Not only is Riga, capital of Latvia on the Baltic Sea, charming to behold, it is also a great party city with a wild nightlife that has earned it a reputation as a perfect weekend break destination for European clubbers and pubbers. There is a serious side to Riga too, which goes beyond its picturesque,more
Riga = racist & rip off - Pauly. Date of travel: Aug 2011
People never smile, they are rood and try to rip you off every chance they get. And if you have a tan then you better not walk around on your own and if you are dark then expect to get in a fight, food spat on and never getting served anywhere!!! Save your money and go to a happier place like a nazi concentration camp!
Riga, Latvia - Jay. Date of travel: Aug 2011
I spent my 21st birthday in Riga in August 2011, there was a group of 13 lads that went and after reading extremely bad reviews about Riga and how dangerous it was scared us! We went with the intention of drinking way too much and celebrating for the whole weekend and we fulfilled these ambitions to the max! If you haven't been before, you do have to keep your wits about you as you do in any big city but it's a lovely city! There are obviously the odd few muppets around that want trouble but the police are very quick to get rid of them. If you just smile and say hello in Latvian or English to the doormen they will be fine but I recommend checking out the US embassy's blacklist of places not to go because there are some really strange looking places! However, if you obtain the mental capacity and judgement of an adult you will see these from a mile away. The only real down point for me was the price of alcohol on a night out because you order drinks in English they charge you way more than locals. In some bars we were being charged 5 lats a beer/ ÔŅĹ7 which is ridiculous but just go out all day to English or Australian bars where they love the English customers and just drink, drink, drink and then the price becomes irrelevant. BEST WEEKEND OF MY LIFE!!
Weekend in Riga (end Nov 2010) - Welsh boy. Date of travel: Nov 2010
Loved it. Lovely city, plenty to do for a weekend. Very cold but bearable if wrapped up. Riga's been done up in recent years so plenty of good bars and places to eat. And plenty to see Ė the central market and the Museum of the Occupation highlights for us. Art nouveau area well worth a wander. Found the people polite and friendly (although reserved Ė they're not Latins after all! Ė very surprised to see rudeness mentioned in some reviews below).

No trouble at all Ė plenty of police around (to protect, and to protect against, the tourists? - didn't see the 4 Brits arrested naked apparently on top of one of the monuments Saturday night!)

Well done Riga! Great town!
Great trip to Riga- Paldies - Steven. Date of travel: Sep 2010
Well, if I'd of read the reviews on various websites pre-trip then I would of been a nervous wreck entering the country. WE HAD A GREAT TIME. Yes, the locals seem unfriendly and some will try to rip you off if you're daft, but you get that almost anywhere on the planet. Don't stumble round the streets p****d out of your head, go in seedy strip clubs but do be streetwise (its a capital city after all) and try to be polite!! they appreciate manners. For stag groups I recommend your first stop should be 'Paddy Whelans'- the staff will happily tell you where to go/avoid. Their advice worked for us. Kiwi bar and Karaoke bar were also top bars!
Riga nothing but trash - jjjj. Date of travel: Aug 2010
Went there with my wife to be (she married me to get her and her son out of the shithole that is latvia). Only people friendly were friends of hers, strong anti-American hate, only went to tourist places. Riga town center refaced in 1996 because of soviet square grey buildings... although the soviet bunkers were a nice addition to the baltic sea landscape ... Cold, plain, and deceptive is this third world country. The people have the same traits ... no morals or conscience, just survival. Very sad, very dangerous.
Truth about Riga - Matt. Date of travel: Aug 2010
I've been going to Riga for the past 5 years, as my wife is from there. People anywhere will try to scam tourists-- so stop acting like one. As far as is being "rough & tumble" -- maybe its just me (from Boston 6'3 200lbs) -- but its going to take quite a crew to knock me over. Fighting is as natural as laughing in Beantown. I've NEVER had a problem in ANY city I've visited in Latvia, and I visit Riga the most. As for problems in Boston -- thats a different story. People get punched for giving a bad look.
I live in Riga - Mike. Date of travel: Jun 2010
Being a Brit, and having lived in Riga for over 6 years I have never had a problem. Of course, there are rip off joints, but a search of guides can let you know where they are, and as with any foreign bar, check the menu BEFORE you order! The police can seem impolite, but that can not only be attributed to the number of British 'Louts' they have had to deal with but also their attitude in general. Needless to say, don't walk around worse for wear, or as an obvious tourist with your camera etc on show, you can get mugged, but this happens in London and other cities as well! Riga is a great place to visit, places out of town are interesting as well, do't get put off with all the hype about violence and muggings, its rare enough not to worry about. Mike
Police - Matthew. Date of travel: Jun 2010
I was pepper sprayed and mugged after leaving a club in central Riga on my own in the early hours of Saturday morning. They didn't beat me up that badly but took everything i had. Still really burns a day later. I understand this happens here and probably shouldn't have been on my own. I was surprised that when I went to the the Police station to report the crime they told me they wouldn't help me because I'm English and then just ignored me. I was scared to make a fuss because I thought it might make things worse. Scumbags.
RIGA RULES !!! - Lee. Date of travel: Jun 2010
Went on my stag do to Riga with 4 other blokes and had what i can only describe as the greatest weekend any of us will ever have !!. Friendly people cheap bear no hassle or trouble and this was the weekend of England's first world cup game. The five of us are planning to go back as soon as we can.
Riga - Rasa. Date of travel: Apr 2010
It's very sad to read these negative reports about Riga. I guess most of the disappointed visitors have wrong expectations when they come: cheap alcohol, cheap love and western culture so that you don't have to adapt. Latvians are not rude - they do not smile just to make you happy, they smile when they feel like smiling. It is genuine attitude don't you think? Rip-offs are bad - I totally agree. This should be solved by the city, but nothing is being done unfortunately. Nevertheless, you can always choose a decent place, ask the prices before you order anything, and do go and see some culture, there are plenty of museums and beautiful architecture to see. At the end of the day, go outside Riga, because it's just another capital. If you want to see real Latvia - go to the countryside, see how different people are there. One gets what one is looking for. Intelligent people have intelligent experiences. Sex adventure seekers get huge bills and bitter taste in their mouth. ;) Enjoy Latvia!!!
Riga is Beautiful - P Shelley. Date of travel: Mar 2010
Though Riga is European and sort of Western, many people forget it's Baltic with severe Soviet influence. I found Riga really a cocktail of most things that are written in the reviews below. Also I found a sad combination of the lack of awareness about Latvian culture and heightened expectations of tourists. I was there just a month ago, I found nice people, nice places, nice tourists and of course a few thugs here and there. All in all a place worth visiting at least once. I will go there again because I saw nice frozen beaches in Jurmula (not sure of spelling) about 40kms from Riga, that seem so amazing... And I liked the people of Latvia. I wish to say a word or 2 about the observations that British and Latvians have exchanged on this site. Please do not judge nationalities based on behaviour of a particular sect of a people from one country. I love England, and it hurts me to see what Latvians say about them in Riga. And when British complain about Latvian culture or so, I think to myself, how unfair that is!!!!!
Riga destroyed by English scum - Philip. Date of travel: Feb 2010
Before Latvia joined the EU in 2004, I had visited Riga 5 times. Each visit was a joy. I hardly met another English person and twice I stayed for over a month. The people were like other east Europeans, but the ones I got to know, mainly of Russian origin, were good company. I had some crazy days and nights with Russian girls and wandered around the old town at all times of the night with no problem. It seems to me that the idiot scum from England who go on stags have ruined the place for people like me and the locals. I hope they shoot the scum and keep them in a Latvian prison to rot if not. I am returning to Latvia in February 2010 and will see what the old town is like out of the high tourist season. To my old friends in Latvia, thank you for the great fun, the beautiful girls and the Russian people.
Dining in Rozengrals Riga - Tomas & Ali . Date of travel: Jan 2010
Riga is a nice city overall, it was cold and windy, most of the time we spent indoors- clubs, museums, restaurants and cafes.
Latvia is not so bad... - Blaq. Date of travel: Nov 2009
I live in Latvia all my life and it's not so bad. This is really funny to read all these comments. In every place there is good people and rude ones. You think your country is perfect? All the people are nice and there are no robbers? And yeah, our police really sucks. That's true! I hate them too. We have many Russians here who rob all the time and swear in every place. But not all Russians are bad. P.S. I'm a real Latvian.
Northern Capital - Riga - George & Tesa . Date of travel: Nov 2009
Riga is a great place to live, study and do business. I love the city, there are plenty of parks all of them nice and clean, the old town is so charming. You can find so many things to keep yourself busy in mornings, daytime as well as night.
Riga was cool..... - Michael. Date of travel: Oct 2009
Before I went to Riga I read the reviews on this site, and I got to be honest, I was absolutely dreading going there.... However my fears were unfounded!! I had a wonderful time, the city is very nice with a great history, albeit quite sad - Latvia has been invaded and colonised for centuries, no wonder they trust no one. The people were very kind and helpful so to those of you who say they only came across thieves and rude people, I must say your pretty unlucky!!! Of course I avoided the Old Town at night, because rip off bars do exist, and I cannot be asked to walk around with a list, checking if bar A or B is ok. Anyhow, I still went out and enjoyed myself and managed some sightseeing during the day. P.S. Riga is not cheap, so don't expect too many bargains! My advice to anyone who wants to go there is go for it, I had a great time!!
Riga - Johnny. Date of travel: Oct 2009
Hi! Will start with saying I'm from Brussels and me and my friends went to Riga. It was fantastic. I can't get it why people say they are rude - have you visited Brussels???? I had more fun in Riga then in London. London was more dirty and yes - more racist then anything I know. You English just think about yourself, how cool you are, but hey - London is one dirty place where you just hate each other, rape each other and yes - kill each other. I you don't like what you see, go to Spain - it's what you do best. You just take over everything - English pubs, English food - you don't care about other cultures so what you expect - fish and chips and everybody speaking English??????? I watch BBC news,and I can see what's going on in your country - how much hate is there - you know, London is dead, london lost its spark... You always say how open minded you are but in same time you are homophobic, racist and BNP party lovers...
Riga warnings - Andy Bam. Date of travel: Oct 2009
I am surprised trippers are still coming. Pressure from foreign governments has supposedly led to a cleansing of businesses in old town, but toning down the hosing of tourists is from a rampantly high level. If you are reading this column in planning a trip then well done. Unfortunately cheap weekend flights led to a mass increase in unprepared victims. I have travelled to over a hundred countries, some hostile environments, been pick-pocketed, suffered thefts, lost documents, a whole gamut of situations I was inconvenienced by and recovered from. RIGA was the first time in my life I genuinely expected to be found dead in the river. I got out with 'some' Police help battered, bruised, broken ribs, torn coat and trousers, emptied wallet and possessions. WHY? put yourself in that position. Baltic history is interesting, Tallin had drawn attention winning Eurovision, cheap flights and hotels had enabled a weekend break. Seemed like an easy option to just take a relaxing short visit. I had not been to any of them and in the end the Riga flights were just more convnenient than Tallin. This is the point where it goes wrong. Because it is in the EU, close to home, cheap and a short break visitors set out unprepared. I had done almost no research - it was just 3 days in a medeavel European town centre what could go wrong! PLEASE treat your Riga w/e trip planning like a 2 month hike through Thailand, you will be just as isolated. To the partners, expats, and hosts - do not be offended. Riga old town reflects badly on Latvia but my comments are only on weekends in the centre. If travelling independently it's where you end up with cheap flights and hotels on a budget short visit. Your guests are not seeking out the dark side and the boistrous behaviour is not insulting or any different to a Saturday night in any English town. It matters not whether the criminals controlling the old town are Latvian / Russian / resident, their presence is purely to fleece tourists. I have witnessed crime and mafia in other parts of the world usually on the periphery - payola, smuggling, drugs. Never before has it been so concentrated and focused on one target group. In old town the daily bakers, cakes, retail is the peripheral economy to crime. The 'security' are privately employed thugs contracted to the criminals. My relief when they arrived in uniform turned to abject fear when their 'job' turned out to be to hold my arms while the criminals beat me and emptied my pockets. They tried the ATM scam on me where I tried to get the card withheld. As they dragged me off the lit main street to whatever fate awaited I spotted a 24hr kiosk lady and called out for Police, fortunately they arrived in 15 minutes and extracted me. The barely basic English speaking Tourist police 'knew' the criminals in whatever paid arrangement they make. The Police offered to take me to the Hospital or drop me near my hotel. Adrenalin had covered the feeling of bruising and broken ribs, so I spent my last day recovering. I hope other Baltic towns are better than Riga. I have not bothered to discover, maybe someday with plenty of research and caution. If you still go to Riga use a hotel out of the centre and 'do' old town as an afternoon stroll. It's small and like any other Germanic old town. See the 'Museum' - it's a graphic history exhibit. On the other side of the river are the old Zeppelin hangars used as market halls since WW2. There are many better places for a weekend and if you visit Latvia go elsewhere in the country with guidance.
Fools beware - Billy. Date of travel: Sep 2009
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.
Latvians are colder then their weather. - Stephen smith. Date of travel: Sep 2009
When i was in Riga few years ago, I found that the people never smile and I found them to be rude and very cold towards outsiders. I wouldn't waste my money going there if I was you. It's freezing and the people are worse. It's like the entire country is depressed. So save your money and go to a hotter country with friendlier people. The only good thing that came from my trip to Riga was that I appreciate a smile now so much more then I used to. :-)
Nice! - Peter. Date of travel: May 2009
Riga is a very nice place, If you are nice to them they are much nicer to you! I read some commentary before, it's not like they wrote at all...If you go to bad bar, they will service you badly! If you go to bad girls, who are everywhere, they will treat you badly! For nightlife you should go to Opiums, Scandal there are very good barmen and they will never make you pay more than you offer!
Riga, get out of the Old Town - James . Date of travel: May 2009
In the Old town I hear all kind of horror stories from visitors. However if you actually visit the city itself, the central district or the quiet centre you will find nice places to visit, eat and drink away from an area that is dedicated to getting people drunk. It is a shame that there are a lot of businesses that rip off tourists, this is happening everywhere I go in the world. The problem with Riga is that it is very condensed into one area. The Old town, no matter what people say after 10pm becomes a red light district. Don't stay there! There are so many places in this city to visit. Just because Ryanair gives you a cheap flight does not mean the country at the other end will be perfect for you! Riga, my home. I love it and in some ways I'm glad all the tourists get stuck in the Old Town... at least my district remains peaceful.
Wish I had read this blog before going to Riga... - James. Date of travel: May 2009
Well, I'm not British, nor was I on a stag weekend... but I still managed to get ripped off to the tune of £650 (it would have been over £2,000 if my credit card allowed it!). To be honest, I wasn't even aware Riga was a popular stag destination! After running a marathon during the day, my friends and I felt like we deserved a one or two drinks to celebrate. At a reputable bar we met two local girls who wanted to play pool. After a few games they suggested we go to a more lively bar called 'Puzzle'... BAD MOVE! This is where things went sour. We would have bought maybe 10 drinks at this bar... only to find out that the bill for these drinks came to over £2,000.00! When I challenged the price I was pretty much told to pay up or else. The limit on my credit card didn't allow the transaction, however, they managed to get over £600.00 from the card. They then took me outside and piled me in to a car and drove me to the nearest ATM machine. They stood over me and told me to withdraw the rest of the money from my account. By this stage the bank had recognised that there were irregular transactions on my card so there were blocks on my account. After many threats they eventually believed me that my cards were not going to work and I was allowed to go home.... this was quite an ordeal! Anyway, it is such a shame that this happened on my last night in Riga. Up until this point I had not experienced any of the negative aspects mentioned in this blog. But, unfortunately, the lingering memory I will always have of Riga were these few corrupt characters ruining what was on all other accounts a good holiday... I won't be going back that's for sure.
I am LATVIAN and Riga is nice historical place - Anita. Date of travel: May 2009
I am Latvian female living in UK and working in Gatwick Airport. Actually it does hurt my feelings when people say awful comments and lies about Latvians and Riga. In work all my colleges are Brits and none of them can say negative about me - as a Latvian. The thing is young males can`t expect come to Riga to get DRUNK - cheap and running around in central RIGA half naked. I have seen that myself. You can`t act like that in LONDON, PARIS or N.Y. - you`ll be arrested. But in Riga you seem to don`t care... And those who come to Riga to enjoy stag party - please don`t come. Riga is historical place and not stag party place. It`s not the best night out in club when several drunk people try to hook up with me...I haven`t come to club because of you, I want to enjoy night with my friends. ...And about girls - yes - we are pretty and in amazing good shape and those girls who use tourist for money - well I can`t blame because if you want to be treated with respect, then treat Riga and Latvians with respect. Latvians are nice people, we have too many Russian people who can`t speak Latvian - but obviously not everybody can learn second language. Tourists can`t tell who is Latvian and who is Russian. I know about these "Latvians" in Ireland or U.K. named by Sergej, Vladimir, Valodja, Andruha - they are Russians with Latvian passports. In Riga there are lots of historical places, old building and beautiful nature outside Riga and nice beach side. Best time to visit Riga in June when Latvians celebrate Ligas & John`s day, best place to celebrate is outside Riga - Sigulda, Cesis, Valmiera. July we have Baltic Beach party in Liepaja - For beauty we have very affordable SPA places in Jurmala. Hire boats and go down in Gauja and be amazed by nature. So, do come to see Riga and explore Latvia as a country and don't if you want to get drunk!
Riga - Loved the city, hated Latvians - Travis. Date of travel: May 2009
Riga was great. Beautiful, small, almost clean. But the people were horrible, especially Latvian-speaking people. Before my trip I read that people speak good English in Riga, which is so far from the truth. The service is horrible, and again Russians are much nicer and much more polite than Latvians are, and definitely speak better English (and even German).
Never go to Riga! It does not deserve your custom! - Ignatiuous Horch. Date of travel: Feb 2009
Riga is full of horrible people who are just after your wallet. They are not honest people and they steel from you, and have no respect. I saw a woman getting beaten up in a nightclub for absolutely nothing and they stole my card details and took £850 from my account. DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE THEY HAVE NO RESPECT AND DO NOT GO THERE. Go to another country. Latvia is full of thieves and whores!!!!! This place is a complete joke and avoid the Zig Zag bar as they try and make you pay with violence and intimidation.
Riga ... Dont Make me laugh.. Shambles - Ignatious Horch . Date of travel: Feb 2009
Latvia is not a civilised country... it is still 300 years behind as the people there do not understand how to respect!! Girls... yes they're pretty but a pretty girl can get you badly hurt.. go to Poland or Czech as they are much nicer people with a civilised manner... Riga is an ugly city full of theives and racist wh**es who just try and rob you.. the sooner people stop going there the better and then those animals will realise making money is not about ripping people off or stealing...
Riga - The Wild West - Paul Smith. Date of travel: Feb 2009
Riga Frontier Town..... I have been going to Riga for over 4 years. I go because my girlfriend comes from the City, I met her in my home City in the UK where she works, we visit her family in Riga and stay for a few days at a time because the flat is so small, I stay in a hotel in the City. Iíve seen all the tourist scams over the years and never fell for one! I think of myself as above all this and they wonít get me. As I never go in to a Bar when I canít see through the windows or when a stranger asks me to come with them and I never walk down badly light road / streets. The scam they use most is a young girl or boy who will chat to you for a time, then they will try and take you to a bar where they over charge you as much as $100.00 to $200.00 for one drink. If you donít pay you get a beating until you do! All western counties ensure the safety of their visitors but not in Latvia! In Riga the police are no help at all! Even though I know what they're all about, I was shocked at how predatory the scamming has become. All I can say if you are thinking of going to Latvia Riga Donít! If you are, take care!!.....Donít forget your Six Shooter for the most lawless town in Europe!!!
Riga is nice weekend getaway - Henrih . Date of travel: Jan 2009
Riga is nice weekend getaway, as the city is small itself, but there are plenty to enjoy. I found good options for hotels online www.bestriga.com, possible to save up to 50 %.
Latvians living in Dublin - Dave. Date of travel: Dec 2008
I have 2 Latvian families living beside me in Dublin and I have never come across more ruder people in my life. They have no respect for the people around them and shout and party all night long. There are about 10 people living in each house and are rude to everyone in the estate. I HATE LATVIANS and if I had my way I would wipe them off the face of the earth.
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