In 2022, the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) Business Forum is hosted in Latvia, one of the 3SI member countries. The event is taking place at the Hanzas Perons venue in Riga, the country's capital city, on June 20-21, 2022. Located on the shore of the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava, Riga is Latvia's most populated city and a central transit hub with the busiest airport in the Baltics.
To ensure your stay in Riga during the 3SI Business Forum is as enjoyable and convenient as possible, here's a brief guide on the city.
A significant transit hub
Riga's official foundation dates back to 1201. Due to its convenient location, this 800-year-old city has been a transit hub ever since. After becoming a member of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century, it grew into a significant Hanseatic trading post, which gave the city economic and political stability, providing Riga with a strong foundation for future growth and prosperity.
Today, located in the center of the Baltics, Riga continues to be a significant transit hub with the region's biggest and busiest airport. Getting to Riga by plane is always a convenient option, as the airport is connected to most of the major European business hubs and cities and offers direct flights to 100+ destinations.
The airport is located relatively close to the Riga center. A cab drive from the airport takes no longer than 20 minutes, and the airport bus drive (transit bus No 22) takes about 30 minutes. More detailed information about airport transport can be found here.
Riga, especially the city center, is thoroughly walkable – nothing is particularly far. As a faster way to get around, we advise taking a cab as the public transit may be a bit tricky to wrap one's head around in a short time. The most convenient way to order a taxi is via the Bolt application.
On both days, June 20-21, the 3SI Business Forum is taking place at the Hanzas Perons venue (16a Hanzas St., Riga, Latvia). The venue is located in the so-called quiet center district of Riga, which is not far from the city center and the Old Town – a walk from the Old Town to the Hanzas Perons will take about 30 minutes, while a cab drive should take no longer than 15 minutes.
What to see in Riga?
If you have some time off while visiting Riga for the 3SI Business Forum, we highly suggest taking the chance to explore this Baltic city.
Art and architecture
Riga is a UNESCO world heritage site. The city is well-renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture, with an extensive collection of Art Nouveau buildings (around 800). Thus, a walk down the Albert Street and a visit to Riga Art Nouveau Museum will be well worth the excursion.
Besides the Art Nouveau charm, Riga's medieval past can be found in the well-preserved architecture of its Old Town. Take a walk through the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the 72-meter high St Peter’s Church tower to see Riga from above, stop by the House of the Blackheads, and enter the Riga Dome Cathedral to grasp the charm of Riga's medieval past.
At the very heart of Riga, just outside the Old Town, stands the Latvian Freedom Monument. The nearly 43-meter-high monument (unveiled in 1935) was entirely funded by donations from Latvia's residents and symbolizes Latvian independence, freedom, and national unity.
If you're up to exploring Latvia's artistic heritage, the Latvian National Museum of Art is a beautiful place to visit, offering both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum building has been recently renovated, and itself is a work of art.
Explore this brochure for more information on what to visit while sightseeing in Riga.
Discover culinary delights
Being the capital city of Latvia, Riga brings with it all of the benefits of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. The city is a cultural and entertainment center offering various culinary adventures.
Riga's Central Market, located a few hundred meters from Old Town, offers a shopping experience like no other. Taste-test freshly pickled vegetables, treat yourself to a freshly-smoked fish, and take a walking tour through one of the largest outdoor marketplaces in Europe, with indoor elements housed in hangars that were built for zeppelin construction in WW1.
Another market worth visiting while in Riga is the recently re-opened Āgenskalns Market, located on the other side of the River Daugava. Offering a hipster-like vibe, this market will be the perfect place to find even more culinary delights – from local specialty coffee to Latvian craft beer, fresh sourdough bread, and locally-grown vegetables.
Besides bustling markets, Riga offers many delightful places to have a meal or a drink in the Old Town and city center. Here you will find lists of great restaurants, coffee shops, beer breweries, and more.
Note: If, after a long day of discussions and networking, you feel too tired to go looking for a place to eat, using the Wolt app for meal delivery to your hotel room's door is a great option. The app is very popular in Riga, and the choice of restaurants available on the app is vast.
Grasp Riga's cultural scene
Latvia's capital city has long attracted thinkers and artists searching for a breath of inspiration, for example, once serving as home to philosopher Isaiah Berlin, composer Richard Wagner, and film director Sergei Eisenstein. It has also been the training ground for world-renowned artists – ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, opera singer Elina Garanca, conductor Andris Nelsons, and many more.
The Latvian National Opera and Ballet House, located right next to the Old Town, is not only a home for world-class opera and ballet performances but is also a beautiful classicism architecture building. In front of the Opera house, you'll find Opera Square – one of the most beautiful works of Riga's gardeners and the location of an iconic fountain of the nymph.
If you're up for a lengthier trip, visiting the Grand stage of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival in the Mežaparks district, in the very north of the city, is an idea to consider. The stage was reopened to the public in 2021 after undergoing a profound reconstruction by native contemporary architects. The scale of the stage never leaves its visitors unimpressed.
Some practical things to keep in mind
Riga is home to several cultures living side by side, and it's no surprise to hear a variety of languages spoken on the streets. With the majority speaking Latvian, there are also sizeable Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Polish, and other populations. Of the three Baltic states, Latvia has the highest rate of English language fluency among young adults, making it very easy to get by with English wherever you go.
Since April 1, 2022, all Covid-19 measures in Latvia have been lifted. When entering Latvia from the European Union, European Economic Area countries, and Great Britain, visitors aren't required to present Covid-19 certificates or negative Covid-19 tests. The need to present a certificate or a negative Covid-19 test before entry is maintained when entering from third countries.
The use of medical masks or unvalved FFP2 respirators in Latvia is currently required in medical and social care facilities, both for visitors and staff. Elsewhere the use of masks or respirators is not mandatory.
In any emergency situation, you should call the toll-free number 112 – the general contact number for emergency services in Latvia.
If you have any questions about your arrival or stay in Riga, please contact the 3SI Business Forum team at firstname.lastname@example.org.