Riga is situated in the North of Europe on the shores of the Baltic Sea and has a population of 700,000 inhabitants with a further 2 million visiting each year. Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Baltic States’, Riga’s historical city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is made up of winding, cobbled lanes and the largest showing of art-nouveau architecture in Europe. Its artistic qualities sees comparisons to Paris drawn, however thankfully similarities cannot be made regarding their prices. A trip to the Latvian capital must be considered a steal with pints of beer starting from as low as £2. Not only is it beautiful and cheap but it is also compact and easy to get around, making it the perfect destination for a stag do or weekend away with the lads.
Whilst you are out exploring the impressive city centre, look out for the following sights. For a unique Riga experience head to the Central Market, where you can haggle over the cost of produce for your lunch! The largest place of worship in the Baltics is Riga Cathedral which was built over 800 years ago. Another of the city’s famous landmarks is St Peter’s Church, which has been re-built several times since it was first established in 1209. Its viewing platform and the top of its tower offers some great panoramic views of Riga.
Riga also boasts some impressive parks and gardens in which you can soak up the sun, sip on a few cold beers and check out the local eye candy. Pilsētas Kanāls (city canal) is Riga’s old moat which used protect it from invaders. Today, locals and tourists flock there to relax or catch a boat tour, a great way to see the city. Vērmane Garden Park is one of the city’s oldest and most popular parks where you can indulge in some people watching.
The cost of getting to the Latvian capital is also very friendly to the bank balance. Flight time is 2 hours 30 minutes from London Stansted and direct flights start from as little as £66 return with Ryanair. Other airlines such as Wizz Air and Air Baltic also offer budget prices, flying from Luton and Gatwick respectively.
The seasons in Riga are full of contrast. Whilst the heat can rise to 30°C in the Summer, the Latvian winter can see temperatures as low as -25°C. Similarly to its contrasting seasons, Riga’s local beer selection is also varied and no two brands taste the same. With prices starting from as low as £2 a pint, there really is no reason for you not to sample them all! Local favourites include Lāčplēsis and Bauskas tumšais. Riga was named the 2014 European capital of culture and one of Latvia’s best cultural events is its beer festival, held at the end of May. Here you can choose from over 165 different types of beers and sample the local cuisine such as sweet-and-sour bread or caraway and herring with cottage cheese. .
The architecture in Riga is amazing and the city possesses more than 750 buildings that are graced by features such as praying goddesses and terrifying gargoyles. Thankfully the local women resemble more of the former than the later! Here at Pissup we offer a range of strip packages that enable you to get up and personal with the local fillies. If you want to incorporate a bit of fun then our Stag Kidnap package combines a staged abduction of the stag along with a striptease.
If you prefer handguns to hijackings, then we will take you to the local shooting range where you can fire shots from revolvers, pistols and shotguns! Alternatively we will take you to the local go-karting track where you can put the pedal to the metal in a battle to be your group’s leading speed demon.
If you are a speed junkie and want to take your dosage to the next level then Riga is the destination for you and Pissup can help to facilitate your fix! If your stag break takes place in Winter, then you must not miss out on the opportunity to experience the thrills of the longest bobsleigh track in Europe. Exclusive to Riga, this is very much the real thing, no imitation. Each person gets two rides and all equipment is provided in addition to a safety briefing. Hold on tight because this could be one bumpy ride! This really is NOT to be missed….‘nuff people say they know they can’t believe, Pissup we have a bobsled team.’
If Olympic style bobsleighing still isn’t enough for you adrenalin junkies then we have one last offer for you. We’ll take you to the first vertical wind tunnel in Eastern Europe. On this free fall simulator you will experience 2 minutes of free fall time, the equivalent of jumping out of a plane from 7km (23,000 ft in imperial measurements). You will reach speeds of up to 200km/h! If that still isn’t enough – then well….we think you need to see a doctor!
Riga is a great place in which to party and the best way to see its hottest hangouts is on a bar crawl with our local English speaking guides. Don’t waste time researching where to go, our local intelligence ensures that you get to avoid tourist traps and experience the best bars, pubs and clubs that the Riga nightlife has to offer. If you do make the mistake of not hiring our local expertise, then look out for the following venues.
The Old Town houses several lively areas such as Livu Square which is lined with al fresco bars in the Summer. If you want to admire the city from a bird’s eye view then the Skyline Bar on the 28th floor of the Radisson Blu hotel enables you to fully appreciate the city’s impressive architecture. PinUp Bar located on the picturesque Pils Square offers some deliciously strong cocktails as does The Left Door Bar located near to Kronvalda Parks.
Studio 69 is a chic nightclub that has three floors and is located in the city centre. Alternatively, if you are after something a bit larger, then La Rocca Revolution is Latvia’s largest nightclub and hosts a younger crowd. Kaļķu Vārti is also popular with the locals and its impressive sound system and lighting has won it notoriety within the Latvian capital.