Check out my top tips for visiting Riga for the first time including the most popular places to visit, where to stay, the best restaurants and nightlife and tips for staying safe.


Is Riga Good for a Weekend Trip?

Riga is a cosmopolitan city that offers a treasure trove of rich history and culture, foodie heaven and a thriving night life.

This is one of the best value for money city break destinations in Europe, with prices for flights, accommodation, sightseeing and eating out the fraction of the price of other European cities.  

2/3 days is the perfect amount of time to enjoy the highlights of the city. 


How to Get to Riga

You can travel to Riga with Air Baltic, British Airways, Ryanair and other low cost European airlines for as little as £60 return from UK/European airports making it one of the cheapest places to fly in Europe. Book in-advance for the best prices.


Best Time to Visit

Summer is one of the most popular times of year to visit Riga, but this really is a year round destination. Riga is the perfect autumn and winter destination to liven up the duller months. In December you can enjoy the Christmas lights and markets. 


Top Things to Do in Riga

Riga tourist

There are so many points of interest and places should visit in 48 hours including:

  • The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the ex KGB headquarters are fascinating and chilling. Book the cell tour for the student price of €2 you get an incredible insight into one of the 20th century’s most harrowing chapter of history. 
  • Visit St Peters Church. The Medieval monument is one of the cities most treasured sites. The platform at the top offers panoramic views of the entire city.  
  • The covered market located in four old Zeppelin hangars is not to be missed. It is Europe’s second largest market, and showcases the real and raw Riga. It sells possibly anything you could ever need and it is great way to spend a rainy morning. 


Where to Stay

You can find accommodation for all budgets, from luxury boutique hotels to shared dorms in backpacker hostels.

My recommendations for the best place to stay in Riga for a low price is the Naughty Squirrel Hostel.

This popular hostel is located centrally in the old town and has been voted the best hostel in Eastern Europe. It is the ideal place to meet people and party, as well as to enjoy the bustling centre. Dorm rooms are available from £10 per night. 


Where to Eat & Drink

Riga city centre

You can find a big selection of cafes, restaurants and bars, here are some of the highlights:

  • Cheap eats include Big Bad Bagels and Street Burger they offer tasty and contemporary food, or the Lido chain suits those looking for a more traditional bite. 
  • Independent coffee shops such as MIIT, which offers a vegetarian breakfast buffet, or DAD Café are symbolic of Riga’s café culture and are well worth spending a lazy afternoon in. 
  • Riga has an abundance of bars, from the self service Easy wine and Easy beer (a dream come true!), to microbrewery Labietis for ale lovers. The Armoury Bar is also a great option if you are looking for a bar with a lively atmosphere and quirky soviet-esque décor. 


Where to Party

Anyone who has an insatiable appetite to party Riga has it all!

A city catering to all tastes ranging from karaoke bars that you try to avoid, but ‘ironically’ end up in singing Despacito in…?

To the wannabe ‘hard rock café’ playing Russian folk music in the basement at four in the morning and heavy rock in the floor above.

But so you don’t have to endure such nightmares, here are some of Riga’s best haunts… 

  • Puce is a favourite. A popular club with free entry, that attracts a crowd of young people and fellow travellers. It plays popular hits and slightly more questionable music in the downstairs cave… what is there not to love?
  • ONE ONE is a cool venue, with the party taking place in an old factory. Hidden in the hip Miera street and nestled between other bars and restaurants it is a MUST. 
  • Mainstream Kalkuk Varti is located in the old town with the club predominately in the cellar with access to a balcony in which you can dance until sunrise. Typically, €5 entry. 
  • Alternative Autentika which has recently emerged on Riga’s nightlife scene plays a host of Europe’s new and emerging indie bands, as well as dance and trance. 



Riga is a very safe city and very few foreign tourists encounter any issues. 

When visiting the old town remain vigilant as petty crime and pickpocketing does occur in these areas. The Riga Tourism police can be helpful in the event of any problems.

When enjoying the nightlife be mindful to never leave drinks unattended and seek trusted recommendations on other clubs and bars to avoid being scammed. 

If you are from the UK you can view more travel and safety tips for Latvia on the FCO website or check online safety tips before you go for a stress free weekend.


Plan a City Break to Riga

You won't regret booking a city break to Riga. Immerse yourself in the rich history and charm of Riga and drinking and eating in the plentiful cafes, bars and restaurants. If you want to see more of Lativa or the region check out Europe tours.

By Eve Willis