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The best of Riga
Written by: Anita Lišková & Todd Shaw
Photo by: allphoto images
Older than both Stockholm and St. Petersburg, this cosmopolitan
capital was once revered across Europe as the "Paris of the
North". Already the de facto Baltic business capital, Riga
is firmly on the tourist map, with visitor attractions and a proliferation
of renovated hotels, bars, and cafés.
investigation and forensic services, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Favorite hotel: Reval hotel Latvia, Elizabetes iela
55, tel.: +371 777 2222
Favorite restaurant: Restaurant Esplanade, Reval hotel Latvia,
Elizabetes iela 55, tel.: +371 777 2222 - great buffet
Favorite attraction: Changing of the guards
Best-kept secret: Try sushi in Riga.
Advice: To watch the English premiership football, go to: Dickings
English Pub, Grecinieku 9/1, tel.: +371 721 3087
general manager, pobalti.cz economica
Favorite hotel: Konventa Séta,
Kaléju iela 9/11, tel.: +371 708 7501
Small hotel directly in the historical center of the
Favorite restaurant: Sarkans, Stabu iela 10, tel.: +371
The name means "Red" in Latvian. It's a modern
restaurant with an expressive atmosphere and non-traditional
Favorite night club:Pulkvedim neviens neraksta, Peldu
26/28, tel.: +371 721 3886
Means "Nobody Writes to the Colonel" or simply "Colonel".
Favorite attraction: Sigulda, Sveices iela 13.
Remarkable "adrenaline" experience that you
can try in the winter or summer on the bobsled with little
wheels. This track is even used for world championships.
Best-kept secret: The art nouveau quarter is definitely
different looking from the other districts, and it belongs
absolutely to this Baltic capital.
Favorite shop: Stockmann, 13. janvara 8, tel.: +371 707
- good shop with a solid selection.
Advice: While having business meetings in Latvia, forget
the old Czech premise that you are in Russia. Everyone
speaks his national language, which is Latvian. The majority
of negotiations are held in English. If you prefer Russian,
I suggest to open the meeting with several English phrases
and then gradually move to Russian. Latvians of course
remember Russian, but considering their history they
prefer other foreign languages.
Favorite hotel: Hotel Bergs, Elizabetes iela 83/85, tel.:
+371 777 0900
Favorite restaurants: Čárlstons, Blaumana iela 38/40, tel.:
+371 777 0572
Melnie Muki, Jana seta 1, tel.: +371 721 5006
Favorite night club:PuPu Lounge, Marstaiu 14, tel.: +371
Favorite shop: Stockmann, 13. janvara 8, tel.: +371 707 1200
Best-kept secret: Bergs Bazaar - a complex of historical
buildings and shops.
Location: Daugava River, southeast corner of Gulf
Country dialing code: + 371
Population: 850,000 (city)
Ethnic mix: 55% Russian, 40% Latvian, 5% Polish,
Belarussian, and Ukrainian
Religion: 56% Russian Orthodox, 32% Lutheran, 12%
Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March
to last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50 Hz; round two-pin plugs
Average January temp: - 3° C (26.5° F)
Average July temp: 18° C (64.5° F)
Annual rainfall: 580 mm (22.8 inches)
· 1.0-liter bottle of mineral water: LVL
· 33-cl bottle of beer: LVL 0,45
· Financial Times newspaper: LVL 2
· 36-exposure color film: LVL 4
· city-center bus ticket: LVL 0,20
· adult football ticket: LVL 7
· three-course meal with wine/beer: from LVL 11
1 Latvian Lats (LVL) = CZK 46; GBP 1; EUR 1,50; USD 1,85;
(Currency conversion rates as of press time.)
Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated
www.inyourpocket.com/latvia/en/ - the "essential
city guides" from In Your Pocket are ideal for the casual
www.rigathisweek.lv/ - the official city guide of Riga offers comprehensive
coverage of events, sightseeing, dining, music and more
www.businesstraveller.com/default.asp?page=22&TYPE=81®ion=6444 - a guide for business and pleasure aimed at the executive traveler
www.worldroom.com/pages/cg_riga/riga_main.phtml - a good, not too
in-depth overview of history, shopping, events, accommodation,
· In general, Riga is moving away from how things used to be done
in the old Soviet Union days, and firmly embracing the western
European example of how business is conducted. Dress code is relatively
formal, with suit and tie expected for business meetings, although
new technology-based industries have got behind the trend of dressing
down in more casual gear. Business hours are Monday to Friday 0900-1700.
· Handshakes are the normal way to start any meeting and gifts
are appreciated. In a nation with a high per capita rate of alcohol
consumption, most evening meetings and dinners, and indeed many
lunches, are peppered with drinks.
Riga is the economic heart of the Latvia, and home to all major
domestic companies and many international players, including KPMG,
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Radisson. The main Latvian industries
were traditionally wood processing, textiles and agriculture, but
since 1991, the service sector and tourism, in particular, have
become increasingly important.
· Since gaining independence in 1991, the economy has been transformed
beyond recognition. The main business district is the New Town,
however, many companies are also located at Riga's port, with an
increasing number of industrial companies moving out to sites on
the city outskirts.