Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 693,064 inhabitants (January 2014), Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava. Riga’s territory covers 307.17 km (118.60 sq mi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 32.8 ft) above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain. Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. The city is the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden. The city hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, the 2006 IIHF Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the Kaspersky Lab Riga Open Snooker tournament. It is home to the European Union’s office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states.
Leading specialist in the sphere of infertility treatment Dr. Violeta Fodina, who has 10 years of working experience in the reproductology field with patients from Latvia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, UK, Russia, USA. Will start working in our new, high-level technology clinic iVF Riga.
Treatment of complicated infertility pathologies. As well as providing chance for pregnancy even after previous unsuccessful treatment courses.
Why choose iVF Riga?
Our clinic employs qualified professional with years of experience in the field of Reproductive Science, Genetics, Embryology and Patient coordination.
We handle the most complex cases, even the ones many failed attempts of treatment in other clinics.
Over a thousand children have been born worldwide.
We have succeeded and continue to improve in the field of infertility treatment.
iVF Riga clinic has been succesfully certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2008
Benefits of choosing iVF Riga as your trusted clinic
Selection of embryos using the unique EmbryoScope incubator, a truly revolutionary technique for infertility treatment
The one and only genetic laboratory in Northern Europe and the Baltic States where genetic diseases can be detected at the embryo stage
The first bank of genetic material in the Baltic States. Possibility to store your own genetic material for many years ahead (10 years)
Urology and andrology services, surgical treatment
Oocyte donation, sperm donation, embryo adoption
We carefully select the donor for recipient.
Our donors undergo complete medical, psychiatric and genetic examinations.
We do not share the oocytes, which are collected during puncture, amongst recipients.
Our embryology and genetic laboratory is equipped with hi tech equipment.
In addition, we work with advanced diagnostic and laboratory equipment.
Our staff is friendly and caring.
We are always ready to help you and are willing to answer all of your questions.
We are located in a quiet part of the center of Riga, on Zala Street 1.
Our clinic is well connected by public and private transport.
Our patients may stay in a modern hotel, a stone’s throw away from our clinic, at discounted rates.
Address: Zaļā iela 1,Rīga, Latvija
Phone: (+371) 67 111 117
How to get to Riga
Riga International Airport is dominated by the national carrier, Air Baltic, who offers low-fare connections to major cities around the Baltic Sea region and throughout Europe Riga International Airport (Starptautiskā Lidosta Rīga in Latvian) (IATA: RIX) is located 10km southwest of Riga. With over 5 million passengers per year, it is the busiest airport in Eastern Europe. Air Baltic is the largest carrier operating and the airport, with service between Riga and many of the major cities in Europe, including hard-to-reach cities in Caucasus. Prices are generally close to those of low-cost carriers. Ryanair and WizzAir also offer low fares to/from Riga. Other airlines serving Riga include those from other former Soviet republics (e.g. Aeroflot and Transaero from Russia, UTAir from Ukraine and Uzbekistan Airways), Finnair, Norwegian, Lufthansa, Czech Airlines, and LOT Polish Airlines.
Riga airport has splendid smoking terraces: a large glass shelter in front of the main building (upper level), adjoining the police station and used also as bike parking, and a smaller terrace after security checks, open without a roof.
Travelling between Riga International Airport and the city
Bus 22 runs between the airport and the old town, with a stop near the central bus and railway stations. This bus runs every 10 minutes during rush hour and the journey to the old town takes 40 minutes. The bus stop is located opposite the entrance of the terminal. There is a ticket machine at the bus stop, a single ticket costs €0.60. See Riga#Get_around for more information on riding the buses. Airbaltic Airport Express operates minibuses to the city centre costing €5 per person. These run every 30 minutes but only take 20 minutes to get to the old town. This bus also stops at several hotels near the airport, so it may be more convenient than Bus 22.
Baltic Taxi runs taxi service from the airport to the centre for a fixed price of €14 if booked online or slightly more if paid to the driver. Service to the old town takes 15 minutes.
Personal Minibus offers airport transfer for groups. The price of €8 per person (6 person minimum) also includes guide to meet group with greeting sign.
Regular Taxis can be expensive if a meter is used and a fixed price is not negotiated. Charges are as follows: €2.10 for embarkation plus €0.70/km; waiting costs €8.50/h. The ride to the centre takes 15 minutes.
There are international bus connections to anywhere in Europe, including frequent service to Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia, and Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania.
Eurolines Simple Express
Eurolines Lux Express – More legroom than Simple Express service & free coffee.
Flybus – Service between Riga and Kaunas and Vilnius
The port of Riga has regular ferry connections to Stockholm
Tallink operates a daily ferry service between Stockholm and Riga, with a landing at Rīgas Pasažieru termināls near the old town. Prices start at €28.
Latvian Railways operates service to many cities in Latvia as well as a few cities in Russia, Belarus, and Estonia. You can book tickets online via the Latvian Railways site up to 45 days in advance, but tickets must be collected from a station in Latvia. The exception to this is international tickets to Moscow and Saint Petersburg which can be issued as e-tickets in both directions. Trains depart for the 16-hour overnight journey to Moscow daily (except New Year’s Eve) at 16:45 with an additional train departing at 18:10 from May to September. The overnight trip costs €36-205 depending on service level. Trains depart for the 15-hour overnight journey to St. Petersburg daily (except New Year’s Eve) at 18:35. The overnight trip costs €30-175 depending on service level. Limited trains operate between Riga and Valga, Estonia. From Valga, connections can be made to other cities in Estonia including Tallinn. However, it is much easier to travel to Estonia by bus.
All to see in Riga
The Riga Card, which costs €16-€26, has discounts for museums and some tourist attractions. Riga is divided into two parts by the river Daugava. Old (medieval) town is in the center of the city on the east side of the river. It is surrounded by a ring of ~19th–early 20th century architecture, followed by a mix of private 2-floor house districts (many also pre-WW2) and Soviet-era 5-18 floor apartment districts, with an occasional factory (especially near railroad lines). The term “centre” loosely refers to quite a large area around Old town limited by the river to the west, the railroad lines to the east and south, and without a definite boundary to the north. The areas usually most interesting to tourists are the Old Town and the area around the Freedom Monument, located nearby. Old town is not the only place worth visiting though. Very old and well preserved city districts unvisited by tourists are Agenskalns and Tornakalns, just over the Stone bridge. The residential areas outside Riga center are largely made up of gray apartment blocks built in the typically Soviet style. These areas are nearly identical to those all over Eastern Europe. However, they do give an idea of how the vast majority of the people in Riga live and of the history of the area.
A walking tour is by far the best way to see Riga. The tourist office, located inside the House of Blackheads, offers both guided tours and free pamphlets, complete with detailed descriptions of many buildings, for independent walks. These walks cover the old town and the nearby city center sights as well as heading out to view the Art Nouveau district. It’s all pretty small scale so it’s easy to do each of these in around an hour, or linger and read every detail in the booklet – in the absence of any signs or plaques around the city the booklet gives you an insight to what you are seeing. Private companies also operate tours. If you want to get away from the ‘touristic areas’, alternative tours on bike and on foot are also available, as well as a free city tour that runs everyday from St Peters Church at 12:00. Look for a yellow suitcase. The residential areas outside Riga center are largely made up of gray apartment blocks built in the typically Soviet style. These areas are nearly identical to those all over Eastern Europe. However, they do give an idea of how the vast majority of the people in Riga live and of the history of the area.
Old Town Square & surroundings
The Old Town (Vecrīga) is both a place of historical tourism sites, as well as the centre of night-life for locals. The area around Old Town is mostly built between 1860 and 1914 and has many buildings that resemble Berlin,Paris, or Rome. Many Soviet-era movies set in Western Europe were filmed here as the buildings can make the city pass for a city in Western Europe.
- Statue of Roland (In the centre of the Town Square).
- House of Blackheads, Kalku iela 1, ☎ +371 670 44300. The House of Blackheads is where the merchants-to-be had their guild. Part of this building is the tourist information office, the rest is a fascinating museum. The upper levels house grand ballrooms while the basement has a wine cellar and several exhibits relating to trading in Riga. €3, €1.50 students.
- Town Hall. Pretty to look at, but not open for visitors.
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Strelnieku laukums 1, ☎ +371 67212715, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This noticeable and austere black building is clearly out-of-place. In the Soviet days, this housed a museum to the Red Riflemen, a group of Latvians who volunteered for the service to Russia during the Russian revolution of 1917. Now it houses a museum of Latvia’s time under both the Nazi and Soviet occupations. Very long, but very moving – essential for anyone interested in the history of the USSR or Nazi Germany. Outside the building away from the town square stands the Soviet-era Monument to the Riflemen. Free.
- St. Peter’s Church, Skarnu iela 19, ☎ +371 67 229426, fax: +371 67211375. St. Peters Church, dating to 1209, is Riga’s oldest church. Besides its ensemble of architecture, the church has an elevator to the tower from where you can see all of Riga (service not available on Mondays). €3.
- St. John’s Church, Jana iela 7. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. A smaller, less spectacular church near Saint Peter’s. There is a nice altar inside, and unlike most Riga churches, this one is free. The altar is from the Renaissance period and depicts the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The ceiling is from the Gothic period, and has 5 separate vaulted compartments. There is also a huge pipe organ, and many stained glass windows. This church dates back to the mid 1200s.
- Porcelain Museum, Kalēju iela 9, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. Covers the history of porcelain in Riga through the 19th and 20th centuries. €1.50, €0.75 for children, free under 7.
- Sun Museum, Kungu iela 1, ☎ +371 67225587, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10-19 daily. A definite contender for Riga’s weirdest museum, this one covers the history of sun mythology and its role in Latvian culture.€3, €1.5 for students, children free.
- The Big Guild, Amatu iela 6. Housed the guild of the tradesmen, who would join after being a member of the Blackheads (see House of Blackheads). Home to the Latvian Philharmonic, but you can’t just walk inside. It’s the exterior that’s worth seeing though.
- The Little Guild, Amatu iela 5. Another pretty building just behind the Big Guild, this one housed the craftsmen’s guild. Like the Big Guild, you can’t go inside except for a performance.
- The House of the Black Cat (Next to the Big Guild). This building (also housing a pub of no particular note) is most famous for the two statues of black cats on the roofs. The legend has it that a disgruntled tradesman who was not accepted into the Big Guild, built this house and put the cats on it with their tails pointing towards the Big Guild, thus expressing his scorn.
- Wagner Concert Hall, Vāgnera iela 4. Wagner once lived in Riga, on the street now named after him. This hall where he performed occasionally holds concerts.
- St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Anglikanu iela 2a, ☎ +371 67222259. Riga’s only Anglican church has English language services every Sunday, and free concerts every Wednesday.
- St. Jacob’s Catholic Church, Klostera iela 2. Dating to 1226, this is one of the few Catholic churches left in Riga. At one point, it housed one of Riga’s first schools. Free.
- Riga Castle (Rigas Pils) (Near the Northern boundary of the Old Town). The castle itself is fairly uninteresting, but it houses the following two museums:
- National History Museum of Latvia, Pils Laukums 3, ☎ +371 67223004, fax: +371 67220586, e-mail: email@example.com. W-Su 11:00-17:00. The History Museum is interesting, however there is little English (Every room has its exhibits summarized on a single plaque). However, the museum does give a very good idea of Latvian history, and will give you a good understanding of the area. Admission: €3, Camera fee: €7.
- Museum of Foreign Art, Pils Laukums 3, ☎ +371 67226467. 11-17 Tu-Su. The less interesting of the two museums: this is just a standard art museum. Admission fee: €3.50, Camera fee: €0.75.
Cathedral (Doma) Square & surroundings
- Riga Cathedral (Doma cathedral), Doma Laukums 1, ☎ +371 67 227573. Dating to 1207, it is one of Riga’s symbols. The 6768-pipe organ inside is particularly spectacular. Besides the organ, however, the interior is rather Spartan, and may not be worth the entrance fee. (Currently, even the organ is being restored, though).
- Museum of the Barricades of 1991, Krāmu iela 3, ☎ +371 67 213525. M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 11:00-17:00. Covers the dramatic events that occurred in the tumultuous final year of the USSR, when Soviet authorities sent troops into Riga to overthrow the elected Latvian government. Free.
- The Three Brothers, Mazā Pils iela 17, 19, and 21. Tu-Th 09:00-17:00, F 09:00-16:00. The oldest dwelling houses in Riga. One of them has a small architecture museum inside, along with changing exhibits about Latvia. =
- Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Palasta iela 4. May-Sep: 11-17 daily, Oct-May: 11-17 W-Su. Actually 2 museums plus a number of special exhibits, though you pay one price. Like the National Museum, English translations are limited to plaques summarizing rooms, but here you can also pick up pieces of paper describing some of the exhibits. Both of the main museums are quite interesting, and they provide a good idea of what Riga was like in the past. €5 plus more for photo permission. =
- Latvian Parliament (Saeima), Jekaba iela 11. A rather plain building housing the Saeima, Latvia’s parliament. It has had a number of uses–including as a Soviet-era museum. Currently not open to visitors
- Arsenal Museum of Art, Torna iela 1, ☎ +371 67357527. Apr-Sep: 11-19 Tu-Su, Oct-Mar: 11-17 Tu-Su. Riga’s premier museum for modern art.
- Swedish Gate (Between Torna and Aldaru iela). The last remaining gate from the old city walls.
Powder Tower & City Wall
- Museum of War, Smilsu iela 20, ☎ +371 67228147. May-Sept: 10-18 W-Su, Oct-Apr: 10-17 W-Su.
- St. Jacob’s Barracks, Torna iela. The primary attraction here is the last remaining stretch of city wall directly opposite the barracks.
- Latvian Museum of Pharmacy, Riharda Vagnera 13-15. Tu-Sa: 10-17. In a renovated 18th century house. €1.5.
- Latvian Photographic Museum, Marstalu iela 8. Contains photos of Latvia since 1839, with focuses on the World Wars and 1905 Revolution. €1.5.
- Triangula Bastion, 11 Novembra Krastmala 17. 09:00–22:00. Modern building with an excavated fragment of the historical Riga fortifications which protected medieval Riga city from attacks by warships. Also, Triangula Bastion has the best viewing terraces in Riga. Free entrance.
- Mentzendorff House, Grecienieku 18. W-Su: 11-17. Former residence of a wealthy merchant built in 1720, now a museum dedicated to life in Riga in the 17th & 18th centuries. €1.7.
Around the Freedom Monument
- Freedom Monument, Brivibas iela 1. One of Latvia’s national symbols. It was erected during the first independence and surprisingly never taken down by the Soviets (although laying flowers at its feet was forbidden). The statue of a woman holding three stars at the top of the monument represents Freedom embracing Latvia’s regions.
- Laima Clock (just south of the Freedom Monument). Laima is a Latvian chocolate manufacturer and means good luck in Latvian. The Clock is a traditional meeting place for people in Riga.
- Museum ‘Jews in Latvia’ and Jewish Community, Skolas 6, 3rd floor, ☎ +371 67283484, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th: 12-17. Small museum dedicated to Jewish life in Latvia since the 16th century. Includes information on destruction of the synagogues by the Nazis, and the Latvians that saved Jews during the Holocaust. Exhibits are in English and Latvian. Free, donations welcomed.
- Art Nouveau Buildings. Alberta and Elizabetes streets (iela) are the best place to see the creations of Art Nouveau architect Eisenstein, famous of his splendid style. Other Art Nouveau buildings can be seen in the area around the Freedom Monument, including the embassies on Raina Bulvaris and on Strelnieku iela.
- Bastejkalns, Between Raina Bulvaris and Basteja Bulvaris. A small, pleasant park surrounding Brivibas Bulvaris. Sites in the Bastejkalns include a Chinese and a Japanese building, and the Bridge of Love over thePilsetas Canal. The Bridge of Love has several locks on the railings put up by recently married couples. There is also a memorial to the two people killed here in the tumultuous events of 1991.
- Esplanade Park (a block from the Freedom Monument). Designed by Georg Kuphaldt, who was expelled by Germany in 1915 as a spy because he had a telescope in his garden.The following attractions are here:
- National Museum of Art. Houses many works by Latvian artists.
- Riga Orthodox Cathedral. The Orthodox Cathedral was erected during Russian rule for Russian residents. In contrast to its relatively plain exterior, it is spectacular on the inside, but be aware that shorts are not allowed. free.
- Kobe Clock (Western corner of the park). Donated by Riga’s sister city Kobe in celebration of anniversary of restoration of independence.
- KGB Building, 61 Brivibas Iela, ☎ +371 202 588 81. 10AM-4PM, Wednesdays until 8PM, Tuesdays closed. The former KGB building is actually an attractive, ornate historic building at the corner of Brivibas and Stabu. It stood empty for years, but for the 2014 celebration of Riga becoming the European Capital of Culture it was revived with a number of artistic initiatives taking place there. €5 for exhibitions, separate €5 for a guided tour of the KGB cellar.
- St. Gertrude Old Church (Vecā Svētās Ģertrūdes baznīca), Ģertrūdes 6. The brick neogothic church of St. Getrude, despite “old” in its name, is an entirely late 19th-century creation that replaced a series of stone and wooden churches that stood there (and were repeatedly destroyed due to being outside of the city walls) since the 15th century. The unusual veracity with which the 19th-century architects interpreted the principles of Gothic architecture may make the church pass for an authentic medieval creation, both inside and out. St. Gertrude has long-standing links with Riga’s German Lutheran community, and offers religious services in German. The Latvian Lutheran community which used to share the church with the German has moved to the “new” St. Getrude church further east down Brīvības Street.
Maskavas forštate (Moscow suburb) / A district with old wooden houses and other sights.
- Riga Central Market (Centrāltirgus) (right next to international bus terminal, 2 min walk from Central station or Old town). Different hours for different parts, see website for info. Noticeable for its huge hangars, built from parts of actual zeppelin hangars bought for the market in 1920. The market has also a large open-air area. It deals mostly in fresh food and is a good place for fresh local fruit and vegetables, especially during summer. There are stalls that sell cheap clothing and accessories. It is especially beloved by Scandinavian tourists coming via ferry for its cheap cigarettes.
- Choral Great Synagogue, At Gogola and Dzirnavu iela. Mostly in ruins as the Germans burned it down on July 4, 1941 with 600 people locked inside. There is a memorial to 400 Latvians who saved Jews during the Holocaust dedicted on July 4, 2007.
- Russian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Gogola iela 9.
- Grebenshchikov Church, Maza krasta iela 73. An Old Believers’ church.
- Jesus Church, 18 Elijas iela. An unusually-designed Lutheran church.
- Latvian Academy of Sciences, Akademijas laukums 1, ☎ +371 67225361. Balcony: May-Sep: 9-20 daily. Built in 1953, this building is often called “Stalin’s Birthday Cake” because of its austere yet ornamented design. The 17th-floor balcony is open to visitors. Entry to the terrace – €3.
- Riga Ghetto Museum, Maskavas iela 14a (entrance from Krasta Iela), ☎ +371-67791784, e-mail: email@example.com. 10AM-6PM daily, except Saturdays and Jewish religious holidays. The Museum, which encompasses a relocated historic wooden house and cobblestones from the Jewish ghetto created by Nazi Germany in occupied Riga during the Second World War, documents both the history of the ghetto and the tragic fates of Riga’s Jewish population who perished in the Holocaust. It also attempts to recall Jewish community life from before the war. Voluntary donations – €5 suggested.
- Andrejsala. An artists’ island is starting to emerge behind the passengers port a short distance north from the Old town.
- Mežaparks (Take Tram 11). Forest Park is a pleasant park area on the outskirts of Riga. There are large, gorgeous residential houses once inhabited by Riga’s prewar elite during the summers. They were largely let go during Soviet times but many are now being refurbished, repainted, and brought back to their original glory.
- Riga Zoo, Meza Prospekts 1. The Riga Zoo is small, but fairly popular. €4-6.
- Riga Motor Museum, Eizensteina 6 (8km from the old town; take trolleybus 14 or 18 to Gailezers Hospital, then walk 500m). 10-18 daily. Contains former vehicles of Stalin, Kruschev, and Brezhnev. €1.5.
- Riga Ethnographic Open Air Museum (Latvijas Etnogrāfiskais Brīvdabas Muzejs), Brivibas 440 (take the A2(E77) to the east out of Riga or take bus N.1 or Tram 1, 3, 6 (but from the tram there is a 2 km walk)), ☎+371 67994106, fax: +371 67994178, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Museum is in Jugla, near a lake of the same name. There are many traditional Latvian countryside houses collected in a forest/park and exhibitions inside them about the traditional things. The employees are often dressed in the traditional Latvian costumes, creating a nice atmosphere.
Left Bank of Riga is less frequently visited by tourists. The following attractions are there:
- Ķīpsala (Cross the Vanšu bridge over the Daugava). An island with Nordic dwelling architecture, solitude, and delicious sights of Riga over the river Daugava.
- Riga TV Tower, Zaķusalas krastmala, ☎ +371 67108643. A 368 meter-high tower built of concrete and standing on three legs. It has an observation deck at a height of 97 metres. The inexpensive tours feature a tour guide but don’t depend on the guide speaking much English!
- Āgenskalns (Take Tram 2, 4, or 5; bus 21, trolley bus 9). A very picturesque historical part of Pārdaugava, in 19th century it was a district for mansions and manors, some of which still remain (although bereft of any grounds), and some were replaced by slightly newer early 20th century residential architecture of wealthy middle and upper class. Many embassies were located there pre-WWII.
- Victory Monument (Uzvaras piemineklis) (Get off the tram at the second stop after the bridge over the Daugava). A splendid example of high Soviet art and the biggest occupation-era monument in Latvia. If you’ve never seen a Soviet monument before, you should really check this out.
- Railway Museum, Uzvaras bulvaris 2 – 4, ☎ +371 67232849. 10-17 Tu-Su. Exhibits several collections of Soviet rolling stock.
- Theatre Museum (Eduard Smilgis Museum of Theatre), Eduarda Smiļģa iela 37/39 (tram #2, stop Eduarda Smiļģa iela), ☎ +371 67611893. 11-18 W-Su. Located in the eccentrically designed and furnished pre-war house of a former director of Riga Daile Theatre and one of the key figures in Latvian theatre of the 20th century. €0.70-3.
- Riga Aviation Museum (At Riga-Spilve International Airport). 9:00 – 18:00. Bored at the airport? Check out the Riga Aviation museum, which contains several rare aircraft. €5.
- University of Latvia Botanical Garden (Botaniskais Darzs), Kandavas iela 2 (Tram 4 to Dzirciema iela, then walk east down Jurmalas Gatve towards the entrance), ☎ +371 67 450 852, e-mail:email@example.com. Apr-Sep 9AM-7AM, other months 10AM-4:30PM, Butterfly House has shorter opening hours (check website). The Botanical Garden is quite large and featuring an impressively broad and well-cultivated collection of plant species. The long history of the Garden is reflected in its rich built heritage. There is a Butterfly House within the Garden’s grounds, where you can experience free-flying tropical butterflies. Apart from botanical interests, the Garden is simply beautiful and great for a stroll. €3, Butterly House €4.50 extra.
- National Library, Mūkusalas iela 3. An important part of the West Bank’s cityscape, the National Library was built in 2008-13. It is perhaps the most remarkable part of the “New Riga” giving a more gentle feel to skyscrapers and other high-tech buildings that were recently constructed on the West Bank of the Daugava. The building was nicknamed the “Castle of Light”, and the architect intended to mimic the towers of Vecriga, although casual tourists may rather see it as a cruise ship that has just arrived from the Baltic Sea and is anchored across the river from the Old Town.
Eat and drink
Riga, as the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city of the Baltics, offers countless opportunities to sample both local cuisine and international favorites. Latvian food can be hearty, using a lot of potato, cabbage, beef, pork and fish. A diversity of foreign cuisines is also available — sushi restaurants in particular are currently in vogue.
- Čili Pica, Several locations (One near the Freedom Monument, another on the ground floor of the Stockmann mall near central station). Cheap but good pizza.
- Ķīpsala Island Student Cafeteria (Ķīpsala Island). Several sets of home-like food are offered in a cozy atmosphere.
- Lido. A network of 8 restaurants offering decent hearty Latvian food, including desserts, at good prices. The restaurants are either cafeteria-style or feature English menus. The following restaurants are in the Lido network:
- Lido Entertainment Center, Krasta iela 76 (Take Tram 3, 7, or 9 to Krasta masīvs), ☎ +371 67504420, fax: +371 67241168. Main Restaurant: 11-23 daily, Express Restaurant: 13-23 daily, Beer Cellar: 18-24 MON-FRI, 12-24 Holidays, Playroom: 17-22 MON-FRI, 12-22 Holidays. The wooden building features three floors of dining, a built-in wooden windmill, and a small amusement park outside. The ground floor and basement operate cafeteria-style. There is a huge choice available, including a variety of soups including borscht and the Latvian cold beetroot soup, as well as kebabs, breasts, chicken sausages, fish, red meats. Blinis are another specialty here. Cafeteria: €3.30 for a meat main course and €0.70 for a plateload of roast potatoes. Pancakes for €0.60. Top floor: Buffet for set price of €16.
- Alus Seta, Old Town. Literally Beer Yard. Serves huge portions of excellent meat and two veg from a grill at the front of the tavern, as well as an excellent choice of Beer. Probably the best value place in town, with two courses easily costing less than €7.
- Staburags. Á la carte based and not cafeteria-style. Rustic interior, low prices and large portions of traditional Latvian food. Plays pseudo-traditional Latvian music with synthesized backing.
- Vermanitis, Elizabetes iela 65. A fantastic range of Latvian food in “authentic” environment. Fried fish: €3, Salmon steak: €5, Half chicken: €2.50, large side of mashed potatoes or pasta: €1, 500ml beer: €2.10.
- Pelmeni XL, Kalku iela 7. Russian-style dumplings filled with whatever is available. Cafeteria style. Pay by the weight. €5.
- Smilšu Pulkstenis, Kalku iela 7. Cheap & tasty Latvian food.
- Varzob, Ratslaukuma iela 1 (J-2), ☎ +371 67211332. Uzbek food. The plov is an excellent choice, as is the Shashlik and Lagman.
- 13 Kresli, Dome Sq. Still going from Soviet times – 13 Kresli (13 chairs) has grown a bit, but is excellent, especially for tea and snacks
- Aleks @ Hotel Justus, Jauniela 24, ☎ +371 67212416. 12-24. One of the best fish restaurants in town. Champagne Glass: €7, Bottle of Philipe Brugnon 1er Cru Rose: €47.
- Alus Ordenis, Raina bulvaris 15, ☎ +371 67814190. Serves rural Latvian food for an eminently reasonable price. Try pork shanks or bull testicles!
- Cafe Grill Bar/Stork’s Nest Pub, Kaleju iela 14-16, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A jewel of a restaurant/bar with all the comforts of the USA/UK, serving both Latvian and American food The walls are decorated with American/English memorabilia and there is a large plasma TV showing English or American shows and sporting events.
- Double Coffee (various all over Riga & Majori). Not just a coffee cafe like Starbucks, but a wide range of teas & coffees + other drinks plus an wide range of food – both Latvian & international. Excellent for lunch or a snack. Reasonable prices too.
- Juffin’s 12, Aldaru iela 10, ☎ +371 67224271, fax: +371 67224272, e-mail: email@example.com. 11-23. Serves European and Oriental international food and has an extensive wine list.
- Café Osiris, Krisjanis Barona iela 31. An artsy cafe with a cool interior, fireplace and pancakes worth killing for. While there, drop by Gallerija Istaba for another cup of coffee or beer, and make sure to check out some of the artwork sold downstairs.
- Sweetday Cafe, Tirgoņu 9 (old town). Coffee house that serves freshly homemade cakes. It has a great cozy atmosphere, and the best service in town. The owner is Inese, speaks Latvian, English, Spanish, Russian and a bit of Dutch.
- Traktieris (Russian: Трактиръ), Antonijas iela 8. For a Russian experience, try out Traktieris. Huge servings, great food, loads of vodkas to try out, and a Russian troubadour for entertainment. Few tourists.
- Vecmeita ar kaķi, Mazā Pils iela 1. This restaurant and bar is a more upmarket option than Lido, serving very good Latvian food.
- Gardenia, Grecinieku iela 28 (City centre, Old Riga), ☎ +371 67224650, fax: +371 67359749, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 12-24. Enjoy Mediterranean and European cuisine at this re-established, cozy, and elegantly casual restaurant. €5 and up.
- Rozengrāls, Kramu iela. An authentic medieval restaurant in a real medieval basement in the Old Town. Serves tasty medieval foods and beverages.
- Vincents, Elizabetes iela 19, ☎ +371 67332634. Mo-Fr 12-23, Sat: 18-23, Su: Closed. If you’re splashing out try Vincents Restaurant which compares favorably to any up market western restaurant at half the price.€29.
- Bergs, Elizabetes iela 83/85 (Hotel Bergs). The restaurant of the hotel Bergs may be just about the best that Latvia has to offer. The food can be described as a fusion of Latvian and Western European cuisine. Menus are seasonal, and the ingredients always fresh – meaning sometimes not everything on the menu is available. With impeccable food and service, it is a wonder this place has not yet received the first Michelin star of any restaurant in Latvia.
- Pinot, Grecinieku iela 26. The restaurant next to the Museum of Latvia occupation offers a continental take on Baltic food. Menus are seasonal – check the website for the latest. The wine list is extensive, and the staff speak Latvian, Russian and English reasonably well. Menus are in all three languages. about €60 per person with one drink.
Drink in Riga
- Double Coffee. International chain of coffee houses/restaurants based in Riga. Free wifi card. 10% service charge is added to the bill.
- Coffee Inn, Audēju 15, Tērbatas 7, Kaļķu 28. Hot or cold coffee, with all kind of flavours. Also delicious, huge cookies, muffins, cakes, sandwiches, etc. Basically Coffee Inn is Latvian version of the Starbucks.
Riga is a major nightlife destination for tourists and bars here are often open later than those in other European cities. On average, bars in Old Town will charge €2.00-3.00 per beer and bars outside of Old Town will charge €1.50-2.00 per beer. A specialty liquor is Riga Balsam, which is an acquired taste.
- Aussie Backpackers Pub, 43 Valnu Iela (Down the Dzirnavu street near to the), ☎ +371 67223406. 10.00-02.00. Riga’s first Aussie pub promises to provide plenty of authentic down under atmosphere, but thankfully without any stuffed koalas, Fosters beer posters or, God forbid, any portraits of Paul Hogan. Spread out across three floors, the pub offers 12 local beers on draught for affordable prices served from a bar that’s actually an old VW combi van. Live bands play frequently in the basement and if the cheap happy hour prices are too much for you to handle you can always crash at its hostel upstairs.
- Betty Page Cocktail Bar, Dzirnavu iela 28 (near the Alberts Hotel). 10.00-04.00. Inspired by the notorious Bettie Page and pin-ups from the 1950s. With fun music, delicious kitchen and nightly happy hour for cocktails (17.00-19.00) it is a great choice for evening ease off. In the backstage there is cozy Cigar Lounge for those who enjoy good cigar, or just want to hide from the world.
- Cuba Cafe, 15 Jauniela, ☎ +371 67 22 43 62. Cozy bar, DJ in the evenings (who mimes!). Cuba cafe is lways crowded. Girls don’t need ID’s, bartenders don’t check them, gives you wrong change. 2 for 1 drinks during happy hour (17:00-19:00).
- Kafejnica SKAbene, Alksnāja iela 14 (Corner of the Albert square). Well known place for the locals who just want to escape the pretentious bars of the Old Town – if you just want to meet some new friends and have a drink – just go to Skabene. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they have darts tournaments. Music varies from old-school Jamaican ska to 80s hair rock to psychedelic funk. During summertime you can sit outside or ask for a snooker table to challenge the local pros.
- Karakums, Lāčplēša iela 18. Fun bar with TV and dance room. Pizzas for sale. Beer: €1.50.
- Kiwi Bar, Skarņu iela 7 (Old Town). Sports bar with karaoke nights.
- Leningrad, Kaleju iela 54. A bar with a retro Soviet interior of assorted communist relics and furniture. The beer might not be as cheap as it was in Gorbachev’s time, but for Old Riga the local Brengulis and Czech Kozel are remarkably affordable. The beefy bartender with the shaved head and trimmed beard looks like Lenin on steroids.
- Mojo Cafe Bar, Pils 7, ☎ +371 29 65 30 03. Interior of red and yellow walls, wooden furniture and a chill out section in the back with couches, a record player and TV all circa 1970. Summer terrace. Mojitos, Caipirinhas: €5; Lāčplēsis beer: €2.5.
- Orange Bar, Jāņa sēta 5, ☎ +371 67 228 423.
- Skyline Bar, Elizabetes iela 55 (On the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel). Just perfect view at sunset. Finding a table next to the windows might be difficult after 23:00. Beer: €3-4; Wine: €4-5; Cocktails: €6-9.
- Route 66 (U.S. Bars) (Along the canal, north of Kristina Valdermara). A dirty grungy bar with skinny waitresses and loud heavy metal. Weekends feature live local bands. No cover charge, local beers and mixed drinks..
Riga is known for a sparkling nightlife. There is a difference in style between ‘Russian’ clubs and ‘Latvian’ clubs.
- Amber Night, Elizabetes iela 55 (In the Radisson Blu Hotel), ☎ +371 29 401 431, e-mail: email@example.com. Loaded with foreigners and women willing to meet them. 21+.
- Crystal Club, Lacplesa 52/54, ☎ +371 20 302 030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- El Divino, Skolas iela 2. Many famous international DJs play here.
- FolkKlubs Ala, Peldu 19 (Old Town). Huge beer selection, folk dancing, live music performances, and great authentic food.
- Godvil, Brivibas gatve 214B, ☎ +371 66 666 666, e-mail: email@example.com.
- I Love You, Aldaru iela 9, ☎ +371 67 225 304.
- Kalku Varti, Kaļķu iela 11a, ☎ +371 67224576. Ground-level restaurant with nightclub in the basement.
- Nabaklab, Z.A.Meierovica bulvaris 12.
- Pulkvedis, Peldu iela 26. A trendy place popular with a younger crowd. All of the barmen are very good and the speed is superb. The basement offers techno-ish and/or alternative sounds. Upstairs which is the busiest area with a mix of pop/dance occasional rock music. It is a very busy place on Thurs/Fri/Sat and is closed on Sunday. Entrance: free + face control. Beer: €2.50, vodka orange: €4, vodka coke: €3.60, Cocktails: €6-9.
- Push Club, Terbatas 2, ☎ +371 20 223 322, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mostly Russian, age: 20-30 years old, music – dance main-stream.
- Shot Café, Torņa iela 4 (Near the Powder Tower), ☎ +371 67224165, e-mail: email@example.com. Popular with young Latvians.