Latvia is a country in northeastern Europe. It borders Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Belarus. Its western territory is washed by the waters of the Baltic Sea. The capital of Latvia is Riga.
Th climate is temperate. In the eastern part Latvia has a continental climate and off the coast the climate is maritime. The best time for visiting Latvia is from April to September.
The Latvians make up the majority of the population in the country. The Latvians are Catholics and Protestants. The official language is Latvian.
If you like beach holidays, you should visit Jūrmala, and Ventspils is believed to be the best beach resort in Latvia. Liepāja is the largest Primorsky park in Latvia.
The fans of active holiday will not be bored and they can try wreck diving in the Irbe Strait and the Baltic Sea.
Those who like a peaceful rest in the country should visit the lakes near Daugavpils and Latgale. This region is called “blue lakes”. In Salacgrīva, you can see the Biosphere Reserve and in Vidzeme visit the Gauja National Park with many caves and bats in them. The Kemeri National Park is famous for its unique flora and fauna.
The tourists who come to Latvia for skiing will like one of the largest skiing complexes Sigulda. Žagarkalns is the second largest skiing resort in the city of Cēsis. In Madona, there is the highest point in the country where pure air and ideal ecology are combined with modern skiing facilities.
Riga, Jūrmala and Silugda are the places for good shopping and city entertainments.
Flight is the easiest and the most comfortable way to get to Latvia.
Transaero, Utair, Aeroflot and airBaltic offer regular flights from Moscow to Riga. You can get to Latvia from the European countries by Lufthansa, WizzAir, and Ryanair.
The train runs every day between Moscow and St. Petersburg and Riga. Latvia has a railway communication system with Belarus, Estonia and EU companies.
You can get to the capital of Latvia from Stockholm by ferry. The company Tallink offers everyday routes.
Two buses run from Moscow to Riga. The travel time is around 15 hours.
Regular buses run between Latvia and Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Lithuania. The tours are arranged by the leading companies Nordeka, Ecolines and Eurolines.
You can get to Latvia by car. The highways connect Riga with Vilnius, Kaunas, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tallinn.
In the Latvian authentic cuisine consists of fish, meat, grains, flour, beans, potatoes, vegetables and dairy products.
We recommend trying dishes from river and sea fish. Grilled herring is especially popular in Latvia. If you like fish, then do not miss a chance to try baked cod pudding zivju pudiņš and baked herring pudding siļķu pudiņš.
The most popular meat among the Latvians is pork. The restaurants offer traditional Latvian dish made of pig tails, ears and snouts. A farmer's Breakfast is the dish which is known far beyond Latvia. This is a casserole with smoked bacon, homemade sausage and boiled potatoes covered with milk and egg mixture. Klops, a big beefsteak with onion sauce, is also very delicious.
The Latvians are masters of cooking pea with pork fat, black pudding and blood pancakes, in which they add beef blood instead of milk. In local restaurants, order stewed chicken with beans paste Kamaro.
If you are a sweet tooth, try sweet bread soup with cream or bread vanilla ice-cream. In Latvia, they also cook bread yogurt Sklandrausis and a cake Vecrīga.
In Latvia, you will be offered such non-alcoholic drinks as bread kvas, pea kisel and rhubarb kisel with milk.
The brewery Aldaris offers a lot of types of light and dark beer. Those who love stronger drinks can try liqueurs and vodka produced by a world famous company Latvijas Balzams. We also recommend trying cumin-flavored vodka KimenuDegvins. And don't forget about the Latvian hallmark the Riga Black Balsam.
Details of interest
The Latvians are kind and funny with their family and friends but they are self-restrained in the public.
In Latvia, it is prohibited to smoke in public places and drink alcoholic drinks. In the central part, you cannot lie or walk on the grass.
Sightseeing in Latvia
- Riga is the capital of Latvia and its cultural center is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The tourists should visit the Old Town, Powder Tower, Riga Castle, Swedish Gate, St. Peter's Church and the Dome Cathedral. Find some time to visit the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia where you will see the entire country in the miniature model.
- Daugavpils is the second largest Latvian city. Daugavpils Fortress is the only fortress in the Baltic countries preserved to these days in its original state. The tourists can also have an excursion to the Unity House.
- Liepāja is a Latvian port and resort. This city has a unique architecture such as the building of St. Nicholas Orthodox Naval Cathedral and the St. Anne's Lutheran Church.
- In an old city Cesis, every tourist can visit Riekstukalns and the Castle of the Livonian Order.
- If you happen to be in the Bauska District, go to an excursion to the Mežotne Palace, Bauska Castle and Rundāle Palace.
- Gutmanis cave is the largest cave in the Baltic states and it is located in Sigulda.
The tourists usually bring the following souvenirs from Latvia:
- unique things made from amber;
- linen clothes, towels and shawls;
- leather souvenirs (jewelry boxes, hats, covers for documents, wallets);
- exclusive hand-made wool things;
- wooden toys;
- Body care products produced by the famous brand Dzintars;
- Riga Black Balsam;
- Chocolate and candies Laima;
- Honey and honey natural products.