Fly To Riga, Latvia
Riga, the capital of Latvia, lies on the Baltic Sea, and is an important seaport and industrial, commercial and cultural centre in the Baltic region. Large-scale restoration projects on old buildings have made Riga one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and because of this, as well as its impressive Art Nouveau architecture, large parks and vibrant atmosphere it has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
The Old Town Quarter of Riga is a World Heritage Site and the city has been named the European Capital of Culture for 2014, which will coincide with Riga hosting the biannual World Choir Games in July 2014.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African passport holders travelling to Riga do require a Visa to enter Latvia.
- The closest South African Embassy to Latvia is in Stockholm, Sweden. 4th Floor, Fleminggaten 20, SE-112 26, Stockholm. Phone: + 46 8 24 39 50. Website: southafrica.se.
See and do
The Central Market in Riga dates to at least 1330, although it has shifted location a number of times over the centuries. Since 1930 it has occupied its present location in five huge hangars near the bus and train stations, where there is space for up to 1250 traders. It is one of the largest markets in Europe, and produce is sold here at very reasonable prices.
Riga’s Old Town, built between 1860 and 1914, is best explored on foot, since cars are not allowed on the cobblestone streets – because the cobblestones are round rather than flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. A tourist office is situated in the House of Blackheads, from where you can join a guided tour or get a free pamphlet with descriptions for an independent walkabout. The Old Town area is relatively small, so the walk can be completed within an hour.
St Peter’s Church, Riga’s oldest church, dates to 1209, and if you take the elevator to the top of its tower, you can view all of Riga.
The Wagner Concert Hall, where Wagner performed during the time when he lived in Riga, occasionally holds concerts.
The Lido Entertainment Centre, a huge collection of eateries and other entertainment, features three floors of restaurants, a wooden windmill, an ice-skating rink and a small amusement park. It is hugely popular with Riga families, and the best place to go if you want to sample Latvian cuisine.
Riga International Airport – RIX
Riga Airport was built in 1973 and is the largest airport in the Baltic States, handling more than 4 million passengers in 2012. A bus service runs between the airport and the city centre, at peak-hour times as frequently as every 10 minutes. In addition there are mini-buses, taxis and airport transfers between the airport and Riga, as well as airport transfers between the airport and other cities in Latvia.
Food and beverage: Coffee Nation, BUFFET, Pizza Bar, Laima, Pascucci, Costa Coffee.
Currency Exchange: Swedbank, ice Currency Exchange, Eurex Capital and DNB.
Lost Luggage: Contact Riga Airport luggage services on (+371) 67 207 236.
Car Hire: Auto5, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt.
Airport Hub: Riga Airport (code RIX) is a hub for airBaltic and SmartLynx Airlines.