The best way to travel between Riga airport and the town centre is the number 22 airport bus. The tickets are very inexpensive and the journey is only 30 minutes. You probably don’t need a multi-day public transport ticket.
We installed all of the many mobile apps listed on the Riga transport website.
All were almost completely useless! Don’t bother downloading these just for a short visit.
You can purchase a multi-day ticket from one of the two Narvesen convenience stores at Riga airport. The easiest (and open latest) is just to your left as you exit Schengen arrivals. A five-day ticket is €15. Prices for all durations are here: https://www.rigassatiksme.lv/en/tickets-and-e-ticket/types-and-prices-of-tickets-1/time-ticket/
Our multi-day ticket looked like this:
And we swiped it against the card-reader machine on the 22 bus.
If you just want to ride the 22 bus, head straight across the car park to the stop with a blue canopy. If the bus is there, jump on and pay the driver €2. If the bus isn’t there, use the ticket machine to purchase a ticket for €1.15. The 22 bus timetable is here: https://saraksti.rigassatiksme.lv/index.html#bus/22/b-a/en. We took the 22 bus to a stop called ’11.novembra krastmala’ which is just across the bridge from the modern National Library building – that stop is close to the Riga old town and less than a five-minute walk to the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. Note that the 22 bus back to the airport, although in almost the same place, shares the tram stop ‘Grēcinieku iela’, so look for that in the timetable.
Riga old town is easily walkable and public transport doesn’t operate within it – trams and buses circle the centre. Having purchased multi-day passes, we did take a tram to the main train station and Riga’s famous market, but we could have easily walked there. The tram and bus to the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia took around 40 minutes.
Having a multi-day pass is convenient, but you probably don’t need one. We also aren’t sure if the pass lasts five calendar days, or five 24-hour periods. For example, the first swipe, on the 22 bus, was on a Saturday evening, our return was Thursday lunchtime and the ticket reader showed red on swiping – I would expect the ticket to last until Thursday evening.
If you really do need a taxi, I’d recommend installing the Bolt app before you leave – there doesn’t appear to be Uber in Riga.
All prices correct as of August 2022.