Cruising to Latvia


After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.


Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates: 57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 64,589 sq km
Land: 63,589 sq km
Water: 1,000 sq km


531 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


Maritime; wet, moderate winters


Low plain

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
Highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m


Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises.

Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004. The current account and internal government deficits remain major concerns, but the government's efforts to increase efficiency in revenue collection may lessen the budget deficit. A growing perception that many of Latvia's banks facilitate illicit activity could damage the country's vibrant financial sector.


Airports: 47 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 23
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 24
Pipelines: gas 1,097 km; oil 409 km; refined products 415 km (2004)
Railways: total: 2,303 km
Roadways: total: 69,919 km


300 km (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 20 ships (1000 GRT or over) 247,743 GRT/332,058 DWT
By type: cargo 6, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1
Foreign-owned: 1 (Russia 1)
Registered in other countries: 102 (Antigua and Barbuda 5, The Bahamas 1, Belize 4, Cambodia 1, Cyprus 5, Dominica 2, Gibraltar 2, Liberia 17, Malta 36, Marshall Islands 6, Panama 4, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 17) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Riga, Ventspils

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Belgium - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - Germany - Latvia - Lithuania - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Sweden

Further Reading

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