The capital of Latvia is called Riga. It is located on the Gulf of Riga on the banks of the River Daugava and is considered the largest urban centre in the Baltic States. A city trip to Riga is worthwhile!
Riga was once a Hanseatic city founded by German merchants in the Middle Ages. At that time, trade flourished in Riga and prosperity grew in some population groups.
From 1918 to 1941 Riga was the capital of the independent Republic of Latvia. From 1944 Latvia belonged to the Soviet Union and Riga was the administrative seat of the Latvian SSR. Since 1991 Latvia is again independent and the city is again the capital of the republic.
Sightseeing in Riga
It is a little disappointing to visit the Old Town of Riga and stumble on KFC, McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and all the other chains that one doesn’t really like to go to. Our tourist guide in Riga had a few recommendations for us about where to eat in Riga.
Stay overnight on a Riga city break
Riga travel information
Riga International Airport is located about 10 kilometers from the city center. Mainly the airBaltic airline lands here, but some low-cost airlines also fly to the city. In total, there are flights to Riga from 85 cities worldwide.
From the airport you can easily get to the city by public transport. Bus number 22 goes directly to the city center. The tickets can be bought at the kiosk or a little more expensive from the bus driver. The ticket costs 2€. The tickets must be validated on the bus!
If you travel with airBaltic, you can use the offered minibus service. This is more expensive than the public transport, but you are usually driven to the hotel door in the city center.
By cab it takes 10-20 minutes to get to the city center, depending on traffic. The cost is about 10-15€.
The main station in Riga is served by long-distance trains from Russia, Belarus and Lithuania. In addition, local trains from the region arrive there.
The central bus station is located east of the old town and west of the central market. Buses from some of the major international operators run regularly to the station. Bus connections to Riga are available from Berlin, Hamburg, Warsaw, Prague, Pskov, Kiev, Grodno, Vilnius, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Minsk and many other international cities.
Trunk roads connect Riga with Tallinn, St.Petersburg, Moscow, Kaunas and Vilnius.
There is a direct ship connection from Lübeck to Riga.
On the way in …
By bus and tram
Public transport in Riga is very well developed. There are buses, trolleybuses and trams in the city area. They usually run between 5.30 am and 11.30 pm.
Tickets can be purchased at kiosks, ticket offices and from the driver. The prices at the driver’s are significantly higher. You need an extra ticket for large luggage. If you are travelling by public transport on 18.11, Latvian Independence Day, you do not need a ticket.
There are e-tickets for a certain number of journeys:
- one journey – EUR 1.15,
- five journeys – EUR 5.75,
- ten journeys – EUR 10.90,
- for 20 journeys – EUR 20.70,
- but also in the form of 24-hour tickets for EUR 5.00,
- three-day tickets – EUR 10.00, and
- five-day tickets – EUR 15.00.
The e-ticket is a standardised electronic ticket that every passenger needs.
Suburban trains run in the greater Riga area. Depending on the distance, the fare here is between €0.90 and €1.50. Buying a ticket from the conductor on the train is considerably more expensive. Bicycles can be carried in specially marked compartments on the train, but this costs extra.
When travelling by taxi, you should pay attention to the fare printed on the rear doors of the vehicle. There is no maximum fare for kilometres travelled, time or basic fare.
The use of bicycles is encouraged in Riga. Thus, more and more cycle paths are being developed, which sometimes take some getting used to, especially in the intersection area.
Almost the entire old town is a pedestrian zone and there are only a few free parking spaces in the other districts close to the centre. A guarded parking space costs from 10 euros per day.