Staro Riga Lights Festival

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In the heart of the capital of Riga, a dazzling transformation takes place every November. Welcome to Staro Riga, a festival that celebrates the union of light and art, illuminating historic streets and squares to delight your senses and capture your imagination.

Staro Riga Lights Festival
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Prepare to be captivated by the enchanting realm of Staro Riga, a festival that celebrates the symphony of light and creativity. Be dazzled by spectacles of unique art installations and energetic light displays in the air, transforming the Latvian capital into a world of magic and wonder. Experience the enchantment created by video projections, interactive light objects, and spectacular pieces of light art.

Together with your family and friends, Staro Riga is the perfect event to create wonderful memories to last forever.

Staro Riga Lights Festival Dates

Staro Riga illuminates the Latvian capital Usually in November but will not be held this year (2023) delighting visitors with fascinating light shows and stunning art installations created by artists from all over the world. On these dates, the city’s squares and streets transform into a paradise of twinkling lights and breathtaking sceneries that you will find irresistible. You can also spend time interacting with some of the light displays, making Staro Riga an immersive and exciting event. 

Please Check This Riga Christmas Lights Trail Dates too

Where It’s Located And How To Get There

Staro Riga takes place in the Latvian capital of Riga. The breathtaking festival spans across the capital city, radiating historic monuments and buildings, and transforming iconic squares such as the Cathedral Square, Dome Square, and Town Hall Square into wonderlands of illumination and magic. 

The distance between Riga and Riga International Airport is approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) by road. The airport is conveniently located to the west of the city center where most of the festival takes place. The journey between the city center and the airport usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes by car, taxi, or bus. The fastest way to get around the capital is by tram as they are unaffected by traffic.

If you are in another city or country outside Riga, you can also reach the capital by train:

From Tallinn, Estonia:

  • Estonia’s capital Tallinn is well-connected to Riga by train. The Tallinn–Riga railway line provides a convenient and comfortable journey.
  • Travel time typically takes around 4.5 to 5.5 hours, depending on train types and stops along the way.
  • Trains depart from Balti Jaam, Tallinn’s main railway station, and arrive at Riga Pasazieru, Riga’s main railway station.

From Vilnius, Lithuania:

  • Travelers can also take a train from Vilnius to Riga.
  • The journey takes approximately 4 to 6 hours, depending on the type of train.
  • Trains depart from Vilnius railway station and arrive at  Riga Pasazieru.

From Moscow, Russia

  • For those in Moscow, there are also train connections to Riga.
  • The journey takes longer, approximately between 14-16 hours, depending on the route and train type. 
  • Trains depart from Leningradsky Railway Station in Moscow and arrive at Riga Pasazieru in Riga.

From St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Travelers from St. Petersburg can also reach the Latvian capital by train.
  • Travel time usually takes about 10 to 12 hours.
  • Trains depart from St. Petersburg’s Moskovsky Railway Station to Riga’s Riga Pasazieru.

Booking Train Tickets:

  • Tickets for international train journeys can be purchased at railway stations or online through the respective railway company’s website. Tickets can also be bought from authorized ticket sellers.
  • It is best to book tickets in advance, especially during the peak travel season.

Festival Hours

Staro Riga illuminates the city from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM. This is an ideal time to stroll through the different light installations and displays, creating wonderful memories with families and friends.

Cost to Visit Staro Riga Lights Festival

Staro Riga is an entirely free event, allowing everyone from all walks of life the opportunity to enjoy awe-inspiring light shows and exciting interactive installations.

Weather and What to Wear

Riga in November can be chilly, with temperatures ranging from 0 to 5 degrees Celsius. To comfortably enjoy the festival sights, you can dress warmly in layers, which include winter coats, gloves, scarves, and comfortable footwear. These clothes and apparels will help you stay warm outdoors for extended periods.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

The Latvian capital offers a variety of accommodation options for different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the best hotels in Riga:

Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga

Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga is a 5-star hotel known for its luxury and elegance. Nestled in the heart of the city, the hotel is a starting point for famous attractions in Riga such as the Latvian National Opera House and the historic Old Town. The hotel has a range of amenities, including free high-speed internet service and breakfast. It also features a pool, spa, and a rooftop restaurant. Grand Hotel Kempinski is an ideal place to stay after enjoying the lights and extravagance of Staro Riga.

Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel

Located in the center of the city, the Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel is a walking distance to most of the major attractions featured in Staro Riga. Aside from this, they feature comfortable rooms with free high-speed internet service and coffee and tea amenities. Their restaurants serve delectable dishes while offering stunning views of the city. After indulging your senses with the spectacle of the festival, a stay in Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel is worth giving a try.

Wellton Centrum Hotel and Spa

Wellton Centrum Hotel and Spa stands in the center of Old Riga. It is situated near squares and shopping centers, making it an ideal stay for those who want to enjoy the festival. This cozy hotel features comfortable rooms with free high-speed internet service and cable and satellite TV. The hotel also has a Spa Center with water jets and a swimming pool. Overall, Wellton Centrum Hotel and Spa is a perfect place to wind down after a grand time at Staro Riga.

What to Eat

Indulge your taste buds with Latvian and International cuisine. Come visit some of the best dining spots in Riga:

Lido

Lido is a popular Latvian chain serving traditional dishes. Using only natural and high-quality ingredients, the restaurant serves dishes such as Chicken Fillet with Cheese and Pineapple, Casserole with Fish, Breaded Chicken Schnitzel, and Beef Steak in Wine Sauce, among others. They also serve a variety of pancakes such as Pancakes with Cottage-Cheese Filling and Pancakes with Meat Filling. After strolling through the city lights of Staro Riga, dining in Lido can be a perfect wrap-up to your festival experience.

Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs

Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs is a traditional pub nestled in the center of Old Riga. If you want to experience traditional Latvian cuisine and music, then this is the perfect place to be. Dishes on their menu include Dundagas Royal Stroganoff, Chicken Breast Roulade, Honey-glazed Pork Fillet Medallions Wrapped in Smoked Bacon, Traditional Battered Chicken Fillet Folk Club Style, and Traditional Latvian Meatballs, among others. For dessert, they serve Beer Fritters and Traditional Thick Rye Bread Pudding. Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs is a great place to hang out after enjoying the lights festival.

3 Pavaru Restorans

3 Pavaru Restorans is one of the highest-ranking restaurants in Riga. Founded in September 2011, the restaurant serves dishes such as Grubotto, Pike Perch, and Beefsteak, among others. They also serve Apricots and White Chocolate Mousse for dessert. You can also try their Slow-cooked Lamb or Seafood Soup. A visit to 3 Pavaru Restorans will definitely maximize your festival experience.

More Things To Do In The Area

Riga is rich in culture and history. Aside from the lights festival, the capital city has other great things to offer:

Riga Old Town

The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to charming cobbled streets lined with impressive medieval and Renaissance buildings. You can visit the iconic Riga Cathedral or admire the striking architecture of the House of the Blackheads. You can also stroll through Livu Square and enjoy street performances and outdoor cafes. 

Art Nouveau District

The Art Nouveau District in the city is a treasure trove of art nouveau architecture, which is known for its intricate details and innovative designs. You can stroll through Alberta iela and admire buildings in the aforementioned architectural style. You can also visit the Art Nouveau Museum to learn more about this fascinating architecture. 

Central Market

Central Market is a large and vibrant food market, situated in five spacious zeppelin hangars. You can find fresh produce here, as well as Latvian delicacies such as smoked fish and rye bread. You can also admire the historic zeppelin hangars while you’re in the area.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Experience in Staro Riga

Staro Riga Lights Festival will fill your hearts and memories with enchanting light displays, the timeless charms of the capital’s historic streets, and the warmth of Latvian hospitality. Come and indulge your senses with fascinating light arts, creative designs, and innovative light shows.

With more exciting places to explore in the city, Staro Riga Lights Festival is an event to remember. 

FAQ

Is Staro Riga a family-friendly event?

Yes, Staro Riga is a family-friendly event and suitable for all ages.

Are there any special events or performances during the festival?

Yes, the festival occasionally features live performances, concerts, and special events throughout various locations in the city.

Is photography allowed during the festival?

Yes, photography is allowed. Feel free to capture stunning displays of lights as well as moments with your loved ones.

What are the best viewing spots for Staro Riga installations?

Some of the best viewing spots are in the Old Town and significant squares such as Livu Square.

Is Staro Riga accessible for individuals  with disabilities?

The festival strives to be accessible to all visitors. Many displays and installations are in public areas, and efforts are made to accommodate individuals with disabilities. However, it is best to inquire with event staff for specific accessibility information.

Can I purchase Staro Riga merchandise or souvenirs?

Yes, the festival offers souvenirs and merchandise like t-shirts and other items. There are designated festival stalls throughout the city that sell these products.

How can I stay updated about Staro Riga, including dates and program details?

For the latest information on dates, special events, and program details, you can visit the festival’s official website or their social media channels.

Sources:

https://www.internationallightfestivals.org/ilo-members/staro-riga

https://www.inyourpocket.com/riga/staro-riga-light-festival_3473e

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