Rīga International Airport is in the suburb of Skulte, 13km southwest of the city centre. It's the primary hub for air travel to the country – Latvia's national carrier, airBaltic (www.airbaltic.com), offers direct flights to 70 destinations within Europe.
The cheapest way to get from Rīga airport to the centre is bus 22 (€2, 25 minutes), which runs at least every 30 minutes and stops at several points around town including the Stockmanns complex and on the river side of Old Town.
A taxi ride between the airport and the centre typically costs €12.
Buses depart from Rīga’s international bus station, located behind the railway embankment just beyond the southeastern edge of Old Rīga. International destinations include Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw, Pärnu, Kaunas, St Petersburg and Moscow. Try Ecolines (www.ecolines.net), Eurolines Lux Express (www.luxexpress.eu) or Nordeka (www.nordeka.lv).
Baltic services from Rīga include the following (the frequencies cited here refer to the morning period – there is likely to be fewer or no buses in the afternoon):
Aglona (€8.90, four hours, daily at 4pm and/or 6pm)
Bauska (€3.05, 1¼ hours, every 30 minutes)
Cēsis (€4.15, two hours, every 30 minutes)
Daugavpils (€8.90, 3½ to 4¼ hours, every one to two hours)
Dobele (€3.25, 1½ hours, every 30 minutes to one hour)
Jelgava (€2.30, one hour, every 30 minutes)
Kandava (€4.20 to €4.25, 1½ to two hours, 10 daily)
Kaunas (€20 to €25, four to 5½ hours, three daily)
Ķemeri (€2.35, one hour, 13 daily)
Kolka (€6.25 to €7.85, 3½ to 4½ hours, five daily)
Kuldīga (€6.40, 2½ to 3¼ hours, hourly)
Liepāja (€8.55 to €8.70, four hours, hourly)
Pärnu (€11, 2¾ hours, hourly)
Pāvilosta (€8.70, 4½ hours, daily)
Sigulda (€2.75, one hour, every 45 minutes)
Tallinn (€14, 4½ hours, hourly)
Ventspils (€7.55 to €7.85, three to four hours, hourly)
Vilnius (€13 to €19, four hours, 13 daily)
Rīga’s central train station is convenient to Old and Central Rīga, and is housed in a Soviet-era concrete box (now built into a glass-encased shopping mall), just outside Old Town.
Found in a large hall to the right from the main entrance, cash offices 1 to 6 sell tickets to international destinations, which now include Moscow (from €153, 16 hours, daily), St Petersburg (from €92, 15 hours, daily) and Minsk (from €28, 11 hours, weekly). Domestic tickets are sold in cash offices 7 to 15. The information office (open 7am to 7pm) is located next to the latter.
Most Latvians live in the large suburban and rural ring around Rīga, and commute into the city for work. The city’s network of ultrahandy suburban train lines help facilitate commuting, and make day trips to nearby towns a whole lot easier too.
Rīga has six suburban lines. Of most use to travellers is the Dubulti–Sloka–Ķemeri–Tukums Line, which runs through the entire length of Jūrmala, and the Sigulda–Cēsis–Valmiera Line, which can take you into the heart of Gauja National Park. Skulte Line is convenient for Saulkrasti.
In the east, the line goes towards Krustpils, where it divides into two. One goes towards Rēzekne, Ludza and Russia, the other turns south towards Daugavpils and Belarus. Visit www.ldz.lv to view the timetables and prices for long-haul international and domestic trains. Train service is not convenient to any destinations in western Latvia.
The most popular domestic services are listed here. Note that there are no services at night-time, although trains to Jūrmala run till midnight:
Cēsis (€3.50, two hours, four daily)
Jūrmala (Majori) (€1.40, 30 minutes, two to three per hour)
Saulkrasti (€1.90, one hour, hourly)
Daugavpils (€7, 3½ hours, three daily)
Rēzekne (€7.20, 3½ hours, two daily)
Ludza (€7.90, four hours, two daily)