Latvia in detail

Health & insurance

In general, Latvia is a healthy place and there are no major risks associated with travel here.

Before You Go

Health Insurance

Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein receive free or reduced-cost, state-provided health-care cover with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical treatment that becomes necessary while in Latvia. Each family member will need a separate card. UK residents can get application forms from post offices, or download them from the Department of Health website (www.dh.gov.uk), which has comprehensive information about the card’s coverage.

The EHIC does not cover private health care, so make sure that you are treated by a state health-care provider. If you see a private provider or do not have proof of EHIC coverage, you will need to pay directly and fill in a treatment form; keep the form to claim any refunds. In general, you can claim back around 70% of the standard treatment cost.

For travellers from countries outside of Europe, it is advisable to purchase travel medical insurance before your trip.

In Latvia

Availability & Cost of Healthcare

Latvia's health care system is underfunded but broadly delivers effective care, particularly in Rīga. Hospitals and clinics in more rural areas may lack sufficient resources and equipment, and may speak limited English.

Travelers carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can obtain medically necessary treatment on the same terms as Latvians. Seek doctors registered with the National Health Service (Nacionālais veselības diensts, NVD), which will reimburse treatment costs directly to the provider – patients are only charged a small fee, if any at all, at the time of treatment.

Travelers without an EHIC will need to pay out-of-pocket costs for treatment. Expect to pay around €40 for an initial appointment with a general practitioner.

Tap Water

While teeth brushing is fine, it is recommended to avoid water straight from the tap in Latvia; boil or filter before drinking, or purchase it bottled.