Sandwiched between its brother Baltic States, Estonia and Lithuania, feisty Latvia has battled to maintain its own identity. The result is a unique culture pulled from a number of influences. Latvia’s rulers have included Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Swedes, and Russians. The country was independent from 1918 to 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied it and forced it to become one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Latvia regained its independence in 1991.
A visit to the Gauja Valley should be a must. Despite its diminutive stature its claim of being the Switzerland of Latvia still holds water. The forested valley is riddled with caves, watched over by a chain of medieval castles and criss-crossed with some of the best hiking trails in the Baltic’s.
Temperatures in Latvia range from 19 to 27 °F (-7 to -3 °C) in January and from 61 to 64 °F (16 to 18 °C) in the summer months.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
POPULATION: 2.2 million
LANGUAGE: Latvian, Russian, Lithuanian
CURRENCY: Latvian Lats
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 220V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or a two pin plug is required.
COUNTRY DIALLING CODE: +371
TIME ZONE: GMT/UTC +2