Riga’s International bus station, which also services domestic locations outside the Riga area, is very conveniently situated at the southern end of the Old City and a few hundred metres from the train station. Local trams, trolleybuses and buses pass within a very short distance of the station as well.
While the station is small and services are limited it is clean, well laid out and has everything necessary for your trip into or out of the city, including a tourist information office (Live Riga) for those arriving.
Don’t plan on turning up here a couple of hours before your bus departs intending to have a gourmet breakfast, lunch or dinner. You will be sadly disappointed. Dining options at the station are limited to a very small Narvesen outlet and a coffee kiosk at the rear of the main building. This was adequate for my necessary fix of coffee before boarding our early morning bus to Tallinn, when we left Riga.
The station operates 24hrs per day though between midnight and 5am those not travelling have to pay a small access fee.
While I didn’t avail of it, there is a waiting lounge with TV on the first floor – a welcome alternative to the exposed boarding platforms in the Rigan winter I suspect.
In terms of bus companies operating from here and destinations/ timetables, have a look at the station’s website. There are about a dozen operators including Lux Express (which I used to get to Tallinn), Ecolines, and Eurolines offering popular international services to Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland and more.
While tickets can be purchased just prior to departure at the station, I recommend you advance purchase international tickets on the operators’ website to ensure you get to travel when you want to.
Riga to Tallinn by Luxury Coach
Given my preference for train travel my intent was to travel between Riga and my next destination, Tallinn in Estonia, by train. On checking the train schedule I found that there is only one daily train between the two cities (with a border change). This departed Riga at 12.25 and arrived into Tallinn at 20.00, thus requiring a full day of travel.
As my time in both cities was already too short I decided to take a bus departing at 7am and getting into Tallinn at 11.30 (314kms). This gave me most of the day for sightseeing in Tallinn. The early departure time was not a problem as we were staying just a couple of hundred metres from the bus station in the SemaraH Hotel Metropole so it was an easy walk to the station located very close to the Central Market.
There is no shortage of buses between Riga and Tallinn leaving all hours of the day, and indeed night. The two primary operators are Ecolines and Lux Express. The price (in 2015) ranged from around Euro13 to Euro28. The Euro28 was for a Lux Express Lounge seat, with standard (totally acceptable) seats ranging from Euro13 to Euro18.
While it wasn’t really necessary, we decided to ‘splash out’ and go with the Lux Express Lounge offering. Having just spent around 3 weeks in various parts of Scandinavia Euro28 seemed like an absolute bargain! We had booked our seats online and printed out our tickets prior to going to the station.
Lux Express Lounge coaches run 4 times a day and have 28 standard seats in the front part of the coach with 10 luxury seats in a rear private lounge, separated from the front by a curtain.
In this lounge class we got:
• A very comfortable reclining leather seat with footrest – one seat only on each side of the aisle with a decent recline – though not a ‘flat bed’ for those lucky enough to be familiar with that concept from business class air travel;
• An individual touch screen media system (videos, music, games, internet and ‘bus path’ information – akin to ‘flight path’ information on a plane). Apart from following/checking were we were I didn’t use this;
• A small handy shelf next to each seat, and;
• Free cold drink (water) and a small snack.
All seats on the bus had a 220v power supply, access to free Wi-Fi (which didn’t really work anyway for most of the journey) and free hot drinks from a dispensing machine. While the bus made a short stop half way there was also a toilet on the bus.
According to the website, you can purchase a blanket (Euro4) and a pillow (Euro3) – unless the coach has Russian number plates !!!!!
The trip itself was very pleasant and I really enjoyed the extra leg-room, reclining seat and the additional space more generally in the lounge part of the coach. As such, I was more than happy to have paid the extra Euro10 to upgrade my seat.
I should mention that the snack provided does not suffice for breakfast (or any other meal) and as we didn’t expect it too we picked up a few bakery items and a relatively decent coffee from the Narvesen kiosk in Riga bus station, prior to boarding the bus. While the bus only stops for a few minutes at Parnu en-route (stop pictured below) – there is sufficient time to buy snacks and a drink from a small kiosk at that stop should you wish to do so. Just don’t dilly dally here. I did and nearly missed the bus! Thankfully Andy was able to hold the bus and come get me. Had I been alone I would certainly have missed it.
Outside this brief stop and a pick-up stop at the Raddisson Blu Hotel in Elizabethes Street, Riga Lux Express is a non-stop service.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of General entries on Riga, Latvia. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Take the Train to Hmmm – Not Far – or to start this loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – Riga – A Turbulent Past Left Behind?