Welcome to Riga!
Riga as a travel destination
In Riga, travellers can admire the diverse architecture of the city, and especially the art nouveau buildings. Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings – one of the largest in the world – as well as a city in which the architecture of its entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected. It is also valued as a city with a unique collection of wooden buildings in its central section.
The cultural life in Riga is active. For example, the Dome Cathedral is renowned throughout the world for its acoustics and giant organ. It is worth attending one of the organ music concerts it offers. Various music festivals, from early music to opera and from jazz to rock, take place in Riga especially during the summer months. One can also visit a vast array of exciting museum exhibitions and contemporary art galleries in Riga.
In the course of history, Riga has traditionally served as a crossroads for trade and business between east and west. In 1282, it became a member of the Hanseatic League and remained an active member until its disintegration some 300 years later. Even today, Riga is distinguished by its great air, rail and road connections which render it the largest tourist centre in the country.
For more information and suggestions on how to enjoy your staying in Riga, please visit:
Travelling in Riga
Public transportation in Riga
Tram, trolley and bus
Public transport operates between 5:30 and 23:30. Timetables, fares and purchase information are available in Latvian, Russian and English at www.rigassatiksme.lv. The web-site also provides information on the price of tickets and where they can be purchased.
The scheme of public transport of Riga can also be bought in the Tourist Information Centre in the Blackheads House, in Rātslaukums Square, for EUR 2,00. More information is also available at www.rigatransit.lv.
Even though tickets can be purchased from the driver, it is cheaper to purchase an e-ticket at street kiosks and select shops. At the airport, vtickets are sold at the “Narvesen” convenience shop at the exit E. An e-ticket can be used on all “Rigas satiksme” buses, trolleys and trams, and is a convenient way to pay for public transportation services in the city. An e-ticket allows passengers to save time, and you do not need the exact change to purchase your ticket. You can get information on the various types of e-tickets and prices at www.rigassatiksme.lv.
You can download the “Trafi Lavija” program on your mobile phone or tablet using Google Play or App Store (www.trafi.lv). The program will find your coordinates and offer the closest transportation or route to your indicated destination.
The transit bus No 22 operates between Riga International Airport and the city centre.
At the airport, the taxi queue can be found right outside the arrivals level, next to Exit E. A taxi from the airport to the city centre costs approximately €20. We recommend to take red taxis Red Cab, phone number +371 8383 or green taxis Baltic Taxi, phone number +371 8500.
What to do in Riga and around
Shopping – Entertainment
There is a large shopping area in Riga, starting from Old town, Kr. Barona Street, Brivibas Street. Riga is surrounded by shopping malls, of which two are in the centre of Riga: Galleria Riga and Galerija Centrs. There are also large shopping malls available in the suburbs of Riga. Local goods can be bought on each Saturday in Kalnciema Street market, more information.
Riga offers a wide range of international and local cuisine restaurants, offering great journeys from Latvian traditional meals to European, Asian and other dining. Riga is known for “best enjoyed slowly”, best restaurants of the city can be found here.
During summertime, all the locals are enjoying the nice weather on the seaside. Just a 30 minute drive away from Riga you can enjoy a resort city, Jurmala, with its beautiful beach of the Baltic Sea.
For those who love architecture, history and culture, the Old Town walking tours and Riga Sightseeing Tours on buses are an excellent choice. You can also enjoy boat trips through the river Daugava or the canal of Riga.
Riga Opera Festival – Viva Puccini!
In 18 years, the Riga Opera festival has become a valuable tradition awaited by culture aficionados in Latvia and foreign viewers alike. The festival of 2015 will be the first of these events, dedicated to one composer only: to the musical genius, master of Italian verismo Giacomo Puccini.
The Festival will invite to flamboyant new productions of operas by Puccini – to the tragic story of a wayward woman Manon Lescaut and to the first of Puccini’s opuses – Le Villi – a choreographic tale about broken hearts and spirits. The LNO curtain will rise for several operas, favored by public as well as by critics – the humorous Gianni Schicchi, heart-felt La bohème, oriental Madama Butterfly and dramatically richly intense Tosca. And, of course, the most beautiful of Puccini’s opera arias will be heard in the Gala Concert.
During the EuroNanoForum, the Riga Opera Festival will present the following operas: on 10.06., Tosca, on 11.06, Le Villi, and Gianni Schicchi, and on 12.06, La Bohème.
Must see in Riga
Monument of Freedom
The Freedom Monument has been Riga’s central landmark for almost a century. This 42.7 m tall granite and copper work of art is a symbol of the Latvian nation’s striving for freedom and independence. The woman on top of the monument is holding up three golden stars, which represent Latvia’s historical regions of Kurzeme, Vidzeme, and Latgale. The motto “For the Fatherland and Freedom” is inscribed upon the base.
Art Nouveau plays an important role in the historic architecture of Riga; it is mostly concentrated in a neighborhood referred to as the ‘Quiet Centre’, which is a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. It is a gorgeous feature among the historic facades of the city. One of the most impressive examples of early Art Nouveau can be seen at 10b Elizabetes Street – a building designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, the father of cinema genius Sergei Eisenstein.
St. Peter’s Church
The St Peter’s Church is the highest church in Riga, and also a remarkable example of the 13th century gothic architecture, which is also an architectural monument of national importance.St. Peter’s Church was built in 1209 but only a few original parts — the side nave walls and several interior pillars — are left in the present building.
Riga Dome Cathedral
The foundation stone of Riga Dome Cathedral was laid on July 25, 1211. The last large-scale restoration took place in the late 19th century when the cathedral acquired its present appearance. Today, Riga Dome Cathedral holds services and provide for rich cultural life — various concerts of popular artists take place here.
Riga Dome Cathedral has been one of the major venues for concerts in Riga for hundreds of years. Also today, official services and concerts feature various musical performances.
Riga Central Market
Riga Central Market offers hemp seed butter, pork snouts, belash, the Latvian drink kvass, and other interesting food. This is a place where you can haggle with the vendors, enjoy a unique shopping experience, and the architecture. You can see from afar how architecturally complementary are Railway Bridge and the vaults of the Central Market hangars or ‘pavilions’. Riga Central Market was opened in autumn 1930, and at that time it was the biggest and most modern marketplace in the world. Please pay attention to the architecture as they were converted from Zeppelin hangars.
Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square in Riga has been completely re-built, since during the World War II the square and its historic buildings were destroyed. The city guests are welcomed by the historical façade of the House of the Blackheads, as well as the reconstructed Town Hall, and other buildings. Town Hall Square is the place where 500 years ago the city Christmas-tree was lit — now a memorial plank can be found here and a new Christmas-tree is decorated every year.
The Town Hall Square is surrounded by several interesting buildings — museums and public buildings, for instance, Riga City Council, which is located in the reconstructed Town Hall building. The Latvian Occupation Museum tells about the recent Latvian history, and the underground Riga Art Space is among the most modern art galleries.
The Bergs Bazaar (Berga bazārs)
Explore small boutiques offering both local and international items, dine at one of the popular restaurants or cafes — both casual and up-market, or simply stroll about stopping to rest on one of the many benches. Explore small boutiques offering both local and international items, dine at one of the popular restaurants or cafes — both casual and up-market, or simply stroll about stopping to rest on one of the many benches. Here you will find everything your heart could desire: hand-made chocolates, stylish clothing and furs, current and historical maps, beautiful soaps, Latvian linens, delectable pastries, French wine, and housewares.
Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum
The Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum is one of the oldest open-air museums in Europe. Now its territory covers 87.66 hectares of forest on the banks of Lake Jugla. The museum displays 118 historic buildings from all Latvian regions – Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Latgale dating from the 17th century to the beginning of 1930s.
The museum features the homes of Latvian farmers, craftsmen and fishermen, with permanent exhibitions of household and work equipment that are characterised by the specific time period, region and the owners’ occupation.
Latvia is member of the European Union and joined the Schengen Area in 2007. Further information on visa requirements for non-EU citizens is available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/consular-information/obtaining-visas).
The official language of the country is Latvian. Foreign languages – in particular English and Russian – are widely spoken.
Currency, credit cards, banking
The official currency is the EURO. Most international credit cards (Eurocard / Mastercard, Visa, American Express) are also widely accepted. ATMs are available in many locations around the city.
Latvia’s weather features a temperate maritime climate, with mild summers, moderate winters and frequently high levels of humidity and precipitation.
- Summer: June – August. Average temperature 15.8°C (in the capital 16.1°C).
- Winter: December – February. Average temperature -4.5°C (in the capital -3.8°C).
- The warmest month: July, The coldest month: January.
The time zone is GMT +2h.
Electrical current is 220-240 volts. Two-pin electric outlets (220 V, 50 Hz) are used. In the case of different socket, you can buy an adapter locally or at the airport.
Telephone country code
For calls to Latvia, the country code is +371.