given five options may be picked from late November to even late-March. Sometimes it's already -18°C before December. The most crucial element here is how fast can you react to the weather changing and be ready to take that one crispy cold day for a nice downhill some 50 kilometres from Riga.

But if time and closeness is of the essence, here are the promised 5 locations one can reach, say, in 30 minutes max from the city centre. Decent, civilized and with satisfying infrastructure.

NB. MOST ICE SCATING RINKS ARE CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19. If you find out of any open, please, check if so an ask for requirements.


slēpēšanas trase, āgenskalns, pārdaugava,

Where: Uzvaras parks
When: daily; rent open from 10:00 - 21:00
How much: 1,5h - 4,5 € per hour (depends on skis or skates/child or adult)
Cross-country skiing trail in Victory park was the first proper sports-based activity one could visit in present-day Rīga already some dozen years ago. Through the years the loipe has been redesigned, adding some augmented terrain, and joined with a proper ice skating rink for some proper ice hockey game, if you'd like.
Web (in Latvian) - the website also includes public skiing fields in Purvciems and Lucavsala.


Where: Biķernieku trase
When: daily; rent open from 11:00 (9:00) - 21:00
How much: 1,5h - 20 € (depends on whether renting items, full set, hourly or daily, adults or children)
What serves as a car racing track during the snowless season, becomes a cross-country skiing track for both hobbyists and professionals. If willing to sense some real winter spurt, this is your top pick within the city limits. Plus, the pine forrest surrounding Biķernieki track is worth seeing only if renting your equipment for an hour, where else can you both ski in a professional ambience and nature gaze in Riga?
Web (in Latvian)


Where: Grīziņkalna parks
When: open 24h
How much: free
Grīziņkalns park is legendary for multiple reasons. It was hosting Latvia's largest workers' demonstration in 1905 during the Revolution in Imperial Russia. Then it was one of the first whimsically designed modern public parks before WWI, that got upgraded during the 1930's.

Some 10 years ago it became a home for a local street pop culture event series "Ghetto Games" with streetball, slam dunks, MC battles and other urban pop culture activities. Finally, it was renovated in recent years to become a frequently visited ice skating field (closed due to pandemic) and, possibly, the best family-friendly downhill. The shallow slope is perfect for kids, and when the weather gets much warmer by the end of winter - it turns into nothing but ice! NB. No sled rental available, so BYOS or borrow a tight plastic bag for a ride with extra speed and no safety guarantees.


Where: Dzegužkalns
When: open 24h
How much: free
The "Cuckoo hill" is considered to be the highest in Riga. Although "hill" should always be in quote since it's only 28 m above sea level. But can you image how good it is to find the right spot an sledge down this little land hunch like a maniac?

Sadly there's no rental so, like in Grīziņkalna park, every bit of fun depends on your own preferences, needs, skills and inventory. But this might be the fastest downhill in Riga, we believe!


CAPITAL R, ledus kartings, vecaķos, riga, 2019

Where: Vecāķu jahtklubs
When: please, call and book in advance any time
How much: 15 € per 10 minute ride
What does a yacht club do, when the sailing season ends? Ice go-karting would be one of the least popular guesses for Vecāķi office. Yet, oh, yet, no doubt, this go-kart is on every default list to all winter adrenaline seekers and competitive souls. Located pretty far from the centre, the racing track can still be reached regularly, and this far no one can hear you scream.
Web (in Latvian) 



Where: Gulf of Riga. West coast
When: March
How much: free for all
There are dozens of kilometres of seashore attached to Rīga that become more popular than ever during the last weeks of winter. For starters, if you want to witness ice banks around 3 m high in short time and safe distance - head to the West up until Engure coastal town. If you are up for something more spectacular - rent a car or carpool with locals in order to get up along the beach from Mērsrags until Roja. This piece of shore, though out of Rīga, will double the height of ice hills easily and will impress the most straight-edge only-in-Riga evangelists. Besides, we promise to cover "Ice watching" in one of our future posts, so do whatever it takes to follow us!


mangaļsala, winter walk, taka, pastaiga

Where: Mangaļsala
When: daily
How much: free for all
Although there has been a brand new walking trail opened in Mangaļsala lately, keep in mind, the beach line of Riga has a lot more to offer. There are several other beautiful forest, backshore and dune lee-side footpaths, trails and wooden infrastructure everybody can approach any time from Daugavgrīva to Vecāķi.


Where: Kalngale
When: daily
How much: free
Although technically just outside Riga, Kalngale is one of the most beautiful forest beach within the capital's metropolitan area. Still we really wanted to emphasize this place before others. It takes some 15 minutes along a snow-piled, pine-scented road to reach one of the clearest, cleanest views over the sea. Although not so welcoming for people with disabilities if travelling by personal vehicles (must cross a double railway), the tiny Kalngale station is still reachable by train. One of the most meditative experiences every winter. 
A large majority of citizens also leave the metropolitan area for Saulkrasti "White dune foothpath". So, whenever there's a chance to visit our Mother of the Sea, one should follow the lead of locals and stroll by the coast area anytime, anywhere - for that mental, spiritual fix.


Find: for other cross-country skiing fields there is a web page you can browse. Sadly "Rīga skis" is only in Latvian, but you can try using Google Chrome for automatic translation. Also - MOST ICE SCATING RINKS ARE CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19. If you find out of any open, please, check if so and ask for extra requirements.
NB: Don't be an imbecile, be safe.