been a while since i posted on here my travelling days have been put on hold due to the harsh reality's of work :-(. my girlfriend and I are planning a short trip away and we quite fancy Riga, Latvia as a change from the usual short trip destinations, but we are both clueless as to the history and details of Riga, is this somewhere safe and friendly to visit? how much should we expect to spend on food ect per day?. we are only planning on staying 4 days.
any advice would be much appreciated.
many thanks and safe travels.
Riga is safe and a reasonably friendly place to visit. Latvians are similair to Finns and nordic people in that they are not as openly friendly on first meeting but once you get to know them they open up more. This may also be due to 50 years of communism where people where constantly being watched so generally they tend to keep their cards close to their chest so to speak. If you are coming to Riga during winter expect cold weather, winters here can be harsh. January can be -20C. But unlike western europe in these temperatures the airport in Riga remains operational
Latvians speak latvian and when they are talking to russians they speak Russian. About half Riga's popn. is ethnic russian. About 28% of Latvia's pop. is Russian, so you will here a lot of russian being spoken in Riga. You can get by on english but its easy to find people that dont speak a word of english. Always ask taxi drivers how much before you get in the taxi, some are good at ripping off tourists. Some taxi companies have their rates displayed on the cab doors. If you google latvia or Riga you can find lots of info about hotels etc what to see. Most important thing is dont get drunk like some british tourists and urinate on the freedom monument in Brivibas St. Latvians find that very insulting. May is the best month to come to Riga weather wise in my opinion.
"Prieka" pronounced preer-ka emphasise the first syllable (that means "Cheers" in latvian)
I went in February a few years back. Is was very, very cold, make sure you take warm clothes if you do it. Riga is an interesting city for a weekend trip - I think 3 nights is probably about right, if that's what you're planning.