Country-specific travel advice

Select the country you will be travelling in to see motoring information and advice, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Latvia

Latvia
Population: 1,973,700
Area: 64,589 Km sq
Currency: Euro

Top 10 popular attractions:  

  • Rundāle Palace and Museum
  • Aglona Basilica
  • Old Riga
  • Jurmala city
  • The Historical Centre of Kuldīga
  • Gauja National Park
  • Turaida Museum Reserve
  • Ventspils
  • Liepāja
  • Cēsis Old Town

Essentials

Driving licence:

Visitors riding or driving in Latvia must have reached the minimum age required to drive/ride a vehicle of equivalent category even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. You must be 18 or over to drive a private motor vehicle in Latvia.

All EU driving licences are recognised.

Important documents:

Vehicles from the UK may be imported into Latvia for up to 6 months in any period of 12 months. When driving in Latvia the following documents should be carried:

  • Full, valid driving licence*
  • Proof of Insurance (third party or above)
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate)

While driving in Latvia you are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:

  • Headlamp beam deflectors (Depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • A first-aid kit & fire extinguisher is compulsory aboard all motor vehicles
  • Warning triangle (Any motor vehicle travelling in Latvia, regardless of country of registration, must carry 2 warning triangles)
  • All vehicles must have their lights on day and night
  • Reflective Jacket (for use when walking on the road at night or daytime)
  • Motorcyclists (Safety helmets are compulsory for drivers and passengers of mopeds and motorcycles)

Rules of the road & regulations:

Rules of the road:

  • Overtaking & passing

    The regulations conform with the 1968 Road Traffic Convention.

    Many roads have a hard shoulder which slower vehicles pull into to allow faster vehicles to pass.

  • Priority

    The regulations conform with the 1968 Road Traffic Convention.

Snow chains:

From 1st December to 1st March, winter tyres are compulsory for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and their trailers.

Spiked tyres are prohibited from 1 May to 1 October.  There is no special speed limit for cars with spiked tyres.

Seat belts:

It is compulsory to wear seat belts on all seats equipped with a belt.

Travelling with children:

Children under 150 cm in height must use a special seat or the lap strap of an adult seat belt.

Speed limits:

In built-up areas: 

50 km/h
(in residential areas: 20 km/h)

Outside built-up areas:

On normal roadsOn dual carriageways
Motorcycle90 km/h100 km/h*
Vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes90 km/h100 km/h*
Vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with trailer80 km/h90 km/h
Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes80 km/h90 km/h

*A speed of 110 km/h is allowed where signs indicate

Penalties:

  • On-the-spot fines

    The police can issue a fine on-the-spot and demand immediate payment of fines.

Parking:

  • Parking Regulations

    In towns motorists must take care not to park on tram lines.

    Parking at the side of the road against the traffic flow is permitted on roads with only one lane of traffic in each direction and without tram line in the middle.

    Theft of cars and visible valuable articles left in cars is common.  It is therefore advisable to use guarded car parks whenever possible.

  • Enforcement of parking regulations

     The police can collect fines on the spot.

  • Disabled parking access

    There are reserved parking spaces for the disabled which are sign posted.  These may also be used by foreign disabled motorists provided they are in possession of the blue badge.

Traffic lights:

  • Traffic lights

    The international three-colour system of traffic lights is used in Latvia.

Drink/drug driving:

  • Legal limit

    The legal limit for drivers is 0.05% alcohol in the blood.

  • Alcohol

    The police can stop a vehicle and ask the driver to take a test for alcohol or drugs.

    A driver must not refuse to be breathalysed; otherwise the penalties are very severe.

Roads & fuel

Availability of fuel

Fuel is quite easily obtainable both in and outside main towns.

The main petrol companies are Neste, Shell, Statoil and Texaco. There are a number of 24-hour petrol stations in Riga.

A special winter diesel fuel with a very high congealing point is available in winter.

Means of payment

Most service stations accept Visa and Mastercard.  Cash payment is accepted in local currency only.


Useful guides and maps

Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

Download  a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.

What RAC can do for you

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings. Whilst away, use our Route Planner (http://www.rac.co.uk/route-planner) for all your driving directions.

RAC can cover you against vehicle break down in Europe, with options available to suit your travelling requirements.

RAC European breakdown cover Basic and Comprehensive cover provides you with a wide range of benefits.


Source: All information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (May 2016.)
Still current at:
26th Jul 2016
Updated at:
27th Jun 2016
Latest update:
Latest update: Summary – the EU Referendum held on 23 June gave a clear vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU; in his statement the Prime Minister reassured British people living in the EU, that there would be no immediate changes to their circumstances and that there would be no initial change to the way people can travel

The EU Referendum held on 23 June delivered a clear vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has made a statement. In his statement, the Prime Minister reassured British people living in the EU, and European citizens in the UK, that there would be no immediate changes to their circumstances, and that there would be no initial change to the way people can travel. Until it leaves, the UK remains a full member of the EU. The period for exit, under the EU Treaties, is two years unless the other Member States agree to extend it.

Every year on 16 March, some Latvians seek to honour the veterans and fallen of the Latvian Legion at the Freedom Monument in Riga. This is a controversial occasion, which can provoke opposition and counter demonstrations. Keep up to date with media coverage of local events, avoid all demonstrations and take care if you’re near any large gatherings.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Around 65,000 British nationals visit Latvia each year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

British Embassy Riga

5, J.Alunana iela
Riga
LV 1010
Latvia

Email britishembassy.riga@fco.gov.uk

Telephone 371 6777 4700

Fax: 371 6777 4707