I love traveling. Also I love saving. And if I can travel and save at the same time, well, perfect combo! Whenever I travel there’s always the pressure of being a student and not having lots of money to spare. There have been many times when I couldn’t do something because I didn’t have enough money or I had to decide: either entering in the museum or eating the next day.
Since I have been a couple of times in Riga (Latvia) (one in February 2014 and the other one in November 2014) and by the experience I had trying the different things you find in the city, I think I have come with the ultimate and sort of cheapest way of visiting Latvia’s capital.
*Disclaimer: the prices may vary according to the season and availability of services. If you are traveling from other city that is not Kaunas it might be a bit more expensive or cheaper. Also I’m not getting sponsored by sharing anything of this, it’s just all from my own opinion and belief. The trip I’m presenting here is a weekend trip: leaving Kaunas on Friday and coming back on Sunday, 2 nights and 3 days.
1. Bus from Kaunas to Riga and back: 37.60€
Now, what is very important is to own an ISIC card (it gives you many discounts in many cities in Europe and in some places you can enter for free). If you don’t have this card you’ll have to pay 5€ more on your journey, so you decide! The bus company that I travel with is Ecolines, the buses are quite okay and comfy. The ride is approximately 4 hours and it drops you at Riga’s central bus station.
2. Hostel for a couple of nights: 24€
Now there might be a bit of controversy. The first time I went to Riga I stayed at The Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel. Backpackers + Naughty + Squirrel in the same name of a place? Yes please! Also I was reading lots of reviews about this place, and it appears that it has won for several years prizes such as best hostel in Latvia and top 10 hostels in the world. And just for 12€ the night if you decide to stay in a 8-10 people mixed and shared room.
Also, a big plus of this hostel is that it is located in the centre of the city and just next to it has a Coffee Inn (a quite popular coffee place here in the Baltics).
There might be possibilities such as CouchSurfing, AirBnB, other hostels or even the street. It’s all up to you. I have been twice in that hostel and if I ever have to come back to Riga I will probably stay there again.
3. Breakfast for two days: 6€
As I mentioned before, there’s a nice coffee place where you can get a cookie or cake plus a coffee for about 3€. Here again if you like to eat more or you are a not breakfast person (you know you should eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. Just a simple and friendly advice) the price may vary.
4. Lunch and dinner for two days: 30€
Exactly the same as with the breakfast, it all depends on your budget and on how much you want to eat. I’m 99.8% sure that for 7.5€ you can eat and have dinner almost every day. There are many places to eat in the city and of course there are different prices and qualities of the food. It’s all about the budget you got!
Heather Hall (from Ferreting Out the Fun) has recently moved to Riga and she’s writing tons and tons of information about the city and Latvia. If you are planning to visit Riga her blog is a must!
5. Tour around the city: 0€
The first time I tried a free tour was back in 2013 when visiting Stockholm. I really liked the idea: a local person shows you around and tells you about the history and anecdotes of the city for free. If you liked the tour you are free to offer a tip for the nice work. There are a couple of tours happening daily in Riga, and you can find more information here.
6. St. Peters church: 7€
Now this is not something you need to survive like food or a place to stay. It’s an extra (that’s why if you add this to the total amount it will exceed 100€) but it’s totally recommended to go up there. The prices vary (important, get an ISIC card for discounts) so you can find the exact price on their website.
7. Travel guide for Riga: 0€
So, the final sum would be (of the extremely necessary needs, if you like to buy 25 postcards everywhere you go I’m sorry, I didn’t add it here): Bus from Kaunas to Riga and back: 37.60€ + Hostel for a couple of nights: 24€ + Breakfast for two days: 6€ + Lunch and dinner for two days: 30€ = 97.60€!
Now if you add spare 50€ for emergencies (like tequila shot emergency, postcard emergency, taxi to your new friend’s house emergency or nail polish emergency) you have a fantastic trip for 150€.
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