My good friend Gigi was planning a walking trip from Riga, Latvia across the border into Estonia. It seemed like a great opportunity to spend some time with a friend and explore a new city, so I booked a flight. We spent a long weekend wandering through the old town, checking out an impressive indoor market, and eating lots of delicious food. Here’s a look at how much I spent in Riga, Latvia.
Total Riga expenses
Latvia uses the euro, so amounts are listed in euros and US dollars. This is for one person for 4 nights in Riga.
361.25€ / $397.38 – accommodation
29.18€ / $32.10 – transportation
197.52€ / $217.27 – food and alcohol
587.95€ / $646.75 – total
This does not include my round trip flights between Berlin and Riga, which cost 111.96€.
Total Riga hotel costs – $397.38
Despite traveling to meet a friend, I got my own hotel room. Gigi’s a morning person while I’m a night owl, and it just made sense for us to get separate places to stay.
I booked a single room at the Radisson Hotel Old Town Riga for 4 nights, and breakfast was not included with my hotel booking. For 4 days in Riga, I paid an average of $99.35 per night.
Where to stay in Riga, Latvia
I quite enjoyed my stay at the Radisson Hotel Old Town Riga. My bed was comfortable, the shower was nice, there was a desk and chair, and I had a mini fridge in my room. It’s a modern hotel, and the staff were friendly.
The location was great, just on the edge of the old town, within easy walking distance to lots of restaurants, cafes, and attractions. It was also a reasonable walk to the Riga train station. There are tram and bus stops nearby, but I didn’t need to use public transportation while I was there.
If I return to Riga, I would definitely consider staying here again.
If you’re on a tighter budget, check out the Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel. This is where Gigi stayed, and it was a nice place. She had a private room with two single beds (bunk beds) plus a comfy chair to sit on. It was a cozy room. The bathrooms were shared and a little small, but clean, and each bathroom was a single, so no big bathroom with lots of stalls.
The hostel also had a kitchen and a few common rooms, and it seemed to have a nice social atmosphere. They let Gigi stay with her dog as a trial basis, so it’s definitely worth asking them before booking if you’re traveling with your dog.
I think this is a great choice for backpackers and people traveling to Riga on a budget. Gigi spent a little over $43 per night on her room at the hostel, and a bed in a dorm would be even cheaper.
Total Riga transportation costs – $32.10
I didn’t need a lot of transportation in Riga. There is a bus route that runs between the airport and the edge of the old town, but I didn’t feel like trying to figure it out, so I took a taxi both ways. So certainly you can save money here by taking the bus instead.
There are buses and trams within the city, but if you’re mostly just exploring the old town, you won’t need transport. Riga is a very walkable city, and it’s easy to explore without needing to use public transport.
Total Riga cost of food and drink – $217.27
Food in Riga was reasonably priced. This amount is as high as it is simply because of one extravagant meal, and I’ll get to that in a minute.
I ate out for every lunch and dinner, plus a few snacks. I brought granola bars from home for breakfast, plus I bought a few bananas and some orange juice from a grocery store. I didn’t drink too much alcohol on this trip, but I bought a few ciders from the grocery store and a few glasses of wine with the expensive meal.
Gigi and I stopped at a few cafes to get out of the chilly weather, including one that we read about in several different guides to the city. It got rave reviews, and we even saw several tour groups go through while we were there. But maybe that should’ve been a red flag. Just about everything was mediocre at best, and I recommend skipping the tourist trap called Black Magic Cafe.
Now for the big meal. Gigi loves food, and she’s more discerning about it than I am. She enjoys fancier meals, and she found a place called Restauran 3 with interesting tasting menus, so I splurged on it with her. We enjoyed a 9 course meal, plus 3 glasses of wine (in addition to the price of the meal) and it was fantastic. I spent $103.95 on this dinner.
As you can see, the tasting menu dinner accounts for almost half of everything I spent on food in Riga. So if I take that out, I averaged about $28.33 per day on food in Riga. Bump that up a little if you plan on drinking more alcohol and if you plan on eating out for breakfast.
Total Riga activities expenses – $0
Gigi and I didn’t do anything in Riga that came with a price tag.
We wandered around the old town a lot. You’ll find a lot of architecture, fountains, parks, and pretty squares to admire in the old town. We went to the central market, which is a huge market housed in four old blimp hangars. That was lots of fun to walk through. St. Peter’s Church has a tower you can climb for views of the city, but the weather wasn’t so great for most of our trip, so we skipped it.
Definitely add more to your budget if you’re interested in doing more activities with an entrance fees. Climbing towers, visiting museums or galleries, taking a food tour or a walking tour, or taking day trips outside the city will all cost you extra.
Is Riga cheap?
My travel expenses in Riga, Latvia averaged out to about $161.68 per day. Riga isn’t the cheapest city in Europe, but it’s a lot cheaper than western Europe. It’s a modern city with all the comforts and necessities you might want, but I found it to be very affordable.
My hotel was inexpensive for a normally expensive brand, and on a tighter budget, the hostel Gigi stayed at is a fantastic alternative. Food was cheap, and activities seemed inexpensive, even though we ended up only doing free things. Overall, I’d say Riga is a cheap city to visit and should be added to your travel list.
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