I would say that my summer trip to Latvia was rather a necessity than a vacation. Nevertheless, I was planning on enjoying my time here, in the country where I have spent my childhood and youth.
There are three ways to get to Riga from Helsinki. You can either travel by car, by plane or by bus. Note: if you chose a bus, you will have to come to Tallinn by ferry first.
Since I don’t have a driving license, I had only two options available. It was cheaper to buy tickets to ferry and bus, but I thought this journey will be too complicated and tiresome. The trip basically takes the whole day; two hours by ferry (Helsinki-Tallinn) and five to six hours by bus (Tallinn-Riga). Plus, I had to take a taxi in order to get to the bus station from the terminal. Just a thought of it all made me feel exhausted.
Traveling by plane on the other hand is much easier and faster. The flight takes only 55-60 minutes. Need I say more?
I checked the prices on momondo.fi, ebookers.fi and official pages of three airways: Norwegian, AirBaltic and Finnair. I found cheapest offers on AirBaltic. The roundtrip cost around 100 euros. Unfortunately, the timing was completely off. The plane was leaving somewhere between 6.00-7.00 in the morning and was coming back to Helsinki very late at night. So, I decided to pay 25 euros extra for the comfort (better schedule) and purchased tickets from Finnair.
Only thing left to do – finding a place to stay. But I quickly realized that my search is turning into a mission impossible. Well, for a budget traveler that is. I was coming to Latvia in the end of July, a high season, which also meant high prices. And it wasn’t even the saddest part of the whole situation. Main problem was that most of the places were sold out long time ago.
I still don’t understand how but I managed to find a reasonable priced room on Airbnb. I paid 148 euros for 4 nights, so 37 euros per night. Not bad. Especially considering the location. It was just next to the shopping mall Galleria Riga and walking distance (15 minutes or so) to the Old Town. What can I say, I got very lucky.
The room itself wasn’t that big but it was clean and cozy. Plus, it had everything I needed: fridge, microwave oven, water kettle and necessary kitchen supplies. There was also complimentary tea and sugar.
My only disappointment was the claustrophobic bathroom. It hardly had enough space for one person. But I guess it’s not a big deal, if you are renting this place alone and if you are staying here only for a couple of days.
The bonus of that apartment for me personally was the inside yard, where I had my breakfasts every morning.
Also keep in mind that if you decide to stay here during weekend, you most likely will be waking up with the church bells early in the morning.
The Airbnb info will be linked in the comment below.
Hope you enjoyed it!