Smiltene County was established on 1st July 2009 unifying Smiltene City and eight surrounding parishes – Smiltene, Blome, Branti, Launkalne, Variņi, Palsmane, Grundzāle, and Bilska.
The total are of Smiltene County composes 946.84 km2. The largest area of the county territory takes Launkalne Parish – 221.8 km2 or 23.5% of the total territory of the county. The area of Smiltene City is the smallest one, namely, 7.2 km2, which composes only 0.8% of the county territory.
Density – 13 inh./km2
Administrative centre – Smiltene City
Population – 12,727 (OCMA data on 01.01.2019), 42% of the county’s population lives in Smiltene.
Distance from Riga, the capital of Latvia – 132 km, from the Estonian border – 40 km.
Borders the counties of Strenči, Valka, Ape, Gulbene, Rauna, Beverīna, Vecpiebalga, and Priekuļi.
Smiltene County is crossed by main roads – highway (A2) Riga-Veclaicene-Saint Petersburg (Russia) and the national regional roads Valmiera-Smiltene, Smiltene-Valka, Smiltene-Gulbene, and Smiltene-Strenči.
The most important natural resources of Smiltene County are agricultural and forest areas.
Agricultural land occupies 36.4%. In Variņi, Blome and Smiltene parishes of Smiltene County, there are aerials of agricultural lands of regional importance with a potential of competitive agriculture.
Forests occupy 53.3% of the county territory. The largest forest massifs spread in the northern, middle and southern parts of the county. Launkalne, Variņi and Palsmane parishes are the richest ones in such land.
The largest watercourses on the county territory are rivers Abuls, Palsa, Nigra, Rauza, and Vija.
The largest water bodies are Lizdole, Niedrājs, and Spiciera lakes. Rivers, lakes, slopes and the relatively small distance between lakes provide a suitable environment for the development of landscape space. Wilderness areas and biodiversity are resources that can be used, with appropriate adaptation, to increase the economic potential of the county’s urban and rural areas, to promote economic activity, and to improve the life quality of citizens.
Mineral deposits in parishes of Smiltene County are evenly distributed, each parish has an average of 3 to 5 deposits. Raw material resources fully meet the needs of the internal market and also allow the export of some of the raw materials or the products obtained from them.