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International Driving Permit Latvia

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP

01

Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

03

Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

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Do I need an International Driving Permit for Latvia?

If you want to enjoy the scenery and visit all the wonderful spots around Latvia more, then any itinerary package can’t cover that; driving the car would. That’s why if you are driving in Latvia, getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) could get you out of trouble. By translating the information in your driving license, whether it is in English or not, into 12 of the widely spoken languages worldwide, this helps

How can I get driving Licence in Latvia?

There are many ways to get your driving licence in Latvia. You can take a driving test, pass the theory exam, or you can have your driving licence issued by the Ministry of Transport. However, this alternative is applicable only to those who intend to stay in the country for more than three months.

If you are only staying in the country for less than three months and driving there using a rented motor vehicle, you can get an international driver’s license, officially called an International Driving Permit, to drive in this country. This document is recognized in the following countries as per convention on road traffic:

  • Estonia
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil
  • Belarus
  • Congo
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tobago
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Uruguay
  • Austria

Top Destinations in Latvia

Located in Eastern Europe, Latvia is a Baltic State abundant in dense woods, wide beaches, stunning nature views, and majestic castles. Its towns and villages are very fairytale-like, and the cities ooze of rich history. All of these make Latvia an exciting country to travel on. Here are some of the top tourist destinations you can reach as you drive vehicles for a fun and adventure-filled trip in the country.

Cēsis Castle

The Cēsis Castle is a majestic structure that dates back to the 13th century. Guests can explore the ruins by touring the towers and dungeons and strolling the outside grounds. Visiting the Cēsis castle would be a treat for kids too. The castle has multiple exhibits, and there are even medieval activities held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays by the Medieval Activity Center.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of the castle along with its gardens, the best time to drop by the Cēsis castle would be during summer from June to September. Not only can you learn more about the history of the place without the biting cold, but you can also enjoy the vibrant gardens that surround the ruins of Cēsis Castle.

Gauja National Park

One of the top tourist destinations in Latvia is Gauja National Park. The park was established in 1973 and is known for its rich biological diversity. Tourists who love the great outdoors can do many activities in Gauja National Park, ranging from hiking, mountain biking, camping, and canoeing. Many of its attractions aren’t limited to nature, too, since guests can drop by historical monuments and cultural sites.

If you want to drop by the park, make sure to visit it at its peak. This is usually during autumn (September to December) or spring (end of February/late April to the beginning of June). Visiting during these seasons ensures the perfect weather and scenery, as the fauna will have bold and vibrant colors, captivating anyone who’ll lay their eyes on it.

House of the Blackheads

The House of the Blackheads is a lavish house that was built in the 1300s for unmarried German merchants. After experiencing some damage during World War II, the house was rebuilt by the Soviets and had eventually become a top tourist attraction in Latvia. Guests can roam the area and marvel at the paintings and chandeliers decorating the rooms.

Most tourists visit the House of Blackheads on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12 to 1 pm. So if you want a more peaceful tour around the house, make sure to avoid these times.

Jūrmala

Jūrmala is the biggest resort city on the shores of the Baltic Sea. It has stunning beaches and nature trails that attract outdoor people and spas and pools for relaxation. Visitors can also visit national parks, concert halls, and waterparks as the city has a lot to offer. Make sure to drop by Jūrmala during the summer from June to September to enjoy the sites and other areas within the city you are yet to explore.

Kuldīga

If you want to escape the busy city life, then Kuldīga is the place for you. It’s a quaint little town that is a UNESCO candidate in Latvia. The structures and buildings of old Latvia have been preserved, and not an ounce of plastic can be seen in its streets. Visitors can walk around the peaceful streets of Kuldīga, immerse themselves in its stunning landscapes, or visit cultural and historical sites.

Another way to fully experience Kuldīga is by attending its festivals. If you want to explore the town and participate in its festivals, make sure to stop by during summer (June to September), as most of them are held during the summer solstice.

Rundāle Palace and Museum

The Rundāle Palace is a baroque palace built in the 1700s as a grand residence for the Duke of Courland. Now, it has become a tourist destination, captivating its guests with its history and exquisite architecture. The palace has other attractions, including gardens, an amphitheater, and some fountains. It has also become a popular venue for balls, weddings, and receptions.

If you want to enjoy the Rundāle Palace and Museum along with its beautiful gardens, the ideal time to stop by would be during summer (June to September) or Spring (end of February/late April to the beginning of June). So you can soak in the perfect weather and take in the picture-perfect view the palace has to offer.

Most Important Rules of Driving in Latvia

Every country has an important set of road rules to follow, and Latvia is no different, especially since nature can play a role in making driving more challenging. Here are some of the most important road rules in Latvia to ensure a safe drive.

Always Bring Your Native Driver’s License

Your driver’s license is your holy grail if you plan to drive in Latvia. You’ll become an unlicensed driver without it, and you may be fined or prohibited from driving. Do know that your native license is different from an International Driver's Permit, which is not an official document that allows you to drive. However, it serves as a translation of your driver’s license, in case it cannot be understood by Latvian authorities.

Compared to a driver’s license, it’s much easier to obtain an International Driver's Permit for Latvia. The requirements can even be submitted online, especially if you apply from the International Driver’s Association.

Drunk Driving is Strictly Prohibited

Just like in every country, drunk driving in Latvia is illegal. Although there is an accepted blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novices, it’s better not to drink alcohol at all. Especially since many roads have subpar conditions and plenty of drivers are quite irresponsible. Refraining from drunk driving not only reduces your chances of having violations but lowers the possibility of you getting into accidents too.

If you encounter sobriety checkpoints, make sure BAC falls within the accepted range. Better yet, don’t drink alcohol at all to have a negative result in the alcohol test. Since you’ve encountered a checkpoint, it’s also important to have all your documents with you. And if your driver’s license isn’t in English or doesn’t have Latin alphabet characters, then you must have an IDP.

Drive Within the Speed Limits

Since Latvia has its fair share of poor roads and reckless drivers, it’s always important to follow road rules and drive within the speed limits. Latvian streets can get pretty dangerous during winter as well, so driving at low speed is important. If you ever have run-ins with authorities or road traffic enforcers, just make sure to bring your documents, and you’ll be fine.

Be Extra Careful When Driving During Winter

Just like in every other European country, driving in Latvia can get dangerous during the winter. Drivers are warned to drive cautiously and look out for black ice. Although it is quite dangerous to be out and about during winter, many tourists flock during this season since winter is the best time to visit Latvia.

Drivers are warned to drive slowly and always stay alert. And as much as possible, if weather reports are given in advance, don’t schedule trips when it is snowing heavily and when the roads are icy.

Wear Your Seatbelts at All Times

Another important rule in Latvia is to wear one's seatbelt at all times. Seat belts can reduce the risk of casualties and major trauma, so wearing one inside a moving vehicle is required. It’s especially important since driving in Latvia can become a challenge due to its roads and drivers.

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