Riga is the capital of Latvia and the largest city of the Baltic states. It covers more than 300 square kilometers and it’s the home of 700 thousand people, which is about one third of the total population of Latvia. In 2014, Riga was elected as the European Capital of Culture and in the same year the city held Championship of Amateur Choirs World Choir Games.
Accommodation in Riga
In Riga, we can offer you more than 240 accommodation options starting with hostels up to apartments, hotels (2-5 stars) or guesthouses. The largest offer would be found in apartments and hotels. The most popular apartments include Martas Mansards, Riga Apartment in the Heart of City or Apartment in Riga City Center. In Riga, you can also directly camp on a small island on the river Dengava. The cheapest alternative are hostels, which are spread throughout the city, you can find them right in the Old Town, but also near the train station. Accommodation in a average three-star hotel will cost you somewhere around 30 EUR/per room/per night in the high season. One of the well known hotel chains in Riga is the Radisson Blu. Among the most luxurious hotels are for example Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort, Garden Luxury Residence or the Dome Hotel & Spa. The most popular hotels are Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija and Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel.
Location and weather in Riga
Riga is located in an area where the river Daugava flows into the Baltic Sea. The climate is mild, with plenty of rainfall. The coldest months are January and February, when temperatures are below zero. The coldest days may be up to -20 degrees. In summer, its is usually around 15-20 degrees, during spring and autumn there is frequent rain and fog. So the best time to visit Riga would be probably summer.
History of Riga
During ancient times, Riga was already an important port and trading center of the Vikings on their way to the Byzantine Empire. Riga was officially established in 1201 by Albert of Bremen, who used it as a base for the Crusades. Riga later became a member of the Hanseatic cities (cities, which for several centuries dominated long-distance trade in the North and Baltic Seas). After the fall of the Hansa, Riga was first a part of Sweden, then Russia and in 1918 it became the capital of independent Latvia. During the 2nd World War, Riga was occupied by Germany. After the war, it was annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1990, Riga becameonce again the capital of the independent Latvian state.
Transportation to Riga
The international airport in Riga is located about 10 kilometers from the city center. The transportation around the city can be provided by a reliable urban transport system which is formed mostly by buses, trams and trolleybuses. Taxis are affordable, the majority of taxi drivers are very nice and are open to help tourists. Unfortunately, there are always some exceptions. Another variant of transport are minibuses or so called taxi-buses which can transport about 10 people at a time. They either stop at bus stops of public transport or virtually anywhere where it is permitted to stop. Riga is also a major port - from Stockholm in Sweden, from Kiel and Lübeck in Germany there is a ferry connection to Riga every day.
Landmarks in Riga
City Center, Old Riga (Vecriga), is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Major attractions include the Dom cathedral (Rīgas Doms), which is officially the largest church in the Baltic states, further on the Castle (Rīgas pils) from the 14th century, which currently serves as office for the president. Interesting is also the House of Blackheads (Blackheads), the houses of three brothers (TRIS Brāļi), Cat House (Kaķu May), and also the Powder Tower, which is the last surviving part of the original fortifications. The city has also many important churches, such as St. Peter's Church, Church of St. James and St. John's Church. In a park near the Old Riga, we can find the Freedom Monument, which was built for the remembrance of the year 1918 when Latvia became an independent state for the first time in history.
Sport in Riga
Riga has its football clubs Skonto FC, FS Metta-LU or JFK Olimps, a Basketball Club BK VEF Riga, Barons LMT and they have also hockey clubs Dinamo Riga and HK Riga. A marathon takes place in Riga every year. In 2006 Riga hosted the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Famous personalities Riga
The city is linked to many famous personalities, such as composer Richard Wagner, football player Marian Pahars, psychologist Lola Hoffmann, a Swedish politician Laila Ligita Freivalds, a dancer Mikhail Baryšnikovnebo, DJ Lethal known of the group House of Pain and the rock group Limp Bizkit.