Latvia
Country profile
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Travel and accommodation

Riga International Airport (RIX) is the main hub for international air traffic and is located 8km southwest of the city, at Jurmala, serving flights to and from all over Europe. Since becoming an EU member the airport has been substantially renovated and further improvements are underway to cater for the increase in air traffic.

Several hotels provide a shuttle bus to and from the airport and there is a 24 hour taxi service available outside arrivals. Taxis can either be ordered at the counter in the arrivals hall or picked up at the taxi stand, and the fare into town will be around 8 LVL (roughly £8).

Alternatively, the public bus service (number 22) departs from the airport to the city centre throughout the day, calling at Riga's Central Station and Strelnieku Laukums, and continues the loop from Abrenes Street in the centre of town. The journey time is around half an hour and the fare will be roughly 0.30 LVL (about 30 pence). Buses leave every 20 minutes or so from the bus stop located opposite the terminal behind the car park. Bus 22A is the express service connecting the airport with the centre of Riga calling at Katedrāle and Brīvības Blvd. There are also airports at Liepaja and Ventspils which have also been renovated to serve international charter flights and will soon operate internal flights to and from Riga.

Getting there by rail, road and ferry

Latvia has good connections to Scandinavia and continental Europe so if you’re not keen on flying then consider maritime transport which links Riga, Liepaja and Ventspils with the other Baltic Sea countries and has ferry connections from Stockholm to Riga with Tallink, (journey time of 16 hours) and with DFDS Tor Line in the UK from Immingham, but the overall journey is lengthy (around three days involving connections and road travel). The passenger port is located centrally. Getting to Latvia by rail from anywhere in mainland Europe is also a viable option.

Coach routes have developed rapidly in recent years and for drivers there are highways into Latvia from Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia. Car rental companies are at the airport and driving is on the right. For driving tips in Latvia see Auto Europe's guide but if you don't feel like driving then for around €50 you can hire a driver.

Travelling around the country

Latvia's national railway company, Latvijas Dzelzcels operates rail services in Riga but expect delays on intercity and international routes as not much development has taken place since the country's independence in 1991. Riga's central station, Centrala Stacija, Stacijas laukums has separate departure and arrival halls for international and domestic services.

Public transport in Riga is good and runs from 5:30 in the morning to midnight with night services on certain routes. There are 11 tram lines, 23 trolleybus routes and 39 bus routes and if you travel anywhere in the city the charges are very low Tickets can be purchased upon boarding buses, and tram tickets can be bought at kiosks around town which should be stamped in the machines once on board. Be aware that separate tickets are needed for trams, trolleybuses and buses. If you're in a hurry then hop on to the 'mikroautobuss' which has limited stops and costs only a few LVs more.

Accommodation

A room in a three star hotel in Riga will typically starts at around €45 and a more luxurious room starts at about €60. If you are planning to visit the Latvian seaside resort town of Jūrmala there are plenty of hotels situated a few minutes’ walk from the beach. You can search for accommodation on the Latvian Tourist Department’s website.

The currency in Latvia is the Lats (plural Lati) and €1 is approximately 1.4 Latvian Lati (LVL). From January 1 2014, the Lats is replaced by the Euro. Lati lapse and become non-legal tender on January 15th 2014.

Latvia is GMT + 2.

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