Prices in Riga
Riga was once known as the destination for a cheap weekend break, with low prices and wild nightlife. Popularised just after the economic crisis of 2008 by cheap airlines, backpackers, Scandinavian booze cruises, stag parties and a few classical cultural tourists, Riga was a hot spot for cash strapped visitors. Back then the prices of items in Riga like food, beer, cigarettes and accommodation was super cheap. The local currency the Lat was still in use and for less than 1.5 euro a beer was easily found, 3-4 euro you could eat a meal in a restaurant and in some hostels a bed was as low as 5 euro a night.
Many visitors come on our tours and see the beautiful buildings of Riga and ask, is it a rich city? Well Riga was once a very wealthy city but today the spread of wealth is much different than before. A lack of serious industry and declining population leads many here to ask, what is holding the economy of Latvia up? To be honest, it is a question we can barely begin to answer.
I recall back in 2006 looking at chewing gum and comparing the price to packs of cigarettes. The gum was in some cases was more expensive than the cheapest cigarettes. How was that possible in the EU i thought? For 1 euro you could eat a bowl of Pelmeni and litres of milk, bread, potatoes, veg all the essentials were outstandingly cheap. A room in a shared apartment could go for 30 - 50 euro a month. But let us not forget in those turbulent times that wages could also be as low as 3-400 euro a month. These days are long gone and Riga does not look like the city it once was, of course, nothing lasts for ever and the 0.50 cent boxes of cigarettes and cheap beer would soon begin to match the rest of Europe.
In 2022 what are the prices in Riga like?
Prices in Riga this year will increase considerably for visitors and below we list some items that will effect you on a visit to Latvia. Prices are rounded to make it easier and may not represent all options.
The Good news is that in Riga many of the top end Hotels and tourist orientated business are struggling after the pandemic so you can find some really good deals if you look around in advance.
1 Tram ticket 1.15 euro
Draught beer in bar 3.20 - 4.50 euro
Workers lunch menu 2 soup and main 4.50 - 6.00 euro
Dinner in medium range restaurant 8.00 - 12.00 euro
Bag of Chips at the store 1 - 2 euro
Bottle of Coke 0,5 1 euro (bottle deposit additional costs come in 2022)
20 box cigarettes 5 - 6 euro
Hostel bed in Old town 15 euro a night
4 star double bed Design Hotel with sauna, pool and breakfast 125 euro a night
4 star double bed and breakfast Hotel a little out of old town 60 euro a night
AirBnb 30 - 40 euro a night for basic options
Loaf of Bread 1 euro
Litre of milk 1 euro
Ice cream 1 euro
Entrance to the Anatomy museum of Riga 5.00 euro
SPA access per adult 28 euro
We understand that everyone has a different budget when visiting a city. Way back when I was a backpacking youthful free spirit I walked across Spain on a 5 euro a day budget! Times have changed that is for sure but we still feel that if you look around in Riga you can have a nice time, roof over your head and food in your belly for as low as 50 euro a day.
Maybe you want to live fancy and stay in top hotel, eat at high priced restaurant and in this case Riga really is much cheaper than other cities. You can probably live the high life here on 200 euro a day budget per person. After all the prices in Riga are really effecting the lower end of the economic spectrum.
Prices and life for locals in Riga
The world over is experiencing price rise across all consumables, goods and energy. Riga is no exception here and we are starting to see prices rocket through the roof when compared to local wages. Data for wages in 2021 shows that the average wage was just under 1300 euro before taxes and minimum was around 500 euro a month. Take into account taxation and costs of living and the bleak picture of life for inhabitants in Latvia becomes apparent.
In Riga a cheap flat may cost 200 euro a month on edge of the city but add you energy bills, and food and the minimum wage does not even cover the costs of living in the capital. It is predicted that around 25% of Latvians live in a high risk of poverty. As food and energy prices begins to increase the most vulnerable groups begin to suffer even more. If you have the chance to support service works, cleaners, restaurant staff by means of leaving a tip, it really can go a long way.