He who would travel happily must travel light.
— Antoine de Saint Exupéry, 1900 - 1944




The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.


Latvia (Latvija) is a European state which is situated on the coast of Baltic Sea. One of the three Baltic states, Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus on the south east, and the Baltic Sea on the west. The most famous travel spot is the capital Riga, a World Heritage Site. There are also many other great places to see, both urban and rural, such as Liepaja with its unique former secret military town of Karosta and a magnificent beach. Kuldiga with Europe`s widest waterfall and Cesis with its medieval castle ruins are also interesting. Tourists can also enjoy the wild beauty of Latvia's unspoilt sea coast, which is 500 km long and consists mainly of white, soft sandy beaches. Forests, which cover approximately a half of Latvia's territory, offer many nature trails and nature parks.

Read more about Latvia in our Latvia travel guide »

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by blynchexpress

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Aug 2014  »  Latvia | Russia

Summer 2017 Northern Europepalooza trip! Three weeks / five countries / lots of food and drink....

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Featured hotels in



Universiteto Str. 12/4
Vilnius 01122

Price (US$): $234 - $288 / night

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Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square Vilnius marks a debut of the Kempinski luxury brand in the Baltic countries. Built more than 100 years ago and operated as Hotel New York this listed building has since been renovated and restored to the very highest of standards. The hotel features 96 rooms including 13 elegant suites, restaurant and bar, lobby lounge, over 600 sqm state of the art conference and meeting space, fully appointed SPA, health club and indoor swimming pool. Located in the Old… more »

LatviaGrand Palace Hotel 

Pils Street 12
Riga LV 1050

Price (US$): $215 - $323 / night

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Location. Located in central Riga, Grand Palace Hotel is a business friendly hotel steps from Riga Castle, Cathedral Square, and Three Brothers. Additional points of interest include Parliament and Town Hall. Hotel Features. Grand Palace Hotel's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast. Recreational amenities include a health club, a sauna, and a… more »

LatviaGallery Park Hotel 

Kr.valdemara 7
Riga LV-1010

Price (US$): $206 - $673 / night

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Location. Located in central Riga, Gallery Park Hotel is within walking distance of Latvian Art Museum, Powder Tower, and Freedom Monument. Nearby points of interest also include St. Jacob's Cathedral and Three Brothers. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a sauna, and a fitness facility. This 5 star property offers small meeting rooms, a technology helpdesk, and audiovisual equipment. Complimentary wireless and wired high speed Internet access is available in… more »

LatviaHotel Bergs 

83/85 Elizabetes Street
Bergs Bazaar
Riga 1050

Price (US$): $216 - $453 / night

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Location. Hotel Bergs is located in central Riga, close to Berg's Bazaar, Freedom Monument, and St John's Church. Nearby points of interest also include Powder Tower and Great Guild Hall. Hotel Features. Hotel Bergs's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves full breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a health club and a sauna. Spa amenities… more »

LatviaBaltic Beach Hotel and SPA Luxury 

23-25 Juras Street
Jurmala 2015

Price (US$): $141 - $142 / night

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Location. Baltic Beach Hotel and SPA Luxury is located near the beach in Jurmala and close to Jurmala City Museum, Jurmala Beach, and Dzintari Forest Park. Additional points of interest include Jomas Street. Hotel Features. In addition to 2 restaurants, Baltic Beach Hotel and SPA Luxury offers a coffee shop/café and a grocery. 2 bars/lounges are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an… more »

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Full name
Republic of Latvia

Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates

57 00 N, 25 00 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Border countries

Belarus 171 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 576 km, Russia 292 km


498 km


maritime; wet, moderate winters


low plain

Lowest point

Baltic Sea 0 m

Highest point

Gaizina Kalns 312 m

Natural resources

peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land


2,217,969 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Latvian 59.3%, Russian 27.8%, Belarusian 3.6%, Ukrainian 2.5%, Polish 2.4%, Lithuanian 1.3%, other 3.1% (2009)


Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)


Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)

Government type

parliamentary democracy


18 November 1918 (from the Soviet Russia)

National holiday

Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 was the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union

Chief of state

President Valdis ZATLERS (since 8 July 2007)

Head of government

Prime Minister Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (since 12 March 2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

1.504 million (2009)


42 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Riga, Ventspils

Other countries in the region