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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Latvia > Riga

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Local time Riga

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Travel to Riga

Flying to Riga

Airlines operating direct flights to Riga from the UK include airBaltic, Ryanair and Wizzair. The best time to travel to Riga is during the summer when the temperatures rise. However, cheap flights are available in the colder months or in the winter. There are no direct flights from the USA.

Riga International Airport is situated 11km (7 miles) west of central Riga.

Flight times

From London - 2 hours 40 minutes

From Paris - 2 hours 40 minutes

From New York - 10 hours (including stopover)

From Los Angeles - 13 hours 30 minutes (including stopover)

From Toronto - 12 hours (including stopover)

From Sydney - 26 hours (including stopover)

Travel by road

Road conditions in Latvia are variable and, while most main roads are of a fairly good standard, some main roads and many minor roads are unsurfaced. They become muddy bogs during heavy rainfall or snowmelt.

Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in towns and 90kph (56mph) outside towns. Driving in Latvia is on the right side. The minimum driving age is 18 years.

Foreigners driving their own vehicles are required to carry a national licence (or an International Driving Permit if you're from outside the EU), proof of third-party insurance (such as the international Green Card) and registration documents, at all times. It is compulsory to drive with vehicle lights switched on at all times.

The Auto-Moto Society of Latvia - LAMB (tel: 1888, in Latvia only or +371 6756 6222; www.lamb.lv) provides further information.

Emergency breakdown services

LAMB (tel: 1888, in Latvia only).

Routes

The main transit corridors to Riga are the north-south Via Baltica, which runs from Tallinn to Warsaw through Riga, Vilnius and Kaunas, and Via Hanseatica, which runs from Berlin to Riga through Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Siauliai. Corridors also run east-west, linking Riga to Moscow, Ventspils, Liepaja, Vitebsc and Pskow. The A2 northeast from Riga leads to Cēsis.

Coaches

Riga's coach station (Autoosta), Pragas 1, operates both international and domestic services. You can buy tickets to all international destinations at the ticket offices in the bus terminal.

Reputable operators include the main state motor firm, Nordeka (tel: 8000 0115, in Latvia only or +371 6746 4620; www.nordeka.lv), which operates regular long-distance and international services.

Lux Express (tel: +371 6778 1350; www.luxexpress.eu) also operates international routes, including a direct service to Moscow.

Time to city

From Cēsis - 1 hour 30 minutes; Vilnius - 4 hours; Tallinn - 4 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Riga's Central Station (Centrālā Stacija) has separate departure and arrival halls for international and domestic services. Tickets for mainline services are sold in the main departure hall, and tickets for the electric commuter trains are sold in the smaller departure hall.

Some trains in Latvia are poorly maintained and delays are common, but the routes to the satellite towns and villages around Riga generally have a better service than intercity and international routes. Long-distance rail services from Riga can be slow and prone to delays.

Operators

Latvia's national railway company, Latvijas Dzelzceļš (tel: 8000 1181, in Latvia only or + 371 6723 1181; www.ldz.lv), operates rail services in Riga. You can book long-distance journeys in advance.

Journey times

To Minsk - 12 hours; Moscow - 16 hours.

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Featured Hotels

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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.

KB Hotel

Located in a beautiful art nouveau building, the KB is a no-frills hotel ideal for budget travellers. The décor is a bit tired, but the room rates are cheap. Regular trams to the city centre stop right outside the hotel, although the walk is no more than 15 minutes. Situated in the UNESCO-listed art nouveau district, there’s just one catch – the hotel is on the top floor and the lift doesn’t work.

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.