Riga Warnings and Dangers
Overall Riga is a fairly low crime city compared to other European Union capitals. In the Old Town area with its nightlife, markets and festivals can become crowded on the weekends with tourists and its popularity as a great spot for stag parties.
The crime seems to be mostly opportunist and non-violent, rather than malicious. You’ve probably got more chance suffering violence from visiting drunken tourists than the locals. The best recommendation seems to be to reduce your vulnerability. There are some warnings about the area nicknamed “Little Moscow” – along the Daugava River east of the train station. This area has a higher rate crime with some abandoned buildings, deserted streets and a small population of homeless.
Like any larger city, there are always going to be people who try to scam the unsuspecting. Pickpockets, overcharging on bar tabs, pandering by children seem to be the most common.
Less common now but still practiced on unsuspecting tourists is a street side bill exchange. When approached by someone asking if you can exchange their €20 for two €10s, it is best to decline. Latvia only went on the Euro in 2014 so there are still LAT bills floating around. Since non-EU tourists are unfamiliar with the currency appearance, some have gotten caught up in this scam.
Taxi drivers are not exactly seen as the most upstanding members of society in any port of call in the world. Getting a hotel to recommend a taxi firm and a guide price is obviously a good idea. Most recommend the Renault Red taxis as more honest. Also there is a surcharge for taxis to enter the Old Town area which is quite small and very walkable. If you want to save a Euro or two, opt to have the driver let you off at the gate.
Streets in the Old Town area are cobbled and some have potholes so beware of walking as you could fall or trip. For those with wheelchairs or strollers, it’s quite bumpy.
Falling Snow & Ice
In the winter the snow pack get heavy on the rooftops and the icicles are quite large. Beware of homeowners shoveling the snow off the roof to reduce the weight. As the temps warm up the icicles start to fall off the eaves so try to avoid walking directly under a building overhang.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers while in Riga.
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