Riga is an old city. Founded in 1201, it has passed the mark of its 800th anniversary. As any old city, it used to be surrounded by a moat to prevent the enemy from attacking. The old walls of the citadel were destroyed and removed in the mid-nineteenth century, yet the moat – now the city canal – has remained for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors alike. The canal itself is indeed one of the loveliest places to walk along, since it is wrapped up in parks, covered by bridges, and inhabited by colonies of ducks.
Yet the most beautiful and adventurous way to experience the canal, in my opinion, is taking a canoe ride around Riga’s old town at night. You get to experience the canal and the river Daugava, which is rather easy to travel on even if you are not an experienced canoeist. Yet I would suggest choosing a calm, windless, and warmly pleasant night for the activity, so as to enjoy the picturesque surroundings with some evening serenity.
You will see the illuminated bridges from underneath, go through the Central Market canal, and if you are lucky, meet the one or more of the city’s mascots – beavers, the proud dwellers of Riga canal – allow me to say, in person.