Despite its tiny size, Latvia has a vast terrain, many attractions, a prosperous history, and an economy that was once the envy of neighboring countries. Latvia is still the Baltics’ queen, but recent economic difficulties have hampered its rapid development since its 1991 independence.
The love of music and dancing is at the heart of Latvia’s holidays and festivals. Many of the country’s leading events occur in July when the weather is pleasant and ideal for partying. Hundreds of people travel to Riga for the Latvian Song and Dance Festival, hosted in the capital every five years. Salacgriva hosts the Positivus Festival, a prominent music festival attracting some of the best names in many genres around the end of July.
Latvian cuisine is influenced by the severe winter climate and peasant’s feet. Hearty dishes, such as potatoes, rye bread, pork, and beans, are typical local cuisine. Piracy (bacon and onion), Griki (buckwheat), and Kiselis (fruit soup) are all popular dishes. Despite its humble roots, Latvia is one of the most cosmopolitan conurbations in the Baltic area, with a wide range of high-end and foreign eateries. Although beer is the preferred beverage, the most popular spirit is Black Balsam. Latvia is a popular clubbing destination since the nightlife lasts until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.