What effect did Stag Parties in Riga and have they tainted its image for good? Around 2005 the cheap airlines began to fly into Riga and since then the amount of flight paths has increased. Many of these cheap flights take off from the UK and with them they brought the highest class of British travellers – The Stag Party. Cheap booze, attractive long legged blondes, AK 47 shooting and strip clubs fuelled the new guests to Riga with everything they would expect on a weekend away with the lads. Sadly, Riga as a city was not ready for the explosion of drunk, uncultured animals on to its streets and soon trouble started to show.
Residents of Riga began to have resentment towards large groups of men howling at local girls, throwing their money around without regard and generally acting like idiots. The perception of the British had been tainted by a handful of yobs on cheap weekends away, could it get any worse for the previously well thought of Brits? The answer was ‘YES’ in big capital letters.
It took one British drunk doing what all-good British drunks do, public urination. It was not the act of public urination that was the main problem, it was where the act took place and in many ways it would be like a foreigner in London urinating on the Cenotaph. Of all places the intoxicated Brit chose the Latvian Freedom monument to relieve himself on. The Freedom monument is the most revered and important monument in the former soviet state of Latvia and the event caused an outrage throughout the nation.
Since the urination event there has been a number of other incidents involving drunken Brits with the most recent being a group striping naked and riding a huge wooden horse in the old town. It would seem that Riga may have become a debauched city with drunken men running around acting like children and in some ways you would be right.
The good news is that most of these uncultured fools will only be found in the old town and as a result many of the new local bars and cafes have moved themselves well away from the tourist trap. The other bonus is that the Pound is now quite low against the Lati; so fewer cheap booze hunters are heading out here to get drunk. You can easily avoid these louts, by shifting out of the old town on weekend nights and exploring the central districts many bars and cafes.
So, the effects of the influx of Stag parties are clear but their damage on this great city is much less than one would think. When compared with cities like Prague, where over the years the city has literally been overrun with Stag parties, Riga has maintained a balance of cultural tourists as well as the part animals. In answer to the question Did The Stag Party Destroy Riga As a Cultural Destination? The answer would have to be ‘No’. Riga is still a charming city to visit and enjoy, come and check it out for yourself.