the fp is getting-around
Getting Around Latvia
Latvia is small enough to get around without the need for domestic flights. There is one domestic route with airBaltic from Riga to Liepaja.
The minimum driving age in Latvia is 18, but you must be 21 to hire a car.
Side of the roadRight
Latvia's road network is reasonably extensive; however, road quality varies considerably from sealed roads to rough tracks strewn with potholes.
Main highways are generally in good condition.
Available in all major cities. The minimum age for hiring a car is 21. At the airport in Riga, there are several international car rental companies, including Budget (tel: +371 6720 7327; www.budget.lv) and Europcar (tel: +371 6722 2637; www.europcar.lv).
Taxis are plentiful and easy enough to flag down in Riga and other main cities. As anywhere in the world, use licensed taxis and check the meter is running.
Riga has a bike-share system operated by Sixt (tel: +371 6767 6780; www.sixtbicycle.lv). The rental scheme offers more than 250 bikes in around two dozen conveniently accessed spots and is available 24/7.
Seat belt use is compulsory in the front and back. Headlights must be used at all times. Unless otherwise indicated, speed limits are 50kph (32mph) in towns and 90kph (56mph) on highways.
The use of mobile telephones while driving is forbidden. Mobile speed traps are common.
LAMB (tel: 1888, in Latvia only; www.lamb.lv) offers free or discounted breakdown cover to cardholders.
European nationals should be in possession of an EU licence, otherwise an International Driving Permit is required. Third-party insurance is compulsory. Insurance and vehicle registration documents, as well as your licence, should be kept with you when driving.
There is a good network of bus, tram and trolleybus routes in Riga (tel: +371 8000 1919; www.rigassatiksme.lv), while buses and a single tramline operate in Liepaja. Tickets can be bought on board from the conductor and should be retained for inspection. Fines for fare dodging are common. E-tickets are also available for purchase through Riga’s transportation website, making your trip more convenient (www.rigassatiksme.lv).
Taksobussi (share-taxis) also operate, but are slightly more expensive than ordinary buses. Regular taxis are privately run and have meters; there is a surcharge at night. There are some trams and trolleybuses running through the night.
Latvia's rail network connects Riga to all other major towns and cities in the country, including Liepaja and Ventspils in the west, Daugavpils in the southeast, Gulbene and Rezekne in the east. The railway terminal in Riga is at Stacijas laukums.
For more information about the train services, including timetables, routes and bookings, contact Pasažieru vilciens (tel: +371 6723 2135; www.pv.lv), or Latvijas dzelzceļš (tel: 8000 1181, in Latvia only or +371 6723 1181; www.ldz.lv).
Latvia is not covered by InterRail or Eurail passes.
Boat hire and tours are possible in some areas, with the most popular being the Gauja River in the Vidzeme province. Raft, canoe and kayak rentals are commonly found near river accommodation.