I am desperate for somebody to come with me for a weekend getaway for the European Christmas markets. I look at them every year, and so far have gone as far as Leeds for the occasion.
This year looks promising through:
Wizz Air Flights from Liverpool – Riga, Latvia
11th December – 14th December 2015
Hotels are in abundance; with some of the highest rated coming in at under £160 for three nights, including breakfast.
Opera Hotel and Spa (4*) – £155 for two (double or twin) on Hotels.com including 1.5h spa access, pool, sauna, breakfast and free wi-fi
Wellton Hotel Riga and Spa (4*) – £132 for two (double or twin) on Hotels.com includes pool, breakfast and free wi-fi. Airport pick-up can be arranged for 17EUR charge each way. Prices on the hotel’s own site are drastically higher but you receive a “mystery gift”. I would save the £80+ difference and buy your own gift whilst your there! Upgrade to a panoramic room view is available for £153, (£21 extra or £7pn).
Cheaper hotels are available if your willing to do some walking in the cold including:
Hanza Hotel (3*) – £89 for two (double or twin) on Hotels.com including breakfast, free wi-fi and free parking. It is a little out of the way from Old Town, but walk-able in 10-15minutes. Reviews suggest that due to the lack of street lighting, taxis back to the hotel at night are recommended (4-5EUR).
Wellton Old Riga Palace Hotel (3*) – £105 for two (double or twin), option for economy double at £96; both include breakfast and free wi-fi. Again this has a spa that is available for 2.5h for an additional fee of 15EUR each.
The markets themselves are in the Old Town at Dome Square (Doma laukums), and is open daily from 10:00 – 20:00 from the 29th Nov – 8th January (see details here). Their is also a Christmas Tree Trial from the 2nd December, which is an open air art festival which runs over the Christmas period. The festival began six years ago with an aim to showcase various Christmas ornaments and promote creative expression in an urban environment. The idea behind the festival stems from the legend of Riga as the place that was first to introduce the Christmas tree in 1510, when the first tree was placed in the market square and decorated by members of the Blackheads order.
Top Tips for this Booking
- Wizz Air have a Discount Club for £21.99 per year, by joining you save £30. (£8 after your membership, and you are eligible for cheaper flights for a year! Yay!) It’s likely that it will be a direct debit though, so remember if you’re not getting your money’s worth to cancel it before it auto-renews.
- If you are not a member of TopCashback, JOIN NOW. You can save money on hotels, flights (sometimes), transfers and more just by clicking through the site. At the moment their is 8.4% cashback for hotels.com, say you stay at the Welton Old Riga, that’s £8.82 back. Just for clicking a button.
- Average temperatures in Riga in December vary between -4°C and 0°C so wrap up warm!