Costs to Retire in Riga Latvia

Today, I will share our estimated monthly costs to retire in Riga Latvia including rent, groceries, utilities, internet, cell phone, restaurants, drinking water, laundry, and transportation if the two of us retire here on a tight budget.

I left the United States 17 years ago and I slowly travel the world sharing the cost of living in paradise on YouTube. I do feet-on-the-ground research instead of gathering data from 10k miles away, like the other guys.

Most people would spend more money than I would living overseas. So, I will also share a higher living cost estimate in case money is flying out of your hands more quickly. But, you won’t know your actual living costs until you put your feet on the ground here.

I will show you my video of Riga Latvia as I share.

After sharing what things cost, I will share my Riga retirement livability factors such as real estate, medical, visas, walkability, weather, Internet speeds, food, things to do, social considerations, expat considerations, and a few other things.

All of this is in writing at

Estimated Costs to Retire in Riga Latvia

Rents: I found this furnished studio apartment with a long-term lease at 350 Euros (376 USD) per month in Riga. If you rent for a short term on Airbnb it would be much more expensive.

A larger flat with more space could cost twice as much per month. So for the middle range expenses, I estimate USD 700 per month or more depending upon area and size.

Here is the process we use to find great apartments. So, we will show you a table of all expenses in a moment. We will use 376 USD per month for our lower rent estimate and $700 per month for the middle cost of living estimate for expats who want more space.

Utilities: For a place this size, the year-round average for our utilities we estimate would be about USD 160 per month. The utilities would cost more for the larger space, starting at around $280 per month.

Groceries: We would shop in the farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables, and purchase nonperishable foods and other things like shampoo and detergents in the grocery stores. We estimate about $320 per month for groceries. Other expats are likely to spend more on imported groceries they miss from home spending $430 per month or more on groceries.

Restaurants: We would eat out twice per week mostly in more local-style restaurants averaging about $5 to $8 USD per meal per person and one or two splurges per month of $9 to $13 USD per meal per person. If you add all that up, we would spend around $200 per month for the two of us. We may have a beer here and there, but that is covered below in alcohol.

Other expats are likely to eat more Western-style foods in expensive expat-style restaurants and less in local-style restaurants, so they would likely spend more like $275 per month for 2 people in restaurants. It is lifestyle-dependent.

Cell Phone Data: The cost to get a prepaid ZZ Tel2 sim card for seniors with 62+ unlocked smartphones is about $19 USD per month with unlimited GB, texts, and talk. My Android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Other (retired) expat couples are likely to buy two prepaid SIM cards so they would need $38 per month.

Laundry: The apartments all seemed to have clothes washing machines. The above grocery estimate includes laundry detergent.

Drinking Water: We read online that the water is clean here and many people drink water from the tap but we would be more careful. We didn’t see reverse osmosis delivery in 20-liter jugs here so we would probably get a Brita water filter. The filter refills would be about $5 USD per month.

Internet: 80 MBPS up and down is about $20 USD for in-home wifi.

Public Transportation: A monthly pass for public transportation is about $35 USD. But we don’t think we would use it more than once a week because we would live close in. Each public transportation ride is about $1.70 USD. We would average two round trips per week for the two of us, which is 8 times per week or $28 USD per month per month for two people. We would probably take another 4 Bolt Taxi App rides per month averaging about $11 USD each, or $44 USD per month. So total transportation would be about $72 per month for the two of us. Other expats might spend more on taxis and less on public transportation, so I estimate $150 per month for them.

Alcohol (Optional): Domestic beer in grocery stores in Riga starts at 0.89 Euros, $0.96 USD for 500 ml. That is about the size of a tall boy in the USA. In bars and restaurants, half-liter draft domestic draft beers are about $4 to 7 USD. We estimate about $120 per month on alcohol for the two of us.

Many other expats would spend a higher amount for imported foreign or craft beers in expat bars, so about $200 USD per month for 2 people assuming they are not into imported whiskey or wine.

Entertainment (Optional): We would budget about $200 per month for entertainment for the two of us. We enjoy doing more do-it-yourself kinds of entertainment so expats would spend a little more, maybe $300 per month, for 2 of them?

Estimated Costs to Retire in Riga Latvia


















Cell Data






Drinking Water


















Optional Total









Optional Total



The above lower estimated cost of living would be if the two of us lived in Riga Latvia on a tight budget. The middle estimate is just an example of what other expats might spend if they moved here.

To understand what it would cost you to live here, you must put your feet on the ground, see what you would choose to rent, eat, drink, and entertain yourself, and add it all up. It doesn’t matter what anyone else spends because we are all different.

Riga Latvia Retirement Desirability Factors

Before you move anywhere outside your home country, create a list of things that you must have for your happy retirement. Here are my retirement desirability factors and I will rank each as high, medium, or low before assigning an overall retirement desirability score to Riga, Latvia.

Walkability: High. We walked everywhere in Riga. We only rode a Bolt Taxi to our apartment on arrival from the bus station and back to the bus station when we left. We found all of our daily needs within a 5 to 20-minute walk of our apartment. So we would not need a car if we lived in Riga.

Internet: High. The wifi in our Airbnb was 70 MBPS up and 90 MBPS down. It’s good enough for us to do Zoom calls, upload YouTube videos, and watch Netflix.

Food: High. There were two grocery stores within a few blocks of our apartment. Both had decent prices and selection so we found everything we needed except a nice selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. For fresh fruits and vegetables, we would shop in the Farmers Market, link provided. All three markets are listed with links under the services below.

There is also a large selection of various foreign restaurants in Riga since it is a capital city with prices running from $8 to $16 USD per meal. There are also local family food places around with meals starting as low as $7 USD per meal. Our favorite restaurants are also listed below with links.

Weather: Medium. Average daytime highs in Riga are 31 F (-1 C) in January but increase to 75 F (24 C) in July. Average daytime lows in Riga are 21 F (-6 C) in January but increase to 56 F (13 C) in July. The best weather runs from May through September. It rains on average about 9 days per month in Riga except in September through December when it rains about 12 days per month. Snow in the cooler months, like November through March is not uncommon, but averages about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) per month during December through February.

Things to Do: High. Riga is the capital city of Latvia so it hosts many cultural events, such as the Riga Theater Festival, Jazz Festival, Opera Festival, Shakespeare Festival, Puppet Theater Festival, The Riga Food Festival, the Christmas Market, folk dance festival, beer festivals, and large live music concerts of jazz, rock, and electronic. It also has great nightlife in the old town area and visiting talent like international DJs, and live music of all kinds. There are coffee shops, shopping malls, cultural tours, and river tours.

Social Considerations: High. People in Riga who work at hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and other public-facing occupations often speak English. In general, if someone is under age 35, there is a pretty good chance they will speak some English. However, as you move away from the city center to more remote areas, English is less likely so you may need to rely more on Google Translate and universal hand gestures and pantomime.

Safety Considerations: High. When I last checked, the US State Department webpage for Latvia published the lowest level 1 risk for Latvia–“Exercise normal precaution.” Numbeo surveys report that life feels safer in Riga Latvia than in Charlotte, North Carolina, for example. But, you can compare Riga to other cities in the world at that link to see if it feels safer than your hometown. We have been out late in Old Town Riga and it felt safe to us. You can also review my report, How to Travel the World Safely, which is how I have remained safe traveling the world for 17 years.

Expat Community: High. Here are a few Facebook pages that cater to English-speaking expats living in Riga Latvia: 1, 2. These online expat communities are great for learning all about things that expats want to learn when they first move overseas. They are more likely to answer questions they have not answered recently. So, make sure to scroll down and/or search for previous questions asked and answered before posting any questions to the group.

Medical: High. This healthcare international comparison index ranks Latvia 59th in the world, ten spots better than the United States which ranks at 69th. There are different ways healthcare is rated, but this one seems to be considering quality of care in relation to what patients are charged.


It is also true that there are very good doctors in Latvia. So, make sure to ask around for referrals and establish relationships with doctors based on the feedback you have gotten from others who have used their services. The above Expats Facebook pages may be a good source for that information.

Tourist Visa: High. Latvia is a member of the Schengen Visa countries. Citizens of many countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, USA, and many many others, are given 90 days of visa-free entry upon arrival. Plus, we can stay in any Schengen member countries cumulatively for no more than 90 days of any 180-day period.

Latvia Residence Permits: High. A residence permit allows foreign citizens to legally stay in Latvia beyond the 90-day Schengen period. There is more than one kind of residency permit in Latvia, but I will only discuss the retirement visa. Visa agents report that the Latvian government provides retirement residences for seniors in 5-year renewal periods, so long as citizens of that country have not been banned by the government. An applicant must show they are able to finance their own retirement expenses and that they have reached 65 years of age. One agency reports that the minimum required to finance your own retirement is 1030 Euros per month, which is about $1108 USD per month at today’s exchange rate. Rather than promoting any one visa agency, I would recommend that you request a referral to an agent on one of the Facebook pages I shared above. Ask the expats there for an agent who they have already successfully used the services of to get a retirement residence permit.

Real Estate: High. When I read about it today, foreigners are able to freely purchase, sell, and rent apartments in Latvia without obtaining a residence permit for themselves. Small apartments were still available in Riga for under $100k USD. Investment residency permits were also available at the time with a purchase of an apartment for more than $250k Euros (was suspended in January 2020 but another one is said to be still active). The residency permits would allow travel around the EU without a visa. So, until things change, it looks like you can still get a retirement visa or an investment visa to Latvia. However, I do not recommend buying real estate in a foreign country until you have lived there for an extended period of time making sure you love it. If you decide to buy real estate, you should also get your own lawyer who has no conflict of interest with you. For example, do not use a lawyer recommended by your real estate broker or local lover.

Riga Latvia Retirement Desirability Score: Medium. I like warmer year-round weather. It is not terrible weather here but cool enough in the winter to make me want to fly south to warmer weather for 5 months of the year. But if you like city life and are comfortable with 4 seasons, and are attracted to the cultural aspects of being in one of the most beautiful capital cities in Eastern Europe then Riga would likely be highly desirable for you, especially when compared to some of the more expensive culturally rich cities in Western Europe.

What would it cost you to live in Riga Latvia?

To get a better understanding of things you should add to our estimated cost of living watch this video: 9 Reasons You Can’t Retire on $1000 Month Overseas.

Most people will likely be unable to retire for the lower range estimate above. I give example reasons why in this report. Plus, this other report explains how to avoid coming home early with your tail between your legs.

Also, if you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to read my report, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore, which explains why you should have emergency funds available for unexpectedly large expenses.

You should also add anything to the above table that you spend money on in your home country that is not listed in the above table. Presumably, you find those things necessary in life. To do that, visit the Numbeo Riga and add anything not mentioned in the above table.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

Many of the expats we meet living overseas are self-insured for medical care. That means that not everyone buys health insurance when they move overseas. That probably sounds crazy to many of you.

I didn’t carry medical insurance for most of my first 17 years living overseas. But last year I bought medical insurance. If you are wondering what it costs and what it covers, watch my medical insurance video at this link. This is not an affiliate link.

More typical expat living costs in Riga range from about $1800 to $3000 USD per month. But people spending that much often have higher savings, incomes, or pensions. They often report spending more on accommodations, entertainment, eating out more, traveling, and alcohol. Many also have more expensive cars, houses, or apartments.

Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 17 years, and how I pay for it all.

Riga Old Town Walking Tour

Google Map

Riga Central Market(Farmers Market): Zeppelins were the future of travel during World War I. The Germans built these hangers to house Zeppelins. When the Germans were sent packing, these hangers were moved to their present location after World War I. Today, these hangers are home to a market of over 70,000 square meters with thousands of vendors selling everything under the sun from fish, meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, clothes, souvenirs, etc. As many as 100k people come here per day including tourists and locals.

Town Musicians of Bremen: This monument has a rooster standing on a cat, the cat stands on a dog, and the dog stands on a kicking donkey. It was a gift from Bremen City where a larger original version stands. Their heads are all shiny because it is said to be good luck if you rub their heads one after the other.

Saint Peter’s Church: The original church here was built of wood in the 13th century. Nothing remains of the original wooden walls. It was Catholic Church until it was taken over by the Lutherans in the 16th century. Lutherans believed that the Catholic church had become corrupt by selling indulgences in the 16th Century. Lutherans believed that forgiveness and grace were in God’s hands only and not in the priesthood.

Indulgences were payments made to the Catholic Church so a person could pay money so their future sins against others would not send one’s soul to hell. That turned off many people.

At the same time, the printing press had begun to put the Bible into the hands of many people in many languages. This allowed believers to read for themselves. Before that the Bible had been available mainly to priests. This led to a change in beliefs all over the world and many of the Catholic churches were converted in what has been known as the Protestant Reformation.

Over the years, this church has been rebuilt and modified many times. In 1491, a 137-meter-high wooden steeple was erected making it the highest in Europe. Today, the 123-meter steeple is made of steel so it provides an enduring view of the city.

House of the Blackheads: The House of Blackheads is a celebration hall built originally in the 14th century for the city’s guilds. In the 17th century, single male German merchants purchased the building and it became a hangout for wealthy German Bachelors. It was destroyed by German bombs in World War II but rebuilt using the original blueprints and finished in 2001 to celebrate Riga’s 800th Birthday.

Three Brothers: These three houses are believed to have been built at different times by descendants of the same family. That is why it is given the more memorable name–three brothers. Number 17, was built first in the 15th century and is Riga’s oldest remaining residential building made of stone. Number 19, is a 17th-century yellow creation built of wood and is now home to the Museum of Architecture. Number 21, the skinny one on the left, was built in the 18th century.

The Great Guild: The Great Guild was founded in the 13th century in order to establish a monopoly on trade to protect monopoly profits. Monopolistic profits are no longer legal here or in most of the world because they harm the public by removing competition from markets.

This spectacular building was built by the greatest and most profitable Guild in Riga at a time when monopolistic guilds were lawful business associations. This guild allowed only the richest German merchants. The main hall now serves as the home of the Latvian National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bastejkalns Park: The beautifully landscaped park with a creek running through it has paddle boats, 3d art displays, and beautiful bridges. You will see locals and tourists enjoying picnics, walks, and bike rides, especially in the months when the flowers bloom.

The Art Nouveau Quarter: This area of Riga has a concentration of beautiful buildings built during the Art Nouveau period. Take your time to stroll around this area to see the finer examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

Where we stayed in Riga

We stayed at this Airbnb for $33 USD per night with the weekly discount before adding Airbnb fees. It was a great location. Everything we needed was within walking distance and I have listed all of that below under restaurants, shopping, and services.

How we got to Riga Latvia from Tallinn Estonia

From the Tallinn Estonia Bus Station, we took the bus to the Riga Bus Station. We bought our bus tickets to Riga Latvia online at Lux Express online for 8 Euros per person. The ride was about 5.5 hours including a bathroom break. We used the Bolt Taxi (APP) to get to and from both bus stations to our Airbnb apartments in both locations.

Restaurants, Bars, Services

Restaurants (prices in Euros)

Rocket Bean Dzirnavu iela: Coffee with milk 3, Brownie 4

O’Sole Mio: Magarita pizza 8.50, wine 6

Wok n Kurry: Lunch menu 8euro – Vegetarian & Chicken curry with rice, soup, naan, onion ring and free water

Daily lunch restaurant: Set lunch – Meat+side dishes+side salad+ sauce 3.90, soup+drink+bread 1.30

Delicio Tērbatas-pusdienu restorāns: set lunch menu 5-7euro

Lido Dzirnavas: Buffet style – local Latvia style

2eat falafel & hummus: Hummus full 13, Tabbouleh 10, beer 0.5L – 5euro

Boom Cafe: salmon 9.80, side dishes 3

Vegstop Vegan Station: Plant base burger 10

Bars, Lounges (prices in Euros)

Doma Dārzs: Wine 5.50 euro

ABRA BAR Beer 5.50 euro

Hops Riga Beer Festival


Grocery Store 1: Rimi Barona

Expat Groceries (Foods from home): Stockmann

Farmers Market: Riga Central Market

Movie Theaters (English): Forum Cinema

Large Mall 1: Gallery Centre

Large Mall 2: Origo

Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 17 years, and how I pay for it all.