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Getting to Latvia
Latvia is easy to reach by travellers from both West and East. Choose what transport suits you best – a plane, train, bus, car, or a ferry across the Baltic Sea.
There are direct flights to Riga from more than 85 cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. The Latvian national airline, airBaltic (www.airbaltic.com), provides easy and convenient connections to all the major airports in Europe and CIS countries.
Riga International Airport (www.riga-airport.com) is only ten kilometres southwest of the Riga city centre. A taxi ride from the airport to central Riga takes between ten and twenty minutes, depending on traffic, and costs approximately EUR 10–13.
Bus no. 22 runs to and from the airport and departs every 10–20 minutes from opposite the bus terminal building near the Old Town, and the fare costs EUR 2.00 (purchasing in the bus).
Airport Information: phone (00 371) 2931 1817. For information in English about all transport schedules, call 1188 (when in Latvia) or (00 371) 6700 1188 (from outside Latvia).
Ferry connections to Riga are available from Stockholm. Tallink (www.tallink.com) operates ferry connections from Stockholm to Riga every other day. The ferry terminal building is located at Eksporta iela 1, within walking distance of the Old City.
Stena Line offers a regular ferry between Liepaja Passenger Port and the German city of Travemünde. The journey takes 27 hours. To get to Ventspils Port, take the Stena Line ferry from Travemünde with a journey time of 27 hours or from Nynäshamn in Sweden with a journey time of 11 hours
Train connections to Riga are available from Moscow (daily), St. Petersburg (daily), and Pskov (daily), operated by the Latvian State Railway Company Latvijas Dzelzceļš (www.ldz.lv). The recently renovated Riga Central Railway Station is located at Stacijas Square, directly east of the Old Town border.
There are daily trains on the Valga (Estonia) – Riga route that also stop at the visit-worthy cities of Valmiera, Cēsis, Līgatne and Sigulda. Since both Latvia and Estonia are in Schengen area, there is no border control. Passenger trains are operated by Pasažieru vilciens (www.pv.lv).
Lux Express (www.luxexpress.eu) is the largest passenger carrier in the Baltics, ensuring several daily departures from such cities as Tallinn, Tartu, Parnu, Vilnius, Warsaw, St Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk etc. All Lux Express coaches are equipped with comfortable and adjustable seats, individual multimedia touch screens on each seat, as well as free WI-FI and coffee/tea makers. Individual business class seats are also available on Lux Express Lounge coaches. Tickets can be purchased online starting from EUR 5 for early-bird seats. Lux Express also operates a client service office at the Riga Central Bus Terminal – just five minutes from Old Town – and open daily from 6:40 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Major highways connect Riga with Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaunas, and Vilnius. Northern and southern road links have recently been modernised. The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas and 90 km/h on rural roads, unless marked otherwise. On some highways the speed limit is 100 km/h. Headlights must be switched on at all times.
Latvia has land borders with Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. From Sweden and Germany travellers by car can take the ferry, thereby avoiding long road-trips. Upon entering Latvia from Lithuania and Estonia, there is no border control since, just like Latvia, these Baltic States adhere to the Schengen Agreement. However, upon entering Latvia from Russia and Belarus, you must pass through border control. Drivers should note that the standard of roads in Latvia varies – streets in cities are asphalted or cobbled, however, unpaved roads are common outside cities and lowering speed when is advisable.