A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Riga vs. Kaunas for Nightlife, Backpackers, Food, and Old Town

Should you visit Riga or Kaunas?

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

Should I visit Riga or Kaunas? 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. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Kaunas

Kaunas is a young, vibrant, and cultural city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the nightlife and food.

Riga and Kaunas: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Riga or Kaunas?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Riga than Kaunas, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Riga is popular for its vibrant nightlife scene, busy old town, and beautiful architecture. It is also home to Riga St. Peter's Church. Kaunas is popular for its traditional Lithuanian culture and authentic old town.

How is Riga different from Kaunas?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for its sights and museums. However, Kaunas does not have museums and landmarks.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around 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.

Kaunas does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Kaunas is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Dining out in Riga is an experience not to be missed. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Kaunas. It is a great place to try traditional Lithuanian dishes as there are a number of good restaurants and an active restaurant scene. Popular local dishes include cepelinai potato dumplings and cold beetroot soup.

Is Riga or Kaunas Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is renowned for its evening party scene. Also, Kaunas is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife.

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 Kaunas. The nightlife scene continues to improve with a growing number of bars and clubs. During the warmer months you'll find many places opening outdoor areas. The old town is one of the more lively areas in town where it's nice to enjoy a drink on a terrace.

Is Riga or Kaunas Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for its historic old town charm. Also, Kaunas is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its historic old town.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of 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.

Kaunas is a good destination for visiting its old town. The old town has tree-lined streets with charming cafes and a number of museums. It's also where you'll find the Kaunas Castle.


Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Kaunas?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for its shopping areas. However, Kaunas is a mediocre city for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity 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.

Kaunas is a good destination for shopping. The old town is the place to pick up souvenirs, but there are also shopping malls and outlets in the city.

Is Riga or Kaunas Better for Families?

Riga
Kaunas

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Kaunas.

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.

Kaunas is a family-friendly city. The city has both outdoor and indoor areas that are fun for kids. Vienybės Square has fountains and splash areas that are fun for kids of all ages. Lampėdis Lake is a great place to swim or visit an adventure park. When the weather isn't great, you can head indoors to the the Kaunas Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum or "CurioCity" in the Mega Mall.

Is Riga or Kaunas Better for Couples?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is a good destination for couples. However, Kaunas is a mediocre city for romance.

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.

Kaunas is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The city has a number of historical sites as well as interesting restaurants that you can explore.


Is Riga or Kaunas Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Kaunas

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

Riga is a very popular city to visit for backpackers. 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 budget travelers visit Kaunas. It's not a popular destination, but there are enough concerts and festivals throughout the year that it does see a few tourists.

Is Riga or Kaunas Better for Students?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for students. Also, Kaunas is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Many students visit 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.

Plenty of students visit Kaunas. The city has a vibrant and young student population. It also hosts festivals, concerts, and other events that make it a fun destination for international students.

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

Riga
Kaunas

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

Many visitors use the public transit system in Riga. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.

Kaunas has some public transit options. There are both buses and trolleybuses around town.


Is Riga or Kaunas a more walkable city?

Riga
Kaunas

Riga is notable for its ease of walking around. Also, Kaunas is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its walkability.

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

Kaunas is somewhat walkable. When the weather is nice, the city is a nice place to take a walk.

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

Should I spend more time in Kaunas or Riga?

How long in Riga or Kaunas?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Riga or Kaunas to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Riga than Kaunas 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 Kaunas.

Families should spend more time in Riga than Kaunas. 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 Kaunas. 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 Kaunas 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 Kaunas? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Kaunas 1-2

One day in Riga or Kaunas?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Riga. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the food and nightlife when visiting the destination of Kaunas. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A weekend in Riga or Kaunas?

Riga is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the nightlife, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Kaunas 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 Kaunas?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Riga. Don't miss the nightlife, as that's what most people do. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find food and nightlife around the cultural destination of Kaunas. 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 Kaunas?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the off-the-beaten-path destination of Riga. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

The vibrant city of Kaunas 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours for Seniors to Lithuania, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Vilnius.


Which place is cheaper, Kaunas 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 Kaunas is €95. 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 Kaunas in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Kaunas 44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Kaunas 88
Compare Hotels in Riga and Kaunas

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Kaunas? 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 Kaunas


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 Kaunas Hotel Prices.

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Private Transfer from Riga Airport RIX to Riga City Center: $32
  • Private Transfer from Riga City Center to Riga Airport RIX: $32
  • Riga Airport Transfer: $33
  • 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
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer: $130
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer : $163
  • Private Transfer: Ryga to Klaipeda via Hill of Crosses & Rundale Palace: $260

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kaunas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kaunas:

  • Private Transfer from Kaunas City to Kaunas Airport KUN by car: $46
  • Private Kaunas Airport to City Transfer: $48
  • Departure Private Transfer Kaunas City to Kaunas Airport KUN by Minivan: $56
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride with Hotel Transfer: $236

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Kaunas?

Prices for flights to both Kaunas 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
    Kaunas 37
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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Kaunas 19

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
  • Āgenskalns 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 Kaunas

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

  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Kaunas' Hidden Gems: $13
  • Kaunas Old Town tour + IX Fort Museum (BONUS): $55
  • Recreational Tour in Kaunas - The City of Freedom: $64
  • Private Custom Walking Tour with a Local Guide in Kaunas: $76
  • Kaunas Tour: Love Stories: $86
  • Kaunas Old Town: 2-Hour Ghost Tour: $86
  • Kaunas Private Walking Tour: $101
  • Kaunas city center tour + IX Fort Museum (BONUS): $109
  • Kaunas, Lithuania 2-Hour Sightseeing Tour: $145
  • Kaunas Tour: Love Stories: $170
  • Kaunas Old Town: 2-Hour Ghost Tour: $170
  • Kayak Tour in Nemunas: $185

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Kaunas 16

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


When comparing the travel costs between Riga and Kaunas, we can see that Riga 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 Kaunas Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Riga or Kaunas?

Riga has a larger population, and is about 98% larger than the population of Kaunas. When comparing the sizes of Riga and Kaunas, 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 Kaunas?

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 Kaunas in the Summer?

Both Kaunas and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Riga for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Kaunas because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Riga is around the same temperature as Kaunas. Typically, the summer temperatures in Riga in July average around 17°C (63°F), and Kaunas averages at about 18°C (64°F).

In July, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Kaunas. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Kaunas receives 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Kaunas 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Riga or Kaunas in the Autumn?

Both Kaunas and Riga during the autumn are popular places to visit. 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. Also, the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Kaunas this time of year.

In October, Riga is generally around the same temperature as Kaunas. Daily temperatures in Riga average around 7°C (45°F), and Kaunas fluctuates around 8°C (46°F).

Riga usually gets more rain in October than Kaunas. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Kaunas receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Kaunas 8°C (46°F)

Should I visit Riga or Kaunas in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Kaunas. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Kaunas for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Kaunas. It's quite cold in Riga in the winter. Riga is around the same temperature as Kaunas in the winter. The daily temperature in Riga averages around -5°C (23°F) in January, and Kaunas fluctuates around -5°C (23°F).

In January, Riga usually receives less rain than Kaunas. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Kaunas receives 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain each month for the winter.


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

Should I visit Riga or Kaunas in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Riga as well as Kaunas. Many travelers come to Riga for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Kaunas in the spring for the activities around the city.

In the spring, Riga is cooler than Kaunas. Typically, the spring temperatures in Riga in April average around 5°C (42°F), and Kaunas averages at about 7°C (44°F).

Riga usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Kaunas. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Kaunas receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Kaunas 7°C (44°F)

Typical Weather for Kaunas and Riga

Riga Kaunas
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) -5°C (23°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) -4°C (25°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 0°C (33°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 7°C (44°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 13°C (56°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 16°C (62°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 17°C (63°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 13°C (55°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 8°C (46°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 2°C (36°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) -2°C (28°F) 47 mm (1.9 in)