The quick travel guide to Latvia and Riga
Latvia is a small country in the Baltic region of northern Europe. It has a coastline on the Baltic Sea to the west, to the north it borders Estonia, to the east lies Russia and Belarus and to the south, Lithuania. Latvia covers an area of 65,589 sq km which makes it almost identical in size to Lithuania to the south.
Latvia has a population of around 2.23 million and 910,000 of these live in the capital, Riga.
Most of Latvia is flat plains with a few rolling hills; the highest point is only 311 metres. Much of the country is covered in pine forests and there are numerous lakes and peat bogs intermingled. The major rivers include the Daugava River, the Lielupe, the Gauja, the Venta, and the Salaca. An inlet of the Baltic Sea, the shallow Gulf of Riga is situated in the northwest of the country. Latvia's coastline extends for 531 kilometres and the capital Riga, is situated at the mid point of the coast.
The Latvian climate is humid, continental and temperate owing to the maritime influence of the Baltic Sea. Summers are warm, and the weather in spring and autumn fairly mild; however, the winters can be extreme due to the northern location. Precipitation is common throughout the year with the heaviest rainfall in July. During severe spells of winter weather, Latvia is dominated by cold winds from the interior of Russia, and severe snowfalls are very common.
There are four historical and cultural regions in Latvia - Courland, Latgalia, Vidzeme, Zemgale. Since 2009 Latvia has one-level municipalities – 9 republican cities; Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils and 109 municipalities.
Latvia has been a member of the United Nations since September 17, 1991; of the European Union since May 1, 2004 and of the NATO since March 29, 2004. The currency of Latvia is the Lat (1 Lat = 100 santimi).
Location Map of Latvia
Interactive Map of Latvia
|Travel Guide to the European Union 2013|