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Latvia - 7 weeks in the Baltic States

6993 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  lalala
Just back from 7 weeks in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Will put a brief report together, but in the meantime - any questions on Latvia, fire away,

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Some random jottings,

I’m going to try to restrict my post to information that other potential visitors might find useful – I’m sure nobody is interested in what we had for tea on the second Thursday in July!
General impressions: A country rushing headlong from the Soviet to the EU era. A great deal of dereliction – both of small farms abandoned when the soviets imposed collectivisation, and of the large collectives, abandoned now the soviets have gone, and the population try to re-establish the original farms. A lot of EU cash is going into development, especially roads. English widely spoken – especially amongst the younger generation.

Roads generally poor – on a par with Czech Republic. Only main roads are tarmac – side roads are either gravel or sand. General quality of these is poor to impassable. Average speeds are low – most days we only managed 30-35 mph. We used Reise Know-How and Freytag & Berndt Baltic States maps – both good. Used Garmin Satnav – maps in this proved to be accurate, However – lots of discrepancies on the maps – both Garmin and paper, regarding what was recorded as a gravel or tarmac road, and what we found in practice – so we often found ourselves on gravel unexpectedly. The moral is allow time, and use discretion. Baltic states roads are reputed to be the most dangerous in the EU – we found them to be fine. We saw only 3 other British outfits in Baltic States.

Credit cards widely accepted, but we decided to take cash, and travellers cheques. Found travellers cheques very difficult to change – even in the big cities few banks will change them.

Campsites are few and far between – and tend to cluster on the coast. The ACSI list is very useful. However – all very quiet – no need to book ahead. Priced between £6 and £12 per night. Water generally of good quality – not always easily accessed – take plenty of adapters. EHU generally available – usually 2 pin sockets. Grey water and loo waste sometimes available. Showers and loos, where available varied greatly in quality and cleanliness. No evidence whatsoever of wild-camping. Lots of advice to be careful where you leave your vehicle, and about leaving it unattended. We generally leave our M/H and go off on the bikes – so we always used sites. Very few sites have a shop of any kind – but even in fairly remote areas, there is always a small shop. Supermarket prices about the same as here – local markets much cheaper. Diesel around 82p per litre.

Speed limits 50kph in towns (designated by the town silhouette sign, common in France), 90kph out of town, and 110 kph on dual carriageways. There are no motorways. Headlights on – police paranoid about this! Blood alcohol limits are zero – and rigidly enforced. We got breathalysed twice. Nothing random – road blocks are set up and everybody gets tested.

Entered from Lithuania, and visited Kuldiga, Riga, Sigulda, Cesis, before heading into Estonia, and the on the return leg we visited Ludza, and Karaslav.

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We are thinking of the Baltic States as the next part of a Northern Europe 'trip'.
Pleased to find this post, .
We were thinking of the ferry from Karlshamn in Sweden to Klaipeda in Latvia then moving North before coming South again into Poland. Any information would be much appreciated.
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