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Latvia

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Quick Facts
CapitalRiga
Governmentparliamentary democracy
CurrencyLatvian lat (LVL)
Areatotal: 64,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
Population2,366,515 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageLatvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
ReligionLutheran, Muslim, Russian Orthodox, Catholic

Latvia is situated in Eastern Europe, one of the three Baltic States, Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus in the south east, and the Baltic Sea in the west. The highlight is the capital Riga, a World Heritage Site.

Map of Latvia

Regions

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Latvia was part of the Polish Lituanian Commonwealth until the Polish Partitions in the 18 th. century, than it became Russian. It get independent 1918 and 1991.

Latvia has joined the European Union in 2004, which makes many things much simpler for the traveller.

The highest point in Latvia is Gaizinkalns, at 312m above sea level, just west of the town of Madona.

Get in

Visas

  • Citizens of many countries, including Australia, Canada, the Unites States, New Zealand do not need a visa to enter Latvia for up to 90 days in a six month period. (Full list of countries)
  • As of May 1, 2004, Latvia is a member of the European Union, so citizens of EU countries will not need a visa regardless of their length of stay. (It seems, that there may be a transition period of several years, where Visa are still necessary for longer stays.) Full coverage travel (medical) Insurance appears to be required for entry into Latvia.

By plane

  • Riga International Airport, [1]. Located in Riga with arrivals and departures to various European (London, Munich, Oslo, etc) and Middle Eastern (Tel Aviv) cities as well as New York City.
  • Ventspils International Airport, [2]. Located in Ventspils and undergoing expansion.

Air Baltic [3] is the national airline.

By train

By car

By bus

  • Eurolines, 371 7214080, fax 7503134, [5]. Baltic Bus Lines operating as a part of the Eurolines organization with stops in most major Latvian cities. Also see http://www.eurolines.ee if you are coming from Estonia.

By boat

Get around

By thumb

Hitchhiking in Latvia is generally good. The roads around Riga present the largest obstacle, unless the city is your destination - there is no clean "drive-around" road, and considerable amount of local traffic makes hitching very difficult. The easiest way to get around Riga is to find a "cross-country" lift at the border with Lithuania or Estonia. License plate numbers/countries of origin are your friends.

Talk

Latvian or Lettish is an Indo-European language that shares its own Baltic branch of that linguistic family with Lithuanian. The language is spoken natively by most of the 1.4 million residents of Latvia, with some Russian also spoken by the Russian ethnic community and older generations. There is also a small Polish speaking minority. In addition, German and English are understood in urban centers.

See also: Latvian phrasebook

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

  • There are many hotels to choose from. Apartments may be rented for short term stays as well.

Learn

Work

Stay safe

Stay healthy

Respect

Contact

External links

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