Fast Facts about Latvia
European Union membership: since 2004
Official language: Latvian, with English, widely spoken
Currency: Euro € (check conversion rates)
Time zone: GMT +3 in summer
Country dialling code: 00371 or +371
Emergency number: 113
Plug socket: type F, with voltage of 230V and frequency of 50Hz
Getting to Latvia
Latvia is easy to reach by travellers from both the West and East. Choose what transport suits you best – a plane, bus, car, or ferry across the Baltic Sea.
Riga International Airport is only 10 km from the Riga city center. A taxi ride from the airport to central Riga takes between fifteen and twenty minutes, depending on traffic, and costs approximately EUR 10–15.
Bus no. 22 runs to and from the airport and departs every 10–20 minutes from opposite the bus terminal building near the Old Town, and the fare costs EUR 2.00 (purchasing in the bus).
Ferry connections to Riga are available from Stockholm. Tallink operates ferry connections from Stockholm to Riga every other day. The ferry terminal building is located at Eksporta iela 1, within walking distance of the Old City.
Lux Express is the largest passenger carrier in the Baltics, ensuring several daily departures from such cities as Tallinn, Tartu, Parnu, Vilnius, Warsaw, etc. Tickets can be purchased online starting from EUR 5 for early-bird seats. Lux Express also operates a client service office at the Riga Central Bus Terminal – just five minutes from Old Town.
Latvia is a member of the European Union, therefore travelling to Latvia and crossing borders is as simple as travelling to any other European Union country. Latvia is part of the Schengen Area, which is why those travelling to Latvia from the Schengen Area do not have to go through border controls.
Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil and other countries do not need a visa to visit Latvia.
Please consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia website for more information or apply for a Schengen area visa.
In Riga, public transport services are provided by buses, trams, trolley-buses, and minibuses. Rigas satiksme website offers public transport timetables, a map, and a route planner.
The most convenient way to buy public transport tickets is at Narvesen outlets or at stops equipped with ticket machines (then it will cost you EUR 1,50 for 90 minutes ticket) – although such machines are not available at all stops. You can easily buy public transport tickets using Mobilly mobile application. Tickets can also be bought from the driver, but tickets this way cost more – EUR 2.
A 90-minute ticket can be used for 90 minutes, with the option to travel on any tram, trolleybus or bus route (a ticket must be registered each time another public transport vehicle is entered).
Many of Riga public transport‘s trams, trolleys and buses are wheelchair accessible. Service institutions are required by Latvian law to be accessible, and those not able to meet this requirement due to historical architecture are usually staffed with helpful people who can accommodate special needs.
Latvian public holidays
Most shops, banks and restaurants are open on public holidays –25th of December and 1st of January are the only days when most businesses are closed.
- 1st – January New Year’s Day
- 1st May – Labour Day, Convocation of the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of Latvia
- 4th May – Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia
- 23rd June – Midsummer Day
- 24th June – St. John’s Day
- 18th November – Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia
- 24th-26th – December Christmas
- 31st December – New Year’s Eve