A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Riga vs. Bern for Nightlife, Backpackers, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Riga or Bern?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Riga or Bern? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Riga

Riga is a charming, unique, and historical city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bern

Bern is a historic, charming, and beautiful city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Riga and Bern: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Riga or Bern?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Riga than Bern. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Bern is more touristy than Riga and is known for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory. Riga is famous for its vibrant nightlife scene, busy old town, and beautiful architecture. It is also well known for Riga St. Peter's Church.

How is Riga different from Bern?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Bern and Riga. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Riga or Bern?

Riga
Bern

Plenty of people visit the high quality sights and museums in both Riga and Bern.

Riga offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. As a capital city with a diverse history, you'll find a number of museums and landmarks in the area. Visitors frequently visit The Freedom Monument, St. Peters Church, the Riga Cathedral, The House of the Black Heads, and any of the many museums around town.

Many visitors head to Bern specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.


Is the Food Better in Riga or Bern? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Riga
Bern

Riga is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Riga makes for a great culinary experience. The city offers a great opportunity to try many Latvian specialties including rasol (a potato salad), pelmeni (a Latvian dumpling), and karbonade (kind of like schnitzel). The cuisine is hearty and filling with lots of bread, dumpling, and meats. Riga is also where you'll find the largest food market in Europe, which is the perfect place to wander and pick up some local items.

Bern has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Riga or Bern Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Bern

Riga is renowned for nightlife. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife and partying.

Riga is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Despite being a small city, this capital has gained a reputation for its party atmosphere. The historic center comes to life in the evenings, particularly between Wednesdays and Saturdays. The area is compact enough that you can walk from club to club and prices are reasonable.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

Is Riga or Bern Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Bern

It's fun to wander around the high quality old towns in both Riga and Bern.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Riga. The old town is filled with cobblestone streets and charming architecture. The city is less touristy than many places in Europe so you can usually avoid the large crowds and enjoy a peaceful walk. During the evening you'll find the area turns into an entertainment district with many clubs and bars.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.


Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Bern?

Riga
Bern

Both Riga and Bern are high quality shopping destinations.

Riga is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Some of the most interesting shopping in the city is in the old town. Prices might be a little more expensive than you expect but it's possible to find some unique items. The city also has many markets, including the largest food market in Europe, which is a must-see.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Bern. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Is Riga or Bern Better for Families?

Riga
Bern

Bern is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Bern is a very kid-friendly city. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Riga is a family-friendly city. During the winter months, there are a number of museums that are fun to explore with kids including the Nature Museum, the Railroad Museum, the Aviation Technology Museum, and the Riga Firefighter Museum. There are also several indoor play areas. When the weather is warmer there are a number of outdoor parks and playgrounds to explore.

Is Riga or Bern Better for Couples?

Riga
Bern

Bern is notable for its romantic activities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for couples.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Riga is a good city for couples to visit. The city has a charming old town that you can explore, taking time to relax in the city squares or sip coffee at a cafe. There are also many nice restaurants that will make for a romantic date night.


Is Riga or Bern Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Bern

Riga is renowned for backpackers. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Riga is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. There are many affordable hostels around town as well as restaurants where you can grab a cheap meal. The city offers a great European experience at a fraction of the price of many cities.

Many backpackers visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Is Riga or Bern Better for Students?

Riga
Bern

Riga is a well-known place for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Riga is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city's affordability and vibrant atmosphere make it a great spot for international students. There are many places to hang out and a lively nightlife scene that appeals to young travelers.

Bern is not popular with students.

Is Riga or Bern Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Riga
Bern

Both Riga and Bern offer high quality public transit options.

Riga has some very good public transit options. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.

The public transit in Bern can get you to most places easily. There are trams and buses that run around town.


Is Riga or Bern a more walkable city?

Riga
Bern

Riga and Bern both are high quality when exploring on foot.

Riga is a very walkable city. The city is small enough that most areas can be explored on foot.

Bern is a very walkable destination. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

For even more information, also check out Is Riga Worth Visiting? and Is Bern Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Bern or Riga?

How long in Riga or Bern?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Riga and Bern. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Riga than in Bern. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Riga, and 1-3 days is enough time in Bern.

Families should spend more time in Bern than Riga. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Bern, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Bern than Riga. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Bern that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Riga than Bern if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Riga.


  • How many days in Riga or Bern? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Bern 1-3

One day in Riga or Bern?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Riga. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Bern. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A weekend in Riga or Bern?

Riga is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the nightlife. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Bern is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Five days in Riga or Bern?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the off-the-beaten-path destination of Riga. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the historic destination of Bern. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Riga or Bern?

The unique city of Riga offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

The historic city of Bern offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Switzerland, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Bern or Riga?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Riga is €104, while the average daily cost in Bern is €234. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Riga and Bern in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Bern 151
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Bern 302
Compare Hotels in Riga and Bern

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Bern? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Riga


Hotels in Bern


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Riga Hotel Prices and Bern Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 15
    Bern 31

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Private Transfer from Riga Airport (RIX) to Riga Cruise Port: $26
  • Riga Airport to Hotel Transfer: $27
  • Private Transfer from Riga City Center to Riga Airport RIX: $31
  • Riga Airport Transfer: $33
  • Riga Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Klaipeda: $38
  • Riga Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Klaipeda: $38
  • Private Transfer From Riga City Center To Riga Airport: $43
  • Riga City to Riga Airport - Private Transfer: $52
  • Riga Airport to Riga City - Private Transfer: $52
  • Private Transfer from Riga Airport to Hotel with English speaking driver: $53
  • Riga Airport to City Center Private Transfers: $59
  • Private Transfer from Riga City to Riga Airport RIX by Car or Van: $69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Car Departure Transfer from Bern to Bern Airport BRN: $72
  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $190
  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $212
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $226
  • Private Transfer from Bern to Zurich with 2h of Sightseeing: $299

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Bern?

Prices for flights to both Bern and Riga change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Riga 33
    Bern 56
Typical Food Prices in Riga

Some typical examples of dining costs in Riga are as follows:


  • Fast Food Lunch
    5.77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Riga

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Riga.

  • Central Market Latvian Food Tour: $42
  • Unique Food Tour: $52
  • Medieval Guided Tour & Three-Course Dinner Experience: $96
  • Medieval Dinner on the 12th Century at Rozengrals: $118
  • Private Cooking Master Class In The Latvian Family : $130
  • Cooking Experience with Chef: Learn & Dine: $139
  • Latvian Food: Cooking Masterclass with a Chef: $151

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Bern Food Market: Brunch & Local Food Tour: $63
  • Cooking delicious Spanish paella in Switzerland.: $63

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Bern 31

Tours and Activities in Riga

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Riga are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.38
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.39
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $6.93
  • Riga Old Town Legends Audio Tour on Your Phone (ENG): $7.39
  • Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads: $7.46
  • Complete Self-guided Audio Tour on your Phone: $8.42
  • Riga Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • Boat tour in Canal and Daugava: $9.59
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Riga Nightlife Ticket: $11
  • Canal Boat Sightseeing Tour: $13

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.34
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $6.93
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $7.41
  • Escape Game and Tour: $8.52
  • Beautiful Bern's Old Town: Self Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Tour of Bern's Fountains, Clocktowers, and Legends: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game: $15
  • Fribourg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Bern 25

Sample the Local Flavors in Riga

Also in Riga, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Old town pub & bar crawl, hidden gems, and local party: $15
  • Riga Pub Crawl Nightlife Experience: $17
  • Riga Evening Adventure: Pub Crawl & Games Night: $37
  • Riga's Old Town Beer Bike Tour & Guided Pub Crawl: $37
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $53
  • Riga Beer Killer Bar Crawl: $54
  • Latvian Wine Tasting & Monk Show: $75
  • Old Town Sightseeing & Latvian Wine Tasting with Show: $96
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $102
  • Riga Pub Crawl & Party Bus Tour: $521
  • Yacht Tour with Medieval Banquet and Wine Tasting: $3,308


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Riga and Bern, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Riga much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Riga would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Riga and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Riga.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Riga Expensive? and Is Bern Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Riga or Bern?

Riga has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Riga and Bern, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Riga or Bern?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Riga or Bern in the Summer?

Both Bern and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Riga because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Bern this time of year.

In July, Riga is generally cooler than Bern. Daily temperatures in Riga average around 17°C (63°F), and Bern fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

In July, Riga usually receives more rain than Bern. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Bern receives 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Bern 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Riga or Bern in the Autumn?

Both Bern and Riga during the autumn are popular places to visit. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Bern for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

Riga is much colder than Bern in the autumn. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 7°C (45°F) in October, and Bern fluctuates around 13°C (55°F).

Riga usually gets more rain in October than Bern. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Bern receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Bern 13°C (55°F)

Should I visit Riga or Bern in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Bern. Many travelers come to Riga for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to Bern in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Bern can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Riga. In the winter, Riga is much colder than Bern. Typically, the winter temperatures in Riga in January average around -5°C (23°F), and Bern averages at about 3°C (37°F).

In January, Riga usually receives less rain than Bern. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Bern receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Bern 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Riga or Bern in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Riga as well as Bern. Many visitors come to Riga in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Additionally, most visitors come to Bern for the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Riga is generally much colder than Bern. Daily temperatures in Riga average around 5°C (42°F), and Bern fluctuates around 11°C (52°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in April than Bern. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Bern receives 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Bern 11°C (52°F)

Typical Weather for Bern and Riga

Riga Bern
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)