Weekend Getaways are always a good idea and a few days away can often feel like a week-long vacation. Most of us have already crossed the obvious off the list: Paris, Rome, London. For all those who don’t fancy flying far but still want to see something new, we recommend Latvia's Capital city: Riga.
With a population of approximately 700,000 inhabitants, Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states. Although Riga has much to offer, the city has often been underestimated and is rarely taken into consideration when planning a holiday. This began to change when it was deemed Europe’s Culture Capital in 2014. Rightfully so: The city impresses with architecture, culture, unparalleled nightlife and its proximity to the sea.
Latvia has been a member of the European Union since of 2004. The introduction of the Euro in 2014 has made short trips for European tourists even easier and more comfortable. Whether food, accommodation or transport, Riga (Latvia in general) is very reasonable when it comes to price.
Direct flights are offered from Liverpool, Doncaster, London, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Nottingham for as little as £48. Getting from the airport to the city center and back is best done by bus. Line 22 runs every 10 to 30 minutes to the city center and takes about 25 minutes. One trip costs less than £1. For those who like to be well-connected, the city offers numerous free Wi-Fi spots, perfect for sharing your favourite snapshots.
Points of Interest
Riga boasts an extensive network of bus and train lines. However, the timetables are only available in Latvian, which is often an obstacle for tourists. Then again, most of the attractions are within walking-distance and the city is best discovered on foot. Most popular are the Town Hall Square with the famous Blackhead House (which light up beautifully at night), the St. Jacob's Church, the Freedom Monument and the Cathedral of Riga.
Foodies should definitely check out the city’s central market. In addition to fresh fruit and vibrant flowers, this market is especially popular for its authentic culinary treats. Don’t miss out on red caviar or the typical Pankuki pancakes.
Nightlife in Riga
Riga is widely known for its lively nightlife.The city is therefore very popular among foreign exchange students. Three of the most popular bars can be found in the historic center. The "Ala Folk Club" is located in a vaulted cellar. The "Riga Old Town Hotel & Backpackers Pub" is always worth a visit: Check out the bar counter which is installed in a real VW bus. Another highlight is the Skyline bar, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view over the city with cocktails and live music.
A hop and a skip to the beach
Sunday usually the day to rest - many restaurants, bars and almost all shops are closed. All the more reason to visit the seaside for a few hours. Hop the the regional train leaving every 20 minutes and get off at “"Majori”, the train stop near the beach-side town of Jurmala (the Latvian word for beach). Take in the fresh ocean breeze, perhaps even enjoy a meal on the promenade with wonderful views of the beach.
Intrigued by Riga? We hope we could inspire you to your next getaway!