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

Should you visit Riga or Helsinki?

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

Should I visit Riga or Helsinki? 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 vibrant, fun, and high energy 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. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Helsinki

Helsinki is a environmentally conscious, waterfront, and active city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Riga and Helsinki: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good 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
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


How is Riga different from Helsinki?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Riga
Helsinki

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

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 Helsinki specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Many of the city's sights and attractions center around nature and the water. Major hightlights of the city include the Fortress of Sveaborg, Seurasaari open-Air Museum, and Temppeliaukio Rock Church. The city is also home to The National Museum of Finland.


Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Food?

Riga
Helsinki

Both Riga and Helsinki offer a number of unique 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.

Helsinki is becoming an appealing option for foodies. Food in town is all about local flavors and simple ingredients. The dishes let the flavor speak for itself without fancy cooking techniques or complex flavor combinations. Many of the restaurants are locally sourced with traditional ingredients. You'll find a lot of seafood, herring, grilled sausages, pancakes, and desserts.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Helsinki

With more options to choose from, you'll find a more vibrant nightlife in Riga.

Riga is a world class party destination. 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 Helsinki. The nightlife scene is at its best on weekends when the city center comes to life with parties, dance clubs, and student activities. Many of the best clubs and bars are concentrated in the city center. Weekends are a bit calmer and things quiet down a lot.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Shopping?

Riga
Helsinki

Both Riga and Helsinki are good 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 Helsinki. The city is great for shopping, with many brands focused on sustainability. There are local boutiques as well as name brands. Flea markets and vintage shops are also popular.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Families?

Riga
Helsinki

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Helsinki.

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.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Helsinki. The coastal setting offers many activities that kids and adults alike will enjoy. This capital city has a calm atmosphere with plenty of parkland to explore. The shoreline is dotted by islands where you'll also find a zoo and a fort. Kids will also enjoy exploring the islands by boat.


Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Couples?

Riga
Helsinki

With fun activities for couples, both Riga and Helsinki make for a good 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.

Helsinki makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city's many parks offer the perfect setting for a picnic or a walk. There are also botanical gardens, evening boat rides, and saunas that will help you enjoy a romantic trip away.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Helsinki

While Helsinki and Riga are both good for backpackers, overall Riga is more popular.

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 Helsinki. With its active nightlife scene, vibrant atmosphere, and inclusive personality, this city is a fun place for backpackers, but you should expect to pay a premium for the experience. Many backpackers avoid the city because they have heard how expensive it is. There are a few hostels around that will help you keep costs a bit more manageable.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Students?

Riga
Helsinki

Riga and Helsinki are both good 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.

Helsinki is very popular with students. The city has an active student life with plenty of culture and nature. It's active nightlife scene and beautiful natural areas make it a wonderful place to study.

Is Riga or Helsinki Better for Public Transit?

Riga
Helsinki

Both Riga and Helsinki offer public transit options.

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

The public transit in Helsinki can get you to most places easily. Transit options include bus, tram, metro, commuter train and ferry services.


Is Riga or Helsinki a more walkable city?

Riga
Helsinki

Riga and Helsinki both are comparable when exploring on foot.

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

Helsinki is a somewhat walkable city. Many neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. The air is also clean and the setting is refreshing.

Should I spend more time in Helsinki or Riga?

How long in Riga or Helsinki?

It's fun to spend time in either Riga or Helsinki. Both can be explored in comparable amounts of time.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Riga is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Helsinki is 2-4 days.


  • How many days in Riga or Helsinki? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Helsinki 2-4

One day in Riga or Helsinki?

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.

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

A weekend in Riga or Helsinki?

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.

Helsinki 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 Helsinki?

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.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the active destination of Helsinki. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


A week in Riga or Helsinki?

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 coastal city of Helsinki offers nightlife and food. 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 city is cheaper, Helsinki or Riga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Riga is €82, while the average daily cost in Helsinki is €112. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Riga and Helsinki in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 42
    Helsinki 59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 84
    Helsinki 118
Compare Hotels in Riga and Helsinki

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Helsinki? 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 Helsinki


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 Helsinki Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 12
    Helsinki 18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Transfer service Riga airport: $37
  • Transfer from Riga to Tallinn: $283
  • Taxi Transfer: $42
  • Riga to Vilnius transfer with Sightseeing: $347
  • Riga to Tallinn transfer with Sightseeing: $335
  • Riga Tank Ride - 2 Hours - Guided with Return Transfers: $1,192
  • Riga Return Airport Transfer: $66
  • Riga Party Bus Airport Transfer: $382
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer: $133
  • Riga International Airport RIX Luxury Van Private Departure Transfer: $54
  • Riga International Airport RIX Luxury Van Private Arrival Transfer: $54
  • Riga Airport to City Center Private Transfers: $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Helsinki

Also for Helsinki, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ultra - Helsinki Private Transfer from City Centre to Helsinki Cruise Port: $8.71
  • Ultra - Helsinki Private Transfer from Helsinki Cruise Port to City Centre: $8.71
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Helsinki to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL): $33
  • Private Departure Transfer from Helsinki City Center to Helsinki Airport (HEL): $34
  • From Tallinn: Return Day Trip Ferry Transfer to Helsinki: $36
  • Private Departure Transfer from Helsinki City to Helsinki Vantaa Airport: $40
  • Airport transfer in Helsinki: $50
  • Best Transfer Helsinki: $50
  • VIP Transfer Helsinki Airport: $53
  • VIP car Airport Transfer Helsinki: $56
  • Private Chauffeur Transfer Helsinki: $56
  • Arrival Private Transfer Business Car Helsinki Port to Helsinki City: $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Helsinki?

Prices for flights to both Helsinki 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 26
    Helsinki 27
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.

  • Private Guided Virtual Food Tour of Riga: $12
  • Central Market Latvian Food Tour: $34
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $102
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $102

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings: $137

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 17
    Helsinki 22

Tours and Activities in Riga

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

  • "Best of Riga" 6-hour Private Car & Walking Tour: $373
  • 2 Day Gastronomy Tour In Latgale: $267
  • 2 Day Gauja National Park Tour: $199
  • 2 Day Kurzeme Winery Tour: $224
  • ATV-QUAD rent and guided tours: $48
  • All Inclusive Honest History Tour - Āraiši, Cēsis, Līgatne, Sigulda: $248
  • Alternative Riga Photoshoot Tour: $49
  • An audio tour of Old from St Peter's Church to the Monument of Freedom: $5.00
  • Art Nouveau Small Group Walking Tour of Riga: $193
  • Art Nouveau Walking Tour in Riga: $57
  • Beer Bike Experience: $45
  • Best of Riga Walking Tour: $231

Tours and Activities in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Skip the Line: Flying Cinema Tour Of Helsinki Experience, single ticket: $15
  • Skip the Line: SEA LIFE Helsinki Entrance Ticket: $19
  • Helsinki Self-Guided Audio Tour: $20
  • Sea Life Entrance Tickets: $22
  • Highlights & Hidden Gems Self-Guided Walking Tour: $25
  • Sightseeing Boat Tour in Archipelago of Helsinki: $27
  • City Highlights 1.5-Hour Archipelago Cruise: $28
  • 90-minute Helsinki Boat Sightseeing on Beautiful Canal Route: $28
  • Helsinki Archipelago: Sightseeing Boat Tour: $28
  • Private Tour with a Local Guide: $33
  • Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Valid for 24 Hours: $34
  • City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $37

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 16
    Helsinki 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: $37
  • Pub Crawl- Your best night out in Riga with our local guide!: $47
  • Riga Public Pub Crawl: $60
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $64
  • Riga Brewery Tour: $83
  • Riga Brewery Tour: $83
  • Riga Beer Killer Bar Crawl: $83
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $115
  • Gauja National Park Tour: Castles and Wine Tasting: $149
  • Culinary, Historic and Wine Tour to Sigulda and Cesis: $224
  • Exclusive Latvian Wine Tasting In Riga: $380
  • 1.5-Hour Latvian Wine Tasting Experience: $476


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


When is the best time to visit Riga or Helsinki?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Riga or Helsinki in the Summer?

Both Helsinki and Riga during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Riga in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Helsinki for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Riga is around the same temperature as Helsinki in the summer. The temperature in Riga is usually 17°C (63°F) in July, and Helsinki stays around 17°C (62°F).

Riga usually gets more rain in July than Helsinki. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Helsinki 17°C (62°F)

Should I visit Riga or Helsinki in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Helsinki. 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. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Helsinki because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Riga is a little warmer than Helsinki. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Riga in October are around 7°C (45°F), and Helsinki is about 6°C (42°F).

In October, Riga usually receives less rain than Helsinki. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Helsinki 6°C (42°F)

Should I visit Riga or Helsinki in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Riga as well as Helsinki. The winter months attract visitors to Riga because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Helsinki this time of year.

It's quite cold in Helsinki in the winter. The weather in Riga can be very cold. In January, Riga is generally a little warmer than Helsinki. Temperatures in Riga average around -5°C (23°F), and Helsinki stays around -6°C (21°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in January than Helsinki. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Helsinki -6°C (21°F)

Should I visit Riga or Helsinki in the Spring?

Both Helsinki and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Helsinki for the natural beauty.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Helsinki. Riga is much warmer than Helsinki in the spring. The temperature in Riga is usually 5°C (42°F) in April, and Helsinki stays around 3°C (37°F).

In April, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Helsinki. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Helsinki 3°C (37°F)

Typical Weather for Helsinki and Riga

Riga Helsinki
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) -6°C (21°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) -7°C (20°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) -3°C (27°F) 34 mm (1.4 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 3°C (37°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 9°C (49°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 17°C (62°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 16°C (60°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 11°C (51°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 6°C (42°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 1°C (33°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) -4°C (26°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)


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Riga vs. Helsinki Travel Comparison

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