You will find Latvia nestled between Estonia and Lithuania, quite a small and flat country, but rich in beautiful sandy beaches and stunning river valleys. Previously, Latvia was ruled by the USSR, but became independent in 1991 and joined Europe in 2004, luckily for us! There are so many things to do and see in this lovely country and especially in its capital, Riga.
Throughout the summer, there are many music festivals taking place in Latvia, where thousands of local and foreign people go to enjoy a variety of music. ‘Positivus’ is one such festival that attracts around 35,000 people. It is set to take place in Salecgriva in July and has previously seen the likes of Muse, Scissor Sisters and Fatboy Slim! Riga has its Opera Festival in June, being hosted by Latvian National Opera House. Many local and foreign performers attend and there’s plenty for all music tastes to enjoy. If you like a bit of Jazz, then Riga Ritmi in July is the place to be and concerts often occur all year round.
The Latvian Language
Russian is still spoken around the country due to its historic rule. However, Latvian and English are related as they both belong to the Indo-European languages group. However, if you’re going to Latvia, we’ve put a few stock phrases together so you can converse with the local ladies, should you wish!
Good day – Labdien
Hello – Sveiki
Bye bye – Ata
Yes – Ja
My name is…- Mani sauc…
One pint of beer please – Man ludzu, vienu kausu alus
I love you – Es tevi milu
Obviously, you don’t need to say every one of these to all you meet, or maybe you do? Could be a little stag game you’d like to play?!
Food and Drink
You won’t have to wander around looking for somewhere to eat and drink in Riga. The place is adorned with bars, restaurants, and cafes, from beer gardens to bars overlooking the beach, we’ll steer you in the right direction! If you enjoy your beer, then you’ve come to the right place. You can get many pilsner-type beers and of course, don’t forget the vodka!
You must try the local food while you’re there, lots of fresh ingredients used and plenty of meat! Give Kimenu siers a go (caraway cheese) and Pirogi. You can get western food in most places so don’t worry about going hungry!
Riga has a brilliant transport system which consists of trolleybuses, trams, and buses and it’s all as cheap as chips! Nearly anything you’d like to see in Riga is never more than 1km away from the centre and should you need to book a taxi, just ask us to recommend a reliable one.
As of 2014, Latvia ceased using the Latvian Lat and now only use Euros. You can exchange money if you need to, almost anywhere in Riga, but you’d be better off bringing your cashpoint card and getting money out that way. Avoid the guys at the beaches or outside clubs trying to get you to exchange money – better safe than sorry!
You will find that most things in Riga are much cheaper than at home. From food and drink to cigarettes, clothes, and services, once you work out the exchange rate, you’ll be smiling all day long!