Riga Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Riga. How to get there and more…
Mark Ford, founder for Plus1 Travel.com
It’s great to have you here searching for Riga travel tips. Riga is the capital of Latvia and is home to over 600.000 people, making it a third of Latvia’s population. Since the city is significantly larger than other cities of Latvia, Riga is the country’s primate city. It is also the largest city in the three Baltic states and is home to one tenth of the three Baltic states’ combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga at the mouth of the Daugava river where it meets the Baltic Sea. Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. In 2016, Riga received over 1.4 million visitors.
Riga Travel Tips – How To Get From The Airport To Riga
When searching for Riga travel tips there are two options to get from Riga Airport to the city centre. By bus or by taxi (private transfer). The bus will take you to the destination in about 30 minutes, the journey cost starts from €1.15. Getting to the city by transfer will take around 15 minutes, and this will cost a minimum of €23. Riga Airport is located 13 km from the city.
The bus #22 runs from Riga Airport to the city centre daily. The trip duration is around 30 minutes, the ticket cost is from €1.15 for a single ticket or €5 for a multiple-journey ticket for one day. A ticket can be bought from the driver, at the airport office.
The Riga Airport transfer is especially suitable for tourists who arrive at Riga Airport at night or want to get to the city as quickly as possible. The trip by taxi Riga Airport to Old Town or pre-booked transfer Riga Airport is really fast – it takes around 15 minutes. The trip will cost a minimum of EUR €23 for an Economy-class car.
Riga Travel Tips – How To Get Around Riga
When searching for Riga travel tips, the city has 8 tram lines, 17 trolleybus routes and 56 bus routes that operate in the city. You can buy €1.15 tickets at designated Riga Transport (Rīgas Satiksme) ticket offices, at public transport ticket machines or at Narvesen newsstands, post offices and Rimi supermarkets. You can also buy a ticket from the driver (on old trams) but it will cost you €2. New trams offer ticket machines on board.
Riga Old Town
Passengers have a wide variety of ticket options including tickets for single ticket (€1.15), two (€2.30), four (€4.60), five (€5.75), 10 (€10.90) and 20 (€20.70) rides or tickets good for 24-hours (€5), 3 days (€10) or 5 days (€15) of travel.
The tickets are valid for trams, trolleybuses and city buses.
You can also take a mikroautobuss or mikriņš, passenger vans that list their destinations and route numbers on their windscreens. They are a scourge to urban transit as they’ll basically stop anywhere along their routes to pick up or drop off passengers causing delays and traffic jams. Pay the driver the fare, which varies depending on the route.
In the summer a so-called retro tram is also available on weekends and holidays. The open-air tram supposedly looks like the first trams that began zipping up and down Riga’s streets over a hundred years ago. Pay the driver €2 to travel from anywhere between the Ausekļa iela stop and Mežaparks (tram route No.11).
Best Places To Stay In Riga
When searching for Riga travel tips, the capital of the Baltic nation of Latvia, has experienced significant growth in tourism over recent years. This has been driven by a number of budget airlines operating flights from around Europe, its affordable prices and unique culture that makes it a great stop for a weekend break or as part of a longer Baltic travel itinerary. Let’s look into the best neighborhoods to stay in Riga.
The Old Town is also located right in the centre of the city with many beautiful buildings, restaurants, cafés and shops. The area is also easy to get in and out, to explore other areas of Riga as well as being close to the train and bus stations if you plan on taking a day trip elsewhere in Latvia.
Central Riga is a great part of the city to stay in when visiting. Located within walking distance of all the main tourist sites but accommodation tends to be more affordable. The quality of restaurants and bars also tends to be better as you are less likely to come across places specifically catering to tourists.
Jurmala is located about a 30-minute train ride from Riga’s Central Station. The area offers you a fantastic opportunity to stay on the Baltic Coast while still being able to visit Riga. Jurmala is a completely different experience compared to staying in Central Riga or the Old Town. As expected, Jurmala is an extremely popular place to visit in the summer months to be able to swim in the sea and stay near the coast.
The old centre of Riga on the right bank of the Daugava River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On these scurrying cobblestone streets and sociable squares are Riga’s oldest houses and churches. Vecrīga is stacked with restaurants, nightspots, art galleries and museums.
At a cafe you have to order the dessert named after Vecrīga, made from choux pastry filled with curd and vanilla cream and dusted with icing sugar.
Art Nouveau Architecture
Riga is an Art Nouveau wonderland, with more than 800 buildings, a third of the city’s stock, dating from the prime years of the movement at the start of the 20th century. This is the world’s largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture, easy to identify for its curved doorways and windows, abundant floral reliefs, female sculptures, whimsical gargoyles or Romantic nationalist imagery.
Town Hall Square
Standing on Riga’s Town Hall Square and gazing at the Town Hall and House of the Blackheads, it’s mind-boggling to think that these monuments are little more than 20 years old.
The reconstruction is seamless, and the plaza has a grandeur fit for a capital.
Sticking out like a sore thumb next to the House of the Blackheads is a dark and squat 1970s Soviet building that until recently contained the Occupation Museum.
House of the Blackheads
House of the Blackheads
The pièce de résistance on Town Hall Square is undoubtedly the magnificent House of the Blackheads, first built for an association of unmarried merchants and ship-owners in the 1330s. The building was modified in the 16th and 19th centuries, before being wrecked during a German bombing raid in 1941. The reconstruction didn’t take place until after the Soviet period, and was finished in 1999.
If you have limited time to hunt down Riga’s Art Nouveau marvels there are many clustered together on Albert Street, which is like an outdoor gallery for architecture. One of the many surprising things about Albert Street is just how quickly these buildings went up. The artery took on its inimitable appearance within just seven years, from 1901 to 1908, and eight of the buildings are listed as Latvian state monuments. Much of the street is the work of Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein, with special mention for Konstantīns Pēkšēns and his protégé Eižens Laube.
At Mazā Pils Street stands the oldest complex of houses in Riga, dating from the 15th century. The oldest facade is no. 17, which has a mix of Gothic and Renaissance in its crow-stepped gable and the pointed arch on its doorway. Painted pale yellow, No. 19 dates to the middle of the 17th century and blends Renaissance with Dutch Mannerist design. The distinguished Classical portal here is newer and was built in 1746. This building houses the Latvian Architecture Museum if you’re curious.
East of Vecrīga this solemn landmark remembers the soldiers killed fighting Soviet forces during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-20). Standing 42 metres high, the Freedom Monument (1935) is built from red granite and travertine, and created by a copper sculpture of Liberty holding three golden stars. This monument remains the centrepiece for official remembrance ceremonies in the city. If you approach the base you’ll find 13 groups of reliefs recording national heroes, allegories, images from Latvian culture and pivotal moments in the nation’s history like the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the War of Independence.