Is Riga A Good City Break?
Riga has so many attractions. There is a wonderful old town with historic buildings and cute cafes. The Art Nouveau district has some fabulous architecture to admire. There is a lovely canal running through the city with boat trips on it, and around the canal are lovely gardens. Riga is home to the amazing National Library of Latvia – a wonderfully modern building. It’s also home to the largest food market in Europe, packed with tempting tastes and flavours. It’s a great option for a varied and wonderful city break.
Read on for my review of a Riga city break, based on two visits actually. Once with a tour group and once as a solo traveller.
1. Riga City Break – Getting to Riga
Riga is easy to each from the United Kingdom.
Flight time is around 2 hours and 40 minutes from London.
Check out the flight options below. The year calendar gives an idea of prices from London to Riga for the year.
The flight schedule gives an idea of how many flights and flight timings each day.
2. Riga City Break – When Is It Best To Visit?
As you can see the summer months are clearly the best time to visit.
I visited in October and Riga was covered in a blanket of snow which was rather lovely.
In terms of visitors Riga is a city with a popular of 690,000 and it gets around 3.5 million visitors a year.
May and September are likely to mean less tourists and better value prices.
The current weather in Riga is;
3. Riga City Break – Getting to Riga from the Airport
There is a bus that runs from outside the airport to reach the centre of Riga. To reach the bus you follow the sign for ‘public transport’. There is a waymarked path which will lead you across the car park where you will see the bus stop. You can buy a ticket at the bus stop.
The bus number is 22. The fare is 1.15 Euros if you buy in advance, 2 Euros is you buy from the driver.
You can find all the information about bus and taxi transfers on the Riga Airport website.
The bus can be quite busy as locals use it too so you may have to stand for most of the way.
It takes around 30 minutes to reach the centre of Riga. On the way in you will pass the Riga library, which is large modern building set beside the river.
When you cross the river you know you are coming closer to the city centre.
4. Riga City Break – Where to Stay in Riga
Riga has a great choice of hotels with options in the old town, around the city centre and near the river.
There is something to suit every budget.
Check out the map view below to quickly find hotels in the area and price range you want. Hover over a hotel price to see a picture, alongwith the guest rating. Click to view more details and check prices for your dates of travel.
Check below to find the best hotel deals in Riga. Just click view hotel to see more information and check prices for your dates of travel.
Riga City Break – Hotel Opera
I stayed in the Hotel Opera and Spa on a previous visit to Riga. It was very handy for the airport bus and close to one of the drop off points.
The rooms were nice and comfortable despite it being absolutely freezing and snowing outside.
The bathrooms had a strange feature with a glass panel in the door. The bathroom window was frosted but had no blind which meant the bedroom was quite light during the night as a result.
Whilst the evening meal in the restaurant was quite good the breakfast was quite sparse with a poor selection by the time I arrived.
However, for the price I paid it was OK.
I stayed in October and it was £33 for one night including breakfast.
Riga City Break – Radisson Blu
On a previous visit to Riga on a tour we stayed in the Radisson Blu. This hotel has a great location, it overlooks one of the park areas and looks down towards the Freedom Monument.
This means that exploring the city from this hotel is very easy on foot.
There are also lots of cafes, restaurants and shops in the streets behind the hotel too.
The buffet meal we had is one of the best I have had on a tour anywhere, both for breakfast and dinner.
Guests thought the hotel rooms were small but I thought the location more than made up for it.
5. Riga City Break – Things to Do in Riga
The Old Town of Riga is definitely worth a wander around. There are cute squares with lovely cafes and a different types of architecture to enjoy too.
If you fancy hearing all about the history and culture of the Old Town then why not consider a walking tour? From £18.02 for 3 hours it is a great way to learn all you need to know. Local guides are also great sources of information for top cafes and restaurants too.
6. Riga City Break – The Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is a beautiful monument dedicated to the Latvian soldiers who died in the fight for Liberation from 1918 – 1920.
The monument is 138′ or 42 metres tall. It is worth stopping by for a closer look because around the base there are scenes depeciting Latvian culture and history.
Amazingly the monument survived during the Soviet occupation of Latvia and became a symbol of the independence movement. It was a visible reminder and something that gave hope to the campaign.
Check out the Tripadvisor reviews of the Freedom Monument
7. Riga City Break – Take River Trip
There are lovely small boat trips that run from the centre of Riga, not too far away from the Freedom Monument. These boat trips are a great way to see the city from another angle.
The trips are operated by Riga by Canal. The boats are lovely wooden boats which give good views.
The trips last 1 hour long and it costs 13 Euros per adult
8. Riga City Break – Central Market
Riga is home to the largest market in Europe. Five huge buildings house various pavillions – meat, fish, vegetable and produce. It is a fantastic place to visit and experience a bit of everyday Latvian life. Around 80,000 people a day visit the market.
Like most markets there are also little cafes tucked in an around the market itself.
Try some Latvian specialities including Lampreys and Knauss which is a non alcoholic brewed drink.
Why not take a guided 2 hour market tour and find the best Latvian dishes thanks to the local knowledge of your guide? At £24 this tour is a great way to find fantastic new flavours and try them as well!
This museum is well worth a visit. It is located within easy walking distance from the city centre Freedom Monument area.
The museum is located in the ‘Corner House’. This building was used as an interrogation centre when Russia occupied Latvia. There is an exhibition area giving more information on display boards. The exhibition is free to enter, with donations much appreciated.
I would highly recommend taking one of the tours. They have 4 tours guided in English running each day. The cost of these tours, which last about an hour, is 10 Euros per person.
The tour takes you through the building and give you a much better understanding of this grim, but important to know about, chapter in Latvian history.
The guide who took the tour I was on had been questioned in the building but thankfully never detained. I found the tour a really great insight into Latvia too, their worries about Russia and their support for NATO.
The only downside to the tour was the eagerness of some of the other guests to role play the interrogations that took place, or to snap photos of bullet holes where people were shot in a small cell.
Click the button below to go to the museum website.
On my first visit to Riga I spotted this gorgeous building when taking a trip on the canal through Riga. I vowed to go back and one of the reasons I chose the Opera Hotel (see above) to stay in was it was close to this teahouse.
The building is a glass pagoda style pavillion. It is run by Aspara Tea, a local company.
The super cute building has a welcoming and friendly interior, with equally welcoming and friendly staff.
Upstairs the floor is covered with cushions enabling you to lounge with your cup of gorgeousness and enjoy the quirkiness of this building. There are views over the canal too making it a peaceful and relaxing experience.
Click the button below to find out more and see some photos of this super cute place!
11. Riga City Break – Is Riga Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
I’ve visited Riga twice. Once with a group and once on my own. I have felt quite safe exploring anywhere in the city, including walking at night.
However, I did have a bit of an unpleasant experience when using an underpass to get from the airport bus to the Hotel Opera. I was carrying a medium size case which was a bit awkard to get up the steps. The steps were quite narrow. I had an over shoulder bag too.
As I climbed up the steps a man walked up beside me and managed to get his hand inside my shoulder bag.
Thankfully there was nothing valuable in the central compartment. I shouted at him and he scurried off.
When checking in at the hotel I told them of the experience and they said it was quite common when using the underpass!
I will cross the road another way next time.
12. Riga Frequently Asked Questions
Is Riga Worth Visiting?
Definitely. It’s got such a lot of variety in a fairly compact city. The food is great, there are some great attractions and the food market is worth going for on it’s own. It’s a great place to visit.
What is Riga Popular For?
It has amazing art nouvea architecture – one of the best collections anywhere. Did I mention it’s got the biggest food market in Europe too!
Is Riga Friendly?
On my two trips I found Riga friendly, despite someone trying to pickpocket my bag. The locals on the buses were also friendly and helpful, as was everyone I spoke to in the market.
Do The Speak English in Riga?
English is very widely spoken. I didn’t have any problems and nor did any of my guests when I was there with a coach group.
If you have found this Riga City Break article useful you might also like;
Or for more general ideas head to my Travel Inspiration page
- Highland Hotel Strathpeffer Review: Great Dog Friendly StayLooking to stay in Strathpeffer? Well check out this review of the Highland Hotel Strathpeffer, which includes a video tour of the room. What is the Highland Hotel Strathpeffer Like? The Highland Hotel is a large hotel in a historic building. The hotel has a wood panelled lounge and dining area and some stained glass… Read More »Highland Hotel Strathpeffer Review: Great Dog Friendly Stay
- Baku Holiday Review: Check Out Why Baku is Great to VisitIs Baku Good for a Holiday? Baku is not visited by many people from the UK, making it feel quite undiscovered. It’s in the earlier stages of tourism development giving it a unique feel. It is very easy to explore on foot and public transport. The history of Baku is really interesting and there is… Read More »Baku Holiday Review: Check Out Why Baku is Great to Visit
- Valencia City Break Review: A Wonderful City to VisitConsidering a Valencia city break? You absolutely should as it’s a fantastic city. Check out this guide to a Valencia city break and get ideas for your own trip. First let’s deal with a common question! Is Valencia Worth a Visit? Valencia is less visited than some other cities such as Barcelona. This gives it… Read More »Valencia City Break Review: A Wonderful City to Visit
- Riga City Break Review: Fantastic City with Great Food & DiscoveriesIs Riga A Good City Break? Riga has so many attractions. There is a wonderful old town with historic buildings and cute cafes. The Art Nouveau district has some fabulous architecture to admire. There is a lovely canal running through the city with boat trips on it, and around the canal are lovely gardens. Riga… Read More »Riga City Break Review: Fantastic City with Great Food & Discoveries
- Southerness Self Catering Review: Video Tour of Dog Friendly ChaletAre you planning a Southerness self catering holiday? Well check out this review based on a 1 week stay in Southerness in November 2021. 1. Southerness Self Catering – Getting To Southerness Southerness is a coastal village located south of Dumfries. It is about 25 minutes from Dumfries centre. 2. Southerness Self Catering – Southerness… Read More »Southerness Self Catering Review: Video Tour of Dog Friendly Chalet
- Southerness Things To Do – Cute Cafes, Wonderful Wildlife & Sandy BeachesAre you planning on visiting Southerness? Want some ideas of things to do in the area? Great then check out this list of things we did during our week long stay in November 2021. (If you want to check out the holiday cottage we stayed in have a look at Southerness Self Catering, which includes… Read More »Southerness Things To Do – Cute Cafes, Wonderful Wildlife & Sandy Beaches
- The Bank House Uttoxeter Review: Quirky Hotel In City Centre with Friendly PigeonsAre you looking for a hotel in Uttoxeter? Check out this review including a video tour of the Bank House Uttoxeter. It’s definitely a bit quirky! 1. The Bank House Uttoxeter: Address and Telephone Number The Bank House Uttoxeter Address; Church St, Uttoxeter ST14 8AG The Bank House Uttoxeter Telephone Number; 01889 566922 2. The… Read More »The Bank House Uttoxeter Review: Quirky Hotel In City Centre with Friendly Pigeons
- Threave Gardens – Great Gardens with Bat Reserve, Birds and Cute CafeLooking for a nice garden with plenty of interest to vist? Well check out Threave Gardens near Castle Douglas – it’s a lovely spot. It’s also got a nice cafe on site too. 1. Threave Gardens Location The first thing to mention is that there are two locations that might be easily confused. Threave Gardens… Read More »Threave Gardens – Great Gardens with Bat Reserve, Birds and Cute Cafe
- Holiday Inn Luton Airport Review: Great Airport OvernightAre you looking for a great hotel that is minutes from Luton Airport? With comfy rooms and good prices? Then check out my review of a 1 night stay at the Holiday Inn Luton Airport including a video room tour so you can see what a typical room looks like. 1. Holiday Inn Luton Airport Address… Read More »Holiday Inn Luton Airport Review: Great Airport Overnight
- Sleeperz Dundee Review: Fab City Break Hotel Opp. V&AIs Sleeperz Dundee Good for a City Break? Sleeperz Dundee is a great option for a city break. It’s opposite the V&A Museum, opposite HMS Dundee and it’s right over the train station. It is easy to walk to the city centre attractions, restaurants and cafes too. It’s got modern rooms and a nice bar… Read More »Sleeperz Dundee Review: Fab City Break Hotel Opp. V&A
- Brodie Castle Review: Quirky Castle & Fabulous Play AreaThinking of visiting Brodie Castle? You should because it really is a lovely spot. With lovely grounds to walk in, a quirky castle, cute cafe and a fabulous play area what’s not to like? Check out this guide for all you need to know 1. Brodie Castle Address and Telephone Number Brodie Castle address is;… Read More »Brodie Castle Review: Quirky Castle & Fabulous Play Area
- Jurys Inn Aberdeen Review: Great City Break HotelAre you looking for a great hotel in the heart of Aberdeen? Jurys Inn Aberdeen is at the heart of all the action. Check out this review, including a video tour of a room, to see if it’s your perfect stay. 1. Jurys Inn Aberdeen Address and Telephone Number The address of Jurys Inn Aberdeen… Read More »Jurys Inn Aberdeen Review: Great City Break Hotel
- 14 Dog Friendly Highland Cottages with Hot Tubs – Bubbly BlissAre you looking to visit the Highlands of Scotland? Looking for Highland cottages with hot tubs so you can enjoy some bubbly holiday bliss? Great – well here is a selection picked just for you with some notes from me to help you find you perfect stay! I’ve organised this list in ascending price order.… Read More »14 Dog Friendly Highland Cottages with Hot Tubs – Bubbly Bliss
- Inverewe Gardens Scotland – All You Need to KnowWhat Are Inverewe Gardens Scotland? Inverewe Gardens are botanical gardens set on the West coast of Scotland. They are warmed by the Gulf Stream enabling them to grow a much wider variety of plants than is normally possible in Scotland. The results are stunning gardens which are packed full of interest whatever your age. Planning… Read More »Inverewe Gardens Scotland – All You Need to Know
- 10 Dog Friendly Cottages Inverness: Happy Doggie HolidaysLooking for dog friendly cottages Inverness? Great – then this post is for you! I’ve handpicked a selection of houses, cottages and apartments around the Inverness area which are all pet friendly. They all include WIFI, linens and heating too. I’ve given a sense of the location of each property so get reading and find… Read More »10 Dog Friendly Cottages Inverness: Happy Doggie Holidays
- 6 Lodges with Hot Tubs In Inverness For Bubbly Blissful City StaysLooking for some super cute lodges with hot tubs Inverness? Well you are in the right place! Inverness is a great base for a stay in the Highlands, giving you great access to all the attractions that the Highlands has to offer. For now let’s get cracking finding you a great lodge with a hot… Read More »6 Lodges with Hot Tubs In Inverness For Bubbly Blissful City Stays
- Holiday Cottages Inverness – Great Holiday Homes In & Around the CityWhy Should You Choose Inverness for Your Holiday Cottage? Inverness is a great location making it wasy to travel North, South, East and West with plenty of attractions in each direction. Whilst a city Inverness is actually more like a town – with a total population of just 80,000 people. It is easy to use… Read More »Holiday Cottages Inverness – Great Holiday Homes In & Around the City
- Hilton Aberdeen TECA Review: Great For the Airport & EventsLooking for a real guest review of the Hilton Aberdeen Teca? Check out this review, including a video tour of a bedroom, from a 1 night stay in July 2021 Included in the review are details of the car parking, facilities and getting to the Hilton Aberdeen Teca. 1. Hilton Aberdeen Teca: Address The Hilton… Read More »Hilton Aberdeen TECA Review: Great For the Airport & Events
- Duncansby Stacks Review: Stunning Walk Nr John O’GroatsCheck out this review of my visit to Duncansby Stacks, a stunning walk located just a few miles from John O’Groats. But first an important question! What Are the Stacks of Duncansby? Duncansby Stacks are a series of dramatic sea stacks located at Duncansby Head. They are very easy to visit and crammed with seabirds… Read More »Duncansby Stacks Review: Stunning Walk Nr John O’Groats