Latvia is located at the crossroads of northern and Eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the north, Russia and Belarus to the east and Lithuania to the south and has a maritime border with Sweden to he west. Other neighbouring countries include Finland, Poland and Germany. Latvia is a country of rich history and cultural traditions. For a thousand years this land in the North-East of Europe was inhabited by the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes. Latvia’s geographical location between East and West has historically been attractive to foreign conquerors. The German, Swedes, Poles and Russians had ruled here, each leaving cultural imprint on the country’s architecture, infrastructure, style and personality.

Latvia is famous for its beautiful coastline and pine forests. You can see the well-known white sand beaches, and extravagant rocky beach near Tuja.

Latvia is a democratic, parliamentary republic. Parliamentary elections are held every 4 years. Latvia’s head of state, the President, is elected by the Saeima (Latvian parliament) for a period of 4 years. The President signs laws, chooses the Prime Minister and performs representative functions. The President represents the State the State in international relations, appoints the diplomatic representatives’ functions. The President represents the State in international relations, appoints the diplomatic representatives of Latvia and receives diplomatic representatives of other states.

Latvian, sometimes called Lettish, is one of the two surviving Baltic languages, the other being Lithuanian. Older generations Latvians will know Russian, while the younger once will know a little English, German or Russian.

The Germans brought Lutheranism to Latvia, which dominated until the Soviet annexation. At present, a plurality of about 40% of Latvians claims to have no affiliation with ant religion. The next two largest groups are both Christian with Lutheranism at 19.6 % and Busand Orthodoxy at 15.3 %. An obscure neonpagan religious movement, Dievturíba, claims to be a revival of the folk religion that exists before the Germans arrived with Christianity in the 13th century.

The weather conditions are changeable, and Latvia has four seasons – winter, spring, summer and autumn. The summer climate is warm with an average temperature of 17° C (62 °F), sometimes the summer months can be as warm as 30° C (86 °F). during spring and autumn weather is relatively mild but variable, generally humid with the average temperature around 10 °C (50 ° F). Fall is popular with nature lovers due to colorful leafage. Winters usually starts in mid-December and last until mid-March. The average temperatures in winter is around -6° (21 °F) but the cold can sometimes reach even -25°C (-13 °F).

Facts about Latvia:

  • Nearly 1 in 3 of Latvia’s two million residents lives in the capital, Riga, which is sometimes described as the Paris of the North.
  • Latvia has 12.000 rivers and 3.000 small lakes.
  • Around 20 % of Latvia is protected. There are 4 national parks, 42 nature parks, 260 nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, seven protected marine areas, 24 micro reserves and a biosphere reserve.
  • In the town of Karosta you can overnight in a former military prison and get the ‘full prisoner experience’ which involves uniformed officers, less than luxurious rooms, verbal abuse and organized physical exercise.
  • Riga has a beer Spa where you can immerse yourself in a warm beer bath …. while drinking a glass of cold beer.