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 travel from the UK to Riga:  Overland by train via Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw & Vilnius, or by train from London to Stockholm and overnight cruise ferry to Tallinn, then bus to Riga.

Train times, fares & tickets

small bullet point  London to Riga via Hamburg & Stockholm

small bullet point  London to Riga via Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Hotels in Riga & Latvia

On other pages

small bullet point  Train service in Latvia

small bullet point  Riga to Vilnius by train or bus

small bullet point  Riga to Tallinn by train or bus

small bullet point  Riga to St Petersburg by train

small bullet point  Riga to Moscow by train

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

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

Useful country information

Train operators:

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

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

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:




£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


UK citizens do not need a visa for Latvia.

Page last updated:

18 June 2024.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.

London to Riga via Stockholm

Travel by Eurostar & comfortable connecting trains from London to Hamburg on day 1, stay overnight in Hamburg, then travel from Hamburg to Stockholm on day 2.  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 Tallinn with a comfortable en suite cabin reserved, arriving on the morning of day 4.  Then travel by train or bus to Riga.  What's the journey like?

London ► Riga

Riga ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.


1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.


One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICE trains.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.


The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.


2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Altona

An ICE4, at Hamburg Altona.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.


Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.


2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Great Belt fixed link

Crossing the Little Belt (Lillebælt in Danish) from Jutland (mainland Denmark) to Funen, the island on which Odense is located.

5. Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000

These Swedish 200km/h (125mph) tilting trains link Copenhagen & Stockholm in just a few hours, centre to centre.  They cross from Denmark to Sweden over the Oresund Link, a combined tunnel and bridge.  On the bridge section you seem to be flying just feet above the water. More about X2000 trains.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.


2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.


Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden.

6. Stockholm to Tallinn by Tallink cruise ferry & bus Tallinn to Riga

The Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn   A cabin on the Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn

The ferry Baltic Queen sails from Stockholm to Tallinn.  Photo courtesy of Tallink.


A cabin on the Baltic Queen.  Photo courtesy of Tallink.

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London to Riga via Warsaw

Journey time is roughly the same as going via Stockholm, although eastbound, if you use the London-Vilnius 1-night option shown on the London to Lithuania page, you can cut this to 3 days.  The more relaxed 2-night London-Vilnius journey is shown below, with connections to Riga by bus or (with another overnight stop) train.

London ► Riga

Riga ► London

  • Stay overnight in Vilnius.  Try the City Gate Hotel, 750m from the station towards the old town with great reviews.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £97 one-way, £140 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Warsaw starts at €46.90 each way in 2nd class, €79.90 each way in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Warsaw to Vilnius costs around €25, see the Warsaw to Vilnius page.

  • Vilnius to Riga costs around €24, see the Vilnius to Riga by train page.

How to buy tickets

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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 set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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Lonely Planet guidebook to the Baltic States

Rough Guide to the Baltic StatesMake 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.

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


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Hotels in Riga & Latvia

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

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 & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.


Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!


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