Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Latvia

Latvia Flag





Why visit Latvia?
Offers travelers architecture, art-nouveau, baroque, beautiful valleys, birdwatching, canoeing, countryside landscape, cycling, fishing, health clubs, hiking, hills, horseback riding, kayaking, lakes, markets, medieval houses, museums, national parks, natural hot spring spas, nightlife, rolling plains, sailing, sprawling forests, and wildlife.




Riga, Latvia. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 




At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Amber, ceramic, herbal liqueur, leather products, wood goods, and wool goods.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Alexandertorte (dessert). Biezpiena Sieriņš (snack). Borscht (cold meat soup), Jāņi Cheese. Kartupeļu Pankūkas (potato pancakes). Pelēkie Zirņi ar Speķi (stew). Rasols (salad). Rupjmaize (bread). Siļķe Kažokā (herring). Sklandrausis (sweet pie). Sorrel Soup. Zivju Zupa (fish soup). Speķa Pīrāgi (pastry). 
  • Local Drink to Try: Alus (local beer). BIRZĪ (birch sap). Bukstiņputra (porridge). (Riga Black Balsam (liquor). Sula (birch sap).


Sauna at Cape Kolka (Baltic Sea), Latvia. Photo Credit: Jacqueline Macou/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • During the Great Northern War (1700–1721), nearly 40% of the population died from the plague.
  • In 1991, became independent.
  • Upon a time considered the "Paris of the North".
  • Has over 3,000 lakes and over 12,500 rivers.
  • Select streets (Riga) are named after former resident occupations.
  • Home of the longest kayaking marathon in Europe.
  • Amber is known to wash up along the shore coastline.
  • There's no citizenship (of any country), and they cannot vote.
  • Gauja River is their longest and Lake Drīdzis is their deepest.
  • Nearly 56% of the total land accounts as forests.
  • Has one of the largest underground gas storage facilities (in Europe).
  • Traditional Latvian folklore has a collection of over 30,000 melodies and 1.2 million texts.  
  • Riga’s Central Market is considered one of Europe’s largest markets. 
  • Has over 800 Art Nouveau buildings.
  • Compared to other western countries their rich in milk products. 
  • Roughly has 4,100 mushroom species, wild picking in popular (autumn).



Rundāle Palace Museum, Latvia. Photo Credit:  lovelydress0/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Riga Music Festival, (February) Bach Music Festival, (March) Contemporary Drama Festival, (April) International Kayaking Marathon Gauja XXL, (May) Beer Fest, (June) Early Music Festival, Latvian Song and Dance Festival, Riga Opera Festival, (July) Metalshow Open Air, Positivus Music Festival, Riga Jurmala Music Festival, Saulkrasti Jazz Festival, Song & Dance Festival, Zvera, (August) International Sacred Music Festival, Riga Salsa Festival, (September) Baltic Pearl Film Festival, Gastronomy Festival, Sound Forest, Studentu Paradīze, (November) International World Music Festival, and Winterfest.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Restoration of Independence Day, Mother's Day, Pentecost, Midsummer's Eve, Midsummer's Day, Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Second Day of Christmas, and New Year's Eve.


Art Nouveau (Monument), Riga, Latvia. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Jurmala is popular for their beach.
  • Sigulda is popular for horse-drawn carriages.
  • Lake Pape (south of Liepaja) wild horses are known to roam freely.
  • Cycling is popular in Aluksne, Baltic Sea shoreline, Gauja National Park, Latgale, and  Sigulda.
  • Bird Migration Season is between August - November.
  • Fishing is most popular in  Daugava Rivers, Kisezers Lake, Lielupe, and Vitkopi Reservoir.
  • Riga is the fashion center of eastern Europe.
  • Car theft is a common issue.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Do not wear Lenin or Red Army clothing.
  • During summer months (June - September) mosquito repellent is a necessity.
  • Requires an International Driving Permit to drive.
  • Before entering a Orthodox Church, turn off your mobile devices.
  • Beyond summer months do not drink alcohol in public places. 
  • Strictly adhere to the designated smoking areas.
  • August offers the warmest sea temperatures.
  • Salaca River (north) has the largest spawning ground for salmon amongst the eastern Baltic. 
  • Free Port of Ventspils is one of the busiest amongst Baltic states.
  • Sabile offers plenty of vineyards.
  • Mid summer offers almost 20 daylight hours.
  • The local cuisine consists of fatty foods with few spices.
  • Proof of funds and a return plane ticket is required.
  • Foreign tourists are targeted.
  • Driving under the influence is a crime. Breathalyzer tests and roadblocks are often set up to catch violators.
  • Avoid demonstrations which are known to occur frequently.
  • U.S. toll-free numbers are not accessible there.
  • U.S. currency that is crumpled, defaced, discolored, or torn will be rejected.
  • Exportation and Importation of goods is strictly enforced: antiquities, business equipment, firearms, medications, and religious materials.
  • Medical care and treatment does not meet our standards due to the lack of equipment and resources.
  • Ambulance services are not available country wide.
  • Prevalent Diseases include: Hepatitis A, Lyme, Tick-Borne Encephalitis, Tuberculosis.


National Library of Latvia (Castle of Light), Riga, Latvia. Photo Credit: Janitors/Pixabay 




This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank stamp page.
  • Hepatitis A and Tick-Borne Encephalitis vaccinations are recommended.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000EUR.



Riga, Latvia. Photo Credit: Alina Kuptsova/Pixabay 



  • Best Time to Visit: May - September
  • Coldest Month: December - March
  • Hottest Months: June - August
  • Peak Season: July - August & December



House of the Blackheads (Museum), Riga, Latvia. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Historic Centre of Riga and Struve Geodetic Arc.

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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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