What kind of prices for hotels and hostels can you expect in Latvia? Are the hostels in good condition? When is the best and cheapest time to go to Riga? Do you really have to book in advance to get the best prices? Are there a lot of private apartments you could rent? Here are some tips for booking the cheapest and most comfortable accommodation in Latvia.
Summer is the main tourist season and winter is pretty cold in this Baltic country. Go in May and September to get cheapest accommodation while being able to walk around the city for hours without freezing. The prices are same during the Fall, Winter and Spring, so I would highly recommend going during shoulder season to get the best bang for your buck.
Latvia's capital city gets enough tourism to have a wide range of hostels but not too many visitors to offer a lot of horrible private hotels like Italy does. All hostels are in relatively good condition and located in the city center, you can book the cheaper ones without worries. Booking a room 2 months in advance will be 1-3€ cheaper pro night than booking short term.
If you choose to stay in a hotel you need to check the location carefully. In Riga I would go for a private room in a good hostel instead of a hotel room for the same price - the location and cleanliness of the place would be much better.
Hostel prices in summer are starting at 9-12€ for a bed in a basic dorm. Fancy hostels for 20€ a night are also there, but the cheap ones are good enough, especially if you are traveling on a tight budget and planning to stay only for a day or two. Private rooms are available for 20-30€ in summer (or more) depending on your standards.
From September to May you will pay half of the price for the same type of accommodation - hostel dorm beds start at 5-6€ if you book in advance. Chances of finding a fancy hostel for that price are also much higher if you plan to travel off season. Privates in hostels will cost between 11 and 20€. Hotel prices don't get significantly cheaper in Autumn (compared to Summer), Winter will be a couple of euros cheaper per night in a hotel though.
Renting private apartments
There are a lot of Airbnb accommodation options in Riga - private rooms in the city center for 14-20€ are easy to find. For 10€ per night you can get a private room if you are okay with staying outside of the old town.
The best price-location-value is on Airbnb in warm months and in hostels outside of the main tourist season. Hotels are not the best value, since those are not always in the city center and the prices don't change that much during the year.
Outside of Riga
Tourist infrastructure is not as developed outside of the capital as in other European countries, there are less accommodation options and they are more expensive. Latvia is a small country, if you want to see another city you can easily do than on a day trip - I would recommend making Riga your home base.