Stay Safe in Latvia
Traveling throughout Latvia on your own is usually safe, but there is occasional small crime.
If you’re traveling by bike, keep an eye out for bike theft. In Latvian traffic, cyclists make up a tiny percentage, and dedicated bike lanes are uncommon. In bigger cities, it is typical to see bikes riding on the sidewalk.
If you’re traveling by vehicle, don’t leave anything important in plain sight. When traveling on lesser roads, particularly through woods, be aware that wild animals may be present. It’s especially essential to remember this throughout the night. Many Latvian drivers love speeding, and traffic frequently moves far more quickly than the rules allow.
If you’re traveling by foot, be cautious while crossing roads since many Latvian drivers are irresponsible.
When not at bars, restaurants, or other places where alcoholic drinks are served, it is considered impolite to consume them in public. When drinking alcoholic drinks from a non-consealed bottle, you may be penalized in certain locations. Drunken behavior, such as urinating in public, may result in a fine or a night in prison.
Tourist information websites say that there is virtually no difference in terms of safety between large cities and rural regions. Although it is true that one is never too far from a town or city in Latvia, finding assistance in an emergency may be more difficult in the countryside (for foreign tourists). This is because English is mostly spoken in cities, and there are few people who can understand you outside of them (young people are an exception, but they are also drawn from rural areas to bigger cities). This is partly counterbalanced by the fact that locals are often pleasant and willing to assist.
Check out the costs before eating at pubs and restaurants, particularly in Riga, and keep an eye on your statement to ensure no hidden fees are added to the final amount. Use your common sense and be wary of typical frauds. There have been instances of fraudsters starting up casual discussions with visitors and asking them to their “favorite club” or “favorite pub,” which often results in the mafia robbing the tourists, with the police allegedly being useless to those who have been duped.
- 112 – the common emergency number, just like in other EU countries
- 110 – state police
- 113 – ambulance
Stay Healthy in Latvia
During your stay, you may go to any doctor or hospital you choose. You may be required to pay a charge for urgent treatment, depending on the circumstances.
Keep in mind that owing to the country’s limited number of air ambulance helicopters, obtaining medical treatment in a sparsely populated, isolated region may be difficult. It’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand at such occasions. Operators on the 112 (emergency service number) will be able to help you in Latvian, English, and Russian, and will be able to send a team or link you to the proper emergency services if necessary.
Doctors often speak Latvian and Russian fluently. Some people may not be fluent in English. This is mostly determined by the doctor’s location and age.
If you need medication, it is recommended that you carry your own, since few medicines are accessible without a prescription.
Many physicians accept hidden payments from patients in the form of presents ranging from a box of chocolates to cash. This is typically because patients are aware of physicians’ poor pay and feel compelled to show their appreciation. Despite the fact that it is against local law, it is believed that one out of every four physicians has accepted or is accepting such contributions while treating patients.
If you are bitten by a snake, a domestic or a wild animal, you should seek medical help right once. With the exception of the European adder, snakes in Latvia are not poisonous. When surprised and feeling the need to protect itself, the common adder becomes hostile. Despite the fact that the venom’s toxicity is minimal, you should seek expert medical help as soon as possible. Rabies may be spread through animal bites, such as those from dogs and cats, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Mosquito bites do not transmit illness and rather cause irritation to the skin. It is common sense to avoid rubbing an itch. Mosquitoes are most active throughout the summer months and are almost non-existent during the cooler winter months.
Ticks may be found in Latvia and are most active from May to September. They’re usually found in brushy regions and woods, although they may also be found in city parks. If you think you’ve been bitten by a tick, you should seek medical help right away. Tick-borne encephalitis (which may be very prevalent; immunization is available before the season) and Lyme disease are both spread by ticks (less common; must be treated in a timely and adequate manner to avoid disabling symptoms).
Drinking tap water is usually safe. However, many residents, particularly in bigger cities, prefer to boil water before drinking it or purchase bottled water instead.