Flight and hotel Riga
An overview of Riga
Set on the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and bisected by the River Daugava, the Latvian capital is the largest city in the Baltic states. Visitors on city breaks to Riga are enthralled by the Gothic spires, Art Nouveau architecture, eclectic nightlife and excellent food. A package holiday in Riga awaits.
What to know before visiting Riga
The city is served by Riga International Airport (RIX), which offers direct flights to nearly 90 destinations in 30 countries. British nationals won't need a visa for stays of up to three months in Latvia. The official currency in use is the euro (EUR).
Riga is two hours ahead of the United Kingdom. Latvian and Russian are the most common languages spoken, though English is spoken at most attractions. Learning a few key Latvian phrases before your flight to and hotel in Riga might be useful.
When is the best time to visit Riga?
The best time to visit Riga is between April and September, when the weather allows for some outdoor action and sightseeing. Package holidays in Riga will likely be cheaper in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.
May features the medieval Count of May festival, a time for music, folklore and fun, and international Latviabeerfest. Summer heats up with the solstice J??i festival and July's Latvian Song and Dance Festival. Package holidays in Riga are a great idea in summer.
What to do in Riga
Kick off your weekend trip in Riga at cavernous Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs, one of the city's largest Latvian beer bars. Alternatively, see some casino action at Olympic Casino OlyBet, reportedly one of the largest casinos in the Baltics. For football and Formula 1, Paddy Whelan's Irish Pub & Sports Bar does the trick.
Home to Europe's largest food market, the epic Central Market is housed in five WWI Zeppelin hangars. Stop in and try the sauerkraut, vegetable pickles (such as garlic, mushrooms and beans), and pelmeni dumplings stuffed with cheese, minced meat and vegetables. This riverside market is splendid for people watching.
Rent a cycle and cruise down the coastal path from Riga to J?rmala, which is replete with pine forests and secluded beaches. Wind up your weekend trip in Riga with a Baltic Sea dip. Why not stroll through the forests and collect some cranberries, bilberries and mushrooms? A flight to and a hotel in Riga will let you connect with nature as well as culture.
Places to visit in Riga
Discover Riga's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as Soviet-era monuments, churches and Art Nouveau architecture.
- Established in 1211, the Riga Cathedral is the biggest medieval church in the Baltic. Its Romanesque and Gothic features are a sight to behold.
- Art Museum R?ga Bourse houses exquisite Chinese and Japanese ceramics, an Egyptian mummy, Monet artworks and a smaller cast of Rodin's The Kiss. Deities on the building's facade and gilt chandeliers are hard to miss.
- Architecture fiends will love the residential street of Alberta iela. Designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, it was named after Riga's founder, Bishop Albert von Buxhoeveden. Look out for the grotesque goblins, masks and stone satyrs.
- The R?ga Graduate School of Law at Alberta iela 13 screams for attention with its bare-breasted heroines, sobbing faces and peacocks.
- Get yourself photographed alongside Riga’s Freedom Monument, which stands proudly between Old and Central Riga. The structure, designed by K?rlis Z?le, was constructed in 1935 on the spot where a statue of Peter the Great once stood.
What to eat in Riga
Latvia's national dish, pork, is hard to escape – even veggies are cooked in bacon fat. Must-try pork preparations include kaulu (grilled pork chops), c?kas stilbs (pork knuckle), c?kas ausis (pig’s ears), gr?denis (pig’s head stew) and karbon?de (pork schnitzel). Another favourite is rasols, potato salad made from boiled eggs, veggies, sour cream and chicken or fish. National drink Black Balsam is a vodka-based liqueur infused with pepper, ginger, raspberry and bilberry.
Streetside snacks in Riga are easy on the wallet. Famous snack, pel?kie zir?i ar spe??ti (grey peas cooked with bacon and fried onions) is worth a try. Meals are best polished off with maizes zupa, pudding made from rye bread, fruit, whipped cream and cinnamon.
What can you bring home from Riga city breaks?
A must-have souvenir from Riga is amber, which often washes up on the nearby shores. Alternatively, opt for Riga Black Balsam. Made from 24 ingredients, the liqueur can be had with coffee or current juice – pick up a bottle to share with friends. Soviet memorabilia abounds in the form of medals and busts of Lenin. Take home sweets and chocolates from the Laima factory, a Riga landmark since 1870.