Situated in north-eastern Europe with a coastline along the Baltic Sea, Latvia is geographically the middle of the three former Soviet Baltic republics.
It is bordered to the north by Estonia (343 km), to the south by Lithuania (588 km), to the east by the Russian Federation (276 km), and to the southeast by Belarus (141 km). Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden.
Latvia is traditionally seen as a small country. In terms of its population it certainly deserves this designation. Geographically, however, Latvia encompasses 64,589 square kilometers, a size surpassing that of better-known European states such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Denmark.
Latvia has language links with Lithuania to the south and historical ties with Estonia to the north.