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  • Writer's pictureRiga Free Tour

Is Riga Cold? A guide to surviving winter in Latvia.

Updated: Jan 5

Right now Riga is cold, very cold indeed! It is minus, yes minus! -15°C, that is in centigrades for our Americans in Fahrenheit that is "Very cold" degrees. To compare to how cold it has been let us go back to the Soviet era! The cold record back in February 1956 is -34.9 °C or -30.8 °F, Thats cold folks!

Please note! In extreme cold -10 °C we may reduce the tour schedule

But do we run our free walking tours of Riga in the winter? Sure we do! Some of us guides enjoy the winter walks but all of us are prepared with the correct clothing to tackle these colder days. Whether you a visiting Riga for New years eve or during Christmas time be sure to know that it may be colder than you expect!

Riga in the cold
During the cold Latvian winter, Riga can feel a bit extreme for some visitors.

It is cold enough here that today as I write this article that my two pairs of gloves did not suffice in keeping my fingers warm but then again I am riding a bicycle around the city in these conditions. Proof if ever there was that it's possible to plow on and take advantage of natures cold bite. Well at least it was not raining in Riga today!

Saunas save the day on a cold day in Riga

Sadly the old classic saunas of Riga like the famous Balta Pirts no longer burn their firewood to heat the 100 year old Sauna house. These days we are mostly left with modern Spa and Saunas attached to the many hotels in Riga. Of course these business are cashing in on the additional facilities and these are perfect after a long day walking or on a tour with us. I can testify that after a few hours guiding, hopping in the sauna to locate those lost body parts that have succumbed to the numbness. Just have a google to see which Hotel has some specials on Spa access.

Riga Free Tour in the cold

Many of you ask us about the weather in Riga, specifically is it too cold to join a tour? Well the simple answer to is Riga Cold is that like anywhere, Riga has variable weather conditions but in particular November - February experience a range of winter temperatures that can vary in how they effect us with the main factor being wind and humidity.

You see Riga is pretty much a costal city with large natural wetlands surrounding its urban centre. This leads to the cold air being varied in how cold it makes you feel.

I mean imagine a blanket of air filled with high humidity in low temperatures. Its like walking through a cold wet soup!

Ultimately you need to be prepared and dressed for the occasion. There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing for the climate.

Cold day in Riga
How cold is ‘cold’ in Riga? Sometimes warmer days feel colder than others. Why?

What to wear to keep the cold away?

Shoes and socks need to be suitable, waterproof ideally and layered socks can help to keep those pinkies warm and toasty. Snow is fine until it melts into Riga's infamous slush party.

Hats, gloves and scarfs are all essential. Your gloves should be thick and insulated simply put ski gloves are a good option :D alternatively you can layer gloves and add some traditional Latvian hand made woollen gloves to give you that local look and extra warmth. Mass produced or hand made by a local grandma pairs of gloves or "cimdi"can be found year round even in summer at the Riga Central Market or the Old city of Riga.

Thermal undergarments, vest, leggings etc will all come in handy under 5c so make sure to pack some for your trip. Affordable options can be found in places such as Decathlon and other mail order sports wear sites.

Where to check the weather for cold conditions in Riga?

Check out this handy link to plan your trip to Riga. Sometimes umbrellas are better to pack before you arrive but warm thick socks you can always pick up at the Riga Central Market.

Just wrap up warm and make sure to think about extra layers, you can always take them off if you get too hot! If its cold and you are cold then there is a problem with your clothing not the weather!

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