Latvia

Latvia

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of Latvia is a small country bordering the Baltic Sea in Eastern Europe. Latvia shares borders with Estonia, Russia, Lithuania and Belarus. The government is a parliamentary republic, and its 2.2 million people are led by a president serving as head of state and a prime minister serving as head of government. Members of Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, are elected by direct vote every four years, and the Saeima subsequently elects the president.

Latvia was founded in November 1918, following a two-century period in which it was part of the Russian Empire. This period of independence was interrupted in 1940 when Latvia was forcibly occupied by the Soviet Union. Except for a brief period of German occupation between 1941 and 1944, Latvia remained a part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. Latvia subsequently joined NATO and the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone in 2014. Today, Latvia’s economy is open, and the majority of companies, banks and real estate entities have been privatized.

The capital city of Riga has successfully transitioned from the Soviet era and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the largest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world. Riga has an active nightlife, but travellers looking for a more relaxed pace could visit the town of Sigulda to explore its castles and beer halls. During the summer, the resorts on the Baltic coast offer the opportunity to relax, while nature lovers may prefer a trip to Gauja National Park to the east.

Currency EUR: Euro
Language Latvian, with Russian widely spoken
Capital Riga
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Latvia. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Latvia through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Latvia.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Latvia. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Latvia. Travellers to Latvia are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

There is a possible risk of tick-borne encephalitis is some areas of the country below 1,400 meters. The transmission season varies, however, and ticks are most active during early spring to late autumn (March to November).

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Latvia.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) and who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine

Travellers are at risk via exposure to ticks during outdoor activities in areas of vegetation (gardens, parks, forest fringes, meadows and marshes). Campers, hikers, bikers, and adventure travellers should consider obtaining a vaccination against this disease.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Latvia.

None required.

Safety and Security in Latvia

Emergency Numbers

112
113

The 112 operator can also help dispatch an ambulance.

Personal Safety

The crime rate is low in this country, and most travellers have no trouble. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, or other theft can occur in any crowded area or tourist destination. Always be alert to your personal safety and security. Keep valuables secured and out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Avoid walking alone at night. Do not accept drinks or food from strangers and never leave your drinks out of your sight as there have been reports of drink spiking.

Take extra precautions when walking at night. Young men, either alone or in groups, returning to hotels or hostels from bars and clubs late at night, are targets for violent assaults. Avoid parks and areas near parks late at night.

When choosing a bar or club, get reliable recommendations. There have been reports of clubs charging foreigners exorbitant prices, and patrons being required to pay or risk violence.

Latvia is known to have a high rate of car accidents and fatalities, so drivers should be alert and aware of road conditions at all times. To reduce the risk of car theft, use guarded car parks when possible and keep your valuables out of sight.

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