Latvia is a country between Latvia and Estonia, which is famous for its unique culture, Gothic architecture, dense forests and wide beaches in the Baltic Sea coast. The best time to visit this country is summer, when you can soak up the sun and lie on the beach by the sea, or winter, which creates a fabulous Christmas atmosphere.
Visa to Latvia
To travel to Latvia, the first step is to apply for a visa, either Latvian or Schengen, the basis for which will be an invitation from either a private person or a travel agency, but the second option is still more reliable. As a rule, a visa is issued within seven working days, but you can also make an urgent one, the registration of which will take only three days. For registration, you will need a passport, a questionnaire, a color photo, a medical insurance policy and confirmation of a stable financial situation.
How to get to Latvia
You can get to Latvia in almost any way except by sea. Direct planes to Riga Airport fly from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and you can also get there by train. If you like car trips, you can also go by car, for this you need to have a valid international driver’s license and a green card with you. When traveling by car, you need to know that the permitted speed in the city is 50 km / h, and outside settlements is 90 km / h, the low beam should always be on, the tinting of the windshield should be no more than 25%, and the glass of the front doors no more than 30%, studded rubber is allowed only from October to May, and alcohol in the blood should not exceed 0.5%.
Hotels in Latvia
The hotel business is very well developed in Latvia. In the capital, luxury hotels are located in ancient buildings of the 15th-19th centuries, right in the historical center of Riga, and are distinguished by their exquisite interiors and first-class service. All these hotels offer a beautiful view of the whole city or its individual parts. There are three and four-star hotels both in the Old Town and in its business part, which is located nearby.
Further from the center you can find mid-level hotels, as well as the most budget options, hostels. Apartments are rented by special firms in the private sector of the city. In Jurmala you can find business class hotels, SPA hotels and various sanatoriums. However, if you want a relaxing summer vacation, then rooms should be booked in the spring, and cheap options are better to order from winter.
There are quite a lot of car rentals in Latvia, where everyone can choose a car for themselves according to their taste and wallet. Each car is accompanied by full insurance and technical support anywhere in the country. If necessary, you can rent a car immediately with a driver. The quality and characteristics of the machine will depend on its cost. Some of the firms carry out their activities not only in Latvia, but also throughout Europe.
Tourists in Latvia can safely communicate in their native language without fear of encountering any negative from the locals. However, it is worth remembering that any communication is based on politeness and mutual respect, in this country they do not like rudeness.
What is worth seeing in Latvia
Sights of Riga
The main sights of Latvia are located in its capital, in its historical center, Vets-Riga, where “ve” means “old” in Latvian. You can have time to inspect them in just one day, but do not rush, it is better to stretch the pleasure for the duration of the entire trip.
The residence of the President of Latvia, over which the flag of the Republic of Latvia flies, is an ancient castle built in 1330. The Dome Cathedral, built in 1211, is the largest medieval church among the Baltic countries, it houses one of the largest organs in the world, installed in the mid-eighties of the nineteenth century. One of the symbols of Riga is the Church of St. Peter, built in 1209, in the Middle Ages it was the main church building. It is famous for its original spire, on top of which there is a rooster.
The House of the Blackheads, the first mention of which was in 1334 as the house of a Large guild. This house is named after the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, an association of foreign merchants and shipowners.
The Powder Tower, the only tower of the Riga fortress wall that has survived to this day, in which there are real combat cores.
These and many other attractions attract millions of tourists from all over the world every year. There is also something to see outside the Old Town. Art Nouveau, the so-called buildings built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, on their roofs there are signs indicating the year of their construction, as well as the Freedom Monument, which is a symbol of Latvia’s independence, sometimes you can even see the changing of the guard.
Lovers of delicious and relatively inexpensive food should look into the LIDO restaurant, which is also a recreation center, both adults and children will be comfortable here. By the way, for those who travel with children, it will be interesting to visit the Riga zoo, which can be compared to Moscow in scale. In order to feel comfortable in the capital of Latvia, it is worth remembering some rules, alcohol on the street can not be drunk from an open bottle, it must be hidden in a bag, and you can neither walk nor lie on the lawns in the city center.
Where to go, besides the capital
In addition to Riga, there are many other interesting places in Latvia. One of these is the famous resort of Jurmala, where the international competition “New Wave” has been organized for several years. Here you can attend various concerts and the celebration of the main street of the city – Yomas, as well as sunbathe on the beach and swim in the clean warm sea. In Sigulda, in the Gauja National Park, there is the Turaida Castle, which was founded in 1214 on the site of the wooden castle of the Livs. In the town of Kurzeme – Kuldiga is Ventas-Rumba, the widest waterfall in Europe and the largest in Latvia.
Words worth learning
To feel like one’s own in Latvia, it is enough to learn just a few simple words, labdien – hello, ludzu- please, paldies – thank you, veikals – shop, viesnica– hotel, partika – products, darba laiks – opening hours, frizetava – hairdresser, maksa – fee. Stress, as a rule, falls on the first syllable.
The local cuisine is simple and nutritious, soups, dairy products and jelly, tinted with curdled milk, predominate here. One of the most specific national dishes is peas with bacon and cold beetroot. Fish is also quite popular in Latvia, which can be bought fresh in fishing villages outside Jurmala and in the fish pavilion at the Central Market, near the central station.
The most popular drink here is beer, which, regardless of the brand, is very good, and the best can be found in the LIDO, where kvass is very good. Lovers of baking should try a variety of cakes and buns, which are sold in local coffee shops, and, of course, delicious Latvian bread, numbering 40 different varieties.