Layover in Riga – the ultimate guide 2023
As far as European capitals go, Riga tends to get overlooked. But this beautiful city is gradually gathering momentum as a tourist destination. If you find yourself on a layover in Riga, it would be a shame not to explore this fascinating Baltic city.
Riga Airport may be the largest airport of any of the Baltic states, but it’s not exactly Heathrow. There are no rapid transit connections, so You Only option to reach the city is to take a taxi or a bus. Public bus number 22 can take you from the airport to Riga Central Bus Station and Central Railway Station, and there are also private bus companies that can bring you to the city. Either way, expect the journey to take between 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic.
6 hour layover in Riga
If you only have six hours to spend on your Riga stopover, you’ll have to maximize your time. Once you’ve cleared customs, drop off your bags at a Riga luggage storage so you’re not carrying more than you need to. You can find somewhere to drop your bags at Riga airport or in the city itself.
To make the most of your Riga layover, take the bus to Riga Central Station. From there, it’s only a short walk to Riga Old Town. Riga Old Town is justifiably famous. With roots going back to the 13th century, the town is a labyrinth of charming cobblestone streets and ancient buildings. Some of the streets are so narrow that you can touch buildings on either side by stretching out your hands. If you have time, climb the spire of St. Peter’s Church to take in the view of the city, or just soak up the atmosphere in this historic district.
- Take the bus from the airport to Riga Central Station to immerse yourself in the heart of the city.
- Spend a couple of hours exploring Riga Old Town to feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time.
- Climb the spire of St. Peter’s Church to admire the view.
8 hour layover in Riga
An eight-hour layover in Riga gives you a little more time to explore. To make sure you enjoy everything the Old Town has to offer, consider taking an architectural tour of the area. These tours will take you to famous buildings such as Riga Cathedral, the Three Brothers, and the House of the Black Heads. Exploring by yourself is fun, but to really understand what you’re seeing, nothing beats a knowledgeable guide. So drop off your unneeded bags at a Riga luggage storage and really get to know the city.
- Take an architectural or historical tour of Riga Old Town.
- Learn the stories behind the unique buildings and why the town is so well-preserved.
- Understand more of the history of Latvia and the wider Baltic region.
10 hour layover in Riga
The longer you have to make your connection, the more of the city you can afford to see. Once you’ve fully explored the Art Nouveau splendor of Old Town, you can get a different perspective on Latvian history at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. This museum explores what it was like to live in Latvia during the Nazi occupation in the early 1940s, and you’ll be impressed by the resilience of the local population during this period. Visiting the museum will also help you understand more about one of the most important periods of the country’s history.
- Take a short walk from Old Town to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.
- Learn about what life was like in Latvia under Nazi occupation
12 hour layover in Riga
By the standards of European cities, Riga may be small, but its central market is the largest in Europe. If you have a little extra time in Riga, this is the perfect place to kill a couple of hours. You can shop for unique souvenirs or try local delicacies and experience the city the way the locals do. For foodies and culture fans, this is an experience that’s hard to beat, and it’s only a short walk from the center of Riga.
- Spend a few hours at Riga Central Market to pick up unique souvenirs and try local food.
- Soak up the atmosphere and shop with the locals in Europe’s largest market.
- Take your pick from over 3000 stalls.
24 hour layover in Riga
An overnight layover in Riga means you can experience some of the city’s nightlife. After dropping off your bags at a Riga luggage storage, head back into Old Town to experience some of the capital’s liveliest bars and nightclubs. Riga’s Old Town is small enough to be very walkable, making it the ideal place for a pub crawl. Also, because the city isn’t nearly as heavily touristed as other European capitals, you’ll often find the locals more welcoming than they are in cities where foreign visitors are no big deal. If you really want to immerse yourself in the nightlife, consider going on a pub crawl tour that will let you explore the best bars in the city.
Before your flight leaves the following day, check out Riga Castle. Although the building doesn’t have the fairytale appearance its name might conjure, it is a fascinating place to explore the history of both the city and the country. It remains the residence of the president to this day, and an on-site museum explains the importance of the building to the city through the centuries. As a crash course in Latvian history, it’s hard to beat.
- Explore Riga’s nightlife in the Old Town.
- Go on a pub crawl tour to visit the best bars and liveliest clubs.
- Visit Riga Castle to get a crash course in Latvian history.