Destination: one of the three Baltic States, situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. The country is also bordered by Russia and Belarus, and it shares maritime borders with Sweden.
Area: 64,589 km², its mostly flat landscape offers a mix of beaches, rivers, lakes, marshes and forests. There are four major regions: West Latvia (Kurzeme), East Latvia (Latgale), North Latvia (Vidzeme), and South Latvia (Zemgale).
Population: 1.95 million people (in 2017).
Capital: capital and largest city is Riga.
Language: Latvian (official), Russian, English and German are also widely spoken (especially in business and tourism).
Currency: euro (EUR)
Internet domain: .lv
International phone code: +371
Ten interesting facts about Latvia
1. Latvia’s internet speeds are among the fastest in the world. It has the world’s fourth fastest internet connections, and with over 800 free connection points in Riga, you don’t even need to pay for it.
2. Latvia has 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes – perfect if you like messing about in boats.
3. Around 54 per cent of Latvia is forest, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries
4. Latvia is anything but mountainous. Its highest point is Gaiziņkalns, at 312 metres about sea level.
5. Latvia has one of the world’s oldest flags.
6. Latvia has its own waterfalls too - Venta Rapid in Kuldīga is the widest waterfall in Europe – stretching up to to 270 metres depending on the season
7. Around 20 per cent of Latvia is protected. There are four national parks, 42 nature parks, 260 nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, seven protected marine areas, 24 micro reserves and a biosphere reserve.
8. Latvia has the world’s tallest women, with the average lady coming in at an impressive 170 cm. The men are no midgets either, holding fourth place.
9. Riga’s Central Market is one of Europe’s biggest markets. It is famed for its pavilions housed in giant zeppelin hangars left behind by the German army after World War I.
10. With over 1 million folk songs, Latvians love to sing. You can catch over 30,000 of them on stage at once at the Song Festivals.