Riga

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Riga is the capital of Latvia and the biggest city of the Baltics.


Hitching in and around

From Kaunas (LT), Vilnius (LT) E 67

If you are coming from the south and want to continue north towards Estonia, you can proceed on the Riga ring road and avoid entering the city center. However, be careful, as not all parts of this ring are hitchable.

The first roundabout as you come towards Riga on the E67 has the road into the city going straight and the road signposted Tallinn turning right. If your driver is going into Riga, ask him to leave you here, but do not hitch from this roundabout as there is no room to stop a truck. Just walk down the road one kilometer to the next roundabout, which has plenty of room. From there try getting a lift completely around the city and towards the north of Latvia on the E67, because you may lose a couple of hours if you are dropped off in certain places. For example, at the junction after Salaspils where a driver turning onto the E22 will leave you, there is no room to stop a car, and after the junction cars are driving too fast to even notice you, so you will have to walk 6 or 7 kilometers to the next hitchable point.

Hitchhiking out

<map lat='56.95' lng='24.1' zoom='10' view='0' country='Latvia' float='right'/>

South towards Bauska, Kaunas (LT), Vilnius (LT), Poland (PL) E 67

When you are around central bus station in Riga, you can find a bus stop called 13.janvara iela (It is opposite the Stockman center) where you can take bus 23 (see route) towards Baloži or bus 26 towards Katlakalns. Get out at stop called Pagrieziens uz Baloziem. There is a nice bus stop and a traffic light just before, so the traffic is pretty slow.

Take tram 10 and get off at Ziepniekalna iela. There is the very beginning of the road you would get to with the option above. A bit hidden behind a lot of trees there is a petrol station and next to it a bus stop. Better hitch from the bus stop, as the petrol station serves mostly local customers. After you have got ar ride the best thing to do, if you are going to Poland, is get out at roundabout just after Kekava (even if the car can take you to Iecava or Bauska). There you will see a lot of traffic going straight to Poland or even further. Just make sure you have a sign.

The best option is to take a minibus from the MTS (central minibus station at the junction of Elizabetes iela & Satekles iela) to the village of Ķekava (about 20kms south-east of Riga). It costs €1 and you can check here for the timetable. The minibus goes as far as Dārznieku iela junction along the A7 before doubling back and going into Ķekava. So, when the minibus does a U-turn on the highway, get off at that bus-stop (it's called Ķekava) on the opposite side of the road from which the minibus came from! From there, you've got about a 2km walk south along the highway A7 to the hitching point 100m past the large roundabout. You can try to hitch as you walk. It is worth the trouble and expense to get here as you will cut out all the local traffic and there will be a lot of long distance traffic at a slow enough speed to safely pull over onto the side road just 100m after the roundabout exit.

If you are next to RIX airport, try asking drivers of cars with Lithuanian number plates LT

South towards Jelgava, Šiauliai (LT) E 77

From just opposite Central station take trolleybus #27 (see route) towards Ziepniekkalna D/P, get out at the Ābolu iela stop and there you are. Almost out of the city on the road to Jelgava.

North towards Pärnu or Tallinn (Estonia) E 67, North East towards Cēsis, Valmiera E 77

Take tram #6 or #3 from the city centre (for example, from a stop called Merķeļa iela) to the final stop called Jugla - there you will find a road to the north, you will see a petrol station, traffic lights, a bus stop (and McD's in case you want to go to the toilet). To get to the hitchhiking spot you will have to walk around 1km North East. You will see a spot with a lot of space for a car to stop. And most probably some other hitchhikers, so you won't miss it!

Better option is to take bus #1 (see route) towards "Berģuciems" and get out at stop "Brīvdabas muzejs" which is first stop after you see lake on the right side. Walk few steps back and you'll be exactly at the same spot as mentioned above.

Beware that most of the traffic is going North East so it might happen that you wait some hours (might happen... road there has 3 lanes) to get a 3km ride to the right road if you are going north. So it's up to you to decide. Maybe a better option is to walk those few km already after you arrive at the spot. You can also take bus #1 one stop further than mentioned above (Till stop "Berģi") and you won't have to walk that much. After you're on the road to Estonia walk up to a bus stop (there is one about half a kilometer after the bridge - Baltezera sanatorija). There is also a small restaurant next to the bus stop.

I highly recommend on walking. I arrived at this spot and saw two girls hitchhiking to Pärnu. They had been waiting for close to two hours. So I decided to walk so that I got on E67 towards Pärnu and Tallinn. Once I got on that road, I waited for less than 5 minutes and I got a ride all the way to Tallinn.

Other options:

You can also take regional bus to Baltezers. Those are buses 6821, 6822, 6824. From the centre, you can catch them from the following bus stops: Pie Starptautiskās autoostas (International bus station), Merķeļa iela, Brīvības bulvāris (Merķeļa iela), and Matīsa iela. There are no signs mentioning those buses, so just a keep an eye out for them and flag them down. Price of this bus is 1.10 euros to Baltezers - get off at the bus stop Baltezera sanatorija, which is just after the E67/E77 (A1/A2) intersection. If you are going North this is the best option since this allows you to avoid all the struggle mentioned above and get directly on the right way. And this is also cheaper then using Riga public transport network. You can check this bus operator's website here.

Another viable option is to take the regional train to Saulkrasti from the Main Railway Station. It takes an hour to get there and the ticket costs about 2,5 euros. When you reach the railway station at Saulkrasti, walk right across the tracks. Find a gravel path leading past some fenced off building which looks like a generator. The path leads onto a road that overpasses E67 Via Baltica. You can hitchhike on the access ramp, but do so behind the safety rail as cars pass by quite fast. It takes about 15 minutes to get there from the station. (taken from hitchbase, tried, and improved the description)

Southeast towards Daugavpils, Rēzekne, Russia, Belarus E 22

You can take the tram #3, #7 or #9 to the end stop Dole. Cross the street and find a bus stop near a parking place. Hitchhike from the parking place or, if it's full, stand before the bus stop. The problem with this spot might be that it is still in the city so a lot of traffic is local.

Better option is to take bus #18 (see route) towards "Dārziņi" and get out at Pagrieziens uz Darziniem. You'll be at Maskavas Iela near traffic lights where cars drive slowly and you can easily get a ride at that bus stop.

You should aim to get to Koknese because that's the place where two highways meet ant become one, in Koknese there is a wide roundabout with great visibility.

If you're going to Russia and have been dropped near the border, you can cross it on foot without any problems. After the border the road is not busy and most of traffic is local, but if you spend some time you can catch cars going far away (nikkou caught a car going to Voronezh via Moscow after 1 hour). Consider using a big sign.

Southwest towards Liepāja

From city centre (for example "13. janvāra iela" which is the big bus stop opposite Stockman centre and the train station) take bus #4 (see route) or bus #32 (see route) towards "Pinķi" and get out at stop "Pagrieziens uz Pinķiem". You can start hitchhiking already there, because all the traffic that goes to Liepāja will pass here, but the road is big and fast so it might be better to walk 3km south to get on the exact road to Liepāja. Away from Riga ring road. Cars there really slow down and you can get a ride pretty quick.

As of August 2017, no need to walk those 3 km further down the road. When you get out at stop "Pagrieziens uz Pinķiem", just walk back to the main road, there are traffic lights so cars have to slow down, and just after the traffic lights there is plenty of space for cars to pull over.

Or if you don't feel like walking you can take bus #43 (see route) towards Skulte from the same "13. janvāra iela" stop and get out at stop "Beberbeķi" (Don't get confused with stop "Beberbeķu iela", there are still 3 stops to go). There you just walk few hundred meters down the road and here you are!

Nina Unexia tried both options in July/August 2017 and they both worked quite well, waiting time under 5 minutes.

Northwest towards Ventspils, Talsi, Tukums

You can try to get to the same bus stop (Pagrieziens uz Pinķiem) as mentioned above. Only from there walk back North, get on the big road and try to hitch. Make sure you have a good sign there, because most of the traffic is going only to Jūrmala.

Better, but more expensive (about 2 euros) option might be to take minibus from city centre towards Jūrmala. Stop is near central station, just ask for the big minibus station if you can't find it. Beware that probably the minibus won't say Jūrmala, but Jaunķemeri, Dubulti or Sloka. These are districts of Jūrmala. Go till bridge, which is just before Jūrmala. You have to go left there, but go right and go under bridge to get on the road. There you will find a place to lift your thumb.

In the same point as mentioned above, you can get little cheaper by using train. Go to train station, buy ticket (~1 euro) till Priedaine (and take train going towards Sloka, Tukums or Dubulti). Get out in Priedaine station which looks kinda deserted and walk ~150m as railroad stays on your left and then turn left - cross the railroad and walk through forest (there is good asphalted bicycle path and road going)for about 1km. On crosroads turn right and there you'll see road going under bridge, go through and there is ideal spot for you. (this way you can get from Riga centre to hitchhiking point in 20-30 minutes)

Hitching by ferry

Getting onto the ferries for free is not possible. Both cars and trucks pay per person.

Language

Darba diena means weekday, Sestdiena means Saturday and Svētdiena means Sunday. "sveiki" -> hi, "paldies" -> thank you, "lūdzu" -> please

You can check Eastern Europe phrasebook for more words to catch.

Public Transport

In Riga you can get around by bus, tram and trolleybus. There are a lot of controls, so better buy a ticket! If you dare to blackride, your best bet is to empty your wallet. If there are no police around, inspectors are likely to just let you go if you can't pay. Besides, in summer time there are controls at random points between the stops which you can hardly avoid. During winter however, ticket inspectors are waiting only at stops and usually are easy to spot, so if you are careful you can avoid them by just leaving when they enter.

Tickets cost 1,15 EUR if you don't buy it from driver. If you buy it from the driver it's 2 EUR. You can buy tickets at Narvesen, ticket vending machines, supermarkets "Rimi", "Maxima" and other places.

Links

Here you can check map with all the public transportation stops within Riga city itself and here is webpage that allows you to search any intercity public transport.nomad:Riga

Wild camping

By walking from centre - Zaķusala, the island on Daugava river where TV tower is located in middle of Salu tilts bridge. It's within walkable distance from city center and really quite place with nothing else really there. Both tips of island are covered with bushes and trees so it is easy to find a place to hide away.

By tram - next to Riga Main Railway Station get in tram nr 11 direction to Mezaparks, get out at last stop Mezaparks (you can blackride). Find main entrance of Riga zoo and at the left side from entrance there is forest park with big lake where you can swim. Go inside in bushes in distance from roads becouse this is popular place with lot of people. There is police cheking main park roads for safety so camp in distance from roads.