Riga: Transit or Separate Trip?

The situation is a little saves the popular budget airline Ryanair, which carries out departures from the Riga airport to various European countries. It attracts in the capital of Latvia many transit travelers who often delay in the city for one or two days.

In my arsenal there is both options for traveling to Latvia: a separate three-day journey, which was one of my first trips abroad, and last year’s Riga transit (Hi Ryanair!) On the way back from Spain, which was pretty cruel, given the difference in the climate between the two countries (as a result, I made the following conclusion: I need to go to Riga! But preferably in the summer and a separate trip to see everything and immediately, because one transit day will be clearly not enough for you.

Riga is often compared with Tallinn, This is understandable: the two Baltic capital of neighboring states. Say which of the cities is more beautiful, quite difficult, as they are similar, and different at the same time. Tallinn seems more European and hospitable towards Russian travelers (what to hide the truth?!). However, Riga is favorably distinguished by its chic modern buildings and, of course, located nearby the famous city resort Jurmala.

Gathering in Latvia, first of all, look at the exchange of currencies, because the euro is rarely familiar to us in this Baltic country. National currency – Latvian lat (LVL), 1 lat (100 centimes) ? 60 rubles.

Ways to get to Riga Not so much: Ecolines flight buses (from St. Petersburg and Moscow) or Eurolines (from St. Petersburg), as well as by train or by plane from both Russian capitals. Having tried buses ecolines and train (coupe), I can say that the first option is too bad, and the second is too good. So I advise you to ride or Eurolines buses or in a second-class train carriage. However, be careful when buying tickets from EUROLINES: A variety of transcenderes through Tallinn is offered on the carrier’s website, with no responsibility for buses to buses! It is also necessary to clarify that Eurolines buses deliver passengers right to the airport, while the final stop of the carrier Ecolines – Bus Station. As for tickets to the aircraft, they make sense to take only in the case of a good sale.

If your route lies with a transit through Riga, then you may need to get from the railway or bus station to the Riga Lidstow airport or in the opposite direction. You can do it on bus number 22, the trip will take about half an hour and cost 0.50 or 0.70 Latvian Lata when buying in a machine / kiosk or driver, respectively. Amazingly, the price has not changed since August 2010! The bus stop at the railway station is called "CENTR?L? Stacija, "Avtovokzala -" 13.Janvara Iela ». Skip the stop "Riga Lidosta" is absolutely impossible, as it is the ultimate. Returning from the airport, also use the number 22 bus, which will take you to stop "11.Novembra Krastmala "(city center), or to" Stockmann Centrs "(railway and bus station; until the latter will have to go back a little go back in the course of traffic traffic). Bus schedule can be viewed on the site of the Riga City Transport. There is also a minibus "AirPort Express", which is serviced by AirBaltic, however, in my opinion, such a transfer to the airport is unreasonably roads (the fare is 3 lats) and with a fairly well-organized public transport movement perfectly useless!

Riga Airport "Lidosta"
Photo Victoria Shostak

Once it came About urban transport, it must be said that in Riga it is posed by trams, trolleybuses and, as you already guessed, buses. Ticket system, how to say, not quite European. The following are offered to the choice of travelers Types of travel:

– Normal paper ticket for one trip (it is a trip, without the possibility of transfers! Everything is like in Russia), worth 0.70 LATA, sold only by drivers;
– Ticket for a certain number of trips sold in the form of a yellow smart card: 1 trip – 0.50 Lata, 4 trips – 2 lats, 5 trips – 2.50 Lata, 10 trips – 4.75 lats;
– For traveling couples or groups, three people created a ticket similar to the previous one: 2 trips for 2 passengers – 2 lats, 2 trips for 3 passengers – 3 lats;
– Temporary ticket, which also "Magnetized" on a smart card: 24 hours for all types of transport from the moment of activation – 1.90 lats, the same ticket for 3 days – 5.70 lat.

Paper disposable travels are suitable for those who did not have time to buy a ticket in advance or simply does not want to bother when traveling to / from the airport, as we did)) All other types of travel "Magnetize" on a disposable cardboard smart card, called " coupon "(not to be confused with similar plastic blue cards!). You can buy an e-ticket in tickets, newspaper kiosks, as well as at the "Rigas Satiksme" ticket office. More details about the places of sale of travel expenses can be found here. All smart cards need to be "breeding", applying to electronic composters, which are located in transport. Disposable paper tickets just enough to purchase, the activation time on them will already be indicated.

As for discounts in Riga city transport, everything is also not very European. First of all, I was embarrassed that information about benefits is completely absent in the "Tickets" section in the English version of the official public transport site of Riga. In the Russian interpretation of the same online page, it is said that free travel is provided to children of "preschool age", I suspect that we are talking about babies under the age of 7 years. However, information about this benefit, I would still advise you to clarify in the sales centers of transport tickets.

From hotels in Riga I can recommend Avitar, where, in fact, and dwells during his first visit to Latvia. Although it was quite a long time ago, but, judging by the latest reviews on the Internet, the hotel and now remains at the same level, and the photos found in the "network" reminded me of the number where we lived. That is, everything actually looks like shown in the pictures, and is supported in pretty good condition. I doubt that these digital photos were made then, in a distant 2002, when I stayed at the hotel Avitar.

Of the minuses of this housing, only its location, a little remote from the city center. True, we didn’t even confuse this, we came to the old part of Riga on city transport in 5-10 minutes, and sometimes even reached the center on foot.

Hotel Avitar
Photo with Avitarhotelriga.COM and Booking.Com

Upon last year’s experience, I can recommend a couple of good budget hostel hotels in the city center:

– Red Roofs Hotel – small rooms with shared or individual amenities; very kind personnel; free use of luggage room; The location "Center does not happen" (St. Peter’s Cathedral – 5 minutes, bus station – 10 minutes); Nearby is a shopping center with a supermarket; The only minus is a great audibility between numbers.

– Balthostel (OF.The site was not found) – Clean rooms with amenities on the floor; there is a kitchen; Hostel is good for transit travelers, as part of things allowed to leave on the way to Europe, and to pick up on the way back to Russia (naturally, subject to accommodation in the hostel); Convenient location – next to the car and railway station, as well as the bus stop, which goes to the airport; Caught personnel. The minus and at the same time plus the hostel are windows overlooking the courtyard with McDonalds: the smells are appropriate, but at the same time there is to have breakfast before early departure or departure.

Old Riga "Must Visit"

First of all, in the capital of Latvia, it is necessary to inspect the oldest part of the city, called Vecriga (Vezriga), which is translated and means "Old Riga".

The main pearl and at the same time as a symbol of the city, in my opinion, is a stunningly beautiful black house (Melngalvju Nams), located on the Town Hall Square. The name of this building always surprised me, until I learned that it belonged to the so-called Brotherhood of the Blackheads, in which merchants and shipowners. Now it is clear where such beauty and luxury)

House of the Blackheads (right) and the Swabian house (left) on the Town Hall Square
Photo Victoria Shostak

Town Hall Square and Tower of St. Peter’s Church
Photo Victoria Shostak

But the generally accepted symbol of Riga is the Church of St. Peter (SV. P?Tera Bazn?CA) that not far from the Town Hall Square. Spire of the Church – one of the most recognizable in the panorama of the city. By the way about panorama! I would definitely climb the observation platform of St. Peter: it opens the most stunning view of the city! We paid for the rise upstairs 2 Lata, but I could not find out the current rates, so that the time of work is observation and cost, recognize in the tourist bureau Riga.

Riga panoramas from the height of the Tower of the Church of St. Peter
Photo Victoria Shostak

Bygoing the Church of St. Peter on the left side, we will be on a small cozy area on SK Street?R?U Iela. This corner of Riga remembered me back during the first acquaintance with the city. A little further behind the Church of St. Peter will seem another temple – the Church of St. John (SV. J??A Bazn?CA) with one of the most bizarre spiers in the city and quite original interior.

Church of St. John
Photo Victoria Shostak

Returning back from the Church of St. John, we will turn right in a small alley. Having passed on it to the ancient arch, we will be in the courtyard of John (J??a S?TA), where the fragment of the medieval urban wall has been preserved.

On the way to the ioannovsky courtyard
Photo Victoria Shostak

Even literally through the house on SK Street?R?U Iela We will see the arch with the inscription "Konventa S?Ta "that translated means a monastery yard. Going to the arch, we will get into the most charming medieval quarter of Riga with small houses, narrow streets and a completely amazing atmosphere.

Walking on SK?R?U Iela can be reached up to the main square of the city – Domskaya Square, where the famous Disk Cathedral is located (R?Gas Doms). Sometimes it plays an organ that can be heard completely free.

The Dome Cathedral
Photo Victoria Shostak

From Domskaya Square, the narrowest street of Riga – Rozena iela. Having passed on it to the intersection with Kr?Mu Iela, turn to the right, and then once again right on Jaun Iela to reach the house area again.

The narrowest street of Riga
Photo Victoria Shostak

Next, I advise you to overtake the cathedral and get lost in small alleys, for example, such as M?Ku Iela. With it, we will go out on the street Miesnieku Iela, where there are vintage and, unfortunately, in a very poor condition of the house. However, when we were in Riga last summer, these buildings seem to be repaired, so there is hope that they will still be saved.

Vintage Riga houses
Photo Victoria Shostak

On Miesnieku Iela will go to the Daugava River and, turning the right, come to the Krasnokrippy Anglican Church (Anglik??U Bazn?CA). Then back to the old Riga on Anglik Street??U Iela, we turn left to Pils Iela Street and, having passed the White-Green Church of the Brief Mother of God (s?PJU DIEVM?Tes Bazn?CA), we will have the walls of the Riga Castle (Rigas Pils). If you wish, you can get around it, but personally, I did not seem to be particularly interesting and beautiful to me, so we go further ..

Riga transit or separate trip

And then we are waiting for another charming corner of Riga, in which we will fall from the Castle Square (Pils Laukums) first on the street MAZ? PILS IELA, and then, turning on Klostera Iela, where we will look into the cozy church of St. Mary Magdalene (SV. Marijas Magdal?Nas Bazn?CA).

Having passed a little more by Klostera Iela, we will see a funny combination of multi-colored houses: red, yellow and green, and the white is also adjacent to them. Two of them are partially decorated in the style of famous half-timbered German houses, I don’t know how much it is done specifically or left from ancient times.

Multicolored houses on Klostera iela
Photo Victoria Shostak

With Klostera Iela, we will turn right and see a red-winged cathedral with a green spire – this is the Cathedral of St. James (SV?TA J?Kaba Katedr?le), inside a rather modest, but go to see still curious.

Tower of the Cathedral of St. Jacob
Photo Victoria Shostak

Next, we go out on the street MAZ? PILS IELA, where we are waiting for another famous symbol of Riga – three brothers (TR?s Br??i) – a group of three vintage charming houses. Which of the "brothers" is the eldest, guess it is not difficult: the white house slightly glanced under the severity of time, because his age is more than five centuries! The middle yellow "brother" stands in the center, the date of its construction is indicated on the facade – 1646. Well, and the green house is the most "green" of this family, it was founded at about the late 17th century.

Three brothers
Photo Victoria Shostak

Passing past the "brothers", we turn under the arch right and we will be in the courtyard, behind the three symbols of the city. It is difficult to even say which of the two types of these houses is better: from the facade or from the courtyard.

Inner courtyard for three brothers
Photo Victoria Shostak

Going to spacious J?Kaba Iela, we turn left and reach the tiny trok??U Iela, passing on which, we will be near the Swedish gate (Zviedru v?rti). This corner of Riga is also one of the most cozy and oldest.

Swedish gate on Trok??U Iela
Photo Victoria Shostak

Walk through the gate and we will be on the spacious Tor?Aela, where the barracks of St. Jacob are located (J?KABA KAZARMAS), and opposite them – the preserved fragment of the urban wall.

Holy Jacob barracks on Tor?aela
Photo Victoria Shostak

Passing to the end of Tor?A iela, we will see the peeing tower, the only preserved tower of the city wall of Riga. From here you can walk along Smil Street?U Iela, on which there are magnificent buildings in modern style (or Riga Yuggendstil), with whom we will meet outside the Old Town.

If you go through Meistaru iela, we get to another cute Riga area L?Vu Laukums, where, besides small vintage houses with many cafes, there are also large (merchant) and small (artist) guilds (Liel? and Maz? ?ilde).

Liva area with restaurant lampshade
Photo Victoria Shostak

And finally, the latest symbol of Riga, located in the old part of the city, is a house with black cats (KA?U Nams), which is located on the corner of the Liv Square at Meistaru Iela House number 10.

House with black cats, one of the feline towers
Photo with Flickr.Com

On this, I will finish my story about the sights of the old Riga, but there is still an acquaintance with other interested in the Latvian capital ahead of us. Therefore, I do not say goodbye to her for a long time, the continuation should be ..

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