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The Latvian capital of Riga is the most beautiful city of the Baltic States. The historic town is well preserved and in recent years, major restorations have been made. The center of Riga is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lovers of architecture will enjoy it a lot, but even if you're less interested in architecture, Riga is a wonderful and atmospheric place. There are many interesting museums, cafes and terraces.
The city has a population of more than 700,000.
Riga is situated on both banks of the Daugava, about ten kilometers from the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Riga, which is connected to the Baltic. The historic center is on the right bank of the river.
Riga has always been an important city for trade between Western and Eastern Europe and it still is. Since the independence, the port has been modernized and a new passenger terminal has been built. Furthermore, the Latvian capital is the most important financial center of the Baltic States. Industry focuses mostly on the processing of local produce, especially timber and food. More and more people discover that Riga is a fun city trip destination; therefore, tourism is becoming more important.
Riga's airport is located ten kilometers west of the city center. Riga International Airport is easily accessible by rental car: from the center take the A10 (or the A7, which joins the A10) and take the exit to the P133. The route to the airport is clearly signposted.
The Latvian capital has excellent public transport, which consists of buses, trams and trolleybuses. You can purchase a one day pass, 3-day ticket or 5-day ticket, which are valid for all forms of public transport. A little cheaper are tickets that are only valid for one form of transport (either buses, or trams, or trolleybuses).
The old town is a pedestrian zone. Furthermore, there are many one-way streets in the center. Although, in recent years some parking garages have been built, it remains difficult to find a parking space in the center of Riga.
If you would like to discover more of Latvia than just its capital, a rental car is an ideal means of transport. In recent years, many of the country's roads have been restored. However, be careful on secondary roads: an asphalt road can suddenly - and without warning - turn into an unpaved road.
Riga has a good range of accommodation in all categories. Especially the budget category for backpackers is well represented, but in recent years, many middle class and luxury hotels have been added. Please take into consideration where your hotel is located and how far it is from the historic center. If you would like to visit Riga in summer, we recommend booking your hotel well in advance.
For more information about Riga we recommend Google and the following sources: