Is it safe to drive in Latvia?
Despite having one of the worst road safety records in the EU, driving in Latvia needn't be dangerous and shouldn't deter you from renting a car and enjoying a self-drive holiday. As with driving in any foreign country for the first time, understanding and observing road rules is key to a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Latvia. Outside of major towns and cities road conditions can be poor so it pays to stay vigilant whilst driving and also be aware that some local drivers may not adhere to the highest standards. Provided you stick to speed limits and rules of the road when hiring a car in Latvia there should be little to concern you.
Most popular locations in Latvia to hire a car
Latvia Mini Guide
The Eastern European country of Latvia is one of the three Baltic states including those it borders, Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia also has borders with Russia and Belarus and an unspoilt coastline of 500 kilometres of white sandy beaches stretching along the Baltic Sea.
It's capital Riga is a World Heritage Site and so you should not travel to Latvia without paying it a visit. Many of the things to do in Latvia involve enjoying the great outdoors such as visiting its nature trails and nature parks in the vast forests which cover about half of the country. They contain Kuldiga which is worth seeing as it is Europe’s widest waterfall.
If you prefer your attractions to be man-made you could stick with the following suggestions. Livu Akvaparks is the largest water attraction in the whole of Northern Europe. For a true Soviet experience go to Karostas cietums which is based in the Karosta suburb of Liepaja city. This prison has a live show where you can spend a night behind bars. Karosta itself is fascinating as it used to be a secret military town.
At Cesis you can see medieval castle ruins, and at Latvijas Etnografiskais Brivdabas, Muzejs near Riga there is an open air museum of the traditional culture of Latvian tribes. Another open air art museum is at Pedvale which has modern art installations in a nature park near Sabile in the Kurzeme region. You can fly to Latvia and arrive at Riga International Airport from any of the main cities in Europe. Easyjet and Ryanair are two of the companies which do flights.
It is only really feasible to travel around the North European Baltic country of Latvia by car as there is no real public transport infrastructure to speak of. If you wish to, it is possible to drive to Latvia through the countries of Russia, Belarus, Estonia and Lithuania.
Facts about Latvia
- Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
- The largest airport is Riga International Airport with 3.7 million passengers in 2008.
- The official language of Latvia is Latvian although other regional dialects are spoken.
- Latvia can be very hot and humid throughout the summer months but extremely cold in winter.
- The national flower of Latvia is the Oxeye Daisy.