Latvia Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Riga tourist information, Latvia food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Riga. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Latvia Travel Guide

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Full country name: People's Democratic Republic of Latvia
Area: 64,589 sq km
Population: 2,23 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Riga
Language: Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3%
Religion: Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7%
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Time Zone: UTC+2 (daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October )
Dialing Code: 371
Electricity: 220V 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Latvian Lat (LVL)
Average Yearly Salary: USD 14,400

Budget: LVL4-7
Mid-range: LVL7-20
High: LVL25+
Budget: LVL20-35
Mid-range: LVL35-80
High: LVL90+

Geography: Latvia is located in Eastern Europe. It is one of the Baltic States, with the other two being Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia is bordered by Russia, Belarus, Estonia and Lithuania. It has a sandy coastline of 531 km by the Baltic Sea. The country's terrain is mostly low, largely covered by forests, and with many rivers. The major rivers are: the Daugava, the Gauja, the Lielupe, the Venta, and the Salaca.

Climate: The climate of Latvia is both continental and temperate. Owing to the maritime influence of the Baltic Sea, the weather is usually humid. Summer season is quite warm, with autumn and spring being fairly mild. However, the winter season is rather cold, with precipitation throughout the year. The average summer temperature is around 18 C (64 F), and the average winter temperature is around -2 C (28 F).

Recommended clothing: Warm clothing is recommended throughout the year. Summer clothes are advisable for summer period, but a light jacket or a sweater is still necessary for cooler evenings. Warm winter shoes/boots and an overcoat are essential for winter period. Whereas rainwear is useful throughout the year.

Health: No special health certificates, vaccinations or immunizations are required when visiting Latvia, except for inoculation against tick-borne encephalitis, if you are planning to hike or camp in a forested or rural area, especially during the summer months. Travel insurance is recommended.

Food & Drink: The typical Latvian cuisine includes a variety of agricultural products, with meat being the main food of the dish. The most common ingredients in Latvian recipes are: potatoes, barley, wheat, onions, cabbage, pork, and eggs. The dishes are usually bland, without a use of strong spices, and quite heavy. One of the most popular Latvian dish today is sautéed sauerkraut. Another typical dish is boiled grey peas with pieces of bacon. Kvass is often considered to be the traditional Latvian drink, however it is also very popular in neighboring countries, therefore, its origin is unknown. Riga Black Balsam is a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur made with many different natural ingredients mixed in pure vodka. Beer is also a popular alcoholic drink.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
Varies between Mar 22 & Aug 25 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 4 Declaration of Independence Day
Jun 23 Ligo (Midsummer's Eve)
Jun 24 Jani (Midsummer's Day/St John's Day)
Nov 18 Latvian National Day.
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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