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

Should you visit Riga or Zurich?

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

Should I visit Riga or Zurich? 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 high energy, off-the-beaten-path, and charming 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.

Zurich

Zurich is a beautiful, historic, and liberal city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the food, shopping, and museums.

Riga and Zurich: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty


How is Riga different from Zurich?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Riga
Zurich

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

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 Zurich specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Make sure you check out the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fraumünster, as well as the Swiss National Museum.


Is Riga or Zurich Better for Food?

Riga
Zurich

Both Riga and Zurich 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.

Zurich has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Many restaurants have a strong German influence, but you'll also find traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese and chocolate fondue. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in town.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Zurich

Evening events are similar in both Riga and Zurich.

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.

Zurich has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland. There are a high concentration of bars and clubs around town, or you could check out one of the badis, which are pools that also act as bars during the summer months. They're usually located by the lake.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Zurich

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

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.

Zurich has a unique history which comes to life in its historic area. The city has an old town that is split into two parts on each side of the Limmat River. The historic districts are filled with churches, squares, and charming areas that are fun to explore. Walking tours are the best way to explore the old town.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Shopping?

Riga
Zurich

Both Riga and Zurich 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 people travel to Zurich specifically to go shopping. Visitors often buy chocolate, watches, and jewelry in this city. You'll find brand names and luxury items that are of high quality. Each neighborhood has its own character with stores ranging from traditional to international.


Is Riga or Zurich Better for Families?

Riga
Zurich

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Zurich.

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 Zurich. It's a surprisingly mellow city with a relaxing vibe that makes it easy to explore with kids. Popular family-friendly activities include swimming in the Limmat River, sailing on Lake Zurich, and visiting Josefwiese park, which has a large playground.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Couples?

Riga
Zurich

With fun activities for couples, both Riga and Zurich 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.

Zurich makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. One of the most romantic experiences you can have in town is visiting the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. There's an outdoor rooftop thermal pool as well as many ways that you can pamper yourselves.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Students?

Riga
Zurich

Riga and Zurich 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.

Students come from all over the world to visit Zurich. The city offers a number of unique experiences for international students. The academics are good and the university campuses are nice.

Is Riga or Zurich Better for Public Transit?

Riga
Zurich

Both Riga and Zurich offer public transit options.

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

The public transit in Zurich can get you to most places easily. The system is made up of streetcars and buses.


Is Riga or Zurich a more walkable city?

Riga
Zurich

Riga and Zurich 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.

Zurich is a very walkable destination. There are paths that lead along the rivers and the lake connecting the old town areas to other parts of the city.

Should I spend more time in Zurich or Riga?

How long in Riga or Zurich?

In either Riga or Zurich, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Zurich than Riga because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Riga is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Zurich is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Riga or Zurich? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Zurich 2-5

One day in Riga or Zurich?

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 nightlife and live music when visiting the destination of Zurich. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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 Zurich?

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.

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

Five days in Riga or Zurich?

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.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the beautiful destination of Zurich. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.


A week in Riga or Zurich?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the charming 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 beautiful city of Zurich offers shopping and museums. 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.

Which city is cheaper, Zurich 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 Zurich is €194. 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 Zurich in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 42
    Zurich 122
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 84
    Zurich 244
Compare Hotels in Riga and Zurich

Looking for a hotel in Riga or Zurich? 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 Zurich


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 Zurich Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 12
    Zurich 26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Private Departure Transfer from Riga City to Riga RIX Airport: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Riga to Riga International Airport (RIX): $18
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Riga Airport (RIX) to Riga City Center: $19
  • Private Departure Transfer from Riga City Center to Riga Airport (RIX): $19
  • Private Transfer: Riga to Riga International Airport (RIX): $21
  • English Speaking Private Arrival Transfer from Riga Airport: $25
  • Airport transfer & private driver services: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer Riga City to Riga Airport RIX by Sedan Car: $26
  • Private Minibus Departure Transfer to Riga Airport: $27
  • Private Taxi transfer from Jurmala to Riga: $27
  • English Speaking Private Departure Transfer to Riga Airport: $37
  • Transfer service Riga airport: $37

Typical Local Transportation prices in Zurich

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Zurich:


  • City Pass (2)
    26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zurich

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zurich:

  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Train Station to Zurich Airport ZRH: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Transfer from Train Station to Zurich City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Transfer from Zurich City Centre to Train Station: $9.41
  • Ultra - Davos Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to Davos: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from City Centre to Zurich Airport ZRH: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to Train Station: $9.41
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Zurich Airport to Hotel: $31
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Zurich Airport: $31
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Zurich Airport: $39
  • Private Departure Transfer from Zurich City to ZRH Zurich Airport: $39
  • Private Arrival Transfer from ZRH Zurich Airport to Zurich City: $39

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Zurich?

Prices for flights to both Zurich 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
    Zurich 45
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

Typical Food prices in Zurich

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


  • Breakfast for 2
    12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zurich

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

  • Culinary Tour from Zurich with Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue Dinner: $154
  • Overnight Mount Titlis including 4-course dinner: $545

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 17
    Zurich 26

Tours and Activities in Riga

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

  • An audio tour of Old from St Peter's Church to the Monument of Freedom: $5.00
  • Riga's Architecture: An art nouveau history audio tour: $5.00
  • Riga Art Nouveau walking tour: $8.71
  • Classic Car Museum Tour: $9.95
  • Riga Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat: $16
  • Gastronomic tour with professional chef: $19
  • The Best Of Riga Walking Tour: $22
  • Daily Riga Bike Tour: $22
  • The Best Of Riga Walking Tour: $23
  • Best of Riga Walking Tour - Regular Walking tours: $25

Tours and Activities in Zurich

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

  • Zurich Private Tour: Albert Einstein Old Town Exploration Game: $7.45
  • Historical Zürich: An audio tour through the city of a thousand fountains: $9.99
  • Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum Entry Ticket: $16
  • Museum Rietberg Zurich Entrance Ticket: $21
  • Zurich Old Town Walking Tour: 2-Hours: $27
  • Shopping and History Tour of Zurich: $30
  • Zurich Old Town Walking Tour: $30
  • Zürich Historic District Tour: $30
  • Swiss Chocolate Walking Tour of Zurich: $36
  • Zurich Highlights Tour: $40
  • Zurich City Tour Experience: $40
  • Zurich Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $45

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 16
    Zurich 21

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Zurich

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

  • Pub Crawl Zurich: $29


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


When is the best time to visit Riga or Zurich?

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 Zurich in the Summer?

Both Zurich 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 Zurich because of the music scene and the family-friendly experiences.

Riga is cooler than Zurich in the summer. The temperature in Riga is usually 17°C (63°F) in July, and Zurich stays around 21°C (70°F).

In July, Riga usually receives less rain than Zurich. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Zurich receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Zurich 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Riga or Zurich in the Autumn?

Both Zurich 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. Furthermore, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Zurich this time of year.

In the autumn, Riga is much colder than Zurich. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Riga in October are around 7°C (45°F), and Zurich is about 13°C (56°F).

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


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Zurich 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Riga or Zurich in the Winter?

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

Be prepared for some very cold days in Zurich. It's quite cold in Riga in the winter. In January, Riga is generally much colder than Zurich. Temperatures in Riga average around -5°C (23°F), and Zurich stays around 3°C (37°F).

In January, Riga usually receives less rain than Zurich. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Zurich receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Zurich 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Riga or Zurich in the Spring?

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

Riga is much colder than Zurich in the spring. The temperature in Riga is usually 5°C (42°F) in April, and Zurich stays around 12°C (53°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in April than Zurich. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Zurich receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Zurich 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Zurich and Riga

Riga Zurich
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)


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Riga vs. Zurich Travel Comparison

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