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 What is this?
The Hospitality Club is the world's largest hospitality exchange organization. We are thousands of friendly members world wide who offer each other free accommodation when traveling. Membership is free and joining just takes a minute - we would love to have you onboard!

Travel Guide for Latvia

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Latvia that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Latvia Page.

Basic Facts

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Official Country Name: The Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republika)

Country name in other languages:
Lettland (german, Deutsch),
Lettonie (french, Français),
Letonia (spanish, Español),
Letónia (portuguese, Português)

Population (2002): 2 351 400
Area: 64,589 sq. km

President: Valdis Zatlers,
Prime Minister: Valdis Dombrovskis
Government: Parliament (Saeima)

... more

Attractions and Things to See and Do

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Maps

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Distances from Riga (km): • Berlin – 1300 • Brussels 2030 • Helsinki 370 • London 2370 • Madrid 3650 • Moscow 840 • Oslo 870 • Paris 2360 • Prague 1360 • Rome 2570 • Stockholm 440 • Tallinn 320 • Vilnius 290 • Vienna 1380 http://www.latvia360.lv/ - with 360° pictures and other stuff about different cities in Latvia http://worldatlas.com/webimage/cou ... more

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

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Suggested Itineraries

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1 Day
  • Rundale castle
  • park of Tervete
  • Sigulda, Cesis
  • Liepaja and the port of war
  • and of course the old city and the "art nouveau" of Riga
1 Week
  • Kurzeme : Talsi, Kuldiga, Liepaja, Ventspils, Kolka...
  • Vidzeme : Sigulda, Cesis, Valmiera, Madona...

Transport

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Getting there and away, Getting around by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle ...

Accommodation

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Full list of hotels

Some cheap places in Rīga and other cities: http://www.hihostels.com.gotdotnet.ch/dba/country-LV.en.htm http://www.hostellinglatvia.com.gotdotnet.ch/hostels.htm

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

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well, interesting blabla is written here, but all food that counts in riga is selled in pelmeni xl!!! whatever u do in riga, dont miss it :-)

Latvia is located in a temperate climatic zone with fairly long and cold winters and warm, short summers. Due to the harsh climate and relatively poor soil quality Latvians have always worked hard to provide food for themselves and their families. Food has thus always been assigned great value by Latvians. Bread has a special place in the L ... more

Money and Costs

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Latvian national currency is the lats (LVL), 1 lats consists of 100 santims. The Latvian currency has remained strong and secure since its inception in 1993. The stability of lats is a result of covering the supply of the national currency with gold reserves, hard currency reserves, and investments in a diversified collection of foreign currencies.

Visa and Documents and Embassies

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Visas


Citizens from EU (European Union), EEZ (European Economic zone) and EU "white list" countries:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, ... more

Borders and Customs

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Latvia borders Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania.

Post and Communications and Internet

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Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ... Time zone: EET (UTC+2) ; Summer (DST) - EEST (UTC+3) Calling code: +371 Internet TLD: .lv How much do you need to pay for letter or postcard? Letter to some city in EU <20g – 0,45 Ls Letter to some city in Latvia – 0,22 Ls Postcard to some city in EU – 0,36 Ls Postcard to some city in Latvia – 0,15 Ls Internet café in Riga - the old city center : Virtuālo ceļojumu birojs Kaļķ ... more

Questions and Answers or Forum

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Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospi ... more

Hospitality Club Meetings

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Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

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Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

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Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

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Nightlife and Entertainment

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Clubs:
1.Pulkvedim neviens neraksta ( called just “Pulkvedis”)
address: Peldu iela 26/28
Best days there – thursdays (rnb) and fridays (rock+disco music).
Public – simple, easy going people aged 18-26 ( I guess)
www.pulkvedis.lv

2.Nautilus
Very close to Pulkvedis. About 1 minute walk ;)
More fancy, more expensive but very nice as well !
Fancy public, aged about 20-40.
Good DJs and music.
www.nautilus.lv

3. ... more

Population and People

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Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia.

The ethnic mix of the population of Latvia is largely the result of massive post-war immigration, which resulted in a decline in the share of ethnic Latvians from 77% in 1935 to 52% in 1989.

Population in 2005: 2,306,600

Ethnic composition:
58.2% Latvian,
29.2% Russian,
4.0% Belorussian,
2.6% Ukrainian,
2.5% Polish,
1.4% Lithuanian,
0.5% Jewish,
1.6% other nationali ... more

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

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Language and Useful Phrases

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Hi - Sveiks
Hello - Labdien
Good-bye - Uz redzēšanos
Bye - Attā
Yes - Jā
No - Nē
Thank you - Paldies
Please - Lūdzu
Sorry - Atvainojiet

one - viens
two - divi
three - trīs
four - četri
five - pieci
six - seši
seven - septiņi
eight - astoņi
nine - deviņi
ten - desmit

Events and Holidays

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The annual cycles arrange themselves in lifetimes, lifetimes twine with destinies and in their polyphony one can feel the course of a people before eternity. The traditional Latvian worldview develops in dialogue with nature, God (deities), and other people. Dialogue is necessary to attune, but additionally, harmonious living is one of our ancestors' most fundamental insights - to be in harmony with nature, God, other people, and oneself.

In its revolution around the sun, the earth h ... more

Climate and When to Go

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Latvia's weather is governed by a moderate oceanic climate, with changing high and low pressure and a considerable amount of precipitation.

Summer: June - August.
Winter: December - February.
The average temperature
In summer: 15.8°C (in the capital 16.1°C),
In winter: -4.5°C (in the capital -3.8°C).
The warmest month: July,
The coldest month: January.
The average precipitation amount
In summer: 195 mm,
In winter: 116 m ... more

Geography

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Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). On the world map Latvia is to be found in North-eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. The landscape of the country is marked by lowland plains and rolling hills. Most of the countryside is less than 100 metres above sea level. There are thousands of rivers and lakes in Latvia.

Area:
64,589 sq.km or 24,937 sq.miles.
Regions:
Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Latgale.
Tot ... more

Environment and Flora and Fauna

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We can definitely assert that everyone who has visited Latvia will never forget it - not ancient Riga, which has stood on the banks of the River Daugava for 800 years; not the white, sandy beaches; not the green forests; not the many rivers and lakes, hardly touched by civilisation. Latvia is a beautiful, green land with clean air, water, and soil; many tourists from abroad and many environmental experts say that the entire country is one huge nature park.

Here are some basic facts a ... more

Dangers and Warnings

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Watch out of gypsy pickpockets!!! Especially in the summers when there are many tourists in Old Riga. Don't keep valuable belongings in the outer pockets of your bags (especially backpacks). Most often they are at pedestrian tunnels (these tunnels are near bus and train terminals and gypsies are there almost always) and Old Riga (be careful when buying souvenirs at the street souvenir stalls). They like to act tourists (Old Riga, summer) - they have maps in their hands, hats on their heads and ... more

Tourist Traps

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Health

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All visitors are advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before they set off for Latvia. But I`m traveling without anything – so – we are young =o) and stuppied… No injections are required for visitors although, but Tick-borne encephalitis is a problem in Latvia, especially in some parts of the countryside during the summer months from May to August. If in doubt, you should consult your GP about inoculations against Tick-Borne Encephalitis. Elderly travellers shou ... more

History

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Government and Politics

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Government
Type of Government: democratic, parliamentary republic.

Legislative power is in the hands of a single chamber parliament - the Saeima, consisting of 100 deputies. Parliamentary elections take place every 4 years.

The country's head of state is the President, who is elected by the Saeima for a period of 4 years. The President signs laws, chooses the Prime Minister (who heads the government) and performs representative functions.

Electoral Syste ... more

Economy

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GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

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Notable Individuals in Latvian History
Writer:
Rainis (real name: Jānis Pliekšāns, 1865-1929), the most distinguished Latvian writer of all time who is the author of a number of poetry collections and plays. Rainis is also acknowledged as the "Man of the 20th Century of Latvia".
Composers:
Andrejs Jurjāns (1856-1922) and Jazeps Vītols (1863-1948), the founders of the national style in the sphere of Latvian instrumental music.
Painters:
Jan ... more

Media

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Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

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Largest Religious Confessions:
Evangelic Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox.

Since the Reformation movement in the 16th century, the Lutheran church has played a leading role in Latvia.

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

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Organized Tours

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What to Bring or Packing List

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Shopping

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Books and Further Reading

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Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

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All the information above is provided by: © The Latvian Institute, 2004

External Links

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Official web site of Latvia
Riga - is a capital of Latvia

Offtopic Messages

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Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club (but related to the country). Do you need a visa invitation? Looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent? Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly!
Disclaimer: The Hospitality Club has no control over the information above and accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone using this website. Please correct false information or send us feedback about it.
Copyright: Feel free to use the text on your website as long as you notify us and include a clearly visible link to www.hospitalityclub.org above the text.

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