The Darkest 50 Years

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • duration 3 hours
  • tour type Group
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Riga, Latvia
  • Ends Riga, Latvia
  • Learn about the progress of Latvia, from its Soviet days to Riga’s naming as the European Capital of Culture
  • Discover what daily life was like for locals who lived in Riga during the Soviet era
  • Gaze down on the city’s Sovietera sites from the famous ‘Stalin’s birthday cake’ building
  • Explore the Russian corner of the city and visit the Riga Central Market
The Darkest 50 Years tour starts and ends in Riga. The Darkest 50 Years is a city sightseeing tour that takes 3 hours.

It’s been more than 25 years since Latvia was declared an independent country, so you won’t easily find many Soviet-style buildings or districts – the city has changed its face a lot since then. However, you will never erase the hard memories tucked away in the hearts of the local people. Find out what it was like to live under Russian and German rule during those tumultuous years as you explore neighbourhoods and visit sites where evidence of the occupation era is still alive.
5 - Excellent
Based on 802 reviews
Mr. Jane's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mr. Jane
  • On Apr 21 2016
“My husband and I booked on to the Wine and Cicchetti tour in Venice on Monday 14th September at 11.30am. The booking process was excellent and very smooth as were the instructions for meeting our guide. Simona was our guide, a local from Venice so she was full of knowledge and enthusiasm for her city which was brilliant. The tour was superb and I honestly can't say enough positive things about it! The knowledge and information that we picked up from the tour enabled us to have a much more informed and interesting stay in Venice overall as we learned so much background and local knowledge (e.g. how to use the traghetti gondolas). In addition to a very interesting walking tour, Simona then took us to 5 different Bacaras and introduced us to wines and foods that we probably wouldn't have otherwise tried. Simona also went above and beyond by giving us recommendations for local restaurants 'off the beaten track' for a special birthday meal for my husband and I. We enjoyed the tour so much in fact (it was the highlight of our whole trip), that we walked the route again a couple of days later and revisited some of the same Bacaras!!”
Ms. Helen's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Ms. Helen
  • On Mar 09 2016
“I loved it. Very positive but not too serious guides which made it fun. Well presented and good pace. Not too "slick" which made it feel like it was a bit exciting (probably more so to the nervous ones). Good knowledge of the history and culture without beign boring. Well handled despite people shooting off and not following directions well. Enthusism by the guides was evident and infectious.”
Mr. Donald's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mr. Donald
  • On Nov 29 2015
“We did 2 Urban Adventures in Paris - both excellent - great guides Arthur and Alexis”

Ever wondered how life was lived under Soviet or Nazi occupation? This is your chance to get a taste of the Latvia Occupation era and learn about the past life of Riga.

On this Riga tour, you'll explore a whole different side to the city by visiting sites and areas that still hold the hard memories of the occupation era in Latvia. You’ll learn about daily life in occupied Latvia and get to know more about the country's history under the Russian and Nazi regimes.

On the eve of World War II, Russia made its move into the Baltics and Finland, and by 1940, Latvia was part of the USSR. The Russians quickly started deporting anyone who posed a threat to the new regime. But the Russians were quickly replaced by the Germans, who forced many Latvians to fight against the Russians, who still had a lot of Latvian soldiers in their army. Sucked into a war between super powers, Latvians were forced to fight against each other in a war they didn't ask for.

After the war, Latvia once again became part of the USSR and Russia continued it mass deportations to Siberia, in an attempt to decrease Latvian resistance. Groups of Russians came to settle in Latvia and thousands of Russian descendants continue to live in Latvia to this day.

Your tour begins with a visit to the Riga Panorama Observation deck at a building often called ‘Stalin’s birthday cake’ – one of the few sites standing from Soviet times. From this high perch your guide will give you an overview of the city, pointing out most famous sites of Soviet times, such as the Riga TV tower and a blockhouse area called Kengarags.

 Back on ground level, we’ll have a short stroll through the Riga Ghetto museum and Riga Central Market, where you can get a closer view of areas that haven’t changed much since 1990.

Afterwards, we’ll move towards the Old Town to visit more sites that are connected to the time of occupation. Before visiting the Museum of Occupation, we’ll enjoy a Soviet-style snack and drink in a true Soviet-style café and bar.

We’ll finish your Riga tour at the KGB building – one of the darkest places in Latvia, the so-called ‘Checka.’ If you’re brave enough, after visiting the main exhibition, you can even explore the basement’s prison cells (not included in tour price).

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • 1 Soviet-style snack and drink.&Nbsp; 
  • Entrance fee to observation deck
  • Additional food and drinks
  • souvenirs and personal shopping
  • transportation to/from the meeting and end points
  • visit to KGB building basement prison cells (5 EUR/person)
  • tips/gratuities for your guide.
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Cancellation for this The Darkest 50 Years tour is free up to 48 hours before the chosen start date - full refund will be given. If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the chosen start date, no refund applies.


Full payment of 49 USD is required to confirm this tour.

Travel Insurance

The Darkest 50 Years tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this The Darkest 50 Years tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Meeting start point :

"Laima" clock near the Monument of Freedom, on the corner of Brīvības blv. and Aspazijas blv.; Aspazijas Blv. 20

Meeting end point :

KGB Building, Brīvības Street 61, Riga

If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.