Each journey, whether long or short, near or far away, is an adventure. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and jumping (or driving) into the unknown. Nowadays, when the desire for various conveniences and freedom is increasing, one of the ways to provide it is by renting vehicles. A rental car allows you to move easily without considering public transport schedules, hand luggage restrictions or weather.
Travelling by car is suitable for all weather conditions. Since Latvia is in the temperate climatic zone, you can enjoy true heat in summer when the temperature exceeds 30 °C, as well as extreme cold in winter. Therefore, you must remember that good driving skills are necessary when travelling by car in the cold months of the year, as driving may be difficult. Latvian roads tend to get covered with snow, and ice forms on the surface, often creating challenges for drivers. Car rental is an affordable way to explore Latvia. It can be used by both local adventure seekers and travellers from other countries who have chosen Latvia as their destination.
To help you decide whether you need a rental car and what kind of car you need for your trip, we have prepared a summary of the top car rental options in Latvia.
Carsharing services are a flexible way to use a vehicle without complicated commitments, additional contracts and bookings. Usually you need no more than a smartphone, the service provider’s app and a driving licence that must be verified on the app. When you pick this type of car rental, you must pay for the time the car is used and the kilometres driven. Therefore it is a great option if you need a car for a short-term ride around Riga or other cities. Most of the service providers also offer the possibility to rent a shared car for several days. This type of service also allows its users to go on further trips. Fuel and insurance are already included in the price. Shared car service is basically a flexible way to move around, however you should remember that the availability of cars is not guaranteed. You can check the cars and how far they are from your location on the service provider’s app.
Below we have summarised the carsharing services available in Latvia and cities where you can take and park the cars. The information may change, therefore, please see the availability and options on company websites or apps.
- You can take and park “Citybee” cars in Riga, Jurmala, Ogre, Jelgava and Sigulda. The company also offers long-term transport rental such as “MyBee”: you can subscribe to a new car for a term exceeding six months.
- You can only take and park “Car Guru” cars in Riga.
- You can take and park “Bolt Drive” cars in Riga and Jurmala.
- You can take and park “OX Drive” cars in Riga and Jurmala. “OX Drive” differs from other carsharing services as it only offers Tesla electric cars. By agreeing individually with the service provider, you can also travel outside Latvia.
- You can only take and park “Fiqsy” cars in Riga.
Some of these services also offer electric vehicles. When travelling with a more environmentally friendly vehicle, you should take into account the fact that electric car charge in Latvia is currently possible in the “e-mobi” electric car charging station network established by the Road Safety Directorate (CSDD), as well as in the “Elektrum” charging stations installed by AS Latvenergo.
Short-term and long-term car rent
Cars are usually rented for at least 24 hours. It means that the payment is calculated per day when the vehicle is being rented. This is a comfortable option for travellers who are used to staying in Latvia for a longer time and seeing several cities. When you pick either a short-term or a long-term rental, you must sign a rental agreement and leave a safety deposit. If the service provider is an international company, it’s possible to travel with a rental car from one country to another. These services in Latvia are provided by companies such as “Sixt”, which offers both daily car rental and car subscription with a fixed monthly fee, “Hertz”, “Mobire” and others.
The most adventurous travellers and those who want to be closer to nature can also rent campers. The most common types of camper are integrated or semi-integrated campers, the living area of which is connected to the driver’s seat, a separate camper that can be attached to a car as a trailer, or a so-called van - cargo bus - that is equipped with everything necessary for living. For an overnight stay in a camper, we recommended choosing one of Latvia’s recreation areas or campsites. They usually have parking for camping, electricity, and shared toilets and showers. In Latvia, camper rental is offered by “Kemperi365”, “Kempers.lv” and others. Camper rental is usually available for a time exceeding two days, but you must sign a rental agreement. The price does not include fuel and additional costs. Also, when choosing a camper to rent, you must critically assess your driving skills, as the dimensions of campers significantly differ from the dimensions of a car, and you must also assess your driving abilities because driving on Latvian roads may be difficult at certain weather conditions.
What should you remember about driving a car in Latvia?
Regardless of what kind of car rental you choose, there are several aspects you must consider when travelling in Latvia with a car. The laws of Latvia require the front lights to be turned on when driving. The speed limit is 50 km/h in cities and 90 km/h on rural roads, if not indicated otherwise. Some motorways allow you to drive at the speed of 100 or 110 km/h. There are no toll roads in Latvia, however from 1 April to 30 September you must pay for entering the special regime zone - Jurmala. This zone is indicated on maps. In 2023, the entrance fee to Jurmala is EUR 2 for a daily pass. The pass must be purchased when entering the special regime zone (Jurmala) with vehicles (passenger or cargo, buses), motorcycles, quadricycles and tricycles. Electric vehicles do not need to pay to enter Jurmala.
Cycling tourism is growing in popularity. If your inner adventure seeker is strong and physical abilities are sufficient, this is also a way to tour Latvia; besides, it does not require a personal bicycle - you can rent it. Suppose you prefer not to pedal through Latvia. In that case, it is also possible to rent bicycles for shorter trips around Riga, the ancient valley of Gauja in Sigulda, Valmiera and other larger and smaller cities. Several service providers in Latvia offer short-term and long-term rental of city, mountain and electric bikes. You can also additionally rent accessories such as helmets and backpacks. The most popular bike rental service providers in Riga are “Gandrs”, “Nextbike” and “Bicycle rental”, however outside Riga you can rent bikes in Cesis and Valmiera at “Eži”, in Salacgriva at “Easy Ride”, in Jurmalā at “Velo Par” and in many other cities. For those seeking special adventures, in Sigulda, it is possible to rent electric bicycles with wide tyres suitable for driving on dirt roads. The offer also includes electric bikes with the same sensations but less physical effort. You can rent “Smartbikes” bikes at “Sigulda Adventures”.
No matter which way you travel in Latvia - a luxury car, an environmentally friendly electric car, a comfortable family car, a camper or even a bicycle - Latvia has opportunities and offers for any of these types of travel. And each has its special charm.