Holidays in Latvia

Holidays in Latvia

They say that the preparation for a holiday is better than the holiday itself. Almost the same can be said about the upcoming trip. The anticipation and preparation for it is a very good time. Besides it is the necessary time. Upon return, it is a shame to find out that, being near something interesting – did not look, tasty – did not try, unusual – did not feel. You should not make such a mistake, it is necessary to study in advance information about rest in the country.

We are going to visit Latvia. What do we know about it? A small country, located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The capital – the beautiful city of Riga. The state used to be one of the republics of the USSR. For a Soviet person, it is almost a foreign country – well-groomed, elegant, with small cafes and restaurants. Older people remember the names of Vija Artmane, Lilita Ozolini, Vilis Lacis.

Times have changed. What do we know today? The country is part of the European Union, applies the rules of the Schengen area. You need a visa for travel. The currency unit is the euro. Names – composer Raimonds Pauls, singer Laima Vaikule. Transmissions from Jurmala. This is approximately the set of knowledge about our neighbor to the north.

How to get there

From Moscow to Latvia you can get by bus, train, plane, or by car.

If you go during the day, the bus is very interesting. You can see a lot of things, albeit briefly, on the way. Such a trip is difficult physically, it is necessary to calculate your strength, the possibility of spending 14 hours on the bus. Weather or customs could increase the time on the way.

The second way is by train Moscow-Riga. It will take you in 16 hours.

Aircraft to Riga takes about two hours. The airport is 7 km from the city.

It is convenient and interesting to travel by own car. Entering Latvia through Zilupe, all hotels with parking along the route. Car must be tinted, with uncracked windows, without damage to the body, the driver must have a Green Card.

Travel within the country

Roads in Latvia

Vacationers who find themselves in the country without a car, will have to get acquainted with public transport. The impression will be most positive.

A very good type of transport is an electric train. The cars are clean and the seats are comfortable. Tickets can be purchased at the station or in the car, where they are a little more expensive. Intercity bus tickets are relatively expensive. Buses are comfortable, clearly adhering to the schedule.

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Within the cities, buses, trolleybuses, streetcars and marshrutkas run from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. At night, there are occasional vehicles on duty. Cabs are called for free. At night, a trip by any mode of transport will cost more.

It is possible to rent a car. To do this you must have an international driver’s license, a credit card and pay the insurance.

It is interesting and nice to see that locals often use bicycles. A very useful form of transport. It must have a registration number, and its owner must have a license. In Riga and Jurmala you can rent a bike and ride around the city.

Climate

Another common knowledge about the Baltics is that it rains, it rains. In fact, it’s not so bad. There are about 150 cloudy days a year. August is the rainfall champion. May holds the lead in dry and sunny days. Latvia is a country with a transitional climate, from maritime to continental. Weather in the west and center of the country is influenced by the sea and the Gulf of Riga, while in the east this influence diminishes. There is a piercing wind from the sea. This inconvenience of winter and autumn makes the weather comfortable in spring and summer.

Despite frequent cloudiness, Latvia has a favorable climate. It is made so by sea air, pine and other forests, the absence of harmful industries. Temperature variations are considerable. In summer it is warm, spring and autumn are mild, but winter can be cold.

Conventionally there are three parts of the country, where the climate is different. These are the Central, Western and Eastern regions. In the table below, you can see the average temperature readings.

Average temperatures in different regions of Latvia Average air temperature in Jurmala Average water temperature in Jurmala

Accommodation

Tourism in Latvia is on the rise. There are plenty of hotels to accommodate tourists. There are luxury brands such as Ramada and hostels. Suffice it to say that there are 462 hotels in Riga and 23 in the small Cēsis. Hotels are rated by stars as in Europe. In a hotel of any stardom, breakfast is included in payment. If there are five or fewer rooms, it is a guest house. There are a lot of campsites and youth hostels.

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Many hotels have been bought and renovated by well-known hotel brands. The rooms have a minibar, TV, international telephone, Internet access, safe, air conditioning.

Service is at a high level. Back in Soviet times, Latvia amazed unpretentious guests from other republics with this, but now there is nothing to say. Rooms are kept in order. You can stay with children of any age. An extra bed will require some expense. But a four-legged friend or other animal in the room will not be allowed, you will have to look for another place of residence, which is not difficult.

Hotels provide bellhop service, and each has a parking lot, free for guests.

There are saunas, fitness rooms, restaurants.

It is possible to determine the accommodation from home on the Internet. If people travel, change places of residence and do not want to limit themselves to a time limit, you can find accommodation by coming to town.

There are not many 4* and 5* hotels. Even in Riga, there are less than ten. If you compare with Moscow, prices are moderate, about 200 euros per night. Of course, this is expensive for most people. There are hotels that fall into the “above average” category. The room rate there ranges from 80 to 150 euros. The golden mean are hotels of average, budget level. Most of them correspond to the level of three stars with good service. The price starts from 30 euros per night.

A good alternative to hotels are apartments. It is cheaper and, for many, more convenient. The price depends on the location, area, furniture, amenities offered.

Light House Jurmala Hotel in Jurmala

What else can I add about temporary residence in Latvia? It is useful to know:

  • The country is quiet, there is no crime. You can walk around at night. The exception is station areas, ports.
  • In Riga and Jurmala tap water is suitable for drinking. In other cities it is better to use bottled water.
  • There are a lot of currency exchange points.
  • For foreigners medical service is expensive. Just in case it is necessary to have insurance and some medicine.
  • In darkness, pedestrians are obliged to wear reflectors and are fined if they are not.
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How to behave

Going to another country, it is necessary to know the rules of conduct there. They are sometimes different from what we are accustomed to at home. Of course, everywhere appreciate politeness, courtesy, calm demeanor. But every country has its own peculiarities.

Smoking in public places is prohibited in Latvia, and the ban is enforced. A bottle of alcohol in the hands of a passerby is nonsense. It must necessarily be in a bag. It is forbidden to walk on lawns, sit and lie on them.

Tipping is in the tradition of the country. They are received by waiters, cab drivers, hotel employees. It is about 10% of the payment. Sometimes tips are included in the bill.

Latvians are loyal to all religions. There is no fanaticism. There is respect, which is useful to follow. There are no restrictions on clothing.

Of course, you have to keep it clean and orderly. It’s a little strange that we have to remind people of that. You should not use foul language, your confidence that they do not understand may be false.

Kitchen

Latvia's gray peas

Fish and potatoes are a popular food of Latvians. Baltic salmon in all forms, herring casserole, potato casserole with cheese. You can try patties with bacon, steak with onion sauce and many other things. Prices in restaurants are moderate. Latvia has a lot of cozy restaurants, where it’s very pleasant to sit. There are also adventurous gastronomic experiments in the form of beer soup with dried fruit or black bread kissel with cranberries and honey, and even peas with kefir.

Popular resorts

Latvian resorts are divided into balneological, climatic and mud resorts. The level of Latvian medicine is high enough to ensure that treatment in Latvia takes its rightful place among treatment facilities of the European Union.

The most popular treatment destination is Jurmala. There are many hotels, sanatoria, resort and rehabilitation centers treating with mud baths and mineral water. The famous Kemeri mud is located right there. The city has all conditions for recreation with children.

Liepaja is also a resort city. There is a large Seaside Park. The beaches with fine sand are famous.

Attractive for recreation is the city of Ventspils. It has clean beaches with blue flags and playgrounds for kids. There is an adventure park, water park, the Olympic center. And in general, this resort is great for holidays with children. The center has a large park for children with a variety of slides, large and small, swings, climbing. Children will be happy for sure.

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Ventspils seafront

Famous youth resorts are Bulduri and Majori. Their beaches also have EU flags.

July-August is the best time for beach resorts in Latvia, but to determine the place to stay, read about the best hotels on the coast of Latvia.

There are many ski resorts in Latvia. You can name Sigulda, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, the slopes of Riga. For holidays with children the most suitable are Kurzeme and Riga slopes. All slopes are located among pine trees, which is excellent for health.

The capital of the country will be interesting for everyone in terms of sightseeing. Walks through the old town of Riga are interesting even to children, especially if you book a guide for 2-3 hours.

Souvenirs

Latvian cheese

It is impossible to return from a trip without gifts and memorabilia. Amber is the most common souvenir from Latvia. It is cheap, available in almost all stores. The main thing is that it is a beautiful stone, which is considered as a family stone, which brings happiness to the house. It has medicinal properties, and is recommended to be worn by those who have problems with the thyroid gland.

A well-known Latvian souvenir is leather goods, such as bookmarks and covers for books.

You can buy beautiful wool sweaters in national style. A lot of linen products which are fashionable and hard-wearing.

Remember to take home home-balsam in a clay bottle, and local beer. You can take smoked cheese and cheese with cumin to go with beer.

Riga’s sprats are no less famous than the balsam. They are considered to be the best in the world.

Latvia has very good and tasty bread. There are up to 30 varieties in the store. You can take away a loaf that seems the most delicious variety. And don’t forget about Riga gingerbread – delicious addition to a cup of hot tea.

As a gift for women, you can buy products from “Dzintars”, this cosmetics line has been famous since Soviet times. As you can see, the list of gifts and purchases is large, and that’s not all. We suggest to read about traditional as well as unusual and original souvenirs from Latvia.

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In order to plan approximately how much money to take with you to Latvia, read the article with approximate prices and popular expenses on vacation.

Shopping

Shopping is rarely the main purpose of a trip to Latvia. Compared to other European countries, however, prices are slightly lower, but the choice is poorer. Anyway, it is impossible to do without shopping.

In Riga, it is worth visiting Galerija Centrs. This is the oldest arcade in the city.

Nearby is the ultra-modern Galerija Riga. Apart from selling brand goods, you can also enjoy a view of the city from the roof of Galerija Riga.

Near the railway station there is a shopping center Origo.

If you want to buy things from Valdinini, Dolce&Gabana, Brioni, Calvin Klein, Guessi, you should go to boutiques near Notel De Rome.

You can also make good purchases during sales. They usually occur in January and early July.

At weekends, most stores are closed. On weekends, most shops are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., nonstop.

In all major shopping centers in Riga and other cities there are playrooms where you can leave your child while you shop.

Things to do

Attractions in Latvia – a separate topic of conversation. A country with a rich history, with carefully preserved traditions, there is a lot to see. Everyone knows about the Old Town in Riga, where not only the buildings, but also every stone in the paving is a living history. Of course, you should take advantage of your stay in the country and see as much as possible – walk and drive on your own, go on excursions. There are many small towns in the country, walk through which is a pleasure, old castles with their mysterious legends.

Holidays with children

Ventspils beach

In Latvia, all is made for a comfortable holiday with children. Comfortable beaches, ski slopes, hotels – everything is adapted not only for adults, but also for children. There are a lot of attractions which children love. In Riga there are water park “Livu”, water center “Aura”, water adventure park “Aqualandia”, a similar park in Ventspils. There are zoos in Riga and Cesis. Many entertainment complexes. This is as far as entertainment is concerned. Besides, there is the issue of health. Rest in the climatic conditions of the Baltics is more favorable than in hot countries. This applies to both adults and children.

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