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Practical information Latvia

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Latvia : Travel Information before you go!

Area

64589.0

Flights

A London-Riga flight is approximately 5 hours long, with one connection.

Jet Lag

Latvia is 2 hours ahead of the UK.

Population

2306400

Airports

Riga airport is 5 miles from the town centre. From the airport you can get to the capital by bus n 22 (0.20 lat) and by taxis (roughly 10 lats + 0.40 lat per item of luggage). It is recommended that you take a taxi with a meter.

Security

There are no major security problems, but avoid the parks at night, poorly lit streets and suburbs (especially in Riga).

Languages

The official language is Latvian. Lithuanian is also spoken and 40% of the population understands or speaks Russian. English and German are also spoken.

Required travel documents for

Following its entry into the European Union on 1st May 2004, European citizens only need a valid passport.

Religion

Lutheran protestantism is dominant, but there are also Catholic and Russian Orthodox minorities.

Currency

Although the country joined the European Union on 1st May 2004, the Euro is due to be introduced in January 2014. The national currency until then is the Lat, pegged at par with the Euro since 1st January 2005. 1 Lat = 1.27 Sterling; 1 Sterling = 0.79 Lat. Bring one or more international credit card(s) with you for paying hotel and restaurant bills and for buying things in larger stores. Cash can be withdrawn from the cash machines located in the cities and tourist resorts, and travellers cheques (drawn up in Pounds) are less widely accepted. Bank opening hours: from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday.

Local transportation

The major roads are well maintained, but fuel is hard to obtain in the countryside. Preferably park in a car park under surveillance, as cars are frequently stolen and make sure that when driving your headlights are always dipped (day and night). A national driving license is enough for at least a six-month stay. The main car rental companies are in Riga, the capital, and at the airport. As for other forms of transport; travelling by plane is unnecessary given the size of the country. Travelling by train is very slow, but relatively inexpensive; thus, travelling by coach is the best way of getting around.

Health

No particular vaccinations are required, but the jab against tick-borne encephalitis is recommended if you go to the forest for any length of time. Vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis A and B are also recommended and make sure that your DTP vaccination is up to date. You are strongly advised against drinking tap water. Lastly, it is preferable to subscribe to repatriation insurance in case of an accident.

Electricity

220 V. An adapter not needed.

Telephone

To call Latvia from the UK, dial: 00 + 371 (country code) + town code (Riga 7, Cesis 41, Jurmala 2) + number you are calling.
To call the UK from Latvia, dial: 00 + 44+ number you are calling without the initial 0.

Latvia : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Latvian Embassy
45 Nottingham Place London W1U 5LY. Telephone : 020 7312 0040. 01 53 64 58 10.

At the destination

British Embassy:
5 J Alunana iela Riga LV 1010. Telephone: (371) 733 8126.
Latvian Tourism Authority:
22 Skarnu iela, LV-1050, Riga (Old City).
Telephone: (371) 722 17 31. (371) 722 17 31.
Good to know: a section of the Latvian tourism authority is at Riga airport.