How to Travel to Latvia with a Dog

The Baltic states including Latvia tend to be less well connected to the rest of Central and Western Europe, despite having been part of the EU for many years. Find out about the transport options for travelling to Latvia including Riga with your dog, plus the paperwork and vaccine requirements to prepare your dog.

The exterior of the House of the Blackheads

Travelling to Latvia with a Dog from the EU

To travel to Latvia with your dog from within the European Union (EU), just the standard EU rules apply, which are quite simple.

Your dog needs to be both microchipped and have a valid rabies vaccine, which was given at least 21 days before crossing the border (except in the case of a booster shot) and hasn’t yet expired. The rabies vaccine must be recorded in your dog’s pet passport.

Travelling to Latvia with a Dog from Outside the EU

If you are travelling to Latvia from outside of the EU, including from other European countries that aren’t part of the EU, the rules are generally similar. Check out my guide to the paperwork and vaccines for travelling to the EU with a dog.

Firstly, your dog will also need a microchip and a valid rabies vaccine. The rabies vaccine must have been given at least 21 days before entry into the EU, plus not yet be expired.

However, for some countries, a rabies titre test is also required. Many countries though are exempt from this, including Great Britain and the USA.

Your dog will also need an EU pet health certificate, issued within 10 days of your arrival, unless they have an EU pet passport with a rabies vaccine from a previous stay in the EU. Only authorised vets can issue an EU pet health certificate, and it sometimes needs to be endorsed by an official veterinarian, depending on your country.

Flying to Latvia with a Dog

The easiest and quickest way to travel to Latvia from elsewhere in Europe with a dog is by flying. There are many European airlines that will fly your dog in the cabin to Latvia, including the Latvian flag-carrier, airBaltic.

airBaltic accepts pets for travel in the cabin, as well as in the hold. You need to book in advance and standard pet rules apply, including a maximum weight limit of 8kg. There is a fee of €70 pet pet charged for each one-way flight. Click here for the full airBaltic pet policy.

After visiting Riga, we flew from Riga to Warsaw with our dog on an airBaltic flight and thoroughly enjoyed it. While it is a budget airline and food and beverages cost extra, the prices were reasonable and the food we ordered high in quality.

Ready to board our air Baltic flight with our dog
Ready to board our air Baltic flight with our dog in his carrier bag

Note when flying in or out of Riga Airport, that pets in the airport are required to stay in their pet carrier, not be walked around merely on a leash. The Airport is easily accessibly by dog-friendly local bus if you are staying in Riga.

Sign at Riga Airport
Signs at the entrance to Riga Airport

Taking a Train to Latvia with a Dog

Unfortunately, the Baltic region including Latvia isn’t well connected to each other or Central Europe by trains, at least not until a new project for a high speed railway connection from Poland is complete, Rail Baltica – but the planned completion date is currently 2030.

Currently, there are only limited train options connecting Latvia to the other Baltica states. Consider these options if you are travelling without a car.

The Slow Train from Tallinn to Riga

There is a daily slow train connecting Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia, including a change of trains at the border, and this is how we travelled to Riga with our dog from Tallinn.

For the timetable and fares, check out the latest information at Man in Seat 61 – the timetable tends to change around from year to year. Unfortunately, the time tables of the separate Estonian and Latvian trains are not currently co-ordinated, unless you’re lucky to catch the train from Tallinn to Riga on a weekend, with a multi-hour wait usually required.

In that case, I recommend walking to the nearby Lilli Restaurant in Valga for lunch. There is a large courtyard where we dined with our dog, but we also passed through the inside dining room, where I expect dogs would be allowed.

The Estonian trains were fairly new and modern, while the Latvian train was rather old-fashioned. Luckily though, both trains had a free and working wi-fi service even back in 2018.

Dogs of all sizes are allowed on both Estonian trains and Latvian trains, with larger dogs not in a carrier bag required to wear a muzzle and leash. Technically, on the Estonian trains, pets are restricted to the vestibule, however I don’t believe this applies to small pets in a carrier.

Make sure you carry your dog’s vaccination papers. A ticket is also required for all dogs on Latvian trains, with the fee depending on distance, but no ticket is required for pets on Estonian trains.

Is There a Train from Vilnius to Riga?

Unfortunately, there is no similar train connection between Lithuania and Latvia. Up until 2020, there was the option to take an indirect train service between Vilnius and Riga via Daugavpils, sometimes with an overnight stopover, as described on Man in Seat 61. But this service has been suspended since 2020, with no planned date to resume.

Instead, there are whispers about a direct train service commencing between Vilnius and Riga in late 2024, but nothing is definite yet. Check out Man in Seat 61 to see if this has been confirmed and can be booked.

Can You Take a Bus to Latvia with a Dog?

Many visitors to the Baltic states without their own car rely on buses, both to reach the region and to travel between the cities of Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius. However, this isn’t an option if you’re travelling with a dog.

I investigated every bus company that operates in the region, and I couldn’t find any that allows pets onboard, even small pets in a carrier. This is similar to most long-distance buses throughout Europe. There is a chance that some bus drivers would allow a small dog on board, but I wouldn’t rely on this.

Can You Take a Ferry to Latvia?

The neighbouring Baltic country, Estonia, is well connected to Scandinavia with regular ferries from Helsinki and Stockholm. However, this doesn’t apply to Latvia.

Up until a few years ago, there was a regular ferry that ran from Stockholm to Riga. This 16-hour ferry trip was operated by Tallink Silja Line and offered pet-friendly cabins. I travelled on a similar ferry with my dog between Stockholm and Helsinki.

Dog on ferry leaving Stockholm
Enjoying a cider on the ferry leaving Stockholm

However, in 2020 this ferry service was cancelled, and as of late 2023 all mentions of this crossing have been removed from their website. It may be reinstated one day, but definitely not anytime soon.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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