Riga, Latvia

Area Code 02 $1=0.58Ls, 5 July, 2000

Latvia Top | Latvia General

Riga`s old town was the center of commerce in the middle ages which explains why it is so much bigger than Tallinn and Vilnius. Sadly cars are permitted to travel through the old town, making it a bit more congested and peaceful than the other Baltic capitals.

From the train station head north on merkela iela, then turn left on Brivabas, this turns into Kalku iela which dissects the old town, passes Hotel De Rome and ends at the information tourist office.

i Information Office: Skarnu 22. T 722 21 31.
Helpful staff at the foot of Old Town. They deal more with sights and museums than accommodation.
$1 Parex Bank: Valdemara 8. M-F9-18.00. T/C com.2%
$2 Hansabank: Kalku 26, 9.00-19.00. T/C com. 2%
$3 Rietumu Banka, Brivibas 54, M-F9-18.00. T/C com. 3%
$4 Bank of Latvia: Valdemara 2a. M-F9-17.00 T/C com. 2%
AE American Express: Latvia Tours, Kalku iela 8. M-F9-18
$5 money exchange: Basteja bulv. 14 and Brivibas 30. 24 hour
M0 Post/Telephone office: Brivibas 19.
P Police: ???
H Baltic-American Medical & Surgical Clinic: Antakalnio. Renowned center with English speaking staff, that contact your travel insurance company immediately and organize details.
Hp Krastmalas apieka: Novembra krastmala 29. 24 hour
Hp Rudens aptieka: Gertrudes 105/1.
Embassies:
E USA: Raina bulv 7, T7210005, MTuTh 9-12.00, 14-16:00
E Canada: Doma laukmans 4, T7226315, TuTh10-13.00.
E UK: Alunana 5, T 733 81 26, M-F9-13.00, 14-17.00.
E Australia: Raina 3, T 722 23 83, M-F10-12.00 15-17.00.
E Japan: Valdemara 21, T 781 20 01, M-F9.30-11.30, 13.30-15.30.
E Estonia: Skolas 13, T7812020, MTuThF10-13:00.
E Lithuania: Rupniecibas 24, T7321519, M-F9.30-12.30.
E Poland: Elizabetes 2a, T7321617, M-F9.00-17.00.
E Russia: Antonijas 2, T 721 25 79, M-F9-17.30.
Bookshops
s Jumava: Dzirnavu 73, M-Sa9.30-17.00.Books in English and German.
s Jana Seta: Elizabetes 83, M-Sa10.00-19.00. Good range of guide books.
markets
Supermarket Rimi: Audeju 16. 8.00-22.00
Supermarket Interpegro: Elizabetes 18. 10.00-22.00
Central Market: Pragas 1, 8.00-17.00. The biggest market in the Baltics has everything from watermelon to pants. A good place to do your budget shopping.

Transport
A Airport: 8km SW of the city. Catch bus #22 for 0.20Ls to the outskirts of the old town.
T Train station: Train station is at stacijas laukmas, just outside of the Old Town. Domestic tickets with the electric commuter trains are sold to the right of the main station. International are sold to the left from counters #3-9.
To Cesis (2 hrs)
2.80Ls, 9.30, 10.40.13.48.15.25, 17.45.
To Sigulda (1hr)
1.60Ls, 9.30, 10.40, 13.48, 15.25, 17.45.
To Valga (5 hrs),
3.90Ls, 9.24.
To St Petersburg (15 hrs),
12Ls, 18.00.
To Vilnuis (6 hrs),
7Ls, 23.35.
To Minsk (14 hrs),
11Ls, 17.35.
To Moscow (16 hrs)
14Ls, 15.15, 18.00.
B1 Bus station: Pragas 1. 5.00-24.00. Most tellers speak English but the timetables are very easy to read.
To Cesis (2hrs)
2.20Ls, 14 buses/day btwn 08.05-20.30.
To Sigulda (1hr),
1.80Ls. 14 buses/day btwn 08.05-20.30.
To Liepaja (4 hrs)
3Ls, 16 buses/day btwn 06.40-20.30.
To Kuldiga (3 hrs)
2.75Ls, 08.10, 11.25, 15.25, 17.00, 17.35, 18.00, 18.30, 19.30.
To Tartu (5 hrs),
6.50Ls, 18.00.
To St Petersburg (14 hrs),
8Ls, 18.00,
To Kaunas (5 hrs)
4.20Ls, 15.00
To Vilnius (7 hrs)
5Ls, 00:20, 3.45, 10, 17.40, 22, 22.30.
To Kaliningrad (11 hrs)
5.20Ls, 00:20.
To Prague (27 hrs)
14Ls, 07:00.
To Berlin (21 hrs)
13Ls. 12.00.
To Warsaw (17 hrs)
9Ls. 17.00.


Local Transport
A ride anywhere in the Riga costs 0.20Ls. Separate tickets must be bought for train, bus and trams. Transport operates btwn 05.30-24.00.
Travel agency
ta Baltic Travel Group:Vecpilsetas 3, T 728 08 40.

Entertainment
Nightlife
Riga is known as the cultural center of the Baltics but it is also worth comparing its youth party-scene to that of Paris, Berlin and London. Riga is full of nightspots, and caters for all tastes. Whether it hard techno you want, or the softer sounds of blues, international DJ`s and performers are coming to Riga more often than ever before. For further information to where to go, get a free copy of Riga this week from the bus or train station.

Festivals/National Holidays
January 1 News Years Day
April Good Friday and Catholic Easter
June 23 Midsummer festival
November 18 National Day
December 25 Christmas

@ Internet @
@ Internet Klub: Kalku 10, 10.00-24.00. 2Ls/ hr.
@ Svenix: Barona 16, 10.00-22.00, 1.80Ls/hr.
@ Internet Kafejnica: Jekaba 20, 10.00-21.00. 2Ls/hr
@ C & I Internet Club: Merkela 11, M-F8-20.00, Sa9-17.00 1.80Ls/hr.



Accommodation
LOW MIDDLE HIGH

HOTEL CODE
Budget accommodation in Riga is hard to come by. There are no close hostels and the budget hotels are very ordinary. Perhaps the best bet is to hire a private room in the old town, which is surprisingly cheap.
Aurora: Marijas 5 (directly opposite the train station), T7224479. d6Ls, t9Ls, TV.C1 A great location, but this hotel gives a new meaning to the word dirty. More popular with prostitutes than backpackers, be sure to pay for the room you are staying in nightly, not hourly! Small simple rooms do come with a TV, but the communal bathrooms are horrible and you have to pay (.50Ls) for the privlidge of using it. However it is the cheapest option in Riga, so just drink allot of beers and hold your nose.
Saulite: Merkela 12 (opp from McDonalds), T7224546.
s7Ls, d10Ls, t13Ls, tV, C2 A cleaner option to the one above, this is the best budget option in Riga. Simple rooms with communal bathrooms in a great location just outside of the Old town. Highly Rec
Patricia Ltd: Elizabetes iela 22 (head right from the train station on Marijas iela and take third left on Elizabetes), T7284868, s8Ls+, d15Ls+ C?
This accommodation agency finds rooms in the old town for reasonable prices. Usually three day minimum is asked. The room I stayed in was clean and comfortable in the heart of the old city.
Highly Rec
h Riga Technical University Dorm: Kalku 1 (this street dissects old town), T7089395, dr3Ls, K, L, I, C3
Incredibly popular accommodation, that needs to be booked at least 10 days before hand. Situated in the heart of old town, nearby hotels offer rooms 50 times more than this. Communal kitchen and bathrooms, mostly full of local workers, this is a great place if you can perform a miracle and get a booking.
Highly Rec

Food
The food is great in Riga. There are so many places to eat that restaurants lower their prices and increase the portions to get into the backpacker market. British Airways has recently introduced two daily flights to cope with the demand of young English clubbers, which means prices and standards should remain low for the dancing invasion that is heading towards it.
Paddy Whelan`s: Grecinieku 4, Su-Th10-24, FSa10-02:00, English/Irish - 1Ls - 3Ll
A Riga institution and the favorite hang out spot for locals and backpackers alike. Have big portions of pasta, roasts and burgers. Upstairs is a more quiter and classier restaurant. At night, live Irish music is played adding to the joyous atmosphere.
Highly Rec
Amsterdama: Audeju 2, 8-23.00. Dutch 3 - 6Ls
Cosy leather velvet couches await those who eat and drink in this Dutch styled restaurant. The sort of place where you could comfortable sit all day.
Pulkvedim neviens neraksta (Nobody writes to the colonel), 12.00-05.00. Mixed 1-4Ls
This place has OK snack type meals better is better known as the best place in Riga to party and meet the locals. The DJ spins out funk, blues, acid jazz to heavy metal, and the always big crowd love it.
Highly Rec
r Dublin,:Vagnera 16, 12.00-02.00, Irish 1- 4Ls
No where near as popular as Paddy Whelans, this place is quietly tucked into a small street of Old City. However the meals are cheap and are huge, which makes this a real find.
Highly Rec
r Ala (the cave): Audeju 11, 13-02:00, Pub meals 1-3Ls
From the outside all you can see is a small glass door, but inside is a maze of tunnels and vaults filled with students, pool tables, pokies and dance floors. It is actually possible to get lost in this place and the staff say it happens all the time (mostly Americans). Food is simple (steak and chips), but this is a great place to drink the night away.
r Subway: Kalku 10, 9.45 - 23.00, Rolls 1Ls-2ls
Ok, it might be a cheating a bit, but the price is good and the rolls are big enough to eat of lunch and dinner.


Sight

S1 Old Town
Riga still has amazing churches and architecture such as St Peters Church (13th century), Dome Cathedral (13th century), and the three brothers stone houses (15th C).
Highly Rec
S2 Occupational Musuem: Strelnieku laukums 1, 9-17:00, free entry. A chilling experience awaits you here. This museum documents the history of Latvia`s struggle against those who sought to conquer it. Displaying pictures, letters, weapons, reconstructed prison cells and other momentoes of their bloody history, these museum is a must see. Highly Rec
S3 Open Air Ethnographic Museum: Brivibas gatve 440, 10-17:00, 2Ls (1LS students), This is how life was, 100 yeas ago that it. A reconstructed farm with windmills, churches, villages and various craftsmen working the `old way`. Catch bus #1 from the corner of Merkela and Terbatas. A great way to spend a day, with restaurant facilities available. Rec

English Top | Travel Info | BBS| New BBS | Hot Info | Memories | Photos | Super Index | Mail