A Travel Price Comparison for Latvia Riga vs. Cesis for Backpackers, Food, Old Town, and Families

Should you visit Riga or Cesis?

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

Should I visit Riga or Cesis? 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. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Cesis

Cesis is a authentic, natural, and traditional town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the hiking.

Riga and Cesis: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular old town
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Riga or Cesis?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Riga than Cesis, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Riga is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Cesis is more popular for its hiking and small town charm. Riga is well known for its vibrant nightlife scene, busy old town, and beautiful architecture. Also, Riga is famous for Riga St. Peter's Church. Cesis is well known for its medieval castle and nearby hikes.

How is Riga different from Cesis?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its museums and landmarks. However, Cesis does not have museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Riga. 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.

Cesis does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its restaurant scene. However, Cesis is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

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.

Cesis may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. The town is small so there are a limited number of restaurants to choose from. You'll find some nice cafes and bakeries though where you can enjoy local foods and traditional Latvian dishes.

Is Riga or Cesis Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is renowned for nightlife and partying. However, Cesis is not particularly known for its evening party scene.

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.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Cesis The town is small and many travelers visit as a day trip from Riga, so you'll find limited nightlife options around town.

Is Riga or Cesis Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its old town. However, Cesis is not particularly known for its historic old town charm.

Riga is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. 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.

The old town area in Cesis is worth visiting. The old town is small but charming and authentic. There are a few unique sites that are worth visiting as well.


Is Riga or Cesis Better for Hiking?

Riga
Cesis

Cesis is a popular place for the nearby hiking options. However, Riga is not a hiking destination.

Cesis is a good destination for hiking. The town makes the perfect base for exploring the surrounding Gauja National Park, which has many hiking and cycling trails. Two of the most well known hikes are the Baltic Forest Trail and the Camino Latvia, both or which pass through town. There are also shorter day hikes to choose from as well.

Riga is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Cesis?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its shopping opportunities. However, Cesis is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

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.

Cesis is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Riga or Cesis Better for Families?

Riga
Cesis

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Cesis.

Riga is a family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Cesis is a family-friendly city. The Cēsis Medieval Castle has a unique interactive set of tasks and games that the whole family can enjoy. Other fun family-friendly activities around town include adventure parks such as Supervāvere, the camel park of Rakši, and a farmhouse bakery where kids can learn about traditional baking and breadmaking.


Is Riga or Cesis Better for Couples?

Riga
Cesis

With fun activities for couples, both Riga and Cesis make for a notable place to visit.

Riga makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Cesis is a good city for couples to visit. There are a number of outdoor activities that adventurous couples can enjoy. The medieval castle is also a unique place to explore.

Is Riga or Cesis Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is renowned for backpackers. Also, Cesis is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Riga. 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.

Plenty of backpackers visit Cesis. Many people visit town as a day trip from Riga, so there are a limited number of hotels and hostels to choose from. If you want to enjoy hiking and the area's natural beauty, it is recommend that you spend more time here.

Is Riga or Cesis Better for Students?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for students. However, Cesis is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Riga. 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.

Cesis is not popular with students.


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

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its public transit. However, Cesis is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit in Riga can get you to some places easily. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.

Public transit is quite limited in Cesis. There are some bus options, but to thoroughly explore the surrounding area you'll really need access to a car.

Is Riga or Cesis a more walkable city?

Riga
Cesis

Riga is well known for its high level of walkability. Also, Cesis is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

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

Cesis is a somewhat walkable city. It's fun to explore old town on foot but many places in the surrounding countryside require a car to access.

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

Should I spend more time in Cesis or Riga?

How long in Riga or Cesis?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Riga or Cesis to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Riga than Cesis because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Riga, and 1-2 days is enough time in Cesis.

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

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

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

One day in Riga or Cesis?

In Riga, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this off-the-beaten-path destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Lots of people come for the nightlife. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

Cesis is a small town where visitors enjoy the . Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A weekend in Riga or Cesis?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Riga. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Cesis is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. 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 Cesis?

Riga is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Riga. Lots of people come for the nightlife. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Cesis is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. This town offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Riga or Cesis?

You'll find food and shopping around the historical destination of Riga. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the nightlife. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Because Cesis is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. 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.


Which place is cheaper, Cesis 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 Cesis is €108. 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 Cesis in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Cesis 47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Cesis 94
Compare Hotels in Riga and Cesis

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Cesis? 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 Cesis


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.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 15
    Cesis 30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • From Cesis and Sigulda Day Trip with Hotel Transfers: $150
  • From Private Transfer to Tallinn: $342
  • From Private Transfer to Tallinn with Sightseeing: $459
  • From Private Transfer to Vilnius with Sightseeing: $427
  • From Transfer to Tallinn with Turaida Museum Reserve: $230
  • From Vilnius: One-Way Private Transfer to Riga: $182
  • Paintball Adventure: Expert Guide & Transfers Included!: $80
  • 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

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Cesis?

Prices for flights to both Cesis 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
    Cesis 41
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: $52
  • Delicious Pizza Masterclass: $65
  • Unique Guided Walking & Food Tour: $88
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $108
  • Medieval Guided Tour & Three-Course Dinner Experience: $128
  • Private Cooking Master Class In The Latvian Family : $131
  • Cooking Experience with Chef: Learn & Dine: $139
  • Latvian Food: Cooking Masterclass with a Chef: $159

Typical Food Prices in Cesis

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


  • Lunch in town for two
    6.67

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Cesis 16

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: $3.21
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $5.56
  • Canal and Daugava Boat Tour "Through 19 Bridges": $5.88
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.41
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.42
  • Riga Old Town Legends Audio Tour on Your Phone (ENG): $7.39
  • Complete English Self-guided Audio Tour on your Phone: $7.48
  • Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads: $7.49
  • Art Nouveau in Written & Audio Guides Tour: $8.74
  • Boat Sightseeing Tour with Welcome Drink: $9.62
  • Discover Riga's Art Nouveau Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Uncover Riga's Secrets: Enchanting Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Cesis 17

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: $35
  • Riga's Old Town Beer Bike Tour & Guided Pub Crawl: $37
  • Riga Evening Adventure: Pub Crawl & Games Night: $46
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $54
  • Riga Beer Killer Bar Crawl: $55
  • Private Boat & Sparkling Wine Tour: $61
  • Latvian Wine Tasting & Monk Show: $75
  • Old Town Sightseeing & Latvian Wine Tasting with Show: $96
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $103
  • Riga Shooting range, Brewery tour & BBQ Meal: $171
  • Riga Pub Crawl & Party Bus Tour: $523
  • Yacht Tour with Medieval Banquet and Wine Tasting: $3,320

Sample the Local Flavors in Cesis

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

  • From Riga: Cesis Castle, Soviet Bunker &Wine Tasting in Cave: $427


When comparing the travel costs between Riga and Cesis, we can see that Cesis is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Riga or Cesis?

Riga has a larger population, and is about 40 times larger than the population of Cesis. When comparing the sizes of Riga and Cesis, 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 Cesis?

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 Cesis in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Cesis. Many visitors come to Riga in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Cesis for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Riga is around the same temperature as Cesis in the summer. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 17°C (63°F) in July, and Cesis fluctuates around 17°C (63°F).

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


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Cesis 17°C (63°F)

Should I visit Riga or Cesis in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Riga as well as Cesis. Most visitors come to Riga for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Additionally, the autumn months attract visitors to Cesis because of the hiking trails, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Riga is around the same temperature as Cesis. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Riga in October average around 7°C (45°F), and Cesis averages at about 7°C (45°F).

Riga usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Cesis. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Cesis receives 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Cesis 7°C (45°F)

Should I visit Riga or Cesis in the Winter?

Both Cesis and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Riga because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the cuisine are the main draw to Cesis this time of year.

It's quite cold in Cesis in the winter. The weather in Riga can be very cold. In January, Riga is generally around the same temperature as Cesis. Daily temperatures in Riga average around -5°C (23°F), and Cesis fluctuates around -5°C (23°F).

In January, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Cesis. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Cesis receives 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Cesis -5°C (23°F)

Should I visit Riga or Cesis in the Spring?

Both Cesis and Riga during the spring are popular places to visit. The activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Cesis for the small town charm and the natural beauty.

Riga is around the same temperature as Cesis in the spring. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 5°C (42°F) in April, and Cesis fluctuates around 5°C (42°F).

Riga usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Cesis. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Cesis receives 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Cesis 5°C (42°F)

Typical Weather for Cesis and Riga

Riga Cesis
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)