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Riga City Break Review – All You Need to Plan Your Visit

Riga is a fantastic place to visit. It’s easy to get to, affordable and has lots of attractions. There is everything from great museums to interesting architecture and the largest food market in Europe.

A Riga weekend break is achievable and affordable with great flight connections from the UK but it’s also a good spot for a longer holiday if you want to explore further afield.

Read on for everything you need to know about visiting and to help you plan your Riga city break. (My Riga city break review is based on 3 trips to this lovely city.)

Riga City Break – Summary of Visit

1 = Poor, 5 = ExcellentComments
Personal Safety 5Felt safe walking anywhere & everywhere
Cleanliness4City centre tidy and well kept
Scenery5Mix of green spaces & architecture
Friendly People5Very friendly and helpful
Weather4Cold and damp
Getting There5Easy to find and free parking
Value for Money5
Hotel Cost£2253 night stay in suite with flights from Edinburgh
Date of StayJanuary 2023
Why Visit?Great value, lots of interest, food market, great flight connections
Riga City Break Review, Summary of Visit

Is Riga Good for a City Break?

Riga is a fantastic place to visit. It’s easy to get to, affordable and has lots of attractions. There is everything from great museums to interesting architecture and the largest food market in Europe.

getting there

Holidays in Riga Latvia

How to Get to Riga from the UK

Riga is easy to reach from the United Kingdom.

Flight time is around 2 hours and 40 minutes from London.

Check out the flight options below.

Get £10 off WayAway Plus membership with this code

weather info block

Riga City Break

When Is It Best To Visit Riga?

As you can see the summer months are 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 population of 690,000 and it gets around 3.5 million visitors a year.

May and September are likely to mean fewer tourists and better value prices.

The current weather in Riga is;

getting around

Riga Holiday

Getting to Riga City Centre from the Riga 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, and 2 Euros if 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 a large modern building set beside the river.

When you cross the river you know you are coming closer to the city centre.

where to stay

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, along with the guest rating. Click to view more details and check prices for your dates of travel.

City Break Riga

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.

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.

It’s got a great pool and spa up on the roof of the hotel, plus the food is lovely too!

Here is where you can find out more!

(You might also like my more detailed review of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riga)

Riga

Bellvue Park Hotel

The Bellvue Park Hotel is across the river from the old town. It’s very accessible being right on the airport bus route and beside two tram lines.

It overlooks a park so it’s a bit quieter, plus there are plenty of good room options.

We stayed in a lovely room looking over the park that was fantastic value.

Why not have a look for yourself here?

(You might also like my more detailed review of the Bellvue Park Hotel)

things to do
riga old town

Riga City Break

Things to Do in Riga

If you are wondering what to in Riga don’t worry – there is plenty to keep you occupied.

The Old Town of Riga is worth a wander around. There are cute squares with lovely cafes and different types of architecture to enjoy too.

riga city break freedom monument

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 depicting 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.

riga city break river trip

Riga City Break

Canal Boat 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 cost around £15 per person.

Check availability for your visit

central market riga

Riga City Break

The Central Market

Riga is home to the largest market in Europe. Five huge buildings house various pavillions – meat, fish, vegetables 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 and around the market itself.

Try some Latvian specialities including Lampreys and Knauss which is a non-alcoholic brewed drink.

Check availability for your travel dates

art nouveau riga

Why not take a walking tour of the amazing Art Nouveau district and learn the stories behind these amazing buildings?

Check availability for your travel dates here

Riga City Break

KGB Museum

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 gives 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 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.

Find out more about more about this museum

Riga Holidays

Apsara Tea House, Riga

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 pavilion. 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.

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 awkward 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.

Riga City Break Video

Holiday to Riga

Riga Frequently Asked Questions

u003cstrongu003eIs Riga u003c/strongu003eA Good Place to Visit?

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.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is Riga Popular For?u003c/strongu003e

It has amazing art nouveau architecture – one of the best collections anywhere. Did I mention it’s got the biggest food market in Europe too!

u003cstrongu003eIs Riga Friendly?u003c/strongu003e

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.

u003cstrongu003eDo They Speak English in Riga?u003c/strongu003e

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.

Riga City Break Conclusion

  • Riga is easy to access from the UK with budget flights.
  • A public bus makes getting to and from the airport easy plus there is great public transport around Riga.
  • There are plenty of things to do with something for everyone.
  • It can be cold in the winter months with daytime temperatures of minus 1 degree and minus 7 at night.

If you are looking for a break in a friendly and welcoming city then Riga is really worth considering – it’s worth going just for the food market!

Silver Travel Advisor Europe 7

Further Reading

If you have found this Riga City Break article useful you might also like;

Is Riga Worth Visiting? – yes it is but just in case you need a bit more convincing!

Bellvue Park Hotel Riga – detailed review of this hotel and what’s nearby

Radisson Blu Hotel Riga – deeper revew of this hotel

Handpicked Hotels in Riga – my selection of great hotels

Things to Do in Riga – more ideas and details of activities

Or for more general ideas head to my Travel Inspiration page

Further Reading

Other Articles

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