Capital
Capital — Riga
Population
Population — 2.3 million
Language
Language — Latvian & Russian
Religion
Religion — Lutheran
Time Zone
Time Zone — 7 hours behind AEST
Currency
Currency — Euro
  • Latvia has over 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes! In summer, the temperature can hit 20 degrees, so they may be a little chilly…
  • The internet downloading speed in Latvia is one of the fastest in the world!
  • Venta Rapid, located in Kuldiga, is the wildest waterfall in Europe, with a width of up to 270 metres, depending on the season, but the waterfalls themselves are not particularly high.
  • The longest summer day in Latvia lasts 17½ hours.
  • Latvia’s current flag design has been in use since 1280. Only Denmark’s flag is older.
  • The first decorated Christmas tree originated in Latvia.
  • The most popular summer sport is basketball and in winter, it’s ice hockey.
  • Ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov and film director Sergei Eisenstein were born in Riga.

Australian passport holders travelling to Latvia do not need a visa at this time.

We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.

Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.

Australian Embassy in Latvia:

Currently there is no Australian Embassy in Latvia. For assistance, please contact the Embassy in Sweden.

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor,
Stockholm
Sweden

Ph. +46 8 613 2900
Fax. +46 8 613 2982

The official currency of Latvia is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.

The recommended currency to take to Latvia is the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.

Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.

Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.

If you don’t have Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.

Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.

  • The price of a cappuccino in Riga is approximately €2.50 - €3.
  • The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €10.
  • The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €25.
  • The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €4.50 - €5.

Traditional Latvian food is plain and hearty. Latvians are proud of their fine breads and dairy products, and no Latvian meal is complete without whole-grain or rye sourdough breads and yoghurt or cheese. Fish, sausage, pork and beef provide most of the protein – flavouring comes from caraway, cream, dill and onions. Laima chocolates are a Latvian specialty. The Laima factory has been producing chocolates and other sweets for more than 125 years – it’s the country’s oldest factory.

Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.

If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.

Summer is warmish, while spring and autumn can be mild. Winter, which lasts from November to mid-March, can be very cold and heavy snowfall is common. Rainfall is common throughout the year.

Want to get out and explore on your own?

In Riga, walking is a great way to see the city sites and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Otherwise, taxis are privately owned and all of them should have a meter box. At night, it is safer to grab a taxi, but there may be a night surcharge.

When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.

So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Latvia…

Much like its Baltic neighbours, Latvia is known for its amber jewellery. You can buy pieces which come with certificates of authenticity from most jewellers; these are generally set in gold, silver or bronze. You can also find small pieces strung onto leather or used to decorate photo frames or other home decorations. Hand-knitted woollen items are also common throughout Latvia and tend to have Nordic patterns. Linen is also widely available, and you can buy it by the metre or in the form of tablecloths, bedding and napkins.

Carry moist wipes for cleaning your hands after using public transportation and being out and about. They can be invaluable on sticky summer days. And carry some toilet paper or tissues in case you’re faced with using a public restroom.

Smoking is acceptable almost everywhere.

If entering a church or mosque both sexes should cover shoulders and legs. In a mosque, women will most likely be asked to cover their hair with a scarf (usually provided).

Latvia is incredibly proud of its medieval heritage and celebrates this with several fun festivals throughout the year. Two of these are the Midsummer Festival in late June and the Cesis Castle Medieval Fair, held in early May each year. The city of Riga celebrates with the Riga City Festival, the Light Festival and Riga Restaurant Week Festival.

Other national public holidays to be aware of include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Friday and Easter Monday
  • Labour Day (May 1st)
  • Declaration of Independence Day (May 4th)
  • Midsummer Eve & St John’s Day (Midsummer Day) (June 23rd & 24th)
  • National Day (November 18th)
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Eve

Small Group Tours

Moscow to Prague

An unforgettable journey through Russia, the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

Airfares included

Days 26
From (Per person / Twin share) $11,695

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