Riga /ˈriːɡə/; Latvian: Rīga [ˈriːɡa]; Livonian: Rīgõ.
Riga is the capital of Latvia, considered a cultural centre and the home to museums, concert halls and, most importantly, many ethnicities. Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population.
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 was the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden.
And Riga is not just famous for its mordern architecture, but also its medieval Old Town. The Old Town is filled with pedestrian-only streets, which can lead you to the Livu Square. Although the square’s name has changed through the times, its current name was given to mark and symbolise the beginning of the development of Riga’s history and space. Historical maps confirm that the first Livonian and German settlements on the banks of Riga were formed around the Livu Square.
The University of Latvia has a smaller, but very necessary study program for those interested in the Finno-Ugric field. The program mainly concentrates on its contacts with Finland and Estonia, but also pays close attention to the Livonian culture, language and preservation. Currently Hungarian course is also in development.
How to Get to Riga
Riga is served by Riga International Airport (RIX), the largest airport in the Baltic states. Flights to Riga may be 1–3 hours long, depending on your place of departure.
How to Get to and From the Airport?
Riga International Airport is approximately 13 kilometres from the centre of Riga. From the airport, you can take bus No. 22 (destination: “Abrenes iela”). Passengers wishing to get to Old Riga, or the centre of the city should hop off at the stops “11. novembra krastmala” or “Autoosta”. Another option is a minibus No. 241 which will take you to the “Katedrāle” stop. There is also the option of taking a taxi or the Airport Express shuttle (which runs according to a set schedule). The trip to the centre of the city will take approximately 20 minutes. You can also use Bolt and Yandex services in Latvia. For more information click here.
The most popular bus companies (Ecolines, LuxExpress and Eurolines) also offer rides to Riga. Mainly the destination is in Riga International Bus Terminal located next to the Central Railway Station, Central Market and the Old Town. (From Vilnius – 4 hours; From Tallinn – 4.5 hours; From Minsk – 8 hours; From Saint Petersburg – 11 to 12 hours; From Warsaw – 13 to 14 hours; From Moscow – 15 hours; From Berlin and Prague – 22 hours). For more information click here.
If you wish to go by train to Riga, then Latvijas dzelzceļš has many options available for you. (16 hours from Moscow; 15 hours from St. Petersburg; 12 hours from Minsk; 3-4 hours from Valga). For more information click here.