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Things to know
about Riga

Capital City of Latvia

Visit the historic heart of Latvia. Enjoy the rich architecture, splendid museums, and vibrant atmosphere of this 13th-century city.

Take a leisurely boat tour along the Daugava River, wander through the expansive Vērmanes Garden, and indulge in shopping in the Old Town. Riga is truly a one-of-a-kind city!

Riga stands out as one of Europe’s most charming capitals.

It's a captivating mix of timeless architecture, cultural richness, and dynamic events, appealing widely to visitors.

Its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town is a treasure, best explored by foot to fully appreciate the detailed facades and cobblestone streets of this historic area.

It’s also a great way to orient yourself and decide which districts to delve into next, such as the creative and lively Miera Street or the historic and atmospheric Āgenskalns.

You should also embrace Riga’s inviting side, settling into one of its quaint cafés by the Daugava or exploring the city’s numerous parks, including the biggest, Mežaparks.

Riga’s residents prioritize sustainable transport. While biking is increasingly popular, walking remains a pleasant and efficient way to navigate much of the city centre.

The city boasts an extensive network of cycle routes, often giving priority to cyclists over motor vehicles.

Beyond cycling, Riga is exceptionally pedestrian-friendly and offers top-notch fitness centres and sports communities.

The galleries and museums are major attractions in Riga – cherished by visitors and locals alike.

Riga is a hub of creativity, hosting diverse exhibitions, festivals, and performances nearly every day. Always check the local listings to ensure you’re up to date with the exciting happenings around town.

You never know what you'll find!

Riga is a culinary treasure trove – sample Latvian delights such as fresh-smoked fish, hearty Rye bread, and the sweet, layered treat of Riga Black Balsam with coffee, while at night, the city bursts into life with its array of bars, pubs, live music, and restaurants.


If you’re eager to explore beyond Riga, the sprawling Latvian countryside with its ancient forests, scenic lakes, and historic towns is just a short journey away.

Undoubtedly, this vibrant city captivates at every turn.


Riga's historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is intertwined with atmospheric narrow streets.

You never know what you'll stumble upon: a secluded little park; a boutique filled with clever, Latvian-designed crafts and fashion; a quaint little bar offering local spirits like Black Balsam; a florist’s shop bursting with peonies and lilies; an ancient church hosting an enchanting chamber concert; or a unique dining spot, perhaps specializing in Baltic seafood or reviving classic Latvian recipes.


Around the central district, former industrial sites in emerging areas now teem with creative vigour, housing everything from art studios to microbreweries and innovative tech hubs, as well as some of Europe’s most exciting clubs.


Riga boasts an efficient public transport system that includes buses, trams, and trolleybuses.


The tram network is extensive, spreading from the city centre outwards – it's often the most convenient way to get around.

You’ll likely use a tram to navigate through most of the city. Be sure to get a Riga Card, which offers unlimited public transport.

How does Riga Compare?

Rent will likely be your biggest expense – a common trend worldwide.

However, rent in Riga can take up a significant portion of your income, so effective budgeting is essential. There are several ways to reduce these costs.

Renting a room in a shared apartment is quite popular in the city, especially among young people in the city centre.


It’s also a fantastic way to meet new friends. If you’re keen on staying centrally without paying exorbitant rents, sharing is probably your best option.


Finding an apartment in Riga might require some patience. A considerable portion of housing in the city is municipal, allocated primarily to residents based on various criteria.

Private rentals, meanwhile, make up a smaller fraction of the market. You might need to be patient. City24 is the most commonly used website for apartment listings, widely used by real estate agents.


Room in a flatshare in Riga – €300-500


Private apartment in Riga – €500-900

Luxury apartment in Riga – €900-1500

Securing an apartment can take time. To ease some stress, consider renting a short-term furnished apartment or even an Airbnb in Riga for a few months until you settle in. This approach lets you experience local life without the immediate pressure of a long-term lease. Hostels are also a viable, budget-friendly option.


Riga also levies taxes for both property owners and tenants. You’ll need to pay a property tax that varies depending on the property’s location and size. Utilities are rarely included in the rental price, so it’s wise to check the lease terms carefully before signing.

Cost of Living
in Riga

Let's address the challenges upfront – Riga can be a costly city! While it's not the most expensive place in Latvia, its capital status means living costs are higher than in other parts of the country. Even so, by Western European standards, the cost of living is quite reasonable, and residents enjoy a good quality of life.

The cost of living will vary depending on your lifestyle. Rent is relatively high, but what about dining out? Cooking at home can save a considerable amount of money, yet dining out is an essential part of experiencing local culture. Striking the right balance is key.

Below is a breakdown of some common costs associated with living in Riga, compiled from a variety of user-generated data to provide average expenses.

Rent (Private Room vs Luxury Villa) €300 – €1500

Electricity €50

Water €25

Mobile Phone €15

Gas (litre) €1.50

Internet €20

Eating Out €5 – €50

Groceries €120

Housekeeper (Less than 10 hours) €100

Car or Scooter Rental €200 (Scooter) – €500 (Car)

Gym Membership €30

TOTAL €865+ (More affordable but still needs budgeting!)

Eligibility to Work in Riga

Depending on your nationality, you may require a residence and work permit if you want to live and work in Riga or elsewhere in Latvia.

Living in Riga – residence permits

If you want to live in Riga (or elsewhere in Latvia) you might need a residence permit. This depends on where you are from, how long you want to stay, and several other factors.

A stay of three months or less

If your stay in Latvia is for three months or less, you might need a Schengen visa. This visa grants you the right to stay in Latvia. Learn more about obtaining a Schengen visa for Latvia.

A stay of longer than three months

If you intend to stay in Riga for longer than three months, you must apply for a temporary residence permit.


Work permit

You require a valid work permit to work in Latvia. This permit allows an employer to hire a foreign employee legally. The employer is usually responsible for initiating this process.

Alongside the work permit, an employee also requires a valid residence permit, which is tied to the length of the employment contract and their country of origin. You do not require a work permit if you are coming to the country as a highly-skilled migrant or if you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland.

Highly skilled migrants

Highly skilled migrants coming to Latvia may qualify for a streamlined process. If your employer is recognized under the highly skilled migrant program and you meet the salary criteria, your employer can apply for your residence permit as a highly-skilled migrant.

Partner visa and residence permit

If your spouse or partner is a citizen of Latvia or the EU, you can apply for a residence and work permit with your spouse as a sponsor. In this case, your right to work depends on the rights of your sponsor. The application documents may vary, with proof of relationship being one of the requirements, along with a document specifying your marital status.

Startup visa

Aspiring entrepreneurs may apply for a temporary residence permit for Latvia, known as the ‘startup visa’. This grants the holder one year to start an innovative business, which must meet several criteria and be guided by a Latvia-based experienced mentor (facilitator).

Biometric security for your peace of mind

From 1 January 2012, residence permits must include a readable chip containing a passport photo and two fingerprints. The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Latvia uses biometric data to enhance the security of residence permits.



Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA)
Telephone: +371 67209400 (Monday to Friday, 08:30-16:30)

About the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs:

The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs is a direct administration institution subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and is responsible for implementing policy in citizenship, migration, and asylum in Latvia.

For more information, please visit the official OCMA website.

All information above is provided by

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