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
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Articles on Latvia
At a glance
|Capital city:||Riga (population 874,000)|
|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)|
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.
Geography and environment
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
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
For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
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 New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
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.
|Endless Miracles||Jack Ratz|
|The Merry Baker of Riga||Borls Zemtzo|
|The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman's Journey||Jane E. Cunningham|