Where to stay
We stayed at the Radisson Blu Elizabete and had a wonderful experience. Our room was big, modern and super clean. The bed was comfy (soft by European standards but just right by American standards). The breakfast buffet which was included in our room rate was plentiful and tasty.
The location is great.
- 10 minutes via foot to the old town
- 5 minutes via foot to the art nouveau district
- 5 minutes via foot to the central market
- 20 minutes via foot to the wooden houses across the river
A taxi from Riga International Airport (RIX) to our city centre hotel cost 15€ including tip. Smoking is not allowed in taxis, taxis are metered and most are equipped with wifi.
All major businesses accept credit cards but the culture is very cash-based.
The currency is the Euro.
I wish I could say that we had some unforgettable culinary delights in Riga but that was not the case. Our best meal was at Uzebkistana (reservations recommended).
We tried loads of beer during our stay and all were pretty terrible. Our beer tastebuds are not in line with the beer taste buds of this region.
If I were to visit Riga again, I’d steer clear of beer and stick to wine or no alcohol at all which is ironic since it is an alcho-tourism hotspot.
Overall, the fashion trend leans more toward formal than informal. Women mainly wear dresses and men wear trousers and a nice shirt/sweater. Jeans were uncommon and I got the feeling that no one would dare step out in public wearing athletic shoes or athletic wear. Americans, consider yourselves warned!
Both women and men are well put together at all times. I felt terribly undressed and as though I looked like I had just rolled out of bed compared to others.
Duration of stay
Riga is small and can easily be explored in one full day. A two-night stay is probably best, arriving mid-day on your first day, having one full day to explore and then departing the following evening.
Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, train stations, taxis, and any other public place.
Tap water is drinkable.
It is uncommon for diners in restaurants to drink tap water or any water for that matter. In general, it seemed like diners stuck to their alcoholic drinks only. Some restaurants will oblige and serve tap water upon request, others will only serve bottled water and act as though they do not know what you mean by the term “tap water”. They all know what tap water means…
We felt that there isn’t a tipping culture in Riga. Tips are appreciated but not expected. Our general rules for tipping were as follows:
- If the restaurant check included a service charge, we paid the bill as-is with no additional tip.
- If the restaurant check did not include a service charge, we tipped 5-10% based on the service received.
- For our airport taxi fare, we rounded up. As an example, our fare was 13.50€ we rounded up to 15€.
We went on a tour with E.A.T Riga Tours. The tour was super value for money (it was just us and our guide). We learned a helluva lot during our three-hour walking tour of the city center, central market, and old town.
As a tourist, Riga is a walkable city. It’s realistic that, in a single day, you can cover the main four areas of Riga: Old town, central market, art nouveau district, and the wooden houses located across the river.
Trams, buses, and taxis are readily available but are likely not needed.
Wifi is readily available in most restaurants, cafes, and bars, and most connections are not password protected.