Latvia is a country located in East Europe with name that begins with letter L. The Republic of Latvia is the middle of the Baltic States. Around 2.27 million people live in an area almost the size of Bavaria, most of them in the capital Riga. With 720,000 residents, it is also the largest city in the country. Latvian society is multicultural: almost 60% are Latvians, followed by around 28% Russians; Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians and other peoples make the 100% full.
As in the Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania, the landscape of Latvia is also a relic of the Ice Age: the former glaciers have left a moraine landscape here. The extensively wooded, gentle hills, which do not rise higher than 311 m above sea level, accommodate not only the usual red and roe deer but also less frequent guests, for example elk, brown bears and wild bison, i.e. the European bison. In the east and south-east Latvia borders on Russia and Belarus, in the west the water dominates: Latvia’s coastline on the Baltic Sea and on the Riga Bay is almost 490 km long. Two of the four Latvian national parks are located on the coast and protect a unique coastal and swamp landscape, namely at Slitere and Kemeri. Check Countryaah to find more countries that begin with letter L.
Latvia is an EU and Schengen country. In order to be able to identify yourself during controls, you need a valid passport or identity card.
The cool, temperate Baltic Sea climate gives Latvians light and mild, but rarely hot, summers. On very warm days you can even take a bath in the Baltic Sea or in the Buch von Riga: the water sometimes reaches temperatures of up to 25 °C. Winters are long, dark and humid.
Food and drink
In a country that is dominated by forest and water, there is logically a lot of game and fish on the plate. There are also mushrooms, berries and stews. But also roast pork and sauerkraut. Among the fish, the most popular is the tasty catfish. Among the drinks are birch sap, rhubarb wine, honey beer and the non-alcoholic yeast drink kvass, which is written in Latvian kvass.
Latvia lies at the intersection of cultures: this is where Eastern and Western, Northern and Central Europe meet. A stroll through the capital, Riga, bears witness to the great past of the bourgeois era. Dance, singing and opera are very popular in Latvia. Folklore and tradition dominate in the country. Whoever it is possible shouldn’t miss the Midsummer Festival (Jani) on June 23rd. Here the beginning of summer is paid homage to the beginning of summer with flower wreaths, dancing and drinks at the campfire until the early hours of the morning – Midsummer Night in Latvian.
The health infrastructure in Latvia is at EU level. The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs draws attention to the occurrence of ticks in Latvia. Sometimes ticks can transmit diseases: You can get vaccinated against TBE, the only thing that helps against Lyme disease is to remove ticks from the skin as quickly as possible and consult a doctor for treatment if the bite is noticeable. If you have any doubts or questions, please ask your family doctor.
The security situation in the Baltic states is good. In the capital Riga, not all bar operators are friendly to tourists; some issue inflated bills. A “tourist friendly” sticker tells strangers where they don’t have to worry. Even with taxis, make sure that you only get into official cars. You can recognize them by the abbreviation TX on the number plate. The greatest danger in Latvia comes from road traffic. Here, anticipatory behavior and a defensive driving style can help.