|Hitchability:||<rating country='lv' />|
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|<map lat='57.029' lng='24.599' zoom='6' view='3' country='Latvia' />|
Latvia is a Baltic country. It is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. It borders Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. There are a lot of young people just hitchhiking around the country, to their hometowns, festivals, etc., especially during summer, so you'll probably meet someone on the road as well. People are used to hitchhikers and it is fairly easy to get a lift, whether along important routes such as the E67 (Via Baltica) or in the middle of nowhere.
It is allowed to hitchhike in Latvia (at least there are no laws which forbid that), but of course in places where you do not danger road safety. It is a common practice here to use signs of the cities or countries where you want to get a ride to, but thumb also works fine.
- Riga, the capital of Latvia
The Latvian population is divided into Latvian speakers and Russian speakers. Most of adult Latvians will know both languages. If you know some Russian, feel free to use it here. Most of young people will speak English as well. If they don't, they will at least try to communicate in it if they see you are a foreigner who needs help. Some people might speak German as well.
To catch some phrases you can also check Eastern Europe phrasebook.
- towards Russia
- towards Belarus
Because of Schengen agreement, there are are no border control points between Latvia and Lithuania / Estonia.
Roads are getting better but don't expect European standards, especially in winter and early spring when temperature fluctuations destroy asphalt pretty easily. Be careful on dirt roads in countryside regions. Not only you get dust in your face from vehicles, but sometimes you can be hit by stones. On the other hand, traveling those roads usually offer the most beautiful and authentic scenery.
Free internet is available in public and university libraries. Also almost all of Latvian cities and even villages will have free internet in the town's center - it is now a prestige thing.
There exist Facebook groups for ridesharing where you can often get a ride from Riga to other parts of Latvia for little money.. Group names are in form "Riga - (city/town name) - Riga". Use Facebook search to find them. For example, for Liepaja direction use https://www.facebook.com/groups/840988475937147/ These groups are mostly used by young people and they are very likely to speak good English. http://www.blablacar.com is also popular.
When you hitchhike, draw a Latvian flag (red-white-red) on your hitchhiking sign in addition to the city's name. It will show your loyalty and interest in country and people will be more likely to stop.
Weather in Latvia can change pretty fast so don't lose hope if rain comes. Hide and wait. Sometimes it's over in 15-20 minutes.
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