Hi beauties! Normally Sunday = your questions answered time but I had no questions this week so I decided to do something different. I decided to talk to you about Riga! We’ve been here for 2 weeks now, had time to have a walk in the Old Center, enjoy this beautiful city. And of course this post will be about shopping and beauty stuff! I decided to separate this post into sub chapters, this way it’ll be much easier for you to search for the info if you need some specifics. And of course, ask me questions if you want to know more!
Flight, transport and hotels
- I’ll start by the flight. Our departure was from London so we had the choice between the 2 companies: AirBaltic and Ryanair. My fiance had some troubles in the past with AirBaltic so we decided to go with Ryanair. For the price we paid it was OK! I mean, you have to think about paying for your luggage in advance, check-in online, if you want to have particular seats you have to pay extra, too, otherwise it’s just “seat wherever you want”. But the flight itself was OK and we got our luggage very quickly at arrival.
- Taxi. Our local friend was there to meet us at the airport, we took the first taxi that was waiting outside the airport. The company was Baltic Taxi – one of the most famous Latvian taxi companies, you can recognize them easily by the green cars. We paid about 12 euros to go to the city center (new center, not the old one).
- Stay. The first 2 days we stayed in a flat. A great choice for those who doesn’t want to spend a lot: we paid 25€ for a room per night. Our friend found this apartment for us, I think he did it at ss.lv, this is kind of Latvian craigslist. In the room we had a bed (of course), bathroom, kitchen, free internet. It was in a renovated house in the calm, new center of Riga. The apartment was situated very well: the old center was 10 minutes of walk from us. If you are interested, I can ask the street name for you.
- Then we stayed one night in a hotel at Elizabetes iela – which was called Elizabete (it’s in the beginning of the street). For 1 night we paid 65€, including breakfast. We liked it a lot: it’s a renovated hotel, free wifi, the room was pretty big (but maybe it’s just an impression we had after not-so-big hotel rooms in London and especially in Hong Kong). I think we were the only guests staying at the hotel and they prepared the breakfast for us exclusively. Wow!
- The first cafe we’ve been to was Lido. My fiance told me so much good stuff about it and I liked it a lot! It’s kind of self-service restaurant like Pret a Manger in London except that there’s more choice and they cook the food in front of you, you can also eat a lot of different hot meals. The cuisine is Latvian and Russian, of course I took borsh when I got there, yum! We spent 12-20€ for 2 persons depending on our appetite.
- Double coffee. I am a Starbucks fan so I got pretty upset when I found out there’s no Starbucks in Riga! Then I’ve read a review on tripadvisor that “Double Coffee is like Starbucks but better”. The food is better there, at least you can get some real food and no sandwiches and salads in plastic. The coffee is good, there are plenty of types of mulled wine, hot chocolate and tea. We spent around 20€ for 2 (food and drinks).
- I’ve been to McDonalds once. It’s not good, like elsewhere, haha! It’s cheaper than in Western Europe and more expensive than in Hong Kong.
- Culinaria, a small cafe with home made food in the beginning of Elizabetes street. The cafe is really very small, it’s more for if you were walking around in the new center and decided to eat something quickly and then continue visiting beautiful Riga. Prices are very reasonable: we spent about 9 euros for 2 and it was good!
- If you’re visiting Riga during times around Christmas I definitely suggest you go take a look at the Christmas market in the old center. It’s so nice! You can buy cookies, biscuits, mulled wine, jewellery (particularly hand crafted, made of amber), shawls and socks made of wool. All hand made of course.
- Food in the supermarkets (Stockmann, Rimi, Maxima). I just had to add it because I was pretty happy when I saw some typically Russian products like pelmeni, sausage, Russian chocolate, cottage cheese, sparkling water Borjomi…
- Laima chocolate. I found it too sweet and from all the kinds that I tried there was something that I didn’t like. But we bought it in Maxima, I will definitely try it also in their official boutique. But that’s me, I love chocolate so I might be critical here!
- What refers to the language…I wasn’t that lucky. In Riga, everyone speaks Latvian of course but almost everyone speak Russian, too (about half of people living in Riga are Russians). It happened during one of our first days: my fiance was explaining something to a woman in English but they didn’t quite understand each other so he asked me to help him and explain something to her in Russian. Which I did but then…she started screaming, yelling at me, calling me the worst names I have ever heard!!! And in the end she started hitting me! I think the woman was mentally ill, really, I was just unlucky to meet a person like this in one of the first days spent here. So as you can guess, it spoiled the impression a bit but now it’s all good! And by the way, everyone speaks English here, not once I have heard ‘sorry, we don’t speak English’! So don’t worry, you will be fine!
- This year Riga is the European Capital of Culture. So there is always something going on! Like last Saturday we went out to take a walk, and there were people on the streets, a fire show and in the evening firework! Oh, I would love to go see ballet, I love it!
- What I like the most about Riga is the fact that it’s a capital, you can find something to do here at all times but at the same time it’s so calm and nice! I loved wandering around in the old center, then go to cafes to warm up! Even during the winter times. Like yesterday it was -13 outside! But that’s not the worst part: the worst part is that the climate is also humid here. So if you decide coming here during the winter times, make sure you take enough warm clothes with you!
- I was a bit disappointed what refers to shopping. I didn’t expect a lot but still. But maybe it’s even better like this, at least I will not have a thousand bags to take back with me! So here are the main shopping malls:
- Stockmann: nothing extraordinary, what I did like was beauty area, there are plenty of different brands.
- Origo: I am not sure I will go there alone, haha! The part that’s close to the railway station, frankly I was a bit afraid being there. The other part of the shopping mall is better but still, I didn’t see anything interesting in there.
- Galerija centrs: I liked the shopping mall itself, it’s beautiful and in the very center of the city! And the shops are pretty good there, too.
- Galleria riga: the newest and and the most luxury shopping mall. I’ve seen particularly a lot of underwear shops.
- What I did like was Drogas. It’s a typical drugstore. They always have many discounts going on and I love discounts! What’s funny is that I’ve seen there some products from English Superdrug and Dutch Kruidvat, I thought it was funny!
- Sephora-like shops: Stockmann, Douglas, Kristiana (the last is at galleria riga).
- Beauty salons. I was looking for some time for a beauty salon and I finally found Top Cosmetics. It’s a beauty salon and a huge shop for professionals, you can find professional skin and hair care products there but also electrics and other stuff needed for a beauty salon. I absolutely loved it! I’ve done a facial there once and it was so good! I am planning to switch over to professional skin care Christina, I already have a skin care plan and everything. But I’ll tell you about this later.
- Also a great website for those who love beauty procedures: e-beauty.lv
There you can find beauty salons, hair dressers, spas, tattoo salons and well everything that you might think of! Might be useful for some of you!