Last updated on January 04th, 2023
It’s not one of the most well-known cities in the world but Riga, the capital city of Latvia has plenty to offer everyone who visits. It’s thriving culture and nightclub scene has earned it the moniker of the “Baltic Berlin”, but it’s an excellent location for people of all ages and tastes.
Getting to Riga is easy, and there are many low-cost carrier flights that can get you there on a budget. The low flight prices also means it doubles up as a weekend getaway destination as well as a spot for much longer vacations.
This Baltic city is divided into six neighbourhoods or districts: The Old Town, Agenskalns, Mezaparks, Teika, Central Riga, and Miera Iela. Each district has its own atmosphere, sights to see and places to visit. There are also a wide range of accommodation types, including hotels, hostels, self-catering suites and apartments.
What’s the best area to experience the city for the first time, tourists, what’s the best district for views of Riga Castle and the Old Churches or where to stay on a budget? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Riga Latvia.
Where is the Best Place to Stay in Riga?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): Central Riga / Old Town
First time visitors to the city of Riga, Latvia are better off staying in Central Riga or the Old Town (Centra rajons). Both are perfectly located for exploring the city as well as providing plenty of attractions of their own. From both locations you’ve got good access to train and bus stations, if you want to take a trip to another area of Latvia. The Old Town area is best explored on foot, or why not become an intrepid explorer and make use of the great public transport?
Where to Stay in Riga City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Riga
Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga • Grand Poet by Semarah
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Neiburgs Hotel • Hilton Garden Inn Riga Old Town
- Best Cheap Hotels in Riga
Ibis Riga Centre • Rixwell Hotel Konventa Seta
- Best Apartments for Rent
Riga Lux Apartments – Skolas • Sherlock Art Hotel
- Best Budget Hostels
Green Cat Rooms • Tree House
What is the Best Area in Riga to Stay?
Best places to stay in Riga for romantic trip? Bed and Breakfast or Small Boutique Hotel or Luxury Hotel
There’s a wide selection of accommodation to choose from if romance is on your mind. From secluded guest houses, friendly B&Bs, small boutique hotels and high-class and luxury accommodation options. The Old Town is a good place to start looking for the right accommodation. As part of your stay you’ll be able to enjoy wandering the backstreets and markets, and stroll hand in hand along the banks of the river Daugava.
What’s the best neighbourhood to stay in Riga for views of Riga Castle & old churches? Agenskalns (opposite side of the Daugava river)
If you want to enjoy some great views of Riga Castle while exploring old churches the district of Agenskalns is where you need to head. Located across the River Daugava from the Old Town this district is also well known for the abundance of wooden houses. It’s often referred to as Riga’s Wooden Heart, because so many of the 18th century wooden houses still stand there.
Best area to stay in Riga for Art Nouveau? Art Nouveau or Jugenstil District
For lovers of Art Nouveau, Central Riga is the place to stay. The architecture of the district is dominated by fine examples of Art Nouveau. Albert Street and Elizabeth Street in particular are lined with fascinating examples of this type of architecture. In total, Riga has 800 Art Nouveau buildings, but the highest concentration is in and around Albert Street. (Elisabetes iela, Alberta iela, Strenieku iela and Antonijas iela)
Where to stay in Riga on a budget? Zemgale Suburb, Agenskalns, Vidzeme Suburb
If you’re travelling on a budget there are some great options in Riga. Hostels and B&Bs are the obvious choice, but you have to be prepared for your accommodation to be more on the basic side. There are some good examples in the Old Town, but Zemgale Suburb, Agenskalns, and Vidzeme Suburb also have some fun options.
The 4 Best Neighbourhoods in Central Riga for Tourists
Let’s introduce you to each neighbourhood in turn, before looking at some of the best areas you can stay.
The Old Town is situated at the heart of the city. Many of the typical tourist attractions are close by, and the area is great for exploring, especially in the morning or later in the evening. The Old Town is also a UNESCO World Heritage area, so any history buffs must include it on their itinerary.
Central Riga is another great place to stay if you want to explore the city, but it’s best know for the array of Nouveau architecture that dominates the streets.
Agenskalns is situated across the Daugava River from the Old Town. It’s not quite so popular with tourists, so you can enjoy a much quieter stay in the city. There are several parks, wooden houses, and a Saturday market where you can shop for local produce.
Lovers of nature have to add the Mezaparks district to their list of places to visit. The name itself means “forest park”, which kind of gives the game away. The district is located along the shore of Lake Kisezers, a little north of Riga’s downtown area. There’s plenty to do including beaches, a zoo, nature trails and water sports.
The district of Teika is well known for its Functionalist architecture, and many visitors consider it to be Soviet-looking. The area is quiet and mostly residential, so the choice of hotels is much smaller.
If it’s a different side of city life you want to see, head to Miera Iela. The atmosphere is very Bohemian, with a great hippie vibe. There are plenty of trendy cafes and boutiques as well as street art and galleries.
1. Old Town
The Old Town district, located in the centre of Riga, is a must place to visit, especially for first time tourists to the city. This historic centre has a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its historic value and importance.
As well as experiencing Riga’s rich architectural heritage there are also some delightful narrow streets to wander along. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars serving some of Latvia’s traditional food.
- Best Hotels (Great Value): Dome Hotel • Grand Palace Hotel – The Leading Hotels of the World
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Boutique Hotel KRISTOFS • Hotel Forums
This quaint district is located on the left bank of the Daugava River. It’s quite an old area with rather an abundance of small wooden houses.
Something else that attracts many tourists is the weekly market. And when you want to enjoy some down time away from the bustle of the city there are some relaxing green spaces and parks.
- Best Hotels (Great Value): Park Inn by Radisson Riga Valdemara • Bellevue Park Hotel
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Bridge Hotel • Two Wheels
There are plenty of attractions to keep you entertained in the Latgale Suburb. Riga Central Market is there, together with St Peter’s Church and Riga Cathedral.
- Best Accommodation: Rixwell Gertrude Hotel
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: RIGAAPARTMENT Sonada Hotel • Hanza Hotel
This is the main railway station for the capital city and most forms of public transport stop in the area.
From the Central Station you can take a train to Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania. While you’re waiting for your train there’s a large shopping centre and close by there’s the largest cinema in the city.