Car Rental in Riga
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Riga?
The capital of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltics, Riga is also one of the region’s main hubs of culture and entertainment. From historic landmarks to thriving art spaces, the city has plenty for the curious traveler to explore. Located in the heart of the country, Riga can also serve as a hub for getting to know the rest of Latvia. With that in mind, these are three of its most interesting attractions:
- Art Nouveau. Riga is said to have the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world, and this is featured in many travel booklets and tourism videos of the city. Also known as Jugendstil, the unique style dates back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of Riga’s Art Nouveau buildings can be found in the so-called Quiet Center (this is where the Riga Jugendstil Center can also be found) and in the Old Town, but individuals gems are scattered all across the city, including on the other side of the Daugava River.
- Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia. Located on the eastern outskirts of Riga, this large museum encompasses all of Latvia — or at least much of what it looked like until about 100 years ago. The museum is made up of historical homesteads, farmhouses, ryes, fishermen’s huts, churches, and other buildings that have been brought here from all over the country, providing insight into the daily lives, occupations, and culture of the inhabitants of Latvia through the centuries.
- Jūrmala. A 25km (16 miles) long amalgamation of coastal settlements, Jūrmala is one of the most popular destinations in the country. The town is known for its sandy beaches, coastal pines, and wooden architecture, as well as more recent attractions like the Dubulti train station which doubles as an art gallery. Away from the coast, but technically part of Jūrmala is Ķemeri, a village known for its marsh hiking trails and mineral waters. The drive from Riga to Jūrmala takes only about 20 minutes. If you’ve got time on your hands, you can see Jūrmala first then continue driving northwest to explore the fishing villages and Lake Engure Nature Park which is further up the coast.
One-Way Car Rentals in Riga
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Riga and drop off in another city include:
- From Riga to Tallinn - 110 offers from $28.43 per day
- From Riga to Vilnius - 90 offers from $28.43 per day
- From Riga to Warsaw - 79 offers from $59.20 per day
- From Riga to Amsterdam - 21 offers from $150.29 per day
- From Riga to Liepaja - 21 offers from $35.20 per day
Top ways to enter Riga
- Riga Airport: The busiest airport in Riga and the Baltic States, it served 7 million travelers for the first time in its history in 2018. The airport is served by 17 airlines, with most of the flights provided by airBaltic, Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Norwegian Air. The airport hosts flights to and from all regions of Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Located in Mārupe Municipality, the airport is 11km (7 miles) west of the city center and can be reached in about 20 minutes.
- Liepāja Airport: Serving Latvia’s third-busiest city, it only hosts one flight as of August 2019, a flight between Liepāja and Riga. There are plans for scheduling more international flights in the future.
- Vilnius Airport: The busiest in Lithuania, Vilnius Airport handled nearly 5 million travelers in 2018. Located 300km (186 miles) southeast of Riga, the airport can be reached in about 3 hours and 30 minutes. You’ll have to cross an international border to go from Lithuania to Latvia, so ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit it.
- Tallinn Airport: Also known as Lennart Meri Airport after Estonia’s former president, the airport serving the Estonian capital handled 3 million travelers in 2018. Most of the traffic is provided by airBaltic, Nordica, and SmartLynx Estonia. Located 315km (196 miles) north of Riga, Tallinn Airport can be reached in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Like with Vilnius, make sure that your rental car provider permits you crossing the border.
- By rail: If you arrive in Riga by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at Riga Central Station (Rīgas Centrālā dzelzceļa stacija). Riga is connected by rail to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia and Minsk in Belarus.
- By bus: If you arrive in Riga by bus, you can pick up your rental car at Riga Central Bus Station (Rīgas autoosta). International bus service, provided by multiple companies, connects Riga to many other European countries like Poland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Ukraine.
- By sea: If you arrive in Riga by ferry, you can pick up a rental car at Riga Passenger Terminal (Rīgas pasažieru termināls). There is a daily ferry service connecting Riga to Sweden’s capital Stockholm.
- Located on the Gulf of Riga (which is part of the Baltic Sea), Riga has a humid continental climate. The average high temperature is 22°C (71°F) in July, the warmest month, and −2 °C (28°F) in January, the coldest. Riga experiences significant snowfall every year. Due to its northern latitude, the city has as many 16-18 hours of daylight during the summer months; on the other hand, it has only 6-7 hours of sunlight per day in winter.
- Riga has a population of around 615,000, making it the largest country in the Baltic states and the fifth-largest city on the Baltic Sea. Another 450,000 people live in its larger metropolitan area. This means that every second resident of Latvia lives in or around Riga, making Latvia one of the most centralized countries in Europe. Riga is made up of six districts that are further divided into 56 neighborhoods.
Top destinations and activities
- Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil, architecture is one of the defining characteristics of Riga’s city center with more than 800 buildings of this style to be found. Many of them are located in Vecrīga (the Old Town), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but famous examples can also be found on Alberta and Elizabetes streets, an area that also houses Riga Art Nouveau Museum.
- Former KGB Building. Informally known as the Corner House, for decades the building on the corner of Stabu and Brivibas streets was the most feared place in Riga as it was the headquarters for the local branch of the Soviet State Security Agency. After Latvia regained independence, the building was renovated and now houses a branch of the Occupation Museum of Latvia. Visitors can take a tour through the former interrogation cellars and learn about the organization’s past in Latvia.
- Pārdaugava. Literally meaning ‘over the Daugava river’, the left bank of Riga remains something of an unmapped territory for foreign tourists but offers plenty for a curious visitor to explore. The area houses the new National Library of Latvia, some of the best-preserved wooden architecture in the city, and vast gardens and parks. The neighborhoods of Āgenskalns and Torņakalns are up-and-coming hubs of creativity, culture, and cuisine.
- Latvian National Museum of Art. Located in a beautiful building in the city center near the Old Town, the national museum of art is one of the finest museums in the country. Recently reconstructed, the museum houses thousands of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks made by Latvian masters over the past few centuries. The museum is located right next to the Art Academy of Latvia, which is a functioning institution of higher education, but frequently hosts different exhibitions and events.
- Žanis Lipke Memorial. Located on the island of Ķīpsala on the left bank of the Daugava River, just across from the city center, this memorial is dedicated to Žanis Lipke, a Latvian man who saved more than 50 Jews from the holocaust, as well as to the larger Latvian Jewish community that sadly mostly perished during the war. The memorial is located very near the site of Lipke’s original bunker and shed, so visitors can see the circumstances in which Jewish families had to survive the hiding. Ķīpsala, now one of the richest parts of Riga and known for its wooden architecture, is also worth exploring, as are the Latvian Jewish Museum and the Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum, both of which are on the other side of the river.
Traffic and parking
- Latvia drives on the right-hand side of the road.
- Unless indicated otherwise, the general speed limit is 100km/h (61 mph) on certain sections of national highways, 90km/h (56 mph) on all other roads outside urban and built-up areas, and 50km/h (31 mph) inside urban and built-up areas.
- There are some one-way streets in Riga, especially in the city center.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits will lead to a licence ban and, at a minimum, a 15 day imprisonment.
- Parking spots in Riga are divided into different zones. Generally, the closer you are to the city center and the old town, the higher the hourly fee. Many spots are not available for public parking. See the Riga parking spot map and learn about the tariffs and payment methods on the city’s official website.
- Although not as much as in Scandinavia, wildlife crossing is a serious road risk in Latvia and cause many accidents every year. It is important to be cautious when driving outside cities, especially on the roads surrounded by forests. Many sections of roads with a heightened danger of wildlife crossings are indicated by special road signs.
- Latvia is a sparsely populated county; while there are plenty of petrol stations around Riga and other cities and large towns, you’ll find much fewer in the rural regions like Northeast Latgale, Northern Vidzeme and Southwest Kurzeme. If you plan to travel in these regions, it’s a good idea to decide on your travel route in advance.
- Proof of insurance and the car’s documentation need to be in it whenever you’re driving.
- When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The general emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
In Latvia, only vehicles that are heavier than 3 tonnes need to purchase a vignette for driving on national and regional roads. All passenger rental cars with five (or less) seats are lighter than that and therefore renters don’t need to purchase a vignette.
If you plan to rent a heavy vehicle that needs a vignette, ask your rental car provider in advance about it. Some rental cars might come equipped with it, and some rental car providers will include an additional fee for this service. Learn more about vignettes in Latvia on the official website (you can switch the language to English on the top-right corner of the web page).
Although technically not a toll road, drivers need to purchase an entry pass for entering the road network of Jūrmala, a resort town about 20km (12 miles) west of Riga. The fee is only in place from the 1st of April until the 30th of September. The pass can be bought either online or at a ticket machine when entering the city. A 1-day pass costs 2 EUR, but you can also purchase a 7-day pass for 10 EUR. All entering cars are subjected to a video control system; not buying the pass will result in a 50 EUR fine. Learn more about the Jūrmala entry pass on the city’s official tourism website.
Ideas for day trips
- Beaches. Although located quite far up north and therefore not usually thought of as a beach destination, Latvia has more than 500 km (310 miles) of mostly sandy, pine tree-lined coastline that is especially nice to explore during the summer months. The most obvious beach trip from Riga is Jūrmala, a busy resort town known for its wooden manors. Less obvious (but also less crowded) destinations include the northern towns of Saulkrasti, Tūja, and Salacgrīva, as well as the western fishing villages that begin to dot the coastline just outside of Jūrmala.
- Ķemeri Bog Trail. Visiting a bog might not be most people’s first idea for a day outdoors, but things are different in Latvia. Bogs are an important part of the Latvian landscape, and visiting wooden trails that crisscross the country’s many wetlands is one of the best ways to get in touch with the country’s nature. In Ķemeri, a former spa town, visitors can safely walk right into the bog, learn about its delicate ecosystem, and watch the many bird species that live there. The area offers especially fascinating views if visited at dusk or dawn. Located 46km (29 miles) west of Riga city center, Ķemeri can be reached in about 45 minutes.
- Gauja National Park. Located in Northern Latvia and named after the Gauja River in whose valley it is located, this national park is both a nature area and a wildlife refuge. It has many hiking trails and viewing points that are separated from the areas inhabited by animals. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot a brown bear, gray wolf, lynx, owl, or grouse on the other side of the fence. Located 57km (35 miles) northeast of Riga, the park can be reached in one hour or less.
- Sigulda. Popular with locals and foreigners alike, Sigulda is a picturesque town an hour’s drive north of the capital. The town is home to the impressive Turaida Castle, the Krimulda Palace, and a number of observation towers that offer beautiful views of the Gauja valley and the surrounding nature. If you’re looking for something more active, you can slide down the Sigulda bobsleigh sled (only in winter time), go bungee jumping (in summer), or visit Aerodium, a vertical wind tunnel.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car in Riga is the VW Jetta, although many travelers also go for the Ford Focus and the Toyota Auris. The most popular rental car types are intermediate, compact, and standard.
- Cēsis. Located near Gauja National Park, Cēsis is a picturesque town in the heart of the Vidzeme region. Attractions include the Cēsis Castle Complex, the Old Town, and the Square of Roses. After seeing Cēsis, you can drive to traditional villages around Rauna, Jaunpiebalga, or Vecpiebalga, or explore historic sites like the Āraiši Lake Castle. Located 88km (54 miles) east of Riga, Cēsis can be reached in about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Daugavpils. Latvia’s second-largest city, during the last decade Daugavpils has been growing rapidly as a tourist destination. Although the city has no real historic center, there’s still plenty to see, including the impressive Daugavpils Fortress (not only the construction, but the whole neighborhood), the Mark Rothko Museum, the Daugavpils Shot Factory, and the Šmakovka Museum dedicated to the endless varieties of Latgalian moonshine. After visiting Daugavpils, you can explore the rest of Latgale. A historic region heavily influenced by Poles and Russians, it boasts a proud and unique local identity. Located 220km (137 miles) southwest of Riga near the borders with Belarus and Lithuania, Daugavpils can be reached in about 2 hours and 50 minutes.
- Liepāja. The largest city in Western Latvia, Liepāja has its fair share of attractions. Karosta, now a part of Liepāja, is a former secret military town that is known for the Karosta Prison (open four tourists), Karosta Forts, and St. Nikolai Orthodox Cathedral. In the city center, you'll find the Amber Clock and some beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. After visiting Liepāja, you can travel to the Pape Nature Park to the south or even try some Baltic Sea surfing in Pāvilosta to the north. Located 215km (133 miles) southwest of Riga, Liepāja can be reached in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
- Kuldīga. A picturesque town in Western Latvia, Kuldīga is best-known as a place of unique, well-preserved architecture (and consequently, as one of the most photographed places in Europe). Kuldīga is also home to Europe’s widest waterfall and a nearby underground cave labyrinth. After visiting Kuldīga, travel to the nearby historic region of Alsunga, visit the wineries in Aizpute, or try surfing Baltic Sea surfing in Pāvilosta. Located 148 km (91 mi) from Riga, Kuldīga can be reached in about two hours.
- Latgale. Culturally, and linguistically distinct from the rest of the country, the eastern region of Latgale is yet to be discovered by most foreign visitors, making it a delightful off-the-beaten-path destination. As known for its hospitality and strong Catholic, Orthodox, and Old Believer beliefs as it is for its blue lakes and natural scenery, the region includes the aforementioned city of Latgale, but also such gems as the Bends of Daugava Nature Park, the Basilica of Assumption in the village of Abrene, strong pottery and ceramics traditions that survive to this day, and scenic little towns like Krāslava and Ludza. The drive from Riga to the latter takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes; the region itself can be reached in about an hour less than that.
Car Rental Prices in Riga
- Station wagons - from $9 per day
- Large cars - from $8 per day
- Medium cars - from $6 per day
- Vans - from $35 per day
- Premium cars - from $105 per day
- Small cars - from $5 per day
- SUVs - from $8 per day
Follow these simple tips and land a great rental car in the capital of Latvia:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Riga is the cheapest in February when renting a car is about 35% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 62% cheaper than renting a car in August.
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Riga?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Riga?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Riga?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||7|
|Popular suppliers||GreenMotion, TOPRENT Latvia, Carwiz, SIXT, RentClub|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, SUVs, Large cars|
|Lowest price||$5 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|GreenMotion||Volkswagen Polo||4||2||Small cars|
|GreenMotion||Volkswagen Golf||5||2||Medium cars|
|GreenMotion||Fiat 500||3||1||Small cars|
|GreenMotion||Toyota C-HR||4||1||Medium cars|
|RentClub||Volkswagen Polo||5||2||Small cars|
|TOPRENT Latvia||Toyota C-HR||5||2||SUVs|
|TOPRENT Latvia||Volkswagen Golf||5||2||Medium cars|
|RentClub||Volkswagen Golf||5||3||Medium cars|
|TOPRENT Latvia||Toyota RAV4||5||3||SUVs|
Our Customers' Reviews
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