Riga: A Birthday Weekend Away

Back in 2016, I wanted to go travelling for my birthday. Although we had previously done a trip to Europe in 2015, it wasn’t really what we expected. However, we wanted to give travelling another go! Luckily, we gave travelling another shot as the rest is history..

I had heard many good things about the nightlife in Eastern Europe, mainly from travellers youtube videos. Also, we had been to Prague in 2015 and the night life was crazy! I remember at the time, people were quite surprised we had decided to spend my birthday in Riga, but honestly it was one of the best weekends of my life. We met a huge group of crazy people and had chances to do things that most people don’t ever do!

When we first arrived in Riga we checked into our hostel (Riga Old Town Hostel & Backpackers Pub). Honestly, this hostel is great! What I really liked about the hostel was it allowed you to meet some awesome people and have an awesome night! Unless the rules have changed, the bar stays open until 3am so you can carry on the party very late into the night! (After checking on hostel world, the bar still closes at 3am). Also between the hours of 5pm-7pm there is happy hour – which means 30% off all tap beers!

The hostel has a sister hostel round the corner, The Naughty Squirrel. This is where the pub crawl starts if you are interested in having a mad night! However, this hostel is a bit run down and personally I am really glad we stayed out Old Town. Another quirky thing about Old Town is that it has a campervan as the reception and bar area within the hostel!

On arrival, we accepted a free welcome beer (always the sign of a good hostel) and we were give a free map guide where the hostel staff told us what they key attractions were. They also explained about the tours and activities which they can arrange.

As we landed in Riga at night time, we decided to just have a quick walk around the local area and see some of the historical monuments around the city. However, with it being -5C and our hostel having a bar and a pub crawl, we decided to get ready and sign up for the crawl.

After signing up, we went to the sister hostel (Naughty Squirrel) where we played party games and met loads of people from all around the world. This was the travelling that excited us, the idea of meeting lots of cool people. Unfortunately, we didn’t really do that during our first Europe trip. We also tried a new drink, Riga Black Balsam, which although not many people seemed to like, I really did! However, having 4 or 5 of these drinks can quickly escalate your night! The amount of free shots and drinks that you get on this pub crawl, and the cheapness of the drinks means that you soon become incredibly drunk! Which for a birthday weekend is perfect!

After visiting many bars we ended up at one of the biggest clubs I have ever been in. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name, but if you sign up to the pub crawl you’ll visit for sure! Downstairs in the first room, is a takeaway shop, where you can buy pizza slices and burgers! The second room had a huge cloak room to put any coats and bags, before another room having loads of pool tables. The other remaining rooms have several bars and the final room downstairs is the club area. It is incredibly easy to get lost here, however such an awesome place!

The next day after waking up ridiculously early to say we returned about 4am, we got our free breakfast beer. Yes, that’s right! Beer for breakfast! Although as you can imagine these were going down really slowly. During the day time we walked around Rigas old town as well as walking to do some escape rooms! We ended up getting carried away and trying to complete 3 escape rooms. Unfortunately, we wasn’t very good. One of the escape rooms, was called casino and 5 people is usually the recommended number of people for this room. However, with just the 2 of us we so nearly completed it!

After spending the day walking around Riga, we went back to the hostel where we decided to try a beer tasting tray. You get 14 beers to try and some were very good beers! Others… my word were they bad! However, I would still recommend doing the beer tasting because you get to try locally brewed beers from Riga. After we finished the last of the beer tasting, we signed up for the pub crawl again and met up with everyone we saw the day before. The night went pretty much the same way as we spent the last, having a great time and consuming a lot of alcohol!

The next day was going to be our best day yet! Through the hostel we booked to go winter bobsledding! This was an amazing chance to do something really unique. We had gone with some people we had met at our hostel which made the whole experience really fun. The whole tour was a really good package. The hostel provide transportation to and from the hostel which makes your life a lot easier.

12791061_10208979152059991_837535517642797509_n

What I loved about bobsledding is that you had the chance to do something that not many people have done! Being able to travel at speeds of 110kmh as well as experience 4G’s was such an unreal feeling. What I can say, during the run it feels a lot faster than 110kmh! The constant turning of the sleigh, and feeling every bump on the track made the experience come to life. I remember when the driver started running down the slope of the track, I was wondering if I had made a mistake as the driver had warned us that people had died before due to the drivers being poor and overturning the sleigh. However, as soon as the run was over (which it ended so quickly!) I just wanted to go and do the whole experience again. The adrenaline rush was immense!

After having done one of the most unique experiences of our lives, we were all in such a good mood on the way back to the hostel. As soon as we got back, we got some beers in and just talked about how crazy the day had been! As like the other nights, we signed up to the pub crawl again and had an awesome night! Apparently.. It was a bit too awesome as we woke up with only 1.5hours left before our flight was scheduled to depart. Now this might not sound bad, but we still had to check out, and get to the airport which was a 20 minute drive away. By the time we had got to the boarding stage, we were on last call, but thankfully made the flight home! We learned a valuable lesson, don’t get home 1 hour before you have to leave for the airport, because you will fall asleep! Not that we have stuck to this lesson..

For those of you who hadn’t thought about Riga, or maybe even heard of the place before this article, honestly look into it! Riga is a fantastic getaway city, and if you stay in the right hostel like us, you’ll meet some awesome people who just want to have a good time! If you’re an adrenaline junky, then go try out the bobsledding as it is truly an immense experience!

View the rest of our Riga pictures here.

Advertisements

45 thoughts on “Riga: A Birthday Weekend Away

  1. Riga sounds so much fun. To be honest I did not think that the bobsledding would travel so fast – 110km per hour! Hostels are definitely the places to stay to meet new friends and to explore a city.

  2. Birthday in Riga sure sounds like fun. I’m glad you had a great time for your birthday. Beer for breakfast sounds awesome 🙂

  3. Beer tasting with 14 different types of beers would probably be the best way to spend a weekend away. And bobsledding does sound unique. I had not even heard of it until I read your post. Seems like you guys had a fun time. There are so many exciting things to do in Riga!

  4. Can see you had a whale of a time celebrating your birthday in Riga. The place seems to be tailor made to have a rocking time. The Old Town hostel too seems like the best place to head to for your stay while in Riga. The idea of a campervan as the reception is something that looks really interesting.

  5. I’m so jealous that you went bobsledding! Looks like you guys had an amazing time, with the breakfast beer being a hidden bonus.

  6. What a great name for a hostel… ha ha! I have been in Riga some years ago and we had so much fun. Looks like guys had too… with so many different activities. Wow, I’m not sure I could do bobsledding, I might be too scared. But I’m sure it feels unreal as you said.

  7. Sounds like the perfect getaway for a bloke’s birthday, might do it as a surprise for my boyfriend… if he ever gets his damn passport.

  8. It sounds like you had an amazing time! I love that you went bobsledding! I’ve always wanted to try it, but haven’t seen it at any places I’ve been to.

  9. What a great weekend that was! Beer and bobsledding sounds like a plan! I love that this is a lesser known city, and am thrilled that there are still hidden gems in the world! Thanks for sharing this one 😀

  10. Glad you had an amazing time on your birthday weekend. Happy birthday to you, and enjoy your youth! Travel to many places as you can and have a wonderful time.

  11. I have heard a lot of good things about Riga and a few friends had planned to go there two years ago, but health issue got in the way.Sounds like you had fun.

  12. Riga, Latvia is one place I really want to go soon. I heard a lot of good places and Naughty Squirrel is one place I want to stay on. Seems like a fun place and I get to socialize with others too. I hope I can really go there next year. Plus my fave tennis players: Jelena Ostapenko and Ernests Gulbis are from Latvia!

    1. You will have a great time there! It’s a very sociable place with a big backpacker scene. Awesome to hear about your fave tennis players, I am a huge tennis fan and a Rafa fan! Unfortunately, Gulbis has been missing from the top for a while, always enjoyed his game!

Leave a Reply