WHY TO VISIT LATVIA
In Riga, you will find trendy animation of large cities. Its architecture offers some interesting elements, like the old buildings of Vecriga and the castle built in 1330, now used as a residence to the president. Do not miss to climb to the bell tower of the church of St. Peter to admire the beautiful view.
It is also found in the east of the city of beautiful parks 19th, wide boulevards, and south central market housed in old warehouses usités airships during World War II. You can also visit the former Riga ghetto in the suburb of Maskavas, with the only synagogue which remains there, and the Jewish Museum. Another curiosity a few kilometers, the car museum exhibiting cars that were in possession of Stalin, Khrushchev or Gorky but also a bit caricatural effigies of these celebrities. Do not miss either a drink on the Cathedral Square (Doma laukums) even late in the evening in summer.
Jurmala gathers under this single name several small towns along the coast of West Riga, offering beaches, seaside resorts, dunes, forests but also museums and restaurants, all accessible by train or taxi from Riga: a nice place to relax while remaining close to the capital.
Other sites to visit: the region of Sigulda, also called Latvian Switzerland, with its medieval castles, caves, the Gauja National Park and Turaida Castle now houses a museum; the city of Bauska and its 15th century castle, which provides a framework for early music recitals; the Rundale Palace with its beautiful baroque architecture; City Kuldiga, with several historical sites including an ancient fortress and a water mill; Venta river and waterfall 275 meters wide.
WHAT TO SEE IN LATVIA
Top destinations in Latvia are:
- Gauja National Park
WHEN TO GO TO LATVIA
Weather in Latvia
Best period to visit Latvia is from May to September.
The best time to visit the Baltic States is late spring or summer, when there’s usually enough fine weather to allow you to stroll around the cities and make significant forays into the great outdoors. On the whole though, the only thing that’s predictable about the Baltic climate is the deep, dark winters – in all other seasons the weather can be changeable in the extreme.
Summers are relatively short (roughly mid-June to late August), and although you may well experience a string of hot, dry days during this period, showers and chilly nights are equally likely. Remember to pack a waterproof jacket and warm sweater alongside your T-shirts.
Temperatures cool down rapidly from mid-September onwards, although autumn can be an extraordinarily beautiful season in which to visit, with the golden brown leaves of deciduous trees contrasting with the dark-green pines.
The first snowfalls can come as early as mid-November, and by early to mid-December winter sets in with a vengeance. Average daytime temperatures can remain below zero right through until March, plummeting to minus 15–20°C in particularly cold spells. Winter can of course be a magical time, with lakes, rivers and large expanses of the Baltic Sea freezing over, and crunchy snow cover adding an air of enchantment to medieval city centres. However, rural areas can be difficult to get to without a four-wheel-drive vehicle (only the main highways are showploughed), and you’ll have to be well togged up in order to endure anything but the shortest of walks. Wherever you are in winter, some form of hat or head covering is absolutely essential.
Even when the spring thaw sets in, the countryside can remain grey and barren until well into April (or even May in northern Estonia), when a sudden explosion of colour transforms the landscape. The countryside takes on a green lushness, drawing cattle and horses out from their winter barns, while city-dwellers indulge in a frenzied stampede for the pavement cafés.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Latvia
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH LATVIA
by plane, main airports are:
GENERAL INFORMATION ON LATVIA
country entry requirements: for not EU nationals, passport + visa
health tips & vaccination: Avoid drinking tap water. The classic vaccinations are recommended, as well as against encephalitis Central European tick if you visit the country between April and October.
local currency: European euro
local time zone: GMT+2 (+3)
electricity: type C and F (230 V - 50 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN LATVIA
typical food in Latvia
- Kotletes: meat patties.
- Aukstā zupa: cold beet soup.
- Skābeņu zupa: sorrel soup.
- Frikadeļu zupa:meetball soup.
- Skâbâ Putra: sour cream soup.
- Sivēna Galerts: porc in aspic.
- Jāņi cheese: summer solstice cheese usually made of dry cottage cheese, milk, sour cream, eggs, butter, salt and caraway seeds.
- Jāņu Siers: cheese with caraway seeds.
- Pīrāgi: pastry filled with bacon and onions.
- Sklandrauši: round tarts with either carrots or potatoes filling.
- Kartupeļi ar siļķi un biezpienu: herring with cottage cheese and potatoes.
- Rasols: potato salad with eggs, gherkins, and sometimes bacon, sausages.
- Karbonāde: breaded pork chops.
- Bukstiņbiezputra: groats porridge with potatoes and streaky bacon with cream.
- Sauerkraut (Latvian version of this well-known dish).
- Alexander Torte: raspberry- or cranberry-filled pastry strips.
- Kartupeļu pankūkas: potato pancakes.
- Debessmanna: sweet farina porridge with cranberries.
- Rupjmaizes Kārtojums: airy dessert of rye breadcrumbs, whipped cream and cranberry jam.
- Kvass: fermented rye bread drink.
souvenirs from Latvia
- Amber necklaces or bracelets
- Knited mittens
- Wood goods
- Pottery and porcelain
- Leather goods
- Stained glass items
- Black Balsam, thick herbal drink
Goodbye: Uz redzēšanos!
How are you?: Kā tev iet?
Thank you: Paldies
What is your name?: Kāds ir tavs vārds?
How much is it?: Cik daudz tas ir?