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

Should you visit Riga or Brussels?

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

Should I visit Riga or Brussels? 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 shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Brussels

Brussels is a cosmopolitan, authentic, and colorful city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Riga and Brussels: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Riga or Brussels?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Brussels than Riga. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Brussels is very popular for its shopping and big city activities, while Riga attracts visitors for its nightlife and impressive beauty. Brussels is more touristy than Riga and is known for its beautiful architecture, grand squares, diverse population, and delicious waffles. It is also well known for La Grand Place (Grote Markt). Riga is famous for its vibrant nightlife scene, busy old town, and beautiful architecture.

La Grand Place (Grote Markt)
La Grand Place (Grote Markt)

How is Riga different from Brussels?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Brussels 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 Brussels?

Riga
Brussels

Plenty of people visit the superb sights and museums in both Riga and Brussels.

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 Brussels specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Popular sights include Saint-Michel Cathedral, Place Royale, and the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The city is filled with impressive architecture, fascinating art museums, and innovative science and technology museums.


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

Riga
Brussels

Both Riga and Brussels offer a number of superb restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Riga. 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.

Brussels has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. While the city is most known for its waffles and fries, the diversity of dishes and international restaurant selection continues to grow. There are Lebanese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants among others. Popular local dishes include moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew), and stoemp (made with mashed potatoes and vegetables).

Is Riga or Brussels Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Brussels

Riga is renowned for nightlife. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Brussels has a few options to choose from. The city's nightlife is quieter and more mellow than some other major cities around Europe. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of dance clubs and bars where you can hang out. Keep your wits about you after the sun goes down as some areas are a bit rougher than others.

Is Riga or Brussels Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Brussels

It's fun to wander around the superb old towns in both Riga and Brussels.

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 Brussels. The old town in the city center is where you'll find the greatest concentration of historic sights. The area is surrounded by tree-lined boulevards and is easy to explore.


Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Brussels?

Riga
Brussels

Brussels is a must-visit destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in Brussels make it a world-class shopping destination. Although it's famous for diamonds, the city also has many shopping streets where you can find designer brands, vintage shops, and other unique boutiques that are fun to explore.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Riga. 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.

Is Riga or Brussels Better for Families?

Riga
Brussels

Brussels 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.

Brussels is a very kid-friendly city. The city has a number of unique kid-friendly activities including a Mini-Europe Museum, a Comic Strip Museum, and Train World. The city is also a chocolate lover's dream with many factories and chocolate shops around town.

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 Brussels Better for Couples?

Riga
Brussels

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

Brussels is a very popular place to visit for couples. From beautiful buildings and museums to shopping, dining, and chocolate shops, there are plenty of romantic spots around town. There's a vibrant nightlife scene and many diverse restaurants that couples can enjoy exploring.

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 Brussels Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Brussels

Riga is renowned for backpackers. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular 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 Brussels. The city has an active nightlife and a number of hostels that are great for backpackers, but do take note that some areas can get a bit rough at night, so make sure you understand where you are.

Is Riga or Brussels Better for Students?

Riga
Brussels

Riga and Brussels are both superb destinations for students and younger travelers.

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.

Brussels is very popular with students. The city has a number of universities that attract students from around the world. The multicultural setting is great for students of the world.

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

Riga
Brussels

Brussels is a must-visit destination for its public transit. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Brussels has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. Transit options include train, tram, metro, bus, and waterbuses.

The public transit in Riga can get you to most places easily. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.


Is Riga or Brussels a more walkable city?

Riga
Brussels

Riga and Brussels both are superb when exploring on foot.

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

Brussels is a very walkable destination. If you stay in the historical area, it's easy to walk around and many boulevards are being converted to pedestrian areas.

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

Should I spend more time in Brussels or Riga?

How long in Riga or Brussels?

In either Riga or Brussels, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Brussels than Riga because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Riga, and 1-5 days is enough time in Brussels.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Riga than Brussels 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 Brussels? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Brussels 1-5

One day in Riga or Brussels?

The beautiful city of Riga offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Brussels is a big city destination where you can fill many days. 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 Brussels?

Riga is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Riga, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Brussels is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the shopping. 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 Brussels?

Riga is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Five days 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 entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Brussels is a cosmopolitan big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Riga or Brussels?

Riga is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

The multicultural city of Brussels 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 Cultural Tours in Belgium, and The Best Luxury Tours to Belgium.


Which place is cheaper, Brussels 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 Brussels is €137. 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 Brussels in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Brussels 73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Brussels 146
Compare Hotels in Riga and Brussels

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Brussels? 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 Brussels


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 Brussels Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 15
    Brussels 17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Private Transfer From Riga Airport To Riga City Center: $38
  • Private Transfer From Riga City Center To Riga Airport: $44
  • Private Transfer from Hotel to Riga Airport with English speaking driver: $54
  • Private Transfer from Riga Airport RIX to Riga City Center: $32
  • Private Transfer from Riga City Center to Riga Airport RIX: $32
  • Private Transfer: Ryga to Klaipeda via Hill of Crosses & Rundale Palace: $260
  • Riga Airport Transfer: $33
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer: $130
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer : $163

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Brussels are as follows:


  • Subway Pass
    4.50
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    8.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Brussels

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Brussels:

  • Brussels Airport: Transfer to/from Gent Sint Pieters Station: $11
  • Airport Transfer to/from Lille City Center: $16
  • Brussels to Ostend Airport (OST) - Departure Private Transfer: $40
  • Shuttle Transfer Brussels Gare du Midi <-> Ghent (1 to 8 PLACES): $59
  • Airport Arrivals Private Transfer to the City: $60
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in Brussels from/to airport: $61
  • VIP Transfer between City/ Airport and Ghent: $70
  • Brussels Shuttle Transfer <-> Mons (1 to 8 PLACES): $70
  • Transfer to Brussels National Airport: $73
  • Airport transfers from Brussels to Zaventem Brussels airport by luxury car: $74
  • Brussels City all area to Brussels Airport BRU - Private Airport transfer 1-7pax: $76
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Brussels HTL-APT(BRU): $81

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Brussels?

Prices for flights to both Brussels 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
    Brussels 38
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.

  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $108
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $114
  • Medieval Dinner on the 12th Century at Rozengrals: $119
  • Private Cooking Master Class In The Latvian Family : $131

Typical Food Prices in Brussels

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Brussels:


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    4.60
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    4.75
  • Cheese
    5.60
  • Olives and Snacks
    6.98
  • Waffle
    3.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Brussels

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

  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $28
  • Hard Rock Cafe Brussels with Set Lunch or Dinner : $30
  • City Center Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $61
  • Food Tour in Brussels - Do Eat Better Experience: $107
  • Brussels Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $131
  • Secret Food Tours Brussels: $140
  • Market Tour and Cooking Lesson with a Belgian Gourmet Meal in a Brussels Home: $160
  • Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $163

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Brussels 23

Tours and Activities in Riga

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

  • Art Nouveau in Written & Audio Guides Tour: $8.76
  • Admission Ticket to Live Silver Museum: $12
  • Riga Old Town walking tour: $16
  • Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat: $16
  • Riga Art Nouveau — Walking Quest and Self-Guided Tour: $22
  • Old Riga — Self-Guided Tour and Walking City Quest: $22
  • Private Boat Tour experience in Riga (City Canal and Daugava): $23
  • Riga old town I Self-guided city adventure tour: $26
  • Ä€genskalns South Scavenger Hunt Adventure and Sightseeing: $26
  • Self-Guided City Adventure Tour in Jurmala: $26
  • 1 Day Riga Sightseeing Red Bus Grand Tour: $27
  • Riga old town walking tour: $33

Tours and Activities in Brussels

Here are a few actual costs in Brussels for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.21
  • Free Tour of Brussels in Italian (with booking fee): $3.29
  • Evening Tour: The Dark Side of Brussels: $3.29
  • The Most Complete Tour Of Brussels: $3.29
  • BELvue Belgium History Museum Entry Ticket: $5.35
  • Origins of the City Quest Experience in Brussels: $5.72
  • Old Town Capital of Beer Quest Experience: $5.72
  • Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $5.77
  • A Self-Guided Tour of Brussels' Secret Places and Untold Stories: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.41
  • Land of Comics Quest Experience: $6.41
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.42

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Brussels 13

Sample the Local Flavors in Riga

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

  • Pub Crawl in Riga: $33
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $54
  • Riga Beer Killer Bar Crawl: $55
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $103

Typical Alcohol Prices in Brussels

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Brussels are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    10
  • Beer
    6.00

Sample the Local Flavors in Brussels

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Brussels:

  • Brussels Pub Crawl - Nightlife & Party Experience: $18
  • Pub Crawl and Nightlife Party Experience: $18
  • Beer Yoga at Tipsy Tribe Brewery & Distillery: $22


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Riga and Brussels, we can see that Brussels 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 Brussels would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Brussels 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 Brussels Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Riga or Brussels?

Brussels has a larger population, and is about 37% larger than the population of Riga. When comparing the sizes of Riga and Brussels, 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 Brussels?

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 Brussels in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Brussels. Most visitors come to Riga for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Brussels because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Riga is generally around the same temperature as Brussels. Daily temperatures in Riga average around 17°C (63°F), and Brussels fluctuates around 18°C (65°F).

In July, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Brussels. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 75 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Brussels 18°C (65°F)

Should I visit Riga or Brussels in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Riga as well as Brussels. The autumn months attract visitors to Riga because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Brussels this time of year.

Riga is much colder than Brussels in the autumn. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 7°C (45°F) in October, and Brussels fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in October than Brussels. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Brussels 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Riga or Brussels in the Winter?

Both Brussels and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Brussels for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Brussels. It's quite cold in Riga in the winter. In the winter, Riga is much colder than Brussels. Typically, the winter temperatures in Riga in January average around -5°C (23°F), and Brussels averages at about 3°C (38°F).

In January, Riga usually receives less rain than Brussels. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Brussels 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Riga or Brussels in the Spring?

Both Brussels and Riga during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Riga for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Brussels in the spring for the activities around the city.

In April, Riga is generally much colder than Brussels. Daily temperatures in Riga average around 5°C (42°F), and Brussels fluctuates around 10°C (49°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in April than Brussels. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Brussels receives 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Brussels 10°C (49°F)

Typical Weather for Brussels and Riga

Riga Brussels
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 3°C (38°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) 4°C (39°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 6°C (43°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 10°C (49°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 14°C (57°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 17°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 16°C (60°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (40°F) 76 mm (3 in)