Latvia

Latvia is alive with vibrant cities, tantalising beaches, historic towns and a busy network of forests and rivers. Latvians are proud of their past and much time and effort has been spent preserving their architectural history. Once you’ve had your fill of Baroque, Art Nouveau and Renaissance wonders, head to the nearest beer garden and make friends with some of the liveliest locals in Eastern Europe.

Latvia Tours & Travel

All our Latvia trips

latvia riga local dancer sunflower celebration woman

Baltic Experience

15 days from
USD $2,358.75
CAD $2,511.75
AUD $2,324.75
EUR €1,814.75
GBP £1,564.00
NZD $2,754.00
ZAR R23,749.00
CHF FR2,235.50

Travel to Baltic Europe and visit Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany on an adventure tour from...

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Colourful building of Bergen

Oslo to Berlin

29 days from
USD $7,085.00
CAD $7,545.00
AUD $7,520.00
EUR €5,450.00
GBP £4,690.00
NZD $8,915.00
ZAR R71,315.00
CHF FR6,720.00

Travel through western Europe on a tour from Oslo to Berlin. Visit Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania...

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Articles on Latvia

Unbelievable Baltic experience

Unbelievable Baltic experience

Posted on Mon, 24 Sep 2012 by Sue Elliot

"After more than 4 decades of secrecy, the people of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are now telling their stories..."

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About Latvia

At a glance

Trips Available: 2
Capital city: Riga (population 874,000)
Population: 2.2 million
Language: Latvian
Currency: LVL
Time zone: (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +371

Best time to visit Latvia

The best time to travel to Latvia is from June to mid September, when it’s warm and plenty of local food is available. Temperatures from June to August are normally around 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-72°F) and are very pleasant. July and August are the warmest months but they’re also the busiest months for tourists in Europe - outside of these times you’ll experience less tourists. October and November have autumn rains and daylight is short. From early November to April, temperatures rarely rise above zero degrees Celsius (32°F) during the day and drop well below zero at night. Slush under foot is something you have to cope with in autumn, when snow falls then melts, and in spring, when the winter snow thaws.

Latvia weather chart

Geography and environment

Forest in Latvia
You don’t have to travel far in Latvia to find dense forests and winding rivers. The rest of the country is fairly flat and along the coastline undulating sands back onto cliffs. Latvia borders Estonia in the north, Lithuania in the south, Russia in the east and Belarus in the southeast.

Top Picks

House of Blackheads

Top 5 Architectural Delights of Latvia

1. St Peter’s Church

The centrepiece of the Old Town dominates Riga’s skyline. Thought to be about 800 years old, the spire has been rebuilt countless times in the same form. Climb to the top for sprawling views.

2. House of Blackheads

Destroyed in 1941, the House of Blackheads was rebuilt for the city’s 800th anniversary. It’s Dutch Renaissance facade hides a stunning Gothic building that the Soviets felt was too ‘decadent’.

3. Swedish Gate

Follow Troksnu iela, the Old Town’s narrowest street, to the 17th-century Swedish Gate. This is one of the last remaining parts of the fortifications and celebrates the Scandinavians’ occupation of the city.

4. Riga Castle

Riga’s 14th-century castle has been destroyed time and time again, but keeps rising from the ashes. These days it’s home to the fascinating History Museum of Latvia.

5. The Cat House

Gaze up at the roof of the Cat House to see two feline sculptures perched on top. It’s said that 100 years ago, the Latvian owner turned the cats’ bums towards the Guild in protest of being blacklisted.

FAQs on Latvia

Standard tipping in restaurants is 10% unless a service charge has been added to the bill. Round up any taxi fares.
Internet access is excellent in Latvia. Free wireless zones as well as internet cafes can be found all over the country.
Latvia has excellent mobile phone coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Latvia has western-style flushable toilets. Keep loose change handy to pay for public toilets.
Can of soft drink = 0.60 LVL
Cup of coffee = 1.20 LVL
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 1.20 LVL
Three-course meal = 10 LVL
Short taxi ride = 1.50 LVL
Yes, tap water is considered safe to drink.
Credit cards are widely accepted.
There’s good access to ATMs in nearly all towns and cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 4 Declaration of Independence Day
Jun 23 Ligo (Midsummer’s Eve)
Jun 24 Jani (St John’s Day)
Nov 18 Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Latvia/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Latvia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Latvia

1. Be considerate of Latvia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Endless Miracles Jack Ratz

The Merry Baker of Riga Borls Zemtzo
The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman's Journey Jane E. Cunningham