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

Should you visit Riga or Vilnius?

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

Should I visit Riga or Vilnius? 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 unique, historical, and vibrant 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 nightlife, food, and shopping.

Vilnius

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

Riga and Vilnius: 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
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Riga or Vilnius?

You'll generally find more things to do in Riga than Vilnius. Riga is bigger than Vilnius, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. 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. Vilnius is well known for its authentic old town and long running history.

How is Riga different from Vilnius?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

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.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Vilnius. The city has fascinating museums relating to Soviet times. These include the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and the Lithuanian Diaspora Art Museum. Other notable sights include the Three Crosses Monument and the St. Anne's and Bernardine Church Complex.


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

Riga
Vilnius

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

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.

Vilnius is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The food is hearty with plenty of meat and potatoes. There are also soups and herring dishes as well as great desserts. Popular dishes in the area include cepelinai (meat filled potato dumplings), kibinai (a pastry), and potato pancakes.

Is Riga or Vilnius Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is an amazing city to visit for nightlife and partying. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

Riga has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. 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.

Vilnius has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The large student population is at the heart of the city's nightlife scene. You'll find most of the activity centered around three streets - Vilniaus, Islandijos and Vokiečių. These areas have a number of bars and clubs, and they draw the biggest crowds.

Is Riga or Vilnius Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Vilnius

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

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 Vilnius. The old town is filled with history, architecture, and churches. It's also where you'll find Vilnius University. At the heart of the area is Pilies Gatve (Castle Street), which has shopping, cafes, and restaurants.


Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Vilnius?

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is notable for its shopping opportunities. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

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.

Vilnius has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. For quaint shops, head to old town, particularly around Pilies Gatve. The city also has an open air market, Kalvarijų Turgus, that is popular on Saturdays. There are also a few shopping malls around town.

Is Riga or Vilnius Better for Families?

Riga
Vilnius

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Vilnius.

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.

Vilnius is a family-friendly city. The city has a number of historic sights, but once your kids have had their fill, you can head to one of the outdoor or indoor play areas in the city center. There's also a toy museum and an Energy and Technology Museum that kids will enjoy. After a busy day, make sure you grab some ice cream to lift everyone's spirits.

Is Riga or Vilnius Better for Couples?

Riga
Vilnius

With fun activities for couples, both Riga and Vilnius 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.

Vilnius is a good city for couples to visit. The city is filled with viewpoints, from hill tops to towers, where you can enjoy romantic views over the landscape. You can also dine in a local restaurant or enjoy a picnic in one of the outdoor settings.


Is Riga or Vilnius Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is an amazing city to visit for backpackers. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit 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 budget travelers and backpackers visit Vilnius. For backpackers who want to escape the crowds, this off-the-beaten path European capital is a great option. It has history, charm, and an authenticity that is hard to find in a more touristy area. It's also an affordable city, with hostels and plenty of cheap places to eat.

Is Riga or Vilnius Better for Students?

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is notable for students. Also, Vilnius 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 Vilnius. The city is small but charming with a number of places where international students can study. It's an affordable city with a lively atmosphere and an authenticate and genuine personality.

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

Riga
Vilnius

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

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

Vilnius has some public transit options. Bus and trolleybuses are available.


Is Riga or Vilnius a more walkable city?

Riga
Vilnius

Riga is notable for its high level of walkability. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit 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.

Vilnius is a somewhat walkable city. The old town is the most walkable part of the city.

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

Should I spend more time in Vilnius or Riga?

How long in Riga or Vilnius?

It's fun to spend time in either Riga or Vilnius. In our opinion, Riga has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Riga than Vilnius. In general, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Riga, and 1-4 days is enough time in Vilnius.

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

One day in Riga or Vilnius?

In Riga, you'll find nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Vilnius. 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 Vilnius?

In Riga, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Riga has to offer.

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


Five days in Riga or Vilnius?

Riga is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

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

A week in Riga or Vilnius?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Riga. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Riga. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

The religious city of Vilnius 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 One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Vilnius, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Lithuania.


Which place is cheaper, Vilnius 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 Vilnius is €94. 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 Vilnius in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Vilnius 42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Vilnius 84
Compare Hotels in Riga and Vilnius

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Vilnius? 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 Vilnius


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 Vilnius Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 15
    Vilnius 8.30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Riga Airport to Hotel Transfer: $27
  • Private Transfer from Riga City Center to Riga Airport RIX: $32
  • Private Transfer From Riga Airport To Riga City Center: $39
  • Riga Airport to Riga City - Private Transfer: $53
  • Riga City to Riga Airport - Private Transfer: $53
  • Riga Airport to City Center Private Transfers: $59
  • Paintball Adventure: Expert Guide & Transfers Included!: $81
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Riga Airport RIX to Riga City by Minibus: $91
  • Riga Private Mercedes Benz Airport Transfer: $125
  • Riga Gun Experience: Roundtrip Transfer and 4 Firearms: $132
  • From Cesis and Sigulda Day Trip with Hotel Transfers: $151
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer : $165

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vilnius

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Vilnius:

  • Private Vilnius Airport Arrival Transfer: $27
  • Private transfer from Vilnius (VNO) airport to/from Vilnius: $30
  • Vilnius Airport Transfer: $52
  • Vilnius Private 1-Way Airport Transfer: $54
  • Jewish Heritage Sites Private Tour with Transfer: $215
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride with Hotel Transfer: $215
  • Transfer from Kaunas Airport to Vilnius: $215
  • Private Transfer: Vilnius to Klaipeda or Klaipeda to Vilnius via Trakai Castle: $242
  • From Druskininkai & Grutas Park Tour with Transfer: $517
  • Riga / Tallinn / Vilnius. Transfer Between Baltic States: $581

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Vilnius?

Prices for flights to both Vilnius 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
    Vilnius 40
Typical Food Prices in Riga

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


  • Fast Food Lunch
    5.77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Riga

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

  • Central Market Latvian Food Tour: $42
  • Unique Food Tour: $90
  • Medieval Guided Tour & Three-Course Dinner Experience: $97
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $115
  • Private Cooking Master Class In The Latvian Family : $133
  • Cooking Experience with Chef: Learn & Dine: $140
  • Latvian Food: Cooking Masterclass with a Chef: $153

Typical Food Prices in Vilnius

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


  • Dinner for Two
    13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Vilnius

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

  • Dinner in local family: $75

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Vilnius 9.72

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: $3.23
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.45
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.46
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $7.00
  • Riga Old Town Legends Audio Tour on Your Phone (ENG): $7.39
  • Entrance Ticket - House of the Black Heads: $7.54
  • Complete Self-guided Audio Tour on your Phone: $8.51
  • Boat tour in Canal and Daugava: $9.70
  • Discover Riga's Art Nouveau Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Uncover Riga's Secrets: Enchanting Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Riga Nightlife Ticket: $11

Typical Entertainment Prices in Vilnius

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Vilnius are as follows:


  • Walking Tour
    5.79

Tours and Activities in Vilnius

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

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.23
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $6.46
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.46
  • Vilnius Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.59
  • Secrets of Old Vilnius Smartphone App GPS Audio Walking Tour: $7.50
  • Explore Vilnius's Rich Tapestry: In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Skip the Line: Europos Parkas, Open-Air Museum Ticket Vilnius, Lithuania: $12
  • Vibrant Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $14
  • Vilnius Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Regular walking tour of Vilnius Old Town: $19
  • Regular walking tour of Soviet Vilnius: $19

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Vilnius 6.38

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: $25
  • Pub Crawl in Riga: $33
  • Riga's Old Town Beer Bike Tour & Guided Pub Crawl: $38
  • Riga Evening Adventure: Pub Crawl & Games Night: $46
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $54
  • Riga Brewery Tour: $71
  • Latvian Wine Tasting & Monk Show: $75
  • Old Town Sightseeing & Latvian Wine Tasting with Show: $97
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $104
  • Riga Pub Crawl & Party Bus Tour: $527
  • Yacht Tour with Medieval Banquet and Wine Tasting: $3,344

Typical Alcohol Prices in Vilnius

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Vilnius from other travelers:


  • Beer
    4.34

Sample the Local Flavors in Vilnius

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

  • Vilnius Private Pub & Bar Crawl Tour & Hidden Gems: $46
  • Beer degustation at Bear & Boar Brewery Taproom: $54


When comparing the travel costs between Riga and Vilnius, 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 Vilnius Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Riga or Vilnius?

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

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 Vilnius in the Summer?

Both Vilnius 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 Vilnius because of the family-friendly experiences.

Riga is around the same temperature as Vilnius in the summer. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 17°C (63°F) in July, and Vilnius fluctuates around 18°C (65°F).

In July, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Vilnius. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


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

Should I visit Riga or Vilnius in the Autumn?

Both Vilnius 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 shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Vilnius this time of year.

In the autumn, Riga is around the same temperature as Vilnius. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Riga in October average around 7°C (45°F), and Vilnius averages at about 8°C (46°F).

Riga usually gets more rain in October than Vilnius. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Riga or Vilnius in the Winter?

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

Be prepared for some very cold days in Vilnius. It's quite cold in Riga in the winter. In January, Riga is generally around the same temperature as Vilnius. Daily temperatures in Riga average around -5°C (23°F), and Vilnius fluctuates around -5°C (23°F).

In January, Riga usually receives less rain than Vilnius. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


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

Should I visit Riga or Vilnius in the Spring?

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

Riga is cooler than Vilnius in the spring. The daily temperature in Riga averages around 5°C (42°F) in April, and Vilnius fluctuates around 7°C (45°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in April than Vilnius. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Vilnius 7°C (45°F)

Typical Weather for Vilnius and Riga

Riga Vilnius
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) -5°C (23°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) -4°C (26°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 1°C (33°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 7°C (45°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 14°C (57°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 13°C (56°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 8°C (46°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 2°C (36°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) -2°C (29°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)