The Baltic countries are a wonderful and cheap destination in Europe. We give you here our travel budget and our tips to easily organize your itinerary
Backpacking Latvia: All our tips and favorite places to see
Latvia is the second Baltic country in which we have traveled. This country and its neighbors experienced an extremely difficult 20th century with the Second World War, the Nazis and then a long period of Soviet occupation with communism until the end of the 1980s.
Entering Europe in 2004 (in the euro zone in 2014), the country has experienced rapid tourism development. Its beautiful cities and landscapes are attracting more and more people. Combine this with cheap direct flights from many major European cities (cheap buses as well) and a very moderate local budget, and you get an excellent destination for a short extended weekend getaway or a city-trip of a few days.
Latvia map: all our articles
In all we have written 3 articles on Latvia. To find them on a map you can click on the button below. Otherwise, you will also find these articles at the end of the page. Have a good time reading!
Latvia: Weather, Currency, Language and other useful information
The capital of Latvia is Riga. With a population of just over 600,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in Latvia, but also the largest city in all the Baltic States.
In Latvia, the official language is... Latvian! But a large part of the population also speaks Russian (which is not an official language of the country).
The currency used in Latvia is the Euro. This currency came into effect in 2014. Before that date, the Latvian currency was the Lats. (1€ = 0,7 Lats)
In terms of climate, Latvia has what is called a continental climate. Winters are long and cold and summers are relatively hot but short. Due to its latitude, winter days are much shorter than here (at the winter solstice there are only 6h40 days). But it also means that during the summer the days are very long! :) On June 21 the sun rises around 4:30 am and only sets at.... 22h20! In other words, you can enjoy your evenings on the terrace.
You can travel there all year round depending on what you want to do. We were there in January-February, so "statistically" one of the worst periods. On the contrary, we appreciated it very much. So yes it is cold, the sun does not shine very long... but to see the city covered with a white coat and especially to enjoy the deserted streets is also very nice.
Latvia travel Budget
Latvia is a cheap destination in Europe! In our case, we had an average daily budget of about 29€ per person. For this budget we rented a very nice and spacious apartment in the centre of Riga, we cooked a good part of our meals but also tested some restaurants in the capital. For the visits we used only local transportation.
See our detailed budget for our stay in the Baltic States:
To give you an idea of the prices here is a short summary:
Accommodation and hotels in Riga$: there are dormitory beds or small rooms in hostels for 10€-25€ per night. On airbnb you can find nice rooms for 8€-14€ per night and whole apartments from 14€ per night.
$$: A mid-range room or a more classy alternative on airbnb comes back roughly at 30€ to 45€ per night (for 2 people in general)
$$$: Beyond 45€ per night we are already starting to have access to very nice hotels. The first 4* of the city starts at about 45€ (breakfast included for 2 people).
To find cheap accommodation we recommend you to use Hotelscombined. There you will be able to search for apartments, hotels or hostels.
If you prefer to choose an airbnb, don't forget that if this is your first time, you can get a 25€ credit for your first stay by going through our partner link. For your info, during our stay we rented this appartment. Very clean, big and well placed. :)
Latvia ItinerariesWe clearly don't know everything about Latvia yet, but below is a short list of the things we have done and much appreciated as well as the other activities/visits we would have liked to do if we had more time (or if we hadn't been in the middle of winter) ;)
Things to do in Latvia:
- The old city of Riga
- Taste the Black Balsam
- The Moscow district of Riga
- Riga Central Market
- Visit Turaida Castle
- Gauja National Park
- The Daugavpils region
- Kemeri National Park
- Go to Siauliai
In the list above we only made the Visit of Riga (first 4 points) and an excursion to Turaida Castle.
We have not seen the national parks.... Having come in the middle of winter it didn't make much sense to visit national parks under the snow (difficulty of travel and temperatures :) ) but on the other hand we've had a lot of good feedback about these regions. So if you come in summer, then don't hesitate!
Bonus: Going to Siauliai is in the list even if it is strictly speaking in Lithuania... But we went there from Riga and it is easily doable. To have all the information about this visit we invite you to read our article on Siauliai.
How to travel to Latvia
In Latvia there are 2 airports, one in Riga (international airport) and the other in Liepaya (very poorly connected). In short, if you want to come to Latvia the easiest and cheapest way is Riga!
There are direct flights from many cities, with varying prices:
- Paris-Riga: tickets from 108€
- Bordeaux-Riga: tickets from 168€
- Nice-Riga: Tickets from 198€
- Geneva-Riga: Tickets from 150€
- Brussels-Riga: Tickets from 40€!!!!!
As you can see, it is clearly from Brussels that flights are the cheapest. With Ryanair and Air Baltics which provide weekly flights. To find a flight, the best way is to go to Skyscanner and compare the fares on your dates.
But if you are leaving Paris, remember to look at Brussels... because it takes less than 2 hours by train to reach the airport and the price of the train can be largely offset by the price of the flight ;) think about it!
And if you have a little more time, you can always try the bus or train for your journey. From the Baltic States we came back to Switzerland using only buses and trains and it's quite easy (with a few stops along the way). By the way, if you are interested in this kind of adventures, you might be interested in the interflix pass (from flixbus).