Riga is a genuinely beautiful old capital that is just waking up and reinventing itself.
With one of the finest collections of Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) buildings anywhere in the world, Riga is a feast for the eyes and exhilarating to explore on foot. The movement’s eclecticism shows in ornate tiled entrances, smooth-faced giant modern gargoyles, and stained glass in intricately webbed ironwork. Along these museum-like streets, you’ll find a mix of the old and the new, from headscarved women selling bunches of flowers to younger urbanites congregating among the beer terraces, cafés and late-night clubs. Smart and cosmopolitan, Riga is quickly working to regain its 1930s reputation as the “Paris of the Baltics.”
From the airport
The airport is 8 km southwest of the city. Bus # 22 departs from Abrenes Street for the city center (Strelnieku laukums and the train station) every 10-30 minutes and costs 0.40Ls, while express bus # 22A leaves on an erratic schedule for the Orthodox Cathedral and costs 0.40Ls. Alternatively, a taxi to the city center should cost about 8Ls.
The train station is right beside Old Riga. Turn left when leaving the station and head toward the black spire of St. Peter’s Church, then walk through the underpass and follow the signs for 13.janvara iela and turn right onto Aspazijas bulvaris.
The ferry terminal and yacht harbor lie less than 1km north of Old Riga. Take trams # 7, 5 or 9 from Ausekla two stops to the city center.
Tram #7 stops in front of the bus terminal; ride it one stop further into the center (0.40Ls). To get there on foot, turn left, walk under the underpass into the tunnel and follow the signs for Vecriga-Valnu iela into Old Riga.
Public Bus and Tram System
Riga has 11 tram lines, 20 trolleybus routes and 52 bus routes, which run from 05:30-23:30. A ride anywhere in the city costs a flat 0.40Ls. The Riga Card provides free use of trams and trolleybuses and free admission/discounts at museums and is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours (10/14/18Ls).
Buses serve all major Baltic towns and are generally cheaper, more frequent and faster than the train. Ecolines, Eurolines and Nordeka all leave from the main bus station (autoosta).
Food & Nightlife
Pick up a copy of the English-language Riga In Your Pocket, which gives frank, fun reviews of bars, clubs and cafés.