Travel to Latvia (Riga)
Arrival in Riga
Riga airport (RIX) is easily accessible from most European hubs. The Latvian low-cost carrier Air Baltic operates a decent European network as well. There is also a ferry link to Stockholm operated by Tallink for reasonable prices.
Train and bus are also options. Latvian Railways offers service to a few cities in Russia, Estonia and Belarus. There are daily overnight trains to St. Petersburg or Moscow and also trains to Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia quite frequently.
Latvia is well connected by bus. Busses arrive from many different cities, but most frequently from Estonia and Lithuania.
Immigration and Customs
As Latvia is a member of the European Union and Schengen, the same rules apply as for most countries in Europe. This makes the process quite easy for most visitors to Latvia.
Some nationalities that do not require a Schengen visa for tourism purposes include members of the European Economic Area, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Non-EEA nationals are allowed a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period in the entire Schengen zone.
Those who wish to remain in Latvia or the Schengen countries longer than this period will have to apply for a Visa.
The official currency of Latvia is Latvian Lat (LVL). However, starting on the 1st January 2014, the Euro will replace the Latvian currency. Like most countries in Europe, ATMs are common and the best way to get cash. There are also banks, which will exchange currency.
The weather in Riga is similar to Stockholm, probably a bit milder as the Riga bay protects the city from the open Baltic Sea. The coldest months are January and February, with an average temperature of −5 °C (23 °F) and the possibility of lower temperatures throughout the year. In summer, Riga is warm and humid, averaging 18 °C (64 °F).
Latvia shares the same time zone as Finland (CET + one hour). In Summer, it is like everywhere else in the EU.
January 1 (New Year), The Friday before Easter Sunday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (March/April) May 1 (Labour Day), May 4 (Restoration of Independence day), Second Sunday of May (Mother’s Day), June 23 (Midsummer Eve), June 24 (Midsummer), November 18 (Proclamation of the republic of Latvia), December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 25 (Christmas Day) December 26 (Boxing Day) and December 31 (New Years Eve).
Rescue service (Fire & Police): 112
Police: 110 or 112
Medical: 113 or 112
Like any large European city, petty crime does happen, but not much worse than elsewhere. Avoid going in bad areas alone and keep your belongings close. Watch out for pickpockets and be careful of bar scams. Be sure to find out the price of things in bars and restaurants before you order and be skeptical of people who strike up conversation out of the blue.