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Riga has an old soul and a young heart. It’s risen phoenix-like from a turbulent past to claim its crown as one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals. Among its stunning Art Nouveau buildings and storybook neighbourhoods, you’ll find prolific poets, innovative theatres, and noisy markets filled with Latvian dishes.
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Stroll among the centre’s Art Nouveau architecture – it rivals any in the world. Or buy the city’s most charming groceries from the city’s most bustling market – Riga Central Market. Latvians love their drama. Classical values can be found in Latvian National Theatre. Bring your phrasebook though – it might not be in English!Accommodations in City Center
A living history lesson. This dense cobbled district is a riverside grab bag of architectural delights. Lovers wait under the Laima Clock, Old Town’s unofficial entry point. Peruse epic art museums or spoil yourself at one of the world’s best opera houses. When the sun sets, “Omas Briljants” is the bar to be in.Accommodations in Riga Old Town
This up-and-coming area’s best seen during daylight. Get to grips with your basic Latvian in Avoti’s top-notch second-hand shops, scrumptious bakeries and cheap eateries where Latvian is the only language spoken. Cold beetroot soup’s a local favourite, especially during sweltering summers. For trendy ‘tudes, join the local hipsters at Chomsky Bar after hours.Accommodations in Avoti
Leafy Ageskalns’s cobbled streets are full of quirky museums built to pay homage to poets, stage artists, and railways. In lush Victory Park, the Freedom Monument is a controversial point of interest. On Saturdays wander the authentic markets at Kalnciema kvartāls in search of local treats like sparkling birch tree wine.Accommodations in Agenskalns
Once a fishing village, this island is the only one that’s still inhabited. Cycle from one end to the other and check out the range of homes, from wooden houses to luxury suites. Stop off at Kipsala Beach for a summer sunbathe. Get your dose of culture with a show at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre or a stirring performance at the concert hall.Accommodations in Kipsala
Anita is born and raised in Riga and loves the capital’s busy life and many cultural activities.
Cemeteries and life after death play a big role in Latvian culture. Head to one of Riga's cemeteries – locally known as "Meža kapi" - to sense how well Latvians take care of their ancestors' graves. It almost looks like a park or a garden with all the fresh flowers and alleys.Accommodations nearby
Tõnis has lived in Riga for 1 year and loves discovering the locals’ favourite spots.
Kalnciema Quarter is the best getaway. It's like being in another world, where there’s a market, a party spot, a concert venue and delicious food on offer. The atmosphere is amazing and people are always nice and open minded.Accommodations nearby
Zane has lived in Riga for 25 years and loves all sorts of culture - from graffiti to Van Gogh!
Opening in 1923, this popcorn-free movie theatre was the first freestanding building in Riga intended exclusively for film screening. I simply love it because it has this 1920’s majestic and luxurious style that makes it classy, cosy and alternative, all at the same time.Accommodations nearby
Andris has lived 29 years in the city and spends his free time at the gym or on the dance floor.
If the weather is nice, take one of the Daugava River cruises. Both short canal cruises and longer trips are available. You can cruise out to the beach resort of Jūrmala or the popular Mežaparks region, where the biggest city park and the Riga Zoo are located.Accommodations nearby
Valdis has spent 15 years in Riga and loves biking through the city’s streets.
An area where history meets present! You will find century-old wood and brick buildings renovated with utmost care, and numerous restaurants – from modest to fancy – serving top-class local cuisine here.Accommodations nearby
Liene loves nature but can’t stay away from the buzzing city life for very long.
Right between the Riga Central Market and the Daugava River you will find a lively warehouse district that now houses cafés, restaurants, venues for art events, as well as a concert hall. In addition, a picturesque promenade along the river starts here.Accommodations nearby
Julia has lived in Riga for 27 years andenjoys roller skating and biking in the city.
Not far from the city centre is a recreation park where you can go on a nice bike ride or walk. This family-friendly oasis features a variety of entertainment options for kids, including the Riga Zoo.Accommodations nearby
Viesturs has lived in Riga for 20 years and loves skiing, festivals and beer.
Andrejsala (or Andrew Island) is a district in the former industrial port area, with nice alternative events, art studios, workshops and non-traditional shopping possibilities. You can enjoy a beer by the water while admiring the spectacular view of the ferries and yachts passing by.Accommodations nearby
Inese likes to get away from the busy centre to enjoy nature and go fishing with her daughter.
This park is an urban oasis, where both children and adults can relax. You can go for a picnic, a swim in the river or partake in water sports during the summer months, just a stone’s throw from the city centre. Live music events are also organised here.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes Riga one of those classic city-trip experiences?
Riga is the biggest of the Baltic capitals, and it is the only one that really feels like a big city. Just walking the streets there is a lot to see, as the city has a beautiful mix of architectural styles. Especially impressive is the art nouveau architecture that accompanied the city's expansion at the turn of the 20th century.See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What should you avoid to make the most of the nightlife in Riga?
Old city a bit of a maze. Interesting to search out features: churches, squares, architectural features: black cat, three Wall Street, three brothers houses etc.See all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Riga while avoiding the crowds?
We travelled early September and the city was quiet with enough atmosphere to be enjoyable. The spell of good weather made this memorable.See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the best way to make the most of Riga by foot?
We book a food tour of Riga which was excellent! It provided history as well as an urban picnic.Superb!See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Riga that makes history come to life?
Lots of history of region at town museum war museum. Travel out to SiguldaSee all 12 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in Riga that wasn't in the guidebooks?
Excellent guide in museum of 51 years of occupationSee all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What were the best places for wandering in Riga's old town?
KGB Museum Aviation Museum at airportSee all 23 answers
Buses, taxis and airport shuttles link Riga International Airport with the centre. Bus 22 departs opposite the terminal roughly every 15 minutes from 05:45–23:40 and takes about 25 minutes. Single tickets cost EUR 1.20 at travel information desks. Official taxis are green or red and take you to the centre in 20 minutes for approx. EUR 20. Airport Express Shuttles that stop at some of the city’s major hotels can be booked online in advance for EUR 5.
Riga’s train lines are not your best option for getting around within the city, but are great for reaching nearby cities, such as Jūrmala, Jelgava, Sigulda, Baltezers and Saulkrasti. Trains operate from around 05:00 until midnight, and departures are more frequent for certain destinations. Tickets are cheaper if bought from a station ticket office, but can also be bought as you board the train. Discounts are available for children and seniors.
Riga’s bus network covers most parts of the city and is a practical means of transport. Buses operate from 05:00 until midnight, and special night buses run after this. Tickets can be bought from newsagents around the city, and are also valid for trams and trolleybuses. A single ticket costs EUR 1.20, but tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days are also available. The Riga Card gives you access to all public transport, as well as discounts at many museums, restaurants and shops.
The most tourist-friendly taxis in the city are either green or red. Opt for these to avoid costly and unnecessarily long taxi rides. Most drivers speak English and green taxis accept credit cards. The prices are found on the passenger door, and you can choose to pay per kilometre or per minute. Big hotels have taxi stands, but you can also hail a car on the streets. If you order by phone, the operator can give you a taxi fare quote for your route.
The city tram has 9 routes – which overlap with several bus routes – and are the quicker option when getting around. Tickets for trams, trolleybuses and buses are the same and can be purchased at newsagents around the city.
The trolleybuses run less frequently than the ordinary buses in Riga, but are probably more charming to travel in. Stepping on to some of the well-preserved trolleybuses gives you a taste of what public transport looked like in the old days. Tickets can be bought from newsagents across the city.
Cycling is a popular way of getting around the city. Sixt offers a self-service bike rental system, with over 250 bicycles parked at stations in Riga and Jūrmala. You can cycle from the centre of the capital to the seaside freely; just register online or directly onsite. Designated cycling routes also link the Western parts of the city to the Eastern parts.
Getting around the city’s centre is more practical via public transport than by car, although traffic is generally not too bad – except during rush hours (08:00–10:00 and 17:00–19:00). Keep in mind that many streets in the Old Town are one-way, and outdoor parking spots are limited. Several car parks are found next to blue P-marked signs around the centre. A number of car rental companies offer their services at Riga International Airport.
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