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Riga, Latvia


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Riga, the capital of Latvia, is a vibrant city renowned for its rich cultural history and architectural splendor, particularly its Art Nouveau buildings and medieval Old Town.

There’s one main airport in Riga – Riga International Airport (RIX). RIX offers a host of flights to destinations across the globe. It is a hub for airBaltic, which operates flights to more than 70 destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

In this guide, we share vital information that you need to know when planning for a connecting flight at Riga International Airport.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Table of Contents

Airbaltic transfer - Riga connecting flight
AirBaltic transfer center in Riga – Connecting flights in Riga, Latvia

1. Airports in Riga, Latvia

There is one airport in Riga.

1.1 Riga International Airport (RIX)

This is the main airport in Riga.

Riga International Airport (RIX) is the only significant airport in Latvia, serving over 7 million passengers a year. It acts as the primary hub for the Baltic region with over 20 airlines operating from there, offering flights to over 100 destinations worldwide.

The airport is a hub for airBaltic.

Official website:

2. Getting from Riga Airport to City Center (RIX to City Center)

The journey from the airport to the city of Riga may take up to 30 minutes.

This duration is just an estimate of the travel time. Incorporate the time you need for immigration, baggage collection, waiting for the bus if you’re planning to take a bus, and other minor factors, and you will likely need around 1-1.5 hours.

There are several transportation options available:

  1. Taxi: the quickest and most straightforward option for travel between the airport and central Riga. Taxis are abundantly available at RIX, and the journey to the city takes around 15-30 minutes, depending on traffic. The fare varies based on the time of day and the type of taxi you opt for. To get the best price, use Bolt app.
  2. Public bus: the cheapest way to travel from the airport to the city. Public buses operate between RIX and Riga city. Bus 22 operates from RIX to Riga city center. The journey takes around 30 minutes, and the fare is EUR 1.50 per person. As of 2023, it’s a 90-minute ticket (before, to change buses, or to get on a tram for a few stops, you had to buy a new ticket for every ride).
  3. Private shuttle / airport transfer: the most convenient transportation mode in Riga. Private shuttle services are available offering door-to-door transfers between RIX and your destination in Riga, with potential stops en route. The cost can differ based on the service provider and the type of vehicle chosen.

The journey from the airport to the city of Riga may take up to 30 minutes.

2.1 How to Get from Riga City Center to Riga Airport?

You can use a bus, taxi or travel with a private transfer, to get from the city center to Riga airport. Public bus at 1.5 EUR is the cheapest option, while Grab taxi is the best value for money.

Your options are the same like when traveling from the airport to the city center:

  1. Taxi: the quickest option. To get the best price, use Bolt app. Alternatively, ask at your hotel reception to help you with that. The journey from the city to the airport takes around 15-30 minutes, depending on traffic.
  2. Public bus: the cheapest option. Bus 22, operated by Rīgas Satiksme, runs from the city center to the airport. The journey typically takes around 30 minutes, and tickets can be purchased on the bus or at various sales points in the city. It’s a regular bus, not an airport shuttle, so it can get packed at certain hours of the day.
  3. Private shuttle / airport transfer: the most convenient option. Private shuttle services are available offering door-to-door transfers.

Riga is not huge, and traffic jams mostly aren’t as bad as in some other capitals. As a result, in most cases, you should be able to make it from the Riga Old Town to the airport in around 30 minutes.

2.2 How to Get From Riga Bus Station to Riga Airport?

The cheapest option to get from Riga bus station to Riga airport is by bus 22. There’s a bus stop within a 5-minute walk from the bus station. Alternatively, you can take a taxi. Use Bolt taxi app to get the best price.

Riga bus station is in the city center, right next to the old town of Riga. There is only one bus station in Riga.

Hotel room with bed and pillows and art

3. Where to Stay at Riga Airport? Hotel? Lounge?

Riga International Airport (RIX) located a short taxi ride away from the city center offers a few options for passengers wanting to rest during a layover or have an overnight stay, either inside the airport or close to it.

However, there are no hotels in Riga airport.

3.1 Inside the Airport

For those wanting to stay within the airport premises, the airport offers only one option, a business lounge – The Primeclass Business Lounge.

It’s located on the 3rd floor of the terminal and offers relaxation areas, shower facilities, and refreshments.

The lounge is open from 5:00 until 23:00.

There are no 24-hour lounges at Riga airport.

3.2 Hotels Near Riga Airport

There are several hotels near Riga International Airport.

  • Sky-High Hotel. The closest hotel to Riga airport. Just a 10-minute walk from the terminal building and easy to get to. The hotel boasts comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a free gym.
  • Hampton by Hilton Riga Airport. Another notable option – a 3-star hotel just 2 km away from the airport.
  • Airport Hotel Mara. A budget friendly option located 2.3 km away from the Riga International Airport.

Each of these hotels offers different amenities, so it’s recommended to review each option and choose according to your needs and budget.

4. Airport Lounges in Riga

There is one airport lounge at Riga International Airport (RIX).

4.1 Primeclass Business Lounge

As mentioned earlier, the Primeclass Business Lounge is situated on the 3rd floor of the terminal building. It is open to all passengers for a fee, regardless of their airline or class of service. Amenities include comfortable seating, shower facilities, a selection of food and beverages, Wi-Fi.

There is also a special children’s room at the Primeclass lounge in Riga.

Man on a flight

5. Connecting Flights in Riga

Navigating a connecting flight (not self transfer) in Riga is straightforward.

Your only task is to identify the gate for your subsequent flight. For instance, if your itinerary is from Paris to Vilnius, with a layover in Riga, you need to find information about your Riga to Vilnius flight upon arrival in Riga. Flight information screens or airport personnel can guide you.

  • Do connecting flights always depart from the same terminal? In other, bigger airports, not necessarily, and you may need to switch terminals. But not in Riga. In Riga, there is only one terminal. All flights depart from the same one terminal in Riga airport.
  • Do you have to go through security on connecting flights? You may have to do that. The requirement varies based on the departure location of your connecting flight.
  • Do you have to go through immigration on connecting flights? There are several possibilities. No, if it’s a flight within the Schengen zone. Yes, if it’s a flight from outside the Schengen zone and you are going to a a country within the Schengen zone. No, if it’s a flight from outside the Schengen zone and you are going to somewhere outside the Schengen zone.
  • Is a 45-minute layover in Riga too short? If your connecting flights are protected by the airline, it’s gonna be okay. You may however miss a flight. More information can be found here.

6. Self-Transfer Flight in Riga

Self-transfer flights are considered as separate flights.

For self-transfers in Riga, consider the following points:

  • Riga has only one main international airport.
  • You are entering the Schengen zone. If you are traveling from outside the Schengen zone, and if you need a visa for the Schengen zone, you will have to go through passport control. It make take 1-2 hours.
  • A visa may be required for Riga. If you are entering Latvia and require a visa for your trip, you’ll need a visa for this transit. Always verify the entry requirements for Latvia before booking your flight.

Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.

Colorful suitcases at the airport

7. Best Things to Do During a Layover in Riga

7.1 Explore Riga Old Town

The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with stunning architecture, historic churches, and charming cobblestone streets. It’s a walkable area packed with cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Despite its name, it is anything but old-fashioned. The cobblestone lanes are lined with an eclectic mix of architectural styles, from medieval churches to art nouveau wonders. You can climb the 72-meter-high tower of St. Peter’s Church for a panoramic view of the city, or delve into the past at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. Make sure to stop by Riga’s oldest public garden, Vērmanes Garden, for a tranquil escape amidst the city bustle.

Don’t forget to sample local Latvian delicacies at one of the many charming restaurants or cafés scattered throughout the Old Town.

7.2 Visit Riga Central Market

Riga Central Market is one of Europe’s largest markets, offering an authentic and vibrant atmosphere that should not be missed during your layover.

Located in five former German Zeppelin hangars, the market boasts a vast selection of fresh produce, meats, fish, spices, and local delicacies. You can discover and sample traditional Latvian foods such as rye bread, smoked fish, and cheese. The market is also home to many stalls selling clothes, accessories and other merchandise, making it a shopper’s paradise (somewhat rough paradise, though).

With its bustling ambiance and diversity of offerings, Riga Central Market offers you a unique insight into Latvian daily life. Remember to carry cash as not all vendors accept credit cards.

7.3 Stroll Around Alberta Iela (Alberta Street)

A leisurely stroll around Alberta Iela, known for its stunning art nouveau architecture, is a must for any visitor during a layover in Riga.

This street is a living gallery, boasting beautifully ornate buildings designed by the famous Latvian architect, Mikhail Eisenstein. Each structure stands as a testament to the art nouveau style, with intricate facades featuring mythical creatures, floral designs, and grand human figures.

Don’t forget to visit the Art Nouveau Museum located at Alberta Iela 12, a building where you can step back in time and experience the lavish interiors characteristic of this artistic period. Whether you’re an architecture aficionado or simply a curious explorer looking for nice insta-worthy spots in Riga, Alberta Iela promises a visual treat that is sure to captivate your imagination.

7.4 Visit the Latvian National Museum of Art

If you have spare time during your layover, and you love art, the Latvian National Museum of Art is a must-visit.

This completely renovated museum houses the largest collection of professional Latvian art, showcasing works from the mid-18th century up to the present day. As you wander through the exquisitely restored building, you’ll see masterpieces from prominent Latvian artists, offering a fascinating insight into the country’s cultural and historical journey.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of international art, providing a broader perspective on the global art scene. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the museum’s top floor for a stunning panoramic view of Riga. Remember to check ahead for any special events or exhibitions during your visit.

7.5 Take a Boat Ride on the Daugava River

Experiencing Riga from the Daugava River gives you a whole new perspective on the city.

A boat ride on the river offers stunning panoramic views of the city’s skyline, including iconic landmarks like the Riga Castle, the Cathedral, and the TV Tower.

You can opt for a leisurely cruise or a kayaking experience, depending on your preference. On a sunny day, the shimmering waters of the Daugava under the blue sky offer a picturesque setting, making it a great way to relax and enjoy the city’s beauty. Boat tours are available throughout the day and some even offer dinner cruises in the evening, perfect for a romantic outing.

Remember to check the timings and availability beforehand.

7.6 Visit the Riga Art Nouveau Centre

The Riga Art Nouveau Centre is a museum dedicated entirely to the city’s rich Art Nouveau heritage.

Housed in a former apartment building designed by the famous architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns, the museum offers a glimpse into the opulence of the early 20th century. The meticulously restored interiors, complete with original furniture, fixtures, and decorations, transport you back in time.

The ground floor houses a bookstore and a café, where you can relax with a cup of coffee while admiring the ornate detailing of the period.

The second floor is where the museum’s permanent exhibition is located, showcasing historical photographs, architectural plans, and models.

The top floor is a replica of an authentic Art Nouveau apartment, complete with a drawing-room, dining room, master bedroom, and maid’s quarters.

A visit to the Riga Art Nouveau Centre is a must for any art and architecture enthusiast.

7.7 Visit The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum

If you’re into history, the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum is a sobering but essential stop during your layover in Riga.

This open-air museum offers a poignant reminder of the Jewish community’s life in Latvia before and during World War II. The museum is situated in the historic area that was once the Riga Ghetto, and it meticulously documents the tragic history of the Holocaust in Latvia. Exhibits display personal belongings, photographs, and documents, telling the harrowing stories of Latvian Jews deported to concentration camps.

A walk through the reconstructed streets of the Riga Ghetto offers a hauntingly stark insight into the lives of those who had once resided here.

The museum encourages contemplation and remembrance, reminding us of the atrocities of the past and the importance of understanding history to prevent such horrors in the future.

airBaltic plane on tarmac in Riga Airport
airBaltic plane in Riga Airport

Connecting Flights in Riga: FAQ

What Is the Minimum Connection Time in Riga?

According to airBaltic, the minimum connection time in Riga is 30 minutes. If you are travelling from a Schengen to a non-Schengen country, the minimum transfer time is 45 minutes. The latter includes passport control.

Do I Need to Go Through Immigration and Customs for Connecting Flights in Riga?

If you are traveling within the Schengen area and your bags are checked through to your final destination, you generally do not need to go through immigration or customs. However, if you are traveling from or to a non-Schengen country, you will need to go through passport control.

Always check with your airline to confirm.

What Should I Do if the Layover Time in Riga is Very Short?

If your layover time is less than an hour, it’s advisable to directly proceed to your connecting flight’s gate. If you need assistance or if your connecting flight is from a gate you can’t locate, feel free to ask the airport staff for guidance.

What Amenities are Available at Riga International Airport?

Riga International Airport is equipped with a variety of amenities designed to enhance the comfort of its passengers.

These include free unlimited WiFi, a variety of dining options, duty-free shopping, car rental services, banking facilities, and special assistance services for passengers with reduced mobility.

For passengers seeking relaxation, there is the Primeclass Business Lounge, which offers a serene environment complete with showers, a buffet, a bar, and even a kids’ corner. Please note that access to certain amenities may be subject to restrictions or additional fees.

Is there a Hotel Inside Riga International Airport?

There isn’t a hotel inside the Riga International Airport.

But there are several hotels located nearby. Many of these provide a shuttle service to and from the airport for the convenience of their guests.

Can I Leave the Airport During a Layover in Riga?

Yes, you can leave the airport during a layover in Riga, provided you meet the necessary immigration requirements.

Riga, Latvia is in the Schengen area (European Union).

It’s advisable to have at least 5 to 6 hours of layover time if you plan to leave the airport. 1 hour to get to the city center, 1 hour to come back, at least 2 hours for airport procedures after and before the flight. And some time for exploration.

What Airlines Operate Through Riga Airport?

Riga International Airport is the largest airport in the Baltic states and serves as a hub for some airlines (airBaltic, Ryanair).

You can see an up-to-date list of airlines here.

What is your experience with connecting flights in Riga, Latvia? Self-transfer flights in Riga? Have you ever had a layover in Riga?

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


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