Holidays in Riga - good or bad?



  • edited August 2010
    This always happens to a city once the discount airlines start flying there. They open up formerly low-tourist destinations to a high volume of low-budget travellers, and of course, notorious stag parties which often leave a very bad impression on the locals!
  • edited 4:45AM
    I found Riga to be an amazing city with great people. The ethnic Latvians themselves are some of the loveliest and most friendly people I've ever met. One must remember that Riga and Latvia itself was roughly treated by the Soviets, and cruelly "Russified" and oppressed. The Latvians have done a magnificent job of restoring, modernizing and sprucing up Riga soon after attaining independence from the USSR, when it was in shambles. Part of the problem was created by its haste to bring in much needed currency from inexpensive tourism, introducing droves of crass, drunkard and foul behaved English hooligan-types, something which jaded many Latvian's view of foreign tourists. Latvia and Riga are engaged in a steep learning, growth and adaptation curve. It would be surprising if it weren't slightly edgy. For the people who had a bad time, I suspect that their naivete and arrogance had much to do with their experience. I would recommend Riga and Latvia to anyone except pansies expecting to have a fake "waited for in hand and foot" treatment, which, btw, is available for a price, but you will miss the heart and soul of a wonderful place and people. A good and friendly attitude will always procure a great experience.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I am planning a 4 man holiday to riga, oldtown. I am looking for a clubbing trip and to have a laugh and fun. I am quite concerned now after reading all the reviews. Is it worth me going?
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hi to everyone who plans on vsiting Latvia/Riga. If you behave yourself respectfully - the locals will respect you and even show directions when you stand on the street corner ore tell you where you cn get the best food and enjoy the best sight. But if you going wild, screeming, looking for hookers, bothering every girl who pases you, ore the vorse what british staggers do - pee on ours freedom monument. Then clearly you will get the same attitude from locals. So if you have the right attitude and manners - Welcome!
  • edited 4:45AM
    Local_Y : I agree, but the problem is that all visitors get stigmatised by the actions of a few lager louts. I found that Rigans were very quick to pre-judge me based on my foreign accent even though I have a lot of respect for your country.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I will be going to Latvia for a break, to lap up the sun by the Baltic Sea. Yes I am quite concerned after reading the negative comments although Lativia is recommended on WikiTravel as a safe place. I have presumed it to be different from other former Soviet Union areas and somewhere like Czech Republic. But mafias, and corrupt cops... It seems I have to watch my back all the time, and can only say good luck to myself now.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I'm amazed that so many people continue to get into trouble in Riga's clubs. It's well known that they can be dangerous money extracting dives. Don't use a credit card,don't buy anyone a drink, in fact don't even go into them. Many of these clubs sprung up from 2004, to extract money,with menace if need be, from naive tourists. This is not western Europe,the same decency and fair play cannot be expected. I've been visiting Riga from 2000 on and never had trouble, but believe me I have met people even as far back as 10 years ago who were assaulted,so you got to be aware of your surroundings and your bearing.Don't draw attention to yourself as a foreigner. Latvia has recently experienced a massive economic decline, so don't expect things to get better.Yes the Police are scum, and many are in the pay of local mafia.
  • edited 4:45AM
    this really hurts me. i'm a latvian and i hate my country, but still, i can't change my nationality and when talking about how latvians are bad it hurts me. i hate latvia because there's a lot of arrogant russian people who don't know the official language and gets on my effing nerves speaking in their russian language like they are the owners of latvia. argh
    but i wouldn't say that Riga is so bad. i live there. the only bad thing - russians. i mean -seriously? - 41% in riga are latvians and 40% are russians. how do i know they are bad? well , they're my neighbours, always try and start an argument (no, my dog didn't bark all night! -> yeah but i couldn't sleep), always start a conversation in russian and ,when told that i don't speak russian, gets angry and walk away, and as far as i know the big robbers are russians. we, latvians, have many jokes about them. they usually wear striped sweatpants, smells like vodka and looks at you like you're a prey or something.

    it is true that some people don't like british but that's only reasonable, because some british men peed on our freedom monument for which we paid from our own pocket so that really hurts us. so british people - try not to get drunk when in Riga because then everyone will hate you.

    it is known that in some pubs you can get ripped off. just read some reviews and remember the fraudy club names. they rob even latvians, there's been a lot of talk.

    you have to look out for filthy russians and dark streets, they like to go out when it's late . but they're much more active not in riga's center, but in purvciems and ?genskalns.

    the police sucks, they like corrupcy.

    i've been living in riga my whole life and i haven't seen a one hooker.
  • edited 4:45AM
    its funny to say that there are no hookers in riga - street prostitution is limited, but there are plenty of individuals and massage parlors with extra services etc. :) if you are lookin for sex in riga and don't want to get ripped off i can suggest you to check the website - there are advertisments and also reviews. They even have a map with locations of all girls - :)
  • edited 4:45AM
    Riga is much more interesting place than London or Dublin. I've been to London last week - it's a big shit hole full of muslims and it rains all the day. The most boring place I've been to is England.
    I'm Lithuanian and Latvia is very similar to my country. My opinion that Riga, Tallinn or Vilnius is 10 times more beautiful than London.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I agree - Riga is more interesting than many cities, and offers more adventure because one's experience there is impossible to predict. Depends on what you want when you visit a city doesnt it?
  • edited 4:45AM
    Latvian why do you speak like that about russians from Riga? That's fake. The only true is that russian don't speak too much latvian. All the rest is a bald lie! I'm from Sweden and my wife Oksana is russian girl from Riga. Russians from Latvia and russians from Russia are totally not the same one.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hello All. At first would like to write about me. I grew up in Latvia and had lived there for many, many years, before I moved to the other side of the world. So I know a lot about this country. I visiting Riga all the time, I speak language and know the culture. At beginning of my post I would like to answer person who wrote this:
    < it'll take some time till riga will prove a good host to real european tourists (they consider themselves european, although they still lag on the russian-oriental side).>
    What do you know about Russia and Russian culture dude, to write this crap? You showed yourself very poor educated ignorant. I am very sad and disappointed that I read your post. So you know, Latvia in Russian- Soviet time was a beautiful country. There was no crime and no corruption. Now they have Nazi government, which is very corrupted.
    For the other people who want to visit Latvia I would like to tell, that it is great beautiful country (in the summer), but because of stupid government, people are very poor and not happy. They don't know how to survive in this swamp. Believe me there are a lot of nice people. But they don't go to the strip clubs at night. They are sleeping at home, because they have normal busy life. Night time Riga and Day time Riga is two different towns. If you are going there to drink sheep alcohol and meet prostitutes in strip bar you will find some problems. Night and Day Riga is very different, it depend where you go and in what time of the day. But if you go to the old town or Lido during the day, you going to have very nice time.

    Please don’t listen those idiots who going there to drink and get crazy. And believe me, there are a lot of nice girls, but they are not at the bars, they are at work, in the university of at home. Good girls are at home in the night time.
    Over all I think there is a lot of good places in EU to go. And a lot of places better that Latvia. Because in Latvia is mostly bad rainy weather and only good time to go there is the summer. If I would you I was go to Spain on Germany.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Visited Riga last summer and going to visit this July. Useful info
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hello everyone.

    I'm a young woman living in Latvia. To be honest i was really surprised to find so many negative comments about Riga. Had no ideas i'm living in such an awful town. :) What makes me feel a bit better is that the most negative posts were made more than 2-3 years ago and I do hope that since then things really got better.

    Right now i'm studying and working in a pub in Oldtown. So i really now quite lot about tourists coming here, about the way things may go here. I believe that the main thing for everyone when going abroad is to stay reasonable, to think clear just not to get into any problems. Riga is not the place were all the people are rude and hate tourists. People here are more reserved and it takes time for them to open up. We do show our emotion differently and some may think that we are or inpolite.

    Of course there is crime in Riga as in every town. Of course we have "special ladies", of course we have taxi drivers who will charge you double and of course we have "black" places where one drink can cost the same as a jewelery. But people we are not living in a Stone age anymore. We have media, internet that all the time warn us give advice. Whenever you go abroad just be prepared. I personally found few pages saying about taxi to use in Riga, places not to go, not to deal with strange ladies who just seem to appear from nowhere. (And i'm sorry but it's written all over their faces with BIG letters what they want from you and still guys are falling for it...). Always when you are coming to a new place check the price list before you order drink. And if you have any doubts about something speak with people working in hospitality service (someone from your hotel, barmen). Don't go to small places on small dark streets and you'll have a great time in Riga. It's really a very beautiful town with lots of nice sights, it's fun on weekends and i do think that there are lots of friendly people here.

    Take care of yourself, don't do stupid things, enjoy your time.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hi guys. I'm visiting Riga in a couple of weeks. I'll be going with an open mind. Any advice on money exchange would be helpful. Would it be better to exchange money in the uk or do it in Riga as I've seen the uk rate is 0.8 to the pound which I thought was pretty low.
  • edited 4:45AM
    If you have 0.8 back at home you can change money there. At the moment the rate at the Latvian Central Bank is 0.799. When you are in Riga it's better to change money at the bank because some of the small exchange offices have an awful rate and you will lose lots of money.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I am shocked about comments I red at the beginning - all the other posts - so true! If you go to Riga, Latvia (and, please, don't confuse with Lithuania like German did), go with respect for people, culture and yourself and you will feel safe and will have any problems. Don't drink out your sanity and you won't be riped off or treated badly by police. And most importantly - don't pee on the monuments. Freedom monument is almost holy to the people of Latvia who were deported out of the country, to whom children died on the way to Russia beeing transported without water or food in the cow vagons, to whom their homes, farms and land was taken away and to those who lived here for 50 years opressed and depressed afraid to say a word. And then somebody comes and pees on this symbol of freedom (which it was also during Soviet time and soviets even guarded it so people wouldn't go near, and if you did you could be persecuted). And since we are not much latvians left, almost every Latvian has been affected by the Soviet genocide.
    I feel very safe in Riga and I don't agree that it is not a city for children! I think it is very green and children friendly - I have 2 small children and it's endless things to do here with children. It is just a question of finding the information, but if you want, you can find it, because, people, we live in information century! Most of restaurants have childrens menu and high chairs, as well. I suggest official website:
    One more thing - Latvians don't want to leave their country,culture, relatives and friends - it is a result of financial markets overtaking industries, who could provide people with work places (all over the world) and government failing to withstand EU requirements versus national interests.
    With all the respect,
    native Latvian living in Riga all my life and trying to be creative to be able to live here the rest of my life and beeing in love with my country.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hello everyone,

    I will be brief. I was in Riga for the first time last year and I plan to visit it next month.
    Impressions are excellent and would recommend to all who have not been to visit Riga. Of course, respect the people and customs and a good time is guaranteed.

    nice greetings from beautiful Croatia
  • edited 4:45AM
    Hello so i am a Latvian girl living in UK,of course i cant speak about all latvians and russians but only abt that thing i know abt latvia... Yes i agree the most of the people u meet in Riga partying and drinking will not be the best u can have in ur holidays but there are so many other places etc people what u can see so u will be happy abt that... Even me who lived in ireland/uk for now 8 years going for holidays to my country accidentally saying something in English not getting the best attitude but thats not bcs of people or country u are coming from thats bcs the most of the latvian/russian cant speak english so all they can do is be rude... even me living in uk/ireland (not getting benefits,owning my own bussines and giving job to english people), not getting any respect here from loads of people but thats bcs in every country there are some bad rude unrespectful persons what u cant change... Yes its true that in Latvia u will lose all ur money all i recommend is dont go to clubs and places u dnt know dont party with those women bcs they yes they r only after ur money... Myself i respect every nation every person and nt bcs iam here in england/ireland but bcs i think in some things all people are the same... Its realy hearts that some comments saying all Latvian are so rude so bad not educated or anything else,so i cant TELL YOU PEOPLE U REALLY HAD A VERY BAD HOLIDAYS AND WITH WORST PEOPLE IN LATVIA... Sorry that iam so rude/uneducated now but u dont know all people so dont talk about all Latvian person all the same, because iam latvian and i am proud of that...
    Thanks to the persons who realy enjoy and like Latvia and probably some people as well...
  • edited 4:45AM
    Thank you Shock i couldn't say it better as u did really thank you you know loads about Latvian history and i appreciate that...
  • edited 4:45AM
    While I will always treat all people respectfully regardless of their heritage or the language they speak, I must say I am truly glad to hear about each foreign tourist who gets beaten up or ripped off in a strip club. Nearly all of them are savages and scum and deserve nothing less. Being native Latvian and having lived most of my life in R?ga, I can tell that some of the most atrocious things I've seen here have been done by the typical stag party crowd. That is why the anti-British sentiment exists in R?ga, not because of Latvian people being cold and unfriendly (true, we're not exactly Brazilians, but it's just a question of mentality, I think most of the Latvian people are very decent and nice, once you get them to trust you).

    Having said that, I'd like to add that I've traveled a lot myself and have met some truly wonderful British people. So it's really not about your ethnicity - it's about your manners. Just be respectful and don't be stupid, and you'll be very welcomed here.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I can't understand...
    Last year some guests suffered from corrupted police, local crimes and own stupidity to look for a risky adventures.
    The hosts suffered from the looking for a risky adventures guests.
    What the hell is connected to local Russians for?
  • edited 4:45AM
    I love Riga. Really beautiful place. Jurmala in summer is good also. I used this page when planned my first trip to Riga
  • edited 4:45AM
    I know I live in bad country. But I know, that in other countries is also many bad things.
    I have wonderful experience in other countries, because I visit fiends and saw city as they see it.
    I don't like tourism business, I love to travel by myself.
    Now I'm trying to get answer on question, how I can help tourists, to get the best of my country. One idea I already get from my new friends, which I helped to acquaint with my city, country on this summer.

    If you plan to go to Riga, I can try to help you with some advises at least.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Old Riga is not all of Riga - remember that! There are many hidden, happening areas in the city center but outside of the regular "tourist" areas. They're tucked into side streets or other out of the way places. I write a blog about Riga and am now writing a series the examines Riga street-by-street. One good artistic/bohemian place is Miera iela. Check it out!
  • edited 4:45AM
    "You could get very nice experience and very bad as well,because IT DEPENDS ON ATTITUDE YOU ARE GOING THERE!"

    That's not really true though, is it? I visited Riga a while back and knowing pretty much nothing about the city I arrived without any specific expectations at all (but still in a good mood). The thing that I first noticed was the complete lack of manners of pretty much every local person I came into contact with. Believe me, I always smile and act polite when I go to a store, pub etc. Yet at least half the time the person behind the counter wouldn't even reply, they just gave me a blank stare (if they looked at me at all that is...) as if I was a complete idiot for trying to communicate with them. And when they DID manage to say something it was mostly done in a way which showed that saying hello to a customer is the absolute lowpoint of their day. And I am by no means some drunken british hooligan looking for prostitutes...The city itself didn't really do it for me neither, but mostly it was the general unfriendly atmosphere that got to me. A LOT of latvians seem to find their lives completely miserable. Having just visited Serbia where people also have a good excuse to act depressed (but don't) the contrast was startling. This being said, I did meet nice people too but the rude a-hole/nice guy ratio wasn't very good. Also, the food was in my experience pretty bad overall. Of course it depends on where you eat but the general standard seemed lower than most cities I've been to.

    However I must add that I didn't really feel unsafe at any point even though I did a lot of walking around the city...Riga has a very heave police presence, as well as loads of cameras in the central parts. Some people say that you should watch out for the police as well but I can't vouch for that.
  • edited 4:45AM
    I don`t know - at least we didn`t get in any problems. The only thing - we took a Pub Crawl with a Red Fox Tours (the standard tour like everywhere - 5 pubs, 5 welcome drinks). We heard that there are pubs where you can be double-charged but we didn`t go to them. The guide said that it`s possible to see the Black list on American Embassy`s website. What else...definitely check the Shooting Tour if you`re in Riga! Crazy!!! but we loved it! :)
  • edited 4:45AM
    Let me start with the problem of Latvians or Russians with English. I was born in Riga, but left a while a go, so now when I go there, I am a tourist because i dont speak latvian anymore or barely understand, and prefer to speak English. But because i am clearly not English, whenever i used to go to a bar, i faced the problem with drunk Brittish guys harrasing and openly asking for sex. I was really surpsied what picture they are painting to other people who live there. I myself have lots of English people as friends and i know that they are not like that, but for your dissadvantage, whoever comes to Riga, are morons, im not saying they all are, dont get me wrong, but 95% are there to get cheap drinks and sex. And ok, i wouldnt care if they would at least act normally, but the way they were, starting fights, made people just hate them. Thats the main reason why there is so much negativity around them. In my experience I saw drunken English guys coming and breaking chairs and tables, tripping girls that were with their boyfriend, and its not one time situation that i've faced.
    At the same time I can't defend Latvia, because it actually is fked up country now. Dont meet girls at the bars or clubs, its pretty much the law in most of the countries, they are usually to get moeny, especially they have this Soviet mentality that is old as this world, that poeple from another country and tourists are rich and will pay for you everywhere, which is total bullshit. Being there for a few months in the past I decided that there is nothing else for me. I survived only because I knew few tricks and always kept my wallet with me and purse closed. People couldnt trick me because i could understand pretty much any language they have been speaking. So if you want to got here, I advise you to go with someone wo is from there or meet actualy normal people who still live there. And trust me there are normal people, you just didnt look for them.
  • edited 4:45AM
    Lived in Riga from 2003-2005 and loved it. Not in to clubbing and all that jazz so never really had to worry about the problems associated with that. From my experience Riga was intriguing and totally different from anywhere I had been due to the mixture of Latvian and Russian culture (and their clash). Old Riga is great (again i don't know about the clubs) for walking around and visiting the historical buildings and museums. The central market is also something to see as well as the many churches. The public transportation is great (coming from an American) and would definitely recommend taking a tram ride out to "big Lido" for lunch/dinner or see some of the outter areas like Mezaparks, Imanta, and Jugla to get a feel for daily life in Riga. If you have time you should also head even farther out to places like Jurmala on the cost, or to Salispils to see the concentration camp memorial. Plenty to do for the cultural geek who just picks a street and starts walking. Will be going back late summer/fall 2012 and can't wait.
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