Latvia and Lithuania – How Are They Different?

The countries Latvia and Lithuania get mixed up a lot.

I guess they both start with the same letter and are both located in the same region of Europe.

Latvia and Lithuania – How Are They Different?

The countries Latvia and Lithuania get mixed up a lot.

I guess they both start with the same letter and are both located in the same region of Europe.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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Latvia and Lithuania

Latvia and Lithuania, plus Estonia, are known as the Baltic Countries, not to be confused with the Balkans.

Here are a few important facts about Latvia and Lithuania and how they are different from each other.

1. Latvia and Lithuania – Where are they located?

Latvia and Lithuania border each other. They are both in northeastern Europe and are known as the Baltic states along with Estonia.

Lithuania is located next to Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east, Poland and the detached Russian oblast of Kaliningrad to the southwest, and the Baltic Sea to the west.

Latvia is between Estonia and Lithuania and borders Russia and Belarus to the east and the Baltic Sea to the west.

Latvia and Lithuania on a map
Latvia and Lithuania on a map

2. Latvia Riga vs Lithuania Vilnius – The small capital cities

The capital city of Latvia is Riga, and it is larger than Vilnius, which is the capital city of Lithuania. While they both have stunning old towns, they are also different.

Riga’s population is 633,000, with two huge churches: Riga Cathedral and St Peters Church. It’s also home to incredible Art Nouveau architecture.

And the beaches of Jumala are only 30 30-minute drive away, a great escape from the city in the summer.

Vilnius’s population is 580,000, but it feels more like a town than a city. It doesn’t get as many tourists as Riga, which can be a good reason to visit.

Vilnius is also more affordable than Riga regarding food and drinks. The climate is milder here, too, due to its southern location.

Latvia and Lithuania Capital Cities

3. Latvia and Lithuania were once part of different countries

There are two differences in the history of Latvia and Lithuania. Latvia and Estonia were once part of one country called the Livonian Order. Lithuania was part of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth, which once upon a time was huge.

Look at the picture below to see how big the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth once was. 

But in the 20th century, Latvia and Lithuania were incorporated into the Soviet Union and were part of it from 1940 until 1990/1991. 

Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth vs todays Lithuania
Polish Lithuanian commonwealth vs today’s Lithuania. Credit: Wikipedia

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4. The flag of Latvia and Lithuania 

Latvia and Lithuania have quite different flags.

The Flag of Latvia is a horizontally striped carmine red (deep red) on the top and bottom, with a white stripe through the middle. It was officially adopted in 1922, four years after declaring independence, and remained the nation’s flag until its annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940.

The flag of Lithuania consists of a horizontal tricolour of yellow, green, and red, first used in 1918.

Latvia and Lithuania Flags

5. The language of Latvia and Lithuania 

Each country has its own language. Lithuanian and Latvian are closely related languages and are the only two of the Baltic branch of Indo-European languages.

They are quite similar and share similar vocabulary and grammar features, but not close enough to make conversation possible. By the way, Estonian is part of the Ungo Finnish, closer to Finnish or Hungarian.

That’s our recap of how Latvia and Lithuania are different.

Travel Tips for Europe

We have many travel guides and tips for Europe— an incredible continent!

Are you travelling on a budget? These ten cheapest European countries will help you plan an itinerary that lets you see as much as possible while there.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel long-term (or at least until the money runs out), these 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

Delicious cuisine can be enjoyed across Europe, and our food map of Europe will inspire your culinary journey.

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies, a couple of them are located in Europe.

Here are 8 things to know about travelling to Eastern Europe and it’s good to know these 7 misconceptions about Eastern Europe too.

These top 6 travel hacks to save money are great to read when planning your travels.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Europe. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual European countries, or consider a regional eSIM for Europe (which covers 39 countries).

If your travels in Europe are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Europe.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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