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Top 10 Events in Latvia
Looking for a reason to visit Latvia in 2018? Look no further as we bring you ten excellent reasons – the biggest events of the year, including Latvia’s 100th birthday.
AUG 17 - AUG 19
A series of free events to mark the city’s anniversary each year. Highlights include the pop-up restaurant at Spīķeri Creative Quarter where visitors can savour contemporary Latvian cuisine, the arts and crafts market at Vērmanes Garden, and the fireworks.
Free public transport is an added bonus making it a good value weekend.
JUL 20 - JUL 22
Nominated once again for the Best Medium-sized Festival award at the European Festival Awards 2017, Positivus Festival is still going strong ten years after its first edition in 2007.
Artists over the years have included M83, Bastille, The XX, Ellie Goulding, Hot Chip and Hurts.
Each year, Positivus gathers festivalgoers on the scenic beaches and surrounding forest and parkland in Salacgriva, North Latvia. While taking a break from the gigs, visitors can pick up Baltic designer pieces and vintage clothing at the on-site shopping area.
NOV 16 - NOV 19
Riga’s buildings, squares, bridges and monuments are brought to life by talented visual artists. The light shows are often accompanied by sounds, music and even theatre. Festivalgoers traipse through the city armed with maps and hot drinks to see as many installations as possible.
DEC 1 - JAN 6
No Christmas market would be complete without kiosks serving steamy mugs of aromatic mulled wine but have you ever tried hot blackcurrant juice with a dash of Riga Black Balsam? The popular Latvian spirit is claimed to have healing properties. As a cocktail, the juice and balsam is a warming, sweet and sticky seasonal hit.
Enjoy an evening at Riga’s Christmas markets with a mug of juice and balsam and other gourmet delights, like wild boar sausages and homemade gingerbread.
JUN 30 - JUL 7
A longstanding tradition, the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration has taken place once every five years since 1873. Thousands of participants gather from all over Latvia to be part of the celebrations in Riga. It’s not unusual to hear choirs burst into spontaneous song and it’s one of the best times to see the diversity of Latvian folk costumes on show.
Key events are ticketed but screens are set up at locations throughout the city so people can watch from afar in real time. There are also free events like the market at Vērmanes Garden and the impressive festival participants’ parade which sees the city’s main road closed off to traffic.
On 18 November, 2018 Latvia will celebrate its 100th birthday. Key events will take place at the Freedom Monument and riverfront in Riga but the whole country will come alive in celebration of the centenary. Expect a wonderful atmosphere, lots of flowers and visible joy. In 2018, the fireworks display is bound to be particularly impressive.
A magical night in summer when the mythical fern flower is said to blossom. Friends and families gather around the fire to be together and mark the shortest night of the year. We boast many traditions surrounding this special night. A popular favourite is jumping over the fire which is said to rid a person of misfortune.
In preparation for Jāņi, many families make their own cheese with caraway seeds. It goes well with beer!
MAY 19 - MAY 20
One of the fastest growing marathons in Northern Europe! The scenic route weaves through central Riga and passes spectacular architectural gems like the Latvian National Museum of Art, as well as crosses the River Daugava.
The weather in May is usually pleasantly mild to warm.
AUG 3 - AUG 4
One of the greatest parties on the Baltic Sea coast. Stages are set up right on the beach. Previous headliners include Cheat Codes, Mika, Calvin Harris and Lost Frequencies. The Summer Sound festival is also a great place to find out about emerging Baltic artists.
Get a feel for what life was like when the castle was in operation. Taste typical foods, try your hand at traditional skills and tune your ears to the sound of Medieval music. The celebration is a wonderful reason to visit Cēsis. Combine a visit to the castle with a guided tour of the old town and hikes along the River Gauja at places like Ērgļi Cliffs and Cīrulīši nearby.
Feeling inspired? Keep on reading for more suggestions on what to include in your itinerary. Latvia awaits.