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Latvia

Visas
Latvia is getting serious with its immigration and border control, but in the last years Latvian consular policy became much more liberal. More and more countries sign visa-free agreement with Latvia. At this time all West European citizens, USA, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus and Israel do not need a visa to visit Latvia up to 90 days. Pay attention, that if you are not a citizen of these countries - you can't obtain a visa in the border ! In case when you have to visit Latvia, but have no time to apply for a visa in the Latvian embassy in advance, your only way to enter is to go by plane to Riga international airport where 10-day visas are issuing for about $25. Another way is to enter Latvian border with Lithuanian or Estonian visa (for Canadian and South African citizens only).

Getting to Latvia
There are regular air connection between Riga and a big number of European destinations : London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Minsk, Kiev and Moscow. There is a number of ferries which links Riga with Kiel (2-3 times a week), Stockholm (several times a week). "Baltic Express" runs daily between Tallinn and Warsaw, via Riga and Kaunas. Another railway connection is a daily train to Moscow (40US$ one way ticket), and St. Petersburg. The bus is the cheapest choice to visit Latvia. You can get to Riga by bus from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw, Minsk and several destinations in the Western Europe

Going to Latvia
Sigulda

The administrative center of the Gauja National Park, established to preserve the natural landscape, historic buildings, flora and fauna of the region while maximizing its tourism and recreational facilities. Sigulda itself has much of interest. The church hill, with a cemetery dating from the 13th. century and the Turaida estate, with its fascinating buildings. The Turaida castle, just outside the town dating from 1215, which has in its main tower more than 30 meters sighting area and exhibitions in some the other buildings.

Cesis
A little country town, 30 km north east of Sigulda and 90 km from Riga. Historic city of Cesis, which was once the headquarters of the Livonian order. Today Cesis is home to the Latvian's oldest breweries. It's a major beer festival every year in july. There is interesting, good enough preserved old town part, with St. John church, which dates back to 1287. Cesis castle was founded by the knights of the Sword in 1209. 1.80 USD one way to riga There is a frequent bus connection to/from Riga via Sigulda (1.80 USD one way), and not less than 10 daily buses to/from Valmieza. Around 5-6 local daily trains to/from Riga (1.20 USD one way).

Bauska
A little town, some 60 Km. south of Riga on the main highway Riga-Vilnius, is known for it's Livonian castle, which was destroyed sevral times throw the ages. Castle looks very impressive. Regular bus connection to Riga (1.50 USD). Additionally it worth to visit Bauska at your way to/from Lithuania.

Daugavpils
Latvian second biggest city, some 220 km. from Riga. An industial center of eastern Latvia , it doesn't have a lot of sites to see, or to visit, except it's huge fortress , which was built by russians in 1810. The city itself is predominauntly a drab soviet creation, which gives you view of another side of Baltic's reality. Frequent buses and trains to/from Riga. Trains which run between Warsaw, Vilnius and St. Petersburg in Russia, cross throw Daugavpils.

Rundale Palace
Rundale Palace is an architectural pearl of Latvia created by an outstanding architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, designer of the Winter Palace in St.Petersburg. Rastrelli was invited to design the palace by Birzov, the favourite of empress Anna, in 1735 when the Duke of Kurzeme was just preparing to take the throne. For building the palace Biron invited the best masters in Russia, dreaming about luxurious residence. Construction of the palace was completed only in 1768 and now it is a magnificent sample of baroque style with elements of classicism. when they The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (from May to October), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (from November to April). The Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. You can go round the museum with a guide. Announce your visit beforehand (tel 62197) and the Palace museum will guarantee you a guide in following languages: Latvian, English, German and Russian. On Saturdays and Sundays guides in foreign languages-by mutual agreement. Bauska The Palace is situated 79 km from the capital city of Riga (Riga to Bauska 67 km; Bauska to Pilsrundale 12 km) and 34 km from Jelgava.