For my wifes birthday, I picked up some 2 for 1 flights from Dublin to Riga with Airbaltic. I was looking for something different. This offer came along so I booked it.
WithAirbaltic, online checkin and hand luggage only. it was very easy to do, , no problems whatsoever either way. No measuring of bags or problems at all. The only problem we saw was at an adjacant gate, Ryanair giving a girl grief as her bag was to big. I had to go and help her.
Using Tripadvisor, we found Homestay Riga. This turned out to be brilliant. We flew in at half six in the morning and for a small fee, they had someone there to meet us and take us straight to the house.
A few days before arrival, we emailed and asked if we could check in early - 7am Friday mornng, and it was fine. We arrived and Rik offered us a cooked breakfast. We then went to sleep for a few hours and headed out about 11am. Diga, Riks wife, offered us suggestions about what to do and even told us the best tram ticket for our visit. She then wrote it down for us in Latvian, and we handed it in at the tram office. SO EASY. The trams are clean and safe, we saw no problems on our visit and they were regular and had plenty of seating. They use smart cards that you just tag when you board the tram. I am not sure what the official time for breakfast was as Rik and Diga just cooked it when we got up! One day I think it was nearly noon. Oh, the ability to have a lie on was great.
The tram is about a 10 minute walk around the corner and is the last stop - just after Riga zoo. We visited lots of places in Riga, but did not go to far beyond that. The Central Markets were fantastic, old Zeplen hangers from WW2 which have been converted into a massive market.
One of the days we went down to the river for a boat trip but we were the only ones on it so they cancelled it. Oh well, another time maybe.
We found a good bar called the Kiwi Bar where the beer was cheap and the staff friendly, its quite near the main square where the museum of occupation is. We found another one called Transylvania. It was a rock/metal bar and had tables built from mock-up coffins, complete with glass lids and corpse inside. Really weird.
We did visit the museum but while it is was interesting, (and free), it was not great for me. I have previously visited Auschwitz, so it was quite tame, but I guess it is interesting with a view to what went on in Latvia during the war years.
We visited a few restaurants while we were there with mixed results. My wife is a COELIAC and will get sick if she eats gluten, flour or wheat. FONSANTA, here on Tripadvisor sent me a message explaining this in Latvian. We would like to thank her. We put it into a text message and showed it to the staff when we went out to eat. It was a great idea. Everyone understood and my wife enjoyed her meals completely.
We found one called KIPLOKU KROGS - the garlic restaurant, but found it quite poor. The service was rubbish and food medicore. We used one of the bike taxis and he had a lot of trouble finding it. It was not worth the trouble.
We came across a small place called Deer and Beer. Not bad, not bad at all, very small and it seemed to be a one man show. The Deer burger was really nice. On our final evening we had a slap-up meal in a steak restaurant called RESTORANS "ZILA GOVS. Well I think that was it, I took it from my credit card bill. This was expensive but fine for a special final meal out.
On checkout, I paid the bill, and offered extra for the extra breakfast we had the morning we arrived. Diga shrugged her shoulders and said 2 lats? I would have been happy to pay more than that but thats what she wanted.
Rik and Diga have a lovely place. They are so laid back and so relaxed, I would recommend them to anyone. They do have a dog and a cat hanging around, but the dog is a big floppy eared thing which was a lovely. The cat was around but didnt bother anyone. If you dont like animals, then this probably isnt for you.
We enjoyed our visit to Riga. Its a nice city. Everything is around the centre within a five block radius and easily walkable. Homestays is about half an hour out on the tram, but believe me, its fine. The whole place seemed safe, we were not worried about anything, and it just felt good.
I would have no problems sending my parents to this place.
If going to Riga, check out Homestay. Its not number one in Riga for nothing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- HOMESTAY is where we live. Our house is a friendly eco-build log house in the leafy diplomatic suburb of Mezaparks; Europe's first Garden City. We usually do a free tour of the Art Nouveau and Deco buildings after the best cooked breakfast in Riga. We have 1 large double as well as 2 100m2 fully self contained luxury short or long term apartments. Plenty of secure parking is available. The tram to Riga center takes 20 minutes. There are great facilities on our doorstep. Forest, Lake, boating, cycling, golf, BMX track, tennis, squash, fitness, saunas and a couple of class restaurants. We will gladly lend you our tandem. Book early. If in doubt stay the extra few days to give us the chance to help you organise the perfect Northern holiday. ( for Finns and Estonians we organise the perfect Southern holiday ) ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Homestay - Riga Hotel Riga