Three airlines offer direct routes from the UK to the Latvian capital of Riga, from several major airports. The low-cost carrier Ryanair provides flights from East Midlands, Manchester, Glasgow Prestwick and London Stansted airports. Another budget airline, Wizz Air, has flights to Riga from London Luton and Doncaster/Sheffield. The Latvian national airline, airBaltic, is also a low-cost carrier, offering direct routes to the capital from Aberdeen and London Gatwick.
Riga airport is about 20 minutes from the city centre by the Airport Express shuttle bus, with tickets from five euros each way. The city bus service number 22 has regular departures between the centre and the airport, taking around 30 minutes. The minibus route number 241 also stops at the airport, offering transfers to the city.
The Latvian capital is a dramatic and romantic destination that features some of Eastern Europe's most striking architecture. Restoration work has preserved and revived the ornate Art Nouveau and jugendstil apartment blocks and the centre of the city is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
For a flavour of the city's rich medieval heritage, the ideal starting point is the central market, once more a bustling and thriving commercial hub, with pavilions showcasing traditional Latvian crafts and products. Nearby, the imposing Swedish Gate survives from the 17th century and the attractive Cat House, with its cheeky feline sculptures, is a perennially popular photo opportunity.
Visitors who want to get a sense of Latvian history and Riga's troubled 20th century should take the opportunity to visit the War Museum, with exhibitions detailing the tragedies, atrocities and heroism it experienced before the city's post-Soviet resurgence.