LIFE IN LATVIA

TRANSPORTATION IN LATVIA

Latvia is easily accessible by land, sea or air, and has the largest railway terminal and international airport in the Baltics. When travelling around Latvia, all the loveliest locations of our country are easily accessible also by regional transportation systems – trains or buses. Travelling by public transport has its advantages over sitting behind the wheel of one's car. Those are – a chance to leisurely view countryside, forests and rivers, posh villas and old farmsteads float by.

Road System

It is mandatory to keep headlights on while driving, even in daylight; most cars commercially sold in Latvia are equipped to make this automatic. There is also a vast network of bus connections around Latvia. Buy a bus ticket at the bus station or on bus when boarding. If you have luggage, ask the bus driver to put it in the trunk. It depends on the bus company, if they will charge extra. There are express bus connections to major towns, which can save a lot of time.

Train

It is advisable to go by train instead of bus from Riga to the following towns: Jurmala, Tukums, Jelgava, Salaspils, Jekabpils, Daugavpils, Rezekne, Sigulda, Cesis and Saulkrasti. If you are going to other cities, there are most likely only a couple trains per day or there are no trains going at all. Trains are usually cheaper and you don't need to worry about having no seat. Trains are usually crowded on peak days of summer. Latvian Railways is the main state-owned railway company in Latvia. Its daughter companies both carry out passengers services as well as carry a large quantity of freight cargo, and freight trains operate over the whole current passenger network, and a number of lines currently closed to passenger services.
There is also a narrow gauge railway between Gulbene and Aluksne, operated by the Industrial Heritage Trust, using Russian and Polish built heritage rolling stock. Three narrow gauge trains a day operate on the 33 km route between the two towns. The train can take you also to the beautiful seaside town of Liepāja or to Latvia's second largest city Daugavpils in Latgale.

Taxis

Share taxis – minibuses service locations in the vicinity of Riga: Mārupe, Ķekava, Salaspils. This mode of transport is especially convenient for travelling to Jūrmala: unlike train, it has no stops en route and can reach the resort city within 20 minutes.

Airport

Riga International Airport is the only major airport in Latvia, carrying around 5 million passengers annually. It is the largest airport in the Baltic states and has direct flights to over 80 destinations in 30 countries including a nonstop transatlantic flight to New York-JFK operated by Uzbekistan Airlines year-round. It is also the main hub of airBaltic.In the recent years air Baltic operated also in Liepāja International Airport as well as Ventspils International Airport but operations in both of these airports were soon ceased. Currently there are plans for further development in several regional airports, including Jūrmala Airport, Liepāja, Ventspils as well as Daugavpils International Airport. As of 2003, there were a total of 51 airfields in Latvia, with 27 of them having paved runways.

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