Latvia is famous for its culture and traditions. The country has a culture that is unique but that also has been influenced by its neighboring countries and in particular Russia. There is also a Germanic influence that began with the Teutonic Knights and continued with German invasions in both WWI and WWII. The Russians controlled Latvia and the Baltic States during both world wars and the period beginning in 1944 to 1991.
Latvia and the Baltic States have a love for singing and dancing. Latvia is famous for choir singing competitions that bring people to Latvia every year.
The forest and folklore play an important part in village life throughout Latvia. The celebration of Janis, the first day of summer solstice is a tradition that is a must to visit.
Family traditions are very important. Anyone who has taken part in a Latvian wedding for example would tell you that it is an experience that you will not likely forget.
There are castles and palaces but Sigulda Forest and Jurmala on the Baltic Sea are famous places that most people travel to. And Riga, the capital, is a famous medieval city with a lot of city.
Your adventures will likely start in Latvia`s capital, Riga. The city is by no means big, but it is incredibly beautiful with impressive art nouveau architecture, winding, medieval streets, and a ton of history to discover.
Aside from the historical wonders of the capital city Riga, Latvia boasts ancient castles, stunning valleys and miles of beaches. Just 20 minutes outside of Riga is the seaside resort of Jurmala offers a vibrant life of beaching and unique spas. Also within easy reach of the capital is the palace of Rundale, while those wanting to get some beach time in should head to the port city of Ventspils. In the scenic Gauja Valley, the attraction small towns of Sigulda and Cesis can both be used as a great base for hiking, biking, canoeing and all your outdoor pursuits.
Latvia has a temperate climate that goes through four unique seasons. In the winter, snow is abundant, and temperatures are below freezing; in the spring, frequent rain; in the summer, warm and sunny; and in the fall, cool and colorful. The best time to visit is from April to September. Tourist season is July and August, and in these months, temperatures are pleasantly warm. Many festivals occur in the summer, giving visitors a chance to experience local culture and try native foods. Although the winter weather is bitter, many tourists come to the country during this season. For one, there are an abundance of winter sports activities that are highly enjoyable in this season. In addition, Christmas in Latvia is a very popular cultural event, and often prices in the winter are simply cheaper than their summer counterparts.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Riga has plentiful and cheap public transport. Buy train tickets in advance: stations have separate windows for long-distance (starpilsetu) and suburban (pirpilsetu) trains. Long-distance services are divided into `passenger` (pasazieru vilciens) and `fast` (atrs) - both are quite slow but the latter, usually requiring a reservation, stops at fewer places. On timetable boards, look for atiet (departure) or pienak (arrival). Check train timetables online at ldz.lv.
Buses are slightly quicker than trains, though slightly more expensive. Buy long-distance tickets in advance from the ticket counter and opt for an express (ekspresis) bus if possible.
A new BalticBike borrowing system (www.balticbike.lv) allows you to pick up and drop off bicycles from various points around Riga and Jurmala for about €1.50 per hour. Cycling is a particularly good way of getting around the resort areas and small towns.
The currency of Latvia is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport.
Latvian Is the national language. About 50% of people speak Russian, and the other half, for the most part, speak Latvian. English is widely spoken by younger people and by people in the tourism industry. German is also commonly spoken by tour guides. We suggest you get a good English-Latvian guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.