Hitching in and around
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.
If you want to get towards the south, get out of the city center first. There are several possibilities:
- From RIX airport, try asking drivers of cars with Lithuanian number plates ("LT").
- When you are around central bus station in Riga, you can find a bus stop called 13.janvāra iela (It is opposite the Stockman center) where you can take bus #23 (see route) towards Baloži or bus #26 (see route) towards Katlakalns. Get out at stop called "Pagrieziens uz Baložiem". 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 gas station and next to it a bus stop. Better hitch from the bus stop, as the gas 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 Ķekava. 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.
- From the central bus station, take a minibus to Kekava; from there find the main road E67/A7 in the direction of Bauska. Just find a good spot - and good luck!
From just opposite Central station take trolleybus #27 (see route) towards Ābolu iela, get out at the last stop and there you are. Almost out of the city on the road to Jelgava.
Take a tram #6 or #3 from the city center (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 "McDonald'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 "Pansionāts" 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 better option is to walk those few km already after you arrive at the spot. After you're on the road to Estonia walk up to a bus stop (there is one a few steps after the bridge) You can also take regional bus to Ādaži. Those are busses 6821, 6822. You can catch them at Merķeļa iela stop whitch is near Riga circus. Price of this bus is 80 santims to Ādaži. You can check this bus operator website here.
A 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 1,5 Lats. 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
You can take the tram #3, #7 or #9 to the end Dole. Cross the street and find a bus stop near a parking space. Hitchhike from the parking space or if its 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 stop Pagrieziens uz Darziniem. You'll be at Maskavas Iela near traffic lights where cars drive slowly and you easily get a ride.
Southwest towards Liepāja
From city center (for example "13. janvāra iela" which is the big bus stop opposite Stockman center) 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.
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!
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 (1.10ls) option might be to take minibus from city center 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 (~0,60 Ls) 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 center 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.
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.
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 0.50ls (0.70euro) if you don't buy it from driver. If you buy it from the driver it's 0.70ls (1euro). You can buy tickets at Narvesen, PlusPunkts and some other places.
Time schedules for transport:
- Riga -> Kekava Select English version (upper right corner) and enter in the fields: From: Riga and To: Kekava. Notes column: Kursē: 1234--- means on which weekdays the bus cruises.