Latvia is considered one of the greenest European countries. People from the whole world come to Latvia to enjoy Riga beautiful Art nouveau architecture, Latvian cultural heritage, nature and good food. They come also to regain their health and wellness. Moderate climate, qualified professionals, personal approach, at least 2 foreign languages (English and Russian) spoken widely, absolutely competitive pricing as well as availability of modern technologies makes Latvia a comfortable and desirable destination for medical tourists in Europe.
Latvia, the pearl of the Baltic States, is one of the European Union member states. It is situated in the Northern Europe – on the shores of the Baltic Sea, and it has 500 km of sea line with beautiful beaches of great diversity. Since ancient times Latvia has been at the cross-roads between East and West, North and South. Therefore, Latvia is a multi-cultured state, where traditions of all these countries have merged, creating a unique environment, the like of which is not to be found anywhere in the world.
Some myths heard from the first time visitors –
Myth 1 – Latvia is similar to Russia. No, it is not. Latvia has always been “Europe” in eyes of inhabitants of former USSR republics. Latvians has their own state, own language and deep cultural and historical heritage, developed business infrastructure, friendly and well-maintained, beautiful environment.
Myth 2 – The climate is cold in Latvia. Not really. The climate in Latvia is mild. There are four really different seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Not only by name, but also in reality.
Some truths heard from the first time visitors –
Truth 1 – there are lots of beautiful women in Latvia.
Truth 2 – everything is developed in Latvia – shops, banks, cafes, business, education, environment etc
Truth 3 – it is clean and safe everywhere.
Truth 4 – everyone speaks at least 3 languages. True. Latvian, English, Russian is a common combination of language skills.
Truth 5 – everyone loves Riga, who sees it!
How to get to Latvia
Latvia is situated on the shore of the Baltic Sea. It is possible to reach Riga quickly from major European cities by bus, train, ferryboat or by plane.
Latvia is a member state of the European Union and travellers have the same rules as in any other of EU member states. Latvia is a signatory of the Schengen Agreement; accordingly there is no border control for persons entering from the European Union. There are border controls in place with Russia and Belarus.
Latvia has a population of approximately 1.96 million, the majority of which – 61.8 % – are Latvians, but 25.6 % are ethnic Russians, 3.3 % are Belorussians, 2.3 % – Ukrainians, 2.1 % – Poles, 1.2 % – Lithuanians, but – 0.3 both Roma, 3.4% – other nationalities.
Latvia is a multi-denominational country; the leading religion is Christianity, subdivided into the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, as well as the Baptist Church. Alongside the major denominations, Jewish, Islamic, Krishnaites, Mormon, Buddhists and other world religions are also represented in Latvia. Latvia is unique because a relatively large number of parishes of the Old Believers have been preserved in Latvia.
Latvia is a member of the European Union, the national currency of Latvia is euro (since 2014).
As a developed country of the European Union, all modern communication services are available in Latvia. Communications are developed in Latvia – it has one of the fastest Internet speeds in the world and mobile connections are available throughout almost the entire territory, there are ATMs in all cities and it is possible to pay by credit card almost everywhere.
WiFi is also available in Latvia and is offered by many various public places – cafes, hotels, business centers, the airport and bus terminals – just look for the WiFi sign. Mobile Internet is very convenient for travellers and is available in 98 % of the territory of Latvia. The service is provided by several mobile and Internet companies; you need only to buy a modem and connection card.
The international telephone code for Latvia is +371 and all phone numbers (except for emergency and specialised information and service hotlines) consist of 8 digits.
There are Latvian Post branches in all cities and populated areas of Latvia.
Taxi in Riga costs depending on company you choose – in average 70 cents per kilometer, with an additional hiring fee. That means that a journey between the city centre and the airport costs around 10-15 euro. There are several Taxi apps that can be used – Taxify (taxify.eu), Taxigo (taxigo.com).
The public transportation
E-tickets are used in Riga, and buying several journeys in advance is a better deal. Read more here.
Restaurants and bars
Pub and dining costs in Latvia in average are lower than in Western Europe.
To assist tourists’ stay in Latvia there are tourism information centre s (TIC) in almost every city or town. There is an official tourist information telephone line – 1188 – the Tourist Information Hotline.
In comparison with many other countries, Latvia is a safe place for travelling – there are neither robbers, nor there are armed clashes. In Latvia, one can rest both in the countryside and in cities without worry or risk. By observing elementary precaution, your trip around Latvia will be safe and worry-free.
Old Riga TIC (liveriga.com).
Information from www.latvia.travel