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Latvia Essentials


Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika) is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia (343 km), to the south by Lithuania (588 km), to the east by the Russian Federation (276 km), and to the southeast by Belarus (141 km).[2] Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden. The territory of Latvia covers 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi) and it has a temperate seasonal climate.

Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 municipalities (109 novadi and 9 cities). The capital and largest city is Riga. Latvia has been a member of the United Nations since September 17, 1991; of the European Union since May 1, 2004 and of the NATO since March 29, 2004.


Latvia is in the - GMT + 2 time zone. If you arrive from London, put the clock back for two hours, from Moscow - forward one hour. For precise time call 154 (in Latvian) or 174 (in Russian).

The supermarkets usually open at 8 AM and close at 11-12 PM. On Saturdays and Sundays grocery stores are usually open. Banks and museums close at 4-5 PM. Most large cafes are open unti 2 AM. Most service enterprises work without a lunch break.


The currency in Latvia is Euro, one Euro is equal to 100 eurocents. There are no legal limitations in currency transfer across the borders of Latvia. You do not have to show your passport to change currency.

There is no problem with getting cash from your payment cards as there is a broad network of cash dispensers that lets you getting cash in almost any town of Latvia. Most stores, restaurants accept debt and credit cards.


Latvian telephone connection is almost totally digital and for that reason of very high quality. You can call any place in the world from phone booths located all around Latvia. You can use a 2, 3 and 5 La call card, sold in all press boots, or with a credit card. There are instructions in every phone booth. You should remember that a call to Europe ar USA cost less than a call to Russia or CIS countries.


Mobile connection in Latvia is very well developed. Almost all territory of Latvia has cell coverage. Tourists are recommended to buy pre-payment cards -          "O karte" or "Zelta Zivtina" that provide you with a temporary number and call opportunity for local prices.


Mail in Latvia works well. Letters are usually delivered on the next day (across Riga) and in one-two days across Latvia. International letters are usually delivered in under a week. To send a letter you have to buy post stamps in post offices or Narvessen shops and stick them on evelopes. Across Latvia - 0.25 euro, European countries and Russia - app. 0.50 euro, to other countries - app. 0.70 euro.


Riga has no subway but there are trams, trolleybuses, buses and route taxis or minibuses. Public transport fee is 0.60 Euro, but if you buy ticket at driver it will be cost 1.20 Euro,  taxi-buses -  0.70 Euro. You can pay the driver as you enter, but the ticket price will be 1.20 Euro, so the cheaper option would be to buy an e-ticket. For more info , please visit http://etalons.rigassatiksme.lv/en/beginning/ .There is no problem with finding a taxi in Riga.  Taxis are available at taxi stops and via phone.


Main information telephone number is 1188 - paid. A call cost app. 15 eurocents. Service quality is very high, operators are able to answer even the most unexpected questions. Operators speak Latvian, Russian and English.