Banks Banks are open from 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and until 1pm on Saturdays.
Climate The average daytime temperature in mid-September is 17.3°C, with an average nighttime low of 8.2°C. There is an average of 12.7 hours of sunshine although the close proximity of the sea causes frequent autumn rains and fogs.
Credit Cards / ATM Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) dispensing EUR and USD are located on the second floor of Riga International Airport and are accessible 24 hours a day. International bankcards are widely accepted and foreign currency is easily exchanged. Banks, ATMs and exchange bureaux can be found throughout Riga, including Radisson BLU Latvija.
Currency Since 15th January 2014 the euro is the only legal tender currency in Latvia. Although legally and officially called the “euro”, you may encounter the unofficial Latvian name “eiro”.
Disability Access If you have any disabilities that may require additional help, please email the Conference Secretariat, dagmar@semiotics, who will be able to help you with your request.
When disembarking at Riga Airport, disabled passengers are well looked after, with wheelchair friendly access throughout with lifts, ramps and dedicated shuttle services into the city. The city centre itself, however, is more of an ordeal due to its layout and age, with many uneven surfaces and a lack of adaptable transportation.
If you require any assistance at the airport, please notify your airline before you fly. They will notify Riga International Airport (RIX) directly. RIX can provide assistance both airside and landside.
Dress Code Dress code for the conference, lunches and social events is Business Casual.
Electricity The electrical supply is 220 volts AC. Plugs are standard 2-pin European.
Emergency For non-emergency calls and general tourist information, the Tourist Police can be contacted on +37167181818. For emergencies, the national emergency number is 112.
Health & Accident Insurance The conference fee does not include insurance. All participants should arrange for their own insurance.
Travelers do not normally require certificates of vaccination or immunization to enter Latvia. Visitors from EU member states should make sure that they have a European Health Insurance card. It is advisable that all visitors, irrespective of their nationality, take out a personal medical insurance policy.
Visitors receiving special medical treatment should bring a medical prescription or a letter of introduction from their family doctor, in case they need to purchase particular medicines.
Language The sole official language is Latvian, but in practice Riga is a bilingual city with Latvian and Russian as the main languages: 50% of the people are native speakers of Latvian and 50% of Russian, and the vast majority is bilingual. English is widely spoken by younger people and by people in the tourism industry, and also by some older people. German is also quite prevalent, however the official spoken language throughout the conference is English.
Local Time Latvia is in the Eastern European time zone (UTC) which is GMT +2.
Passports All foreign visitors to Latvia must possess a valid passport. Visitors are required to carry a valid ID at all times.
Pharmacies Pharmacies are located throughout Riga and are open during normal shopping hours, Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, most pharmacies are closed.
Religion & Worship The main religion traditionally practiced in Latvia is Christianity. Lutheranism is the main Christian denomination among ethnic Latvians due to strong historical links with the Nordic countries and Northern Germany, while Roman Catholicism is most prevalent in Eastern Latvia (Latgale) mostly due to Polish influence. The Latvian Orthodox Church is the third largest Christian church in Latvia, with an overwhelming majority of the members being Russian-speaking Soviet-era immigrants and their descendants. In addition, a large portion of Latvians claim to practice no religion.
Smoking Policy Please note that smoking is not allowed in any of the conference venues.
Taxis All licensed cabs have special yellow number plates. Approximate charges are as follows: 2 EUR for embarkation plus 0.65 EUR per kilometer, waiting 90 EUR per hour. Approximate price for taxi ride from airport to city centre is 12-15 EUR depending on traffic.
To avoid potential overcharging it is best to order a taxi by phone (toll free 80001313) or use the cabs at the Radisson BLU Hotel Latvija.
Telephone The international access code for Latvia is +371. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States).
Useful Words Thank you – Paldies Please/you’re welcome- Lūdzu Good morning- Labrīt Good day/afternoon- Labdien Good evening- Labvakar Hello/greetings- Sveicināti Goodbye/see you again- Uz redzēšanos Goodnight- Ar labu nakti Cheers!- Priekā! Yes- Jā No- Nē Taxi- Taksometrs Bus/coach- Autobuss Shop- Veikals Police- Policija Currency exchange- Valūtas maiņa Hotel- Viesnīca
Water Although tap water can be used for brushing your teeth, bottled water is recommended for everyday consumption. Local and imported bottled mineral water is also readily available.