Portray of the Destination
Located on the Baltic Sea shore, Riga is the largest city of the Baltic States constituting the
main cultural, political, trade and industrial center in that region. Historically, the
transportation infrastructure of this city –consisting of a port, an international airport, and
railway and roads networks- has contributed to its development. In addition to its commercial
significance, Riga is a cultural city.
Regarding architecture, it houses buildings in remarkable Gothic, Baroque, Classicism and Art
Nouveau styles, which are reflected mainly in churches and museums. Furthermore, it was declared a
World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. As the principal center of education and science in the Baltic
States, Riga organizes many cultural events, exhibitions, scientific conferences, and music
festivals ranging from the classical music to rock. All these features make of Riga a marvelous
We would like to thank the "Latvia Tourism Board" tourist board for the texts and
photographs provided. Visit:
The Riga region covers an area of 3450.4 sq. km in the northwest of Latvia. It is located along the
Baltic Sea at the southern coast of the Gulf of Riga, with extensive areas of bogs and marshlands,
ancient dunes with pines, coastal lakes, and moraine hillocks.
The relief is mainly flat and low (nearly 1 to 10 meters above sea level), as well as irregular
due to the ancient seacoast and riverbeds. This area is rich in water resources as it has numerous
shallow lakes and rivers, including Babite Lake -which is the largest in the region- and the
Daugava, Lielupe, and Gauja Rivers. Sediments (like sandstone, dolomite and limestone rocks) crop
up in the valleys of those rivers causing abundance of wetland because of the poor drainage.
The geography of this area also features forests, which are used for recreation and protection
against the possible expansion of the dunes toward the inhabited area. While water covers 5.8% of
the Riga region, forests stretch over nearly the 48%; swamps, roads and buildings occupy the rest
of the territory.
As far as flora is concerned, it is mainly conformed by humus, pines, birch, and firs. Further,
there are many indigenous animal species, such as wild boar, Eurasian beaver, and brown bear.
As Riga is close to the sea, the climate tends to be fairly warm and prone to humidity. The winter
months are generally warm but there is a high possibility that snow will be apparent between the
months of December and March. The average temperature in July is 16.9ºC (62.4ºF) and
in January is 4.7ºC (40.5ºF).
When to go
The best time to visit Riga is during the summer and autumn months as this is the time of the year
with the most daylight hours enabling you to have a longer day enjoying all that Riga has to offer.
However, if you like low temperatures and snow, you should come to Riga during winter. This city is
extremely beautiful throughout the year.
According to archaeologists, the Riga region was already a merchant settlement at the west of the
Daugava trade route by the 2nd century AD. However, officially Riga’s history dates back to over
800 years ago enabling the city to generate a great tally of events that has shaped the city into
what it is today. Historical remains within the city confirm that it was inhabited during the 12th
century. Towards the end of the 12th. century crusaders also set up home in the area led by their
first leader Bishop Berthold who was tragically killed in 1198. Bishop Bertholds’s successor was
Bishop Albert who was famous for setting the foundations of Riga.
The newly set foundation helped to the boom of trade that was experienced during the 13th
century and also helped the city to be seen as an intermediary between the West and the East. As a
consequence of the Livonia war which lasted the duration of 25 years between 1558 and 1583,
the state of Livonia became a disaster zone and was soon taken over by Poland. Riga later switched
hands under Sweden’s ruling after Poland waged a war with Sweden in 1621. However, at the beginning
of the 18th century the Northern War was waged between Sweden and Russia as both countries fought
for domination. Russia was the successor resulting in Riga falling under Russia’s rules and power.
The late part of the 18th century saw a swift growth in the city's industry which turned Riga
into one of Russia’s most valuable seaports and also railway terminals. Over the 19th and 20th
century Riga grew tremendously generating an area ten times its original size. The growth of the
size of Riga also had an effect on its population seeing expand eighty times higher, consequently
giving Riga the title of the second largest city in western Europe.
During World War I, the development of Riga soared as it was placed at the front line of the war
resulting in up to 200,000 residents being evacuated into districts within central Russia. 1920 was
the year that should have been joyous for the city of Riga as it was given the title of Capital of
the Republic of Latvia.
To be the capital of a ridden and devastated city was not ideal as the city was somewhat in
turmoil itself. As time progressed and the redevelopment of Riga commenced the city became an
important centre of trade, light, food, culture and education. Within the month of June 1940 the
Soviet Union took over the streets of Riga. World War II had a devastating effect on the city of
Riga, destroying so much that took years to build. The old town of the city received the brunt of
the action leaving a devastating effect on the area. Important transportation features such as the
port and the railway junction were destroyed. After the war was over, the Soviet Union created Riga
as one of the largest centers of the union.
In 1991, Latvia declared its de facto independence, which was recognized by Russia some months
later. Russian military forces were removed from Latvia between 1992 and 1994.
Latvia and Riga have a very busy events' calendar celebrating their culture, tradition and history
through film, live theatre, music festivals, concerts and exhibitions.
The most important traditional celebration for Latvians is the Summer Solstice festival (or
Jāņi) which takes place on the 23rd June. Farms from all around the land are decorated with
garlands of oak, birch branches, and flowers. Many descend upon the areas away from the inner city
to enjoy the peace and tranquillity with friends, family and loved ones.
Another festival of Latvian tradition is the Song and Dance festival which has been going since
1873 and thousands of singers and dancers -dressed in folk costumes- go to Riga from every region
in Latvia. This festival maintains the ancient traditions of song and dance and unifies the nation.
The closing concert takes place on the open-air stage in Mežaparks.
Meal times within a typical Latvian family are very important as this is a time where daily events
would be discussed, situated around a large table laced with traditional Latvian food such as
various porridges, legumes and vegetables.
Historically, food has been related to the seasons and to the business of the family
(agriculture, livestock breeding or fishing). For instance, at Christmas, the traditional meal
includes gray peas, pork snout, and meat pasties; at the Midsummer’s festival, special cheese and
lots of homemade beer are present.
Zero = Nulle
One = Viens
Two = Divi
Three = Tris
Four = Cetr
Five = Pieci
Six = Sesi
Seven = Septini
eight = Astoni
Nine = Devini
Ten = Desmit
Eleven = Vienpadsmit
Twelve = Divpadsmit
Thirteen = Trispadsmit
Fourteen = Cetrpadsmit
Fifteen = Piecpadsmit
Sixteen = Sespadsmit
Seventeen = Septinpadsmit
Eighteen = Astonpadsmit
Nineteen = Devinpadsmit
Twenty = Divdesmit
Days and Months
Monday = Pirmdiena
Tuesday = Otrdiena
Wednesday = Tresdiena
Thursday = Ceturtdiena
Friday = Piektdiena
Saturday = Sestdiena
Sunday = Svetdiena
January = Janvaris
February = Februaris
March = Marts
April = Aprilis
May = Maijs
June = Juljis
July = Juliijs
August = Augusts
September = Septembris
October = Oktobris
November = Noembris,
December = Decembris
What time is it? = Cik ir pulkstenis?
Hi = Sveiki
Good Morning = Labrit
Good Day = Labdien
Good Evening = Labvakar
Hello! How are you? = Labdien! Ka jums Klajas?
Fine, thanks. And you? = Paldies, labi. Un jums?
Bye = Ata
All the best = Visu Labu
See you later = Uz redzesanos
See you soon = Uz driz rdzesanos
Thank You = Paldies!
Do you speak English? = Vai jus runajat Angliski?
1 Lat (LVL/ Ls) is divided into 100 santīmu (singular: santīms). There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 santīmu, and 1, 2 lati.
EUR = 1.42
US Dollar = $1.84
British Pound Sterling = 1.09
Prices of goods in Latvia are relatively cheap and reasonable. It is important that you think
about the price of goods, especially if bargaining because it may seem like you are getting a
really good deal when in fact you are being ripped off.
GMT +2 (GMT +3 from April to November)Official Language
307.17 km2 (119 sq. mi)Population
Parliamentary democracyPublic holidays
January 1: New Year’s Day. March/ April: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday. May 1: Labor
Day. Second Sunday in May: Mothers' Day. May 4: Declaration of Independence. June 23: Ligo Day
(Midsummer festival). June 24: St John’s Day (Summer Solstice). November 18: National Day
(Proclamation of the Republic). December 25-26: Christmas (Winter Solstice). December 31: New Year’s
Most part of the population is Christian. The largest group is conformed by Lutherans, but there
are also smaller percentages of Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox. Dievturi (The Godkeepers) is a
religion based on pre-Christian era mythology. Jews are also present in Latvia.Religion
Mainly Christians (Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox).Arrival / Departure
Arrival and departure in and out of Riga these days could not be easier. The airport is located
just 8km (5 mi) outside the city of Riga and is only a short bus or taxi journey to the inner
city. When travelling from the airport in a taxi do bear in mind that they driver has to pay 5Ls to
enter into the old town, this congestion charge will be added to your final fee.
There is also the Central Train Station, the Riga International Bus Station, the ferry terminal
as well as many roads and highways link this city with other domestic cities or abroad.Safety
In Riga, the crime rate is rising; however, crime is non-violent. The most common types include bag
snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft. Crimes are mainly committed in airports, train stations,
routes to major hotels, and the Old Town. Since car theft is increasing, you should use guarded
parking areas, if possible. Hence, you should take some basic precautionary measures to avoid
EU citizens are just required identity cards to enter into Latvia. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
citizens require passports. Citizens from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei,
Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel,
Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San
Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, The Holy See, the United States, Uruguay, and
Venezuela are not required visa to enter into Latvia. Citizens from many countries are required
visa, and a few require an invitation as well.Clothing
Riga tends to be quite warm so during the summer months light and airy clothes would be the
best option. However, in the winter months it can be very cold so clothes that can be layered and
warm clothing is advisiable.
220V AC. 50Hz.
The plugs that are used in Riga are European with two circular pins.Radio and Television
Since independence in 1991, new commercial radio and television companies appeared in the market
Regarding radio, the biggest broadcasters include the following: Latvijas Radio (public), Radio
SWH, Radio Rigai, Radio Skonto, Super FM, and Radio Mix FM.
The Latvian Television (public) has two channels covering all Latvia. The biggest commercial
channel is Latvijas Neatkariga Televizija.Telephone
The international code is 00 and the code of Latvia is 371. Riga has three codes: (0)3, (0)28 and
(0)29. For local assistance in English, dial 118.
In Riga, telephone connections are quite reliable. The three telephone companies operating in
Riga are Lattelekom: (Address: Dzirnavu 16; telephone 733-8833; website:
www.lattelekom.lv); Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (Address
Ropazu, telephone 800-0076; website:
www.lmt.lv) and Tele 2 (Address Merkela 21; telephone 706-0600;
Public phones work with pre-paid cards (which are available at kiosks and shops) or coins.
Further, Riga offers many cybercafes where you can access the Internet.Police
02 / 112 (from mobile telephones)Ambulance
03 / 112 (from mobile telephones)Fire Brigade
01 / 112 (from mobile telephones)Tourist health care services
722 99 42 / 112Newspapers and Magazines
The newspaper with more circulation in Riga are the following: Diena (in Latvian and Russian), The
Baltic Times (the only English written newspaper), Biznez & Baltya, Neatkarîgâ Rîta Avîze (in
Latvian), Business & the Baltics (in Russian), Chas, Rigas Laiks (in Latvian), and Latvijas
Vestnesis (in Latvian).
Despite the fact that magazines circulation has declined, some specialized magazines are
published. The biggest publishers are Izdevnieciba Santa and Izdevnieciba Baltika.Postal Service
In Riga, the main post office is located at Stacijas laukums 1 (D-4), telephone 701-8801. There are
also post offices at Brivibas 19 (G-3) (telephone 701-8738) and at Elizabetes 41/43 (B-4)
(telephone 733-1609). They are open from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm on
Saturday, and from 8 am to 4 pm on Sunday. In addition, the postal offices offer international
calls, faxes, telegrams, and Internet services. For further information, visit
.Health Care Services
Health cares service within the city of Riga are getting better and better as many western doctors
have set up many practices here and there are also a few hospitals and practices that have
employees that speak English.
DS MEDICAL CENTRE
English speaking dentists
Tel : 722 99 42
Address: 5 Skolas Street
Has a 24-hour service in English
For emergencies at home Tel: 720-1008.
Children’s Republican Hospital
Address: 45 Vienības Street
Open 24 hrs
Gaileziers Hospital No. 7
Tel. 704-2424 You should avoid drinking running water. Further, you should take precautions
relating to food and beverage in order to reduce chance of illness.Airport
The Riga International Airport (or
) is located at only 8 km (5 mi) from the city center. It is within easy reach
through scheduled flights to the main cities of Europe and all over the world. From the airport,
you can take a taxi or a bus or you can rent a car to reach Riga. For further information, visit
or phone at (+371) 7207009.Public Transport
The public transport system is conformed by buses, trams, trolley buses, and taxis running daily
from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm. During nighttime, tram and trolley bus services are available once an
hour and taxis’ fares are increased. For further information, visit
Within the city there are 39 bus routes that charge 0.2 LS per ticket, per journey which can be
purchased from the conductor. There are also trolley bus routes that run throughout the city which
charge the same price as normal buses and can be purchased from the conductor. Another mode of
public transport within Riga are trams which charge 0.2 LS per journey. The last form of public
transport is the mini bus which is handy if you prefer faster and more comfortable modes of
The main railway terminal in Riga is the Central Train Station (or centrâlâ stacija), which is
placed in the heart of the city. Railway services connect Riga with Moscow, St. Petersburg,
Vilnius, Odessa, Adlera, and Vitebsk. For further information, visit
or phone at (+371) 7234940, 7234208.Bus
Situated in the city center, Riga's International Bus Station is open from the hours of 05.00 in
the morning to 22.00 at night. It offers direct trips to Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden,
and Ukraine. Further, it has domestic connections.
Address: 1 Pragas Street,Riga, LV-1050. Telephone: (+371) 7503646. Website:
Since Latvia has one of the highest rates of automobile accidents and fatalities in Europe, you
should drive carefully. Usually, drivers violate traffic rules and it is not unusual to be
overtaken by other automobiles, traveling at high speed. In general, the speed limit is 50 km/hr
(31 mph) in towns and 90 km/hr (56 miph) on the open road.
Certain requirements should be taken into account; for instance, vehicles must be fitted with
winter tires between December 1 and April 1, and the use of cellular phones while driving is
prohibited. For further information about Latvian driving licenses, vehicle inspection, road tax,
and mandatory insurance, contact the Latvian Road Safety Administration of the Latvia Tourist
Board: Address: 4 Pils Square, Riga, Latvia, LV 1050, telephone: 371-722-9945; website:
www.latviatourism.lv. Car Rentals
Car rental companies within Riga often have many different models of cars for rental and many
different types of vehicle which include cars, minibuses, and buses. Rented cars can either be
chauffeur driven or self driven and rates of rental range from 25 Lats per day and upwards. It is
important to know that car rental prices do not include gas.
The main car rental agencies include the following: Avis (Riga International Airport, Address:
Marupe parish, LV-1053; Phone +371 7207353;
www.avis.com); Europcar (Riga International Airport, Address:
Marupe parish, LV-1053, Phone +371 7207825,
www.europcar.com); Hertz (Address: Aspazijas bulvaris 24,
email@example.com); and Car4rent (Address: A. Caka 52-14,
Phone +371 7316185, 9666000;
firstname.lastname@example.org); and Carrent (Address:
Raunas 37, Phone: 371 29390939,
www.aller.lv; "ALT auto"
The ferry terminal of Riga is located outside the city center, at Eksporta 3a (A-3), telephone
732-6200. There are daily ferry connections from Riga to Stockholm (telephone: 720-5460;
). In addition, a ferry line
links Riga with Lübeck (four times a week) (telephone: 751-9880). For further information, visit
.Destination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures
It is not prohibited to take pictures in Riga.See climatewww.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
3-4 Lat A coffee
0.80 LatThe Bus
0.40 LatThe taxi
2.13 EUR the minimum fare; 0.71 EUR per km traveled during daytime, which may be increased at night (from 10 pm to 6 am).