ESA Annual Meeting 2017 - Riga - Sunday 8  › Tuesday 10 October 2017

About Riga

Geography of Riga

Riga Riga, the largest city of the Baltic States, is located on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Daugava River. The city's location, between Eastern and Western Europe, has been both a help and a hindrance to the city. Its strategic location made it an important part of the Russian trade with Western Europe, but has also subjected it to invasion and occupation throughout it 800 year history. Riga is situated on a sandy plain nine miles (15 kilometers) from the mouth of the River Daugava and the Gulf of Riga.

Riga Climate in autumn

Autumn Latvia is located in the temperate climate zone and therefore has four pronounced seasons. Travelers visiting Latvia can enjoy a real winter with subzero temperatures and snow, spring floods, warm summers, and colorful autumns.
Autumn in Latvia lasts from September to December. The average air temperature decreases from +10 degrees in September to 0 degrees in November.
Sometime at the beginning of the autumn, there is an Indian summer when temperatures rise to up to +20 degrees, whereas the first snow may fall already in October or November.


Latvian is the official and most widely spoken language in Riga. More than one third of the population speaks Russian. However, English is quite widely spoken in Riga as well, particularly among younger people and in tourist sector.


Since January 1st, 2014, the official currency of Latvia is the Euro. The price levels in Latvia for many groups, including restaurant and hotel services, are lower than the average for European countries, though price levels may vary in the capital and regions of Latvia. You can easily obtain cash from any of the numerous ATMs in the city. Bigger shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards.

Entry requirements

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil and other countries do not need a visa to visit Latvia. Visa-free travelers may stay in Latvia for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days.
Citizens of the European Union member states, as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland do not require a visa to travel to Latvia.
Citizens of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China and other countries require a visa to travel to Latvia. In Moldova, only holders of biometric passports are free to travel to Latvia visa-free, other citizens need to have a valid visa.


Kasha Gourmet

14 Stabu Street,
Riga, LV-1011
(Distance to venue: 650m)

It might be that it does succeed in making the food feel tastier by turning the plate into a piece of modern art, or perhaps it's the post-modernist mixture of ingredients, but this is one of the most unusual and undervalued restaurants in Riga. We are particularly fond of its set breakfasts beautifully laid out on wooden slabs.

3 Pavaru

Torņa iela 4,Riga, LV-1050
(Distance to venue: 900m)

The restaurant is also situated close to the Hotel (900m). The stellar trio of chefs who run the show have a jazzy approach to cooking, with improvisation at the heart of the compact and ever-changing menu. The emphasis is on experiment (baked cod with ox-tail stew, anyone?) and artful visual presentation that could have made Mark Rothko or Joan Miró gasp in admiration.


Elizabetes iela 19,
Riga, LV-1010
(Distance to venue: 950m)

Riga's ritziest restaurant has served royalty and rock stars (Emperor Akihito, Prince Charles, Elton John) amid its eye-catching van Gogh–inspired decor. The head chef, Martins Ritins, is a stalwart of the Slow Food movement and crafts his ever-changing menu mainly from produce sourced directly from small-scale Latvian farmers.

Fazenda Bazārs

Fazenda Bazars
Baznicas iela 14,
Riga, LV-1010,
(Distance to venue: 350m)

Although right in the centre, this place feels like you've gone a long way and suddenly found a warm tavern in the middle of nowhere. Complete with a tiled stove, this wooden house oozes megatons of charm and the food on offer feels as homey as it gets, despite its globalist fusion nature.


Hospitāļu iela 1,
Riga, LV-1013
(Distance to venue: 2km)

It's well worth a quick tram ride (take tram 11 and get off at Mēness iela) to this wonderful eatery for multiple small plates of yumminess. The name couldn't be more accurate, with a menu containing the likes of 'Tsar's fish soup', sushi, Thai curry and an exceptional Beef Wellington.


Alberta Iela

Alberta Iela

(Distance to venue: 1km)

It's like a huge painting, which you can spend hours staring at, as your eye detects more and more intriguing details. But in fact this must-see Riga sight is a rather functional street with residential houses, restaurants and shops. Art nouveau, otherwise known as Jugendstil, is the style, and the master responsible for most of these is Mikhail Eisenstein (father of filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein). Named after the founder of Riga, Bishop Albert von Buxthoeven, the street was the architect's gift to Riga on its 700th anniversary.

Riga Central Market

Riga Central Market

(Distance to venue: 1,5km)

Haggle for your huckleberries at this vast market, housed in a series of WWI Zeppelin hangars and spilling outdoors as well. It's an essential Riga experience, providing bountiful opportunities both for people-watching and to stock up for a picnic lunch. Although the number of traders is dwindling, the dairy and fish departments, each occupying a separate hangar, present a colorful picture of abundance that activates ancient foraging instincts in the visitors.

Riga Cathedral

Riga Cathedral

(Distance to venue: 1,1km)

Founded in 1211 as the seat of the Riga diocese, this enormous (once Catholic, now Evangelical Lutheran) cathedral is the largest medieval church in the Baltic. The architecture is an amalgam of styles from the 13th to the 18th centuries: the eastern end, the oldest portion, has Romanesque features; the tower is 18th-century baroque; and much of the rest dates from a 15th-century Gothic rebuilding.

Blackheads House

Balckheads House

(Distance to venue: 1,2km)

Built in 1344 as a veritable fraternity house for the Blackheads guild of unmarried German merchants, the original house was decimated in 1941 and flattened by the Soviets seven years later. Somehow the original blueprints survived and an exact replica of this fantastically ornate structure was completed in 2001 for Riga's 800th birthday.

Art Museum Riga Bourse

(Distance to venue: 1,1km)

Riga's lavishly restored stock exchange building is a worthy showcase for the city's art treasures. The elaborate facade features a coterie of deities that dance between the windows, while inside, gilt chandeliers sparkle from ornately moulded ceilings. The Oriental section features beautiful Chinese and Japanese ceramics and an Egyptian mummy, but the main halls are devoted to Western art, including a Monet painting and a scaled-down cast of Rodin's The Kiss.