Latvia is the second largest country in the Baltics. Here you will encounter huge forests, elongated beaches and lush landscapes that are invaded by a large number of storks in the summer. Here are castle ruins with a medieval atmosphere and cities that show both greatness and poor decay. In Latvia, you will experience an exciting cultural encounter between East and West and between the Nordic countries and Central Europe.
See Latvia Travel
Population: 2 mill.
Latvia is the country in the world with the fastest declining population. Dainas are small Latvian verses about life for better or worse, and are considered an important part of the Latvian heritage.
Nature in Latvia
According to top-medical-schools, Latvia consists mainly of lowlands with moraine hills. There are many wetlands between the hills. The river Daugava divides the country into two parts. To the west is the hilly peninsula Kurland (Kurzeme) and to the north is the hilly Livland (Vidzeme). Latvia has a 500 kilometer long coastline with wide beaches and dunes. 40% of the country is covered by forest. Latvian forestry is relatively mechanized and wood products are an important export commodity.
Before Latvia became independent in 1918, other states and various orders of knights and dukes had ruled in this territory. With the so-called non-aggression pact of Germany and the Soviet Union from 1939, the two countries in a secret additional protocol divided most of Eastern Europe between them, and Latvia ended up with Estonia. and Lithuania in the sphere of interest of the Soviet Union. In 1941, Latvia was invaded by Nazi Germany, and after the war, Soviet troops returned and occupied the country until August 21, 1991, when it finally became independent. This happened after dramatic events in Riga when residents from all over the country helped build barricades because it was feared that Soviet soldiers would attack. Today, Latvia is part of the EU, NATO and many other European contexts. Relations with Russia are not the best, and the conflict in Ukraine has made Latvians nervous again.
Riga is the largest city in the Baltics with about one million inhabitants. It is a bustling city with great contrasts between old and new, between beautifully renovated buildings and dilapidated slums. The city has a magnificent center with wide boulevards, large parks and long streets with lots of shops. The Freedom Monument sits in the center of Riga and has an important significance for the national feeling of the Latvians. In the 1980s, it was a rallying point for demonstrations against the hated Soviet regime.
The city is located on both sides of the river Daugava and the old medieval city center is located on the east bank. Outside the old town we find the art nouveau buildings. Outside the old town are the areas with the impressive and richly decorated Art Nouveau buildings for which the town is so famous. In Albertgaden (Alberta iela) there is a whole pearl band of beautiful houses in art nouveau style.
Below you will find practical information in connection with your trip to Latvia. Read about tips, internet and tempo and tone, among other things.
- Language: Latvian
- Capital: Riga
- Population: 2 mill.
- Religion: Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox
- Currency: Euro
- Surface: 64 600 km2
+ 1 hours
Latvia is one hour ahead of Sweden.
Transport in Latvia
The buses in Latvia are in good condition and are usually equipped with air conditioning.
Price level in Latvia
The price level in Latvia and especially in Riga has increased in recent years. Basic raw materials are slightly cheaper than in Sweden, but the price of wine and the like is reminiscent of the Swedish ones. Public transport is cheaper and restaurants are available in all price ranges.
Currency and credit cards
The currency of Latvia is the euro (EUR). You can exchange money both at home and in Latvia. Standard credit cards can be used as a means of payment everywhere and there are ATMs in most cities where you can withdraw cash.
In restaurants and cafes, it is good style to round the bill up or leave 5-10 percent in tips. Hotel staff and taxi drivers also appreciate an extra penny.
In Latvia, 220 V / 50 hertz is used and the sockets are of the same type as in Sweden.
Telephone and internet
Latvia’s international country code is +371. Check with your mobile operator for coverage and rates for incoming and outgoing calls in Latvia. Most hotels have internet access and there are a lot of internet cafes in the larger cities.
Drinking water and hygiene
The toilet conditions in Latvia are reminiscent of the Swedish ones, but it is always good to have toilet paper or intimate napkins with you and possibly hand disinfection in the bag.
The tap water is ok but can taste like chlorine. We recommend that you buy bottled water.
Since 2006, indoor smoking has been banned in public places.
Tact and tone
The Latvians have about the same way of behaving as Swedes, but it is easy to get around the country.
Climate and weather Latvia
On this page you can read about the climate and weather in Latvia. See, for example, temperatures for the capital Riga.
Latvia is located right on the border between the coastal climate of northwestern Europe and the mainland climate of Russia and has summer temperatures just above the Swedish and winter temperatures which are slightly below the Swedish average temperature.