Archive for July, 2015

July 17th, 2015

Riga travelogue

We have a habit of having a few days trip to an European city destination every summer. A couple of years ago we visited Pärnu, Estonia; last year Ljubljana, Slovenia; and this year Riga, Latvia.

We decided to drive to Riga, as it is around 300 kilometers from Tallinn – and it is relatively straightforward to get your car to Tallinn by a ferry. And inexpensive, too.

We left Espoo on Saturday morning and by noon we were in Tallinn. The drive took a bit more longer than anticipated, as there were a lot of roadworks on Latvian side. But we finally got to Riga and found the AirBnB apartment.

Riga was a very nice city. The old town is surprisingly big and in good shape – there is numerous restaurants, cafés, and shops. We spent the first full day in tourist mode, checking various sights, and the next day went in shopping. On third day, we drove to Jurmala – 15 kilometers from Riga – to experience the sandy seashore and the biggest aquapark in the Baltic states. Both were very pleasant experiences.

The last day in Riga was a lazy one. We strolled around the city, visited some shops, spent time in a park and so on.

Riga and Latvia in general were surprisingly inexpensive. I was always thrilled to see how little we spent in a restaurant or coffee shop. I knew that Estonia is quite cheap, but Latvia was still cheaper. If the trend continues, Lithuania must then be almost free… And quality of everything was of high grade, except for the service – that was either direct or downright rude. And I’m used to the bluntness of Estonian service, but Latvia was still on a higher level.

The return trip was easier. We were lucky to get through the roadworks with minimal queueing and arrived in Pärnu for a lunch after three hours of driving. I had spotted Peppermünt restaurant from the top 50 restaurants of Estonia list, and it was excellent. There was a playground next to it, so kids went there to let some steam off before driving the last leg to Tallinn.

The ferry back to Finland was fully packed – as was the ferry to Estonia – and it took ages to get the car in and out. Some havocs broke out now and then in the back seat due to boredom, but finally we were on our way back to home.