Not only is Riga becoming a popular destination for weekend and longer breaks but its airport is also fast becoming a major transport hub for the Baltic region. The airport is situated only about eight kilometres west of the city making most transfers simple and straightforward.
Most visitors to Riga will find it easier by far to jump on the bus service that runs between the airport and the city centre. The number 22 runs every half an hour from the early morning until late at night and costs a mere 0.7 Lats. It runs more frequently during busy periods and the journey takes about half an hour. However, visitors should take note that the bus gets very busy on its way into the city centre as commuters and other locals use the route as well and so it’s often inconvenient for people with large amounts of luggage.
Several large hotels in Riga offer shuttle services to the airport, although they usually levy a charge for this service. The Park Hotel and Raddison SAS, along with several others, offer the service so check when you make a reservation. Although they shouldn’t charge to pick up their paying guests, the rates are often much better than taking a taxi and it certainly takes the stress and worry out of arriving in a foreign city.
Air Baltic also operates a shuttle service to the city centre which runs slightly more frequently than the standard bus service but is also more expensive. At 3 Lats it is hardly extortionate so you can make your choice depending on which is more convenient at the time you want to travel and just how strapped for cash you happen to be.
As with any airport or station, there will be many taxis hovering around the arrival areas waiting to whisk travellers into the whirl of Riga traffic. This will be by far the most expensive option although it will also be the easiest, especially for those with heavy bags. It is usually a good idea to check with the tourist information desk roughly how much your journey should cost as taxi drivers have been known to rip off the unsuspecting. Always make sure you get a receipt with the taxi driver’s number on it and, if you think you have been abused, make a note of the registration plate too.
Air Baltic drums-up quite a lot of business by selling cheap tickets which require an overnight stay in Riga. Many people then assume they need to stay near the airport and subject themselves to airport hotels before their onward flights. But because of the proximity of the airport to the centre of Riga it is quite possible to stay in a much nicer hotel in the city centre and get back out to the airport early in the morning.
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