Riga is undoubtedly the most popular town in Latvia because of its old towns, historic churches, cobbled streets and an abundance of stunning art nouveau buildings, but there’s a whole lot more to Latvia than just its capital city since its real beauty actually lies in the scenic landscapes of the country. But these Meadows, marshlands and more have their own ways and rules which must be followed.
10 Essential Latvia Travel Tips
So here are some travel tips to Latvia so that you are prepared for it all before heading to the small European country.
1. Getting Around In Latvia
When in Latvia, the best way to travel and know the place is by using public transport since they are reasonably priced and the trains and buses connect the major cities and towns of the country. Big towns like Riga and Daugavpils have a proper public transportation system which comprises of trolleybuses, trams, and buses. Taxis are also comparatively cheap, but renting a car can be expensive. But if you still hire a car, then remember that local car hire companies are cheaper than the international ones.
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2. Latvia Accommodation
Amongst all the Latvia travel tips, is a must point regarding accommodation. There are many numbers of hotels along with other accommodation over in Riga and if you are here during holiday season then you can even get many of the luxurious ones for a lower rate since the business travelers tend to be absent. A room in a guest house can cost about £6 but if you want something cheaper then check out the youth hostels which offer really nice facilities for less cost.
Latvia travel tips don’t generally include information about health, but you should know some things so that you can get the necessary help when needed. You won’t require any vaccinations while traveling to Latvia but the usual ones concerning tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria is definitely advised. If you are going here for camping them there are risks of contracting encephalitis from ticks. This tick problem increases during the months of May to September. If you are bitten by a wild animal, dog or snake then seek medical attention as soon as you can. Snakes aren’t venomous in Latvia, except the European Adder, being bitten by which will surely result in death if it isn’t treated in the next few hours. Dogs carry the risk of rabies, although mosquitoes don’t carry diseases and are generally just an annoyance.
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Be cautious while talking about Latvia in the context of USSR to native Latvians since Latvia became a USSR province after ww2 and any praise for the Soviet regime won’t be understood or even appreciated by Latvians. Further along, refrain from mentioning any linguistic, ethnic or citizenship issues which can involve Russians or Latvians as it is a controversial topic. Other common courtesy tips include not littering since it is considered to be bad manners and you are liable to even get fined.
Amongst the things to Know Before Visiting Latvia, this is a must know because it will help you navigate the roads better. Regarding crime rates in Latvia, it has increased since Latvia’s separation from USSR, but its still a safe country for travelers and you can travel alone. On your part, always ensure that you don’t leave valuables or money lying around in your hotel room and definitely don’t flaunt it in public. Also, keep your bike locked up. For more safety measures, be careful on forest roads since collisions with wild animals can easily occur. This also goes when you are crossing the road since some drivers in the country can be reckless.
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6. Visiting Bars And Restaurants
When you have made plans to visit any restaurant or bar, then make sure to check the price before you order and no matter your intoxicated situation, follow your spending so that you can avoid being cheated on. Beware of scammers who will try to strike up conversations with you straight out of the blue and will try to invite you to visit their favorite club or bar with them. This is a common way to rob foreigners. Make sure you check out the website of Latvian police, which has detailed advice for foreigners.
The native and national language in here is known as Latvian and unlike Estonian, it is a Baltic language and forms a part of the two remaining Baltic languages spoken, the other being Lithuanian. But in the cities, people do speak English, German and Russian as well. You will be comfortable knowing just English in Riga since it is the capital city receives a lot of tourists from English speaking nations. But as you move farther away from major cities, people who can understand English will decrease so make sure to leave some useful phrases at least so that you can get help if things go bad.
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8. LIDO Cafeterias
You will, of course, find eateries which serve great authentic food of the region as well as expensive, luxurious food as well. But if you are searching for someplace cheap to eat, then definitely try out LIDO cafeterias. These are common lunch and dinner spots and for as low as €7 you will get to enjoy a hearty meal which will have a main, dessert and drinks. It’s not fine dining of course but it is warm and most importantly- cheap. It will tide you over if you are in a pinch.
9. Best Time To Visit Latvia
Every Latvia Travel Guide and Travel Information doesn’t state the crucial information of when to visit it. The time to end up in Latvia is definitely when the temperature is mild and this is during the months of April-June (spring) and also during September and October (autumn). You are planning a summer trip, then keep in mind that the temperatures can shoot up to 30°C. As for winters, the weather can take a -20°C drop easily as well. The rest of the months like August are no good too since you will be stuck with experiencing heavy rainfall then. Plan your travel well, so that you can enjoy the place rather than being stuck in steaming heat or crushing cold. Make sure you plan your travels by keeping the holidays celebrated in Latvia in mind as well so that you don’t miss out on the festivities. A notable one to keep in mind is the Midsummer’s day when people party well into the night.
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10. Food and Drink
It’s always advisable to know about the eating habits of the place you are visiting so that you aren’t in a place of inconvenience when you reach there. In Latvia, the cuisine consists of meat dishes along with potatoes and rye bread. But you will also find dairy products as well as fish in here. As for drinks, there is something called Kvass which is a nonalcoholic drink and is made up of honey, fruits, and yeast. But there is alcohol as well like the Balzam which is bitter, black and thick alcoholic liquid made from cognac, orange peel, and ginger.
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Latvia is a little country which shouldn’t be missed out on and these tips will help you navigate the place better than before so that your vacation goes as smoothly as possible while vacationing in Europe
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