Latvia
Aug 2023
1 week

Riga

A quiet and understated Baltic city.

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Latvia's capital, harmoniously combines old and new elements.

Its varied architecture, historic Old Town, and food culture define it as a notable Baltic destination.

Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Not enough happening in the town to justify a month-long stay, but sufficient for a weekend city break or a tour of cities in the Baltics. One week is ample.

🌎
Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Not enough happening in the town to justify a month-long stay, but sufficient for a weekend city break or a tour of cities in the Baltics. One week is ample.

Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Not enough happening in the town to justify a month-long stay, but sufficient for a weekend city break or a tour of cities in the Baltics. One week is ample.

👎
Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Not enough happening in the town to justify a month-long stay, but sufficient for a weekend city break or a tour of cities in the Baltics. One week is ample.

🛫
Euro (EUR)
632,000

Summary

A friend's wedding in Stockholm prompted a visit to Northern Europe, with some cheap flights to Latvia providing a good excuse to visit a new country and spend a couple of weeks before heading West.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

No shortage of accommodation options around the city centre and old town. Prices were reasonable, if nothing special.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Riga has no shortage of coworking options, with spaces dotted around the east side of the city. The Workland chain

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Eating out is good value, with lots of options available across the city.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Latvia operates in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone, which aligns well with typical European working hours.

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Where to stay

Whilst it is a relatively modest city in size, you'd be best off close to one of these areas.

Would avoid
Recommended
Vecrīga
There's no reason to not be in the heart of the Old Town if staying for a short trip.
Would avoid
Recommended
Avoti
I stayed in the northern part of this district which is also easily commutable into the centre on foot, with lots of small cafes and bars dotted around.

Where to work

Workland Telegraph
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

The Workland chain has several outfits across the city, with this one being situated right in the heart of the Old Town. As well as an ideal location, it has a top quality fit out, with a well equipped kitchen with a decent coffee machine.

There's plenty of private spaces available for calls and it was a hassle free process to get set up. At the time of visiting, it was particularly quiet (I believe in due to the holiday season) so whilst it was incredibly peaceful, it certainly wasn't a hub of activity.

Would certainly return to this branch or any other in the chain on a subsequent visit to the Baltics.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

The Latvian government has introduced a digital nomad visa that allows internationals to stay in Latvia for up to one year, with the possibility of renewal for another year, while working remotely. This visa aims to promote immigration of qualified individuals who can contribute to Latvia's business industry and economic sector. Authorities believe it will also boost the tourism sector by attracting remote workers. Although not available yet, the digital nomad visa is undergoing final approvals and changes before being officially launched for digital nomads. Updates on requirements and availability will be provided once finalized.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Explore the Old Town

The main draw to the city. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, featuring Gothic spires, vibrant facades, and charming squares. it get's particularly busy over the weekends and is the home to much of the areas nightlife.

Learn more
Day trip to Jurmala

Only a 30 minute train away from the centre of Riga, Jurmala is famed for its long sand beaches, tranquil pine forests, and charming wooden architecture. If you are a cyclist, there is a great path taking you directly there from the city.

Get lunch at the Central Market

Housed in five colossal former Zeppelin hangars, the market's diverse stalls showcase the essence of Latvian culture and culinary traditions. Best visited on the weekend when the stalls open early for breakfast.

Day trip to Jurmala

Only a 30 minute train away from the centre of Riga, Jurmala is famed for its long sand beaches, tranquil pine forests, and charming wooden architecture. If you are a cyclist, there is a great path taking you directly there from the city.

Explore the Old Town

The main draw to the city. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, featuring Gothic spires, vibrant facades, and charming squares. it get's particularly busy over the weekends and is the home to much of the areas nightlife.

Get lunch at the Central Market

Housed in five colossal former Zeppelin hangars, the market's diverse stalls showcase the essence of Latvian culture and culinary traditions. Best visited on the weekend when the stalls open early for breakfast.

Duration & season

Late August brought with it a real mix of weather, some lingering hot days from summer combined with some horrendous thunderstorms. The temperatures begin to really drop off coming into Autumn with long, cold winters ahead. I wouldn't be in a rush to head back there to experience the winters, when the accessibility to the great outdoor surroundings may be hindered.

Food & drink

Bastejkalna Park
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Run
Situated in the heart of the city, this beautifully landscaped park is an ideal place for a morning run.
Cycle to Jurmala
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Cycle
The cycle path out of the city centre follows the train line through dense forests to the seaside resort of Jurmala. Mainly flat and well surfaced throughout.
Coastal Cycle
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Cycle
Heading north out of the city there are numerous well marked bike routes with quieter beaches than Jurmala.

People

Throughout the duration of my stay, the Old Town was a consistent hive of activity with international tourists flooding the streets over the weekends. I wouldn't expect to find many remote workers setting up permenant camp there year round but I did meet a couple of people in the coworking space I was in.

Given there close historical ties to Russia, there's been a significant influx of Russians to the city as a result of the recent turmoil.

Exercise

Bastejkalna Park
Situated in the heart of the city, this beautifully landscaped park is an ideal place for a morning run.
keyboard_arrow_down
Cycle to Jurmala
The cycle path out of the city centre follows the train line through dense forests to the seaside resort of Jurmala. Mainly flat and well surfaced throughout.
keyboard_arrow_down
Coastal Cycle
Heading north out of the city there are numerous well marked bike routes with quieter beaches than Jurmala.
keyboard_arrow_down
Bastejkalna Park
Situated in the heart of the city, this beautifully landscaped park is an ideal place for a morning run.
Cycle to Jurmala
The cycle path out of the city centre follows the train line through dense forests to the seaside resort of Jurmala. Mainly flat and well surfaced throughout.
Coastal Cycle
Heading north out of the city there are numerous well marked bike routes with quieter beaches than Jurmala.

Verdict

Positives
  • A small and manageable city.You'll feel like you know it like the back of your hand within a week.
  • Surprisingly warm weather in summer.Whilst not a stereotypical summer destination, there's sufficient heat to head to the beach.
  • Good value for money.Still cheaper than other major European capitals.
  • Visible tech scene.Latvia like the rest of the Baltics, Riga has a vibrant tech scene making it a suitable place for networking.
Negatives
  • Not very exciting.It doesn't feel like there's an awful lot going on, even in the centre of the city. If you are looking for a bustling working environment, I would look elsewhere.
  • There seems to be a severe alcohol problem in the city.I can't remember visiting somewhere with so many heavily inebriated people visible on the streets. All of them harmless but by no means a beneficial addition.
  • Long, cold winters.Whilst the Baltics capitals can make for a great winter city break, I'd have little interest in spending a prolonged period working there throughout the winter months.
Tips
  • I would consider visitng as part of a wider tour of the Baltic cities. I was quite happy to to depart after 2 weeks which felt like more than enough time. Travel between Riga, Vilnius and Tallin is relatively easy and inexpensive.
  • Download Bolt before arriving.Taxi's are relatively inexpensive to the city centre from the airport.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
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