Riga International Airport is the biggest airport in the Baltic States. It welcomed almost five million passengers in 2013. It has three terminals, equipped with modern airport facilities. The terminals are divided into Schengen departures, Schengen arrivals and non-Schengen arrivals, serving 17 airlines.
How to get around
As the airport is 12km away from the city centre, journey there by bus would typically take around 30 minutes. Bus #22 departs to Abrenes iela and comes every 10-30 minutes. You may purchase a ticket from the driver directly. You can also purchase a ticket for unlimited bus rides for 24 hours.
If you are arriving via airBaltic, there is a free airBaltic bus service that brings you to various bus terminals in town. Another alternative is to hail a taxi and it takes 15 minutes to get to the city centre. On average, they cost around NZD20.
There are several ways to travel within the city, one of which is through taxi. There is a minimum fare of about NZD12 to anywhere in the city centre and basic fares start from NZD1.2. You may also purchase the Rīga Card. There are one, three and five-day tickets available and this entitles you to unlimited public transport use.
The card also comes with a guided city tour, discounts at some restaurants and entries to major museums. If you are in Riga for transit and do not wish to buy the Rīga card, single journey tickets are also available at newspaper kiosks and bus drivers. For a cheaper alternative, rent a bike to explore the city.
What to see and do
Riga is a city in cultural crossroads between Latvian and Russian culture. This interesting combination of different ethnic groups have given rise to Russian and Latvian influences on many landmarks.
Most historical buildings are concentrated in Old Town and have different architectural designs from contemporary, Art Nouveau, Classicism, to baroque and medieval.
The biggest cathedral in the Baltics is situated in Doma Laukums (Cathedral Square). Admire the grandeur of its medieval architecture. It is also home to the 4th largest organ in the world.
Across the cathedral stands Riga History and Navigation museum, housing artefacts from the Hanseatic league, from during Polish and Swedish rulings (13th to 17th century) and when Latvia became independent. It also has ship models, viking boats and navigational instruments.
On the east of Old Town stands the city park, featuring Riga Opera House. Throughout the year, there are many opera and ballet performances. Shoppers can head to Central Market. Boutiques, souvenir shops and accessories can be found there.
Learn about Latvian history when you visit the Occupation Museum, showcasing artefacts and photographs left behind from Latvia’s occupation from the Nazis and Soviets.
If time permits, drop by the town of Jūrmala, 15km west of Rīga. There, you can find seaside resorts facing dune-backed beaches along the Baltic coast. Chill by the café by the seaside and enjoy the splendid view of the ocean.