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Riga tours and excursions

Riga tours

Boat tours

Several operators run river cruises, taking in local architecture, passing small islands and sometimes venturing out to the Gulf of Riga. Head to the Akmens Bridge and you should be able to catch a boat nearby.

Walking tours

A number of companies offer walking tours of Riga, which can be booked at the main tourist office in Old Town. However, a self-guided walking tour is probably the best bet. A good place to start a walk is at the Occupation Museum on Kalku iela, before heading into the Old Town. The majority of the sights in Old Riga are located on or near Skanu iela (the second right turn after the Occupation Museum), including St John's Church and St Peter's Church. Almost all of the main sights are located within a compact area in Riga’s Old Town.

Website: http://www.liveriga.com

Bus tours

Amber Way operates the Riga City Tour. Pick-up by bus is from outside the opera house, on the edge of Old Town. This tour incorporates the 13th-century churches and Old Town’s UNESCO-protected art nouveau masterpieces. Other companies offering bus tours include Riga City Sightseeing.

Tel: +371 6727 1915; +371 2776 2776
Website: http://www.sightseeing.lv

Riga excursions

Jūrmala

Once a favourite holiday destination of Communist Party members, this string of small seaside towns and resorts, complete with hotels and spa retreats, stretches 30km (19 miles) west along the coast from Riga. The attractions are sweeping beaches, sand dunes, pine trees and old wooden houses. The only drawback is the incessant forest ticks. Jūrmala is served by regular trains on the Kemeri-Tukumus train line from Riga's central station. All trains stop at Majori.

Tel: +371 6714 7900
Website: http://www.visitjurmala.lv

Riga Motor Museum (Riga Motormuzejs)

This truly bizarre museum located 8km (5 miles) east of Riga's Old Town, looks just like a car showroom at first glance. Closer scrutiny reveals a collection of over 100 vehicles, which includes the former wheels of such renowned car buffs as Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and East German dictator Erich Honecker. The wax figures are a nice touch, creating the surreal sight of the late Brezhnev sitting proudly in his Rolls Royce or Stalin in his specially modified armoured car. The museum can be reached by bus 15 or 21, or trolleybus 14 or 18, and is open daily 1000-1800.

Tel: +371 6702 5888
Website: http://www.motormuzejs.lv

Salaspils

About 18km (11 miles) southeast of Riga lies the site of Latvia's Nazi tragedy. Between 1941 and 1944, several thousand innocents (including many Jewish people from Riga) were murdered at the concentration camp at Salaspils. Today, the camp is preserved as a reminder of those dark days and also houses a museum. The poignant inscription at the entrance reads ‘Behind this gate the earth groans'. Salaspils is easily accessible by electric commuter train and by car. It is open daily, 24 hours. Free admission.

Website: http://www.salaspils.lv

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Hestia Hotel Jugend

The latest offering from this rapidly growing hotel chain offers state-of-the-art rooms with high-speed internet access, albeit a lack of soul. The location is handy, just on the edge of Old Town and within walking distance of most of the main points of interest.

Grand Palace

Regarded by many as the finest hotel in Riga, the Grand Palace is a supremely enjoyable place to stay. It manages to conjure up an old world feeling of luxury and decadence while also staying ahead of the game with Wi-Fi now available in all guest rooms. Slick service, a sauna and gym help complete the impressive picture of perhaps the best hotel in the country. First class.

Hotel Bergs

When it first opened it was ranked by Condé Nast as one of the world's best boutique hotels. This slick operation in the new town is indeed impressive, both in terms of the designer décor and the seamlessly smooth service. It’s easy to see why this Riga hotel has won so many awards. Still one of the most fashionable places to stay in the Latvian capital, Hotel Bergs also has an excellent restaurant on site.

Radisson SAS Daugava

The free airport transfer helps make up for the location on the opposite bank of the River Daugava from almost everything you will want to see and do. The views of the Old Town are superb across the water. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available for all guests.

Rixwell Centra

This boutique hotel in Riga is a stylish option handily located between Old Town and the bus and railway stations. The 26 minimalist rooms are elegantly decorated and all have satellite TV and internet connections. Some of the rooms on the upper levels boast great views of Old Town.

Dodo Hotel

Latvia’s answer to the Premier Inn, Dodo is the flagship property for a new chain of budget hotels. What the 100+ spacious rooms lack in individuality they more than make up for in comfort and value for money, making this a good choice for budget travellers. The breakfast buffet costs extra, and the hotel is about a 15-minute walk into town. Even so, this is one of the better value hotels in Riga.