Central Riga, seen from the tower of the 'Petera Baznica' church

Riga, Latvia...  This is Riga old town, seen from the tower of the 'Petera Baznica' church.

UK to Riga by train or ferry...

Riga is a great place to visit, with more of a 'big city' feel than Vilnius or Tallinn.  There are two basic options for travelling from the UK to Riga:  overland by train via Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw & Vilnius, or by by train from London to Stockholm, then by overnight cruise ferry to Riga.

Train times, fares & tickets...

  London to Riga by train via Hamburg & Stockholm

  London to Riga by train via Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius

  Useful country information currency, tourist info, etc.

  Hotels in Riga & Latvia

On other pages...

  Train service within Latvia

  Riga to Vilnius by train or bus

  Riga to Tallinn by train or bus

  Riga to St Petersburg by train

  Riga to Moscow by train

Route map:  London to Scandinavia, Estonia & Latvia by train & ferry...

Route map:  London to Stockholm & Gothenburg by train & ferry

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operators:

Latvijas Dzelzcels (LDz, www.ldz.lv) also see www.pv.lv.

Train times in Europe: http://bahn.hafas.de

Train times in all ex-Soviet states:  www.poezda.net

All-Europe train times

Ferries to Riga:

www.tallink.lv  (Stockholm-Riga)

Time zone:

GMT+2 (GMT+3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+371

Currency:

£1 = approx 1.15 euros, adopted by Latvia in 2014.   Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.inyourpocket.com & www.latviatravel.com.   Guidebooks

Hotels in Latvia:

Find a hotel in Riga    Hotel reviews: www.tripadvisor.com    Hostels:  Hostelworld.com

Visas:

UK citizens do not need a visa for Latvia.

Page last updated:

11 January 2018


London to Riga via Stockholm

Travel by Eurostar & comfortable connecting trains from London to Hamburg on day 1 from just €59, stay overnight in Hamburg, then travel from Hamburg to Stockholm on day 2 from as little as €39.  Take a bottle of wine and a good book, and enjoy a 2-day train ride across Europe on modern & comfortable trains with not an airport security queue in sight.  Stay overnight and spend most of day 3 exploring Stockholm.  Then take the overnight cruise ferry to Riga with a comfortable en suite cabin reserved, arriving on the morning of day 4.  What's the journey like?

London ► Riga

Riga ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

...London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE Watch the video guide.

...Cologne to Hamburg by InterCity train.

German InterCity train   InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Most Cologne-Hamburg trains are InterCity trains, a few are high-speed ICEs.  Virtual tour of InterCity train...

 

InterCity 2nd class.  You'll also find a few compartment coaches on InterCity trains, and a bistro or restaurant car...

 

InterCity 1st class, often available in both open-plan saloons like this and in compartments.

...Hamburg to Copenhagen by ICE.

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Frankfurt

ICE 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

The Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE on board the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry.  More info on ICE.

...Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000.

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station   2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm   The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

An X2000 train at Copenhagen, about to leave for Stockholm...

 

2nd class seating on the X2000.  All seats have power sockets...

 

Self-service buffet carMore information about X2000

...Stockholm to Riga by Tallink cruise ferry.

Boarding Tallink's 'Regina Baltica' from Stockholm to Tallinn   'C' grade cabin with en suite shower and WC on the ship to Tallinn   Sunset from the ferry to Riga

The daily Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Riga has a range of comfortable cabins, plus bars and restaurants.

 

Sunset as the ferry to Riga leaves Stockholm.  Courtesy of Alistair Weaver.

How to buy tickets by phone...

Custom-made train travel + hotel arrangements...

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London to Riga via Warsaw

The overland option...

The advantage of this route is that it may be a bit faster (but not much!).  The disadvantage is that UK rail agents can only book you as far as Warsaw, but can't book the leg from Warsaw to Vilnius or the bus from Vilnius to Riga.  You will need to buy tickets when you get to Warsaw and Vilnius, although this won't be a problem.

London ► Riga  (via Warsaw)

Riga ► London  (via Warsaw)

How to buy tickets...

You can book this journey from London as far as Warsaw through Deutsche Bahn's UK office on 08718 80 80 66 (lines open 0900-1700 Monday-Friday, no booking fee).  Then book the Warsaw-Vilnius train at the station in Warsaw when you get there.  Then book the Vilnius to Riga bus when you get to Vilnius.

On the return journey, book the Riga-Vilnius bus at Riga bus station, and the Vilnius-Warsaw train at either Vilnius station.  Deutsche Bahn can, of course, reserve the rest of your return journey from Warsaw back to London.

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Train travel within Latvia...

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Moving on from Latvia...

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Recommended guidebooks:

Make sure you take a good guidebook.  For the independent traveller, this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  I personally prefer the layout of the Lonely Planets, others prefer the Rough Guides.  Both books provide a similarly excellent level of interesting background and practical information.  You won't regret buying one of these!  My own book, an essential handbook for train or ferry travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon.co.uk with shipping worldwide.

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

 

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Hotels in Riga & Latvia

    

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

  • www.booking.com is my own preferred hotel booking system (Hotels Combined being a search/comparison system).  It has a simple interface, a good selection in most countries worldwide, useful online customer reviews of each hotel, and decent prices, usually shown inclusive of unavoidable extras such as taxes (a pet hate of mine is systems that show one price, then charge you another!).

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

 


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