Where is it: Latvia is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania.
Why do people go here: Latvia is a country where the beautiful nature, vibrant festivals and historical castles draw flocks of tourists in the summer months, and that number is sure to increase. Churches, palaces and the stories that go with them are other reasons to visit Latvia.
What are the main entry points: Those coming overland via train or bus from the Lituhanian coast will swing through Liepaja before hitting the capital, Riga. Those leaving Belarus will stop in Daugavpils. Ferries to Riga are available from Stockholm.
Currency used: Latvian lat
Country Code for Phones: 371
Area codes for Major Cities: Liepajas Rajons 34
Religion: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Population: 2.3 million
Ethnic Breakdown: 59.2% Latvians, 28.0% Russians, 3.7% Belarusians, 2.5% Ukrainians, 6.6% others
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Languages: Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian
Major Cities: Riga, Liepaja, Daugavpils
Attractions: Castles, beaches, stories and myths
Tourism Office locations and links: http://www.latvia-usa.org
Off-the-Beaten-Path: Jaunpils palace, Ostriches, Edole Palace
Health Issues: No vaccines are required to enter Latvia.
Tips for Visiting
When to go: Like the other Baltic countries, summer is the best season with warm weather and long days.
Common Phrases: Yes = JA, No = Ne, Please = Patikt, Thank you = Pateiciba
Specific Events/Holidays: Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note – 18 November 1918 is the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 21 August 1991 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Getting Around: Buses go just about everywhere that trains do and don’t. Both are slow, but cheap.
Good to know: Half of the country is covered with forests which are abundant with wildlife.
Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airport to fly into Latvia is the Riga International Airport.
Need more information?: Check out the Latvia travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.