Riga's charisma shines through from the moment you arrive. Find out what to see, how to get around and where to stay...
Frequent Riga flights have made the city easy to reach and, in recent years, its lively nightlife has also made it a popular destination for hen and stag parties.
Riga is a great place to visit, with more of a big-city feel than its Baltic cousins, Vilnius and Tallinn. The city offers something for everyone, with many historic sites in its old town reflecting its 13th century origins.
As a port in a strategic location, Riga has been an important trade centre since ancient times. As such, it has been subject to many cultural influences, particularly those of Sweden, Germany and Russia. Its historic city centre, east of the Daugava River and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflects its membership of the Medieval Hanseatic League. As the capital of Latvia, it was part of the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1991
Make sure you visit the city's churches, particularly the Dome Cathedral, St Peter's Church and the smaller but equally beautiful St Jacobs Church. Visitors to the city also like to have their photograph taken beside the statue of Riga's patron saint, St Jacob.
Riga is not just about churches, though. Visit the Central Market, the biggest in Europe, and then wander round admiring the art nouveau masterpieces of architect Konstantins Peksens. Before you leave, have a look at the Swedish Gate, along the line of the old city wall, and Liuu Laukums Square.
The National Museum of Art is significant not just for its fine collection but for the historically significant buildings that house it. The city's Ethnographic Open Air Museum is the largest outdoor museum in Europe. Also notable is the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, commemorating the country's occupation by the Nazis and then the Soviets.
Find cheap flights to Riga using TravelSupermarket's price comparison tool.
As the popularity of the former Soviet states has grown since their independence, so have the number of flights to the Latvian capital...
There are flights to Riga (RIX) from airports throughout the UK. Ryanair flies from Manchester, Stansted, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow and the East Midlands. Wizzair flies from London Luton and Doncaster, and Air Baltic departs from Gatwick and Aberdeen. Flights take around two and three-quarter hours from the UK.
You can also reach Riga on connecting flights from around the UK through European hubs. Options include Lufthansa via Frankfurt; Norwegian via Oslo, Stockholm or Copenhagen; KLM via Amsterdam; Finnair through Helsinki, and SAS via Copenhagen. Connecting flights take upwards of four hours.
It's cheap and easy to travel between Riga city centre and the capital's airport...
Bus 22 departs opposite the airport terminal and takes around 30 minutes to reach central Riga. Buses depart every 10-30 minutes. If you buy your ticket at the Riga Tourism booth at the airport , you pay the discounted rate of 0.50 Latvian lats (around 60p) per person.
You'll pay a few pence more if you buy from the driver, or you could purchase a 24-hour bus ticket for unlimited city travel for only 1.90 lats (£2.25).
A minibus service also operates from the airport, costing around 80p per person.
If you are in a group, taxis take 15 minutes to reach central Riga and can be cost effective. Make sure the cab has the tariff posted on the inside of the passenger door. Journeys to central locations should cost no more than 10 lats.
Find out where to find the best hotels for tourists in Riga with our useful guide...
On the eastern bank of the river is Vecriga, Old Riga. This is the historic centre of the city and the place to find a hotel with fast access to the best sights, restaurants and bars. The hotels here cater to any price level; you can find excellent but basic rooms, as well as grand and luxurious hotels.
The glass-fronted buildings of modern Riva are only a skip away and offer reminders that this city - European Capital of Culture in 2014 - is on the up. Here you'll find hotels that time hasn't worn and high levels of comfort and hospitality.
Book your flights to Riga and then stake your place at one of the city's hotels. Search for great rates on Riga hotels with TravelSupermarket.