48 Hours in Liepaja, Latvia’s ‘Windy City’ –


‘We now have 5 days within the 12 months with out wind. As we speak is one among them. This was the town the place wind was born.’

Sintija Pusaudze

The solar got here out and the lengthy towering pine bushes had been lifeless silent. The deep blue sea within the distance glowed within the late autumn daylight. What a distinction a day makes. Barely 24 hours in the past we had arrived amidst swirling gusts of rain and powerful winds to Liepaja, Latvia’s third largest metropolis positioned on the sandy fringes of the Baltic Coast about 200 kilometers west of Riga. The rain was okay however oh boy, that just about vertical wind lashing into my face…it jogged my memory loads of Edinburgh. No shock that the as soon as upon a time Russian naval base city Liepaja is sometimes called the ‘windy metropolis’. From deserted concrete bunkers gloriously submerged within the sweeping tides of the Baltic Sea to an eerie notorious navy jail as soon as utilized by the Soviets and Nazis , from sampling the perfect chocolate eclairs in Latvia to savouring scrumptious steak and peppercorn sauce , from artwork nouveau mansions to crumbling lovely picket homes hanging onto their former glory -Liepaja like Latvia is a metropolis of many fascinating contrasts and flavours. Right here’s my information to Liepaja and how one can take advantage of your time within the windy metropolis of Latvia. 

PS: Should you missed the sooner instalments of my Latvia sequence, listed here are my guides to Valmeira, Jelgava and Daugavpils.

 

The place to remain in Liepaja on a finances

Ezera Maja

Ezera Maja

Liepaja has a wealth of picket housing that dates from as early because the 17th century. Whereas a few of these buildings have sadly fallen into disrepair , few buildings have been lovingly restored to their former glory and Ezera Maja Full Disclosure: I earn a fee in the event you click on this hyperlink and make a purchase order, at no further value to you. Actually makes a distinction. Thanks supporting the weblog. is without doubt one of the most interesting examples. With solely 7 rooms and with only one fellow resident, we virtually had the entire home to ourselves! I liked the interiors of this place-the picket floorboards, vintage beds all mix to offer a comfy hygge like atmosphere.

Ezera Maja Worth: From €32 Full Disclosure: I earn a fee in the event you click on this hyperlink and make a purchase order, at no further value to you. Actually makes a distinction. Thanks supporting the weblog.

budget-places-to-stay-liepaja

Conservatory, Ezera Maja

bedroom-ezera-maja

Our bed room at Ezera Maja

 

The beds had been very snug, rooms effectively heated with a spacious ensuite toilet. The widespread company kitchen was very effectively geared up with all the fundamental elements ( good native natural teas too) in case you need to put together your individual dinner or breakfast. The star function of the property is the fantastic glass conservatory which is the right place to calm down with a ebook. The house owners are the right introduction to Liepaja- they gave us a lot of helpful suggestions plus some fascinating titbits of native historical past. Plus the placement, simply 10-12 minutes from the ocean and the city centre, is ideal. With costs beginning round €30-€35 for a double, this place is extraordinarily good worth.

Bartas Krasts Liepaja

Yurts at Bartas Krasts

Bārtas Krasts glampsite

Sleeping in tents is so final season in Latvia. A brand new craze for glamping is sweeping throughout the nation and at Bārtas Krasts by the River Barta , 30min from Liepaja (25km) and 3h from Riga (240km) you’ve the right place to calm down. The glampsite can host upto 40 individuals: there are four cabin type residences that may host a most of 6 individuals plus 2 luxurious glamping tents that may host upto four individuals. Every cabin is supplied with fridge, bathe ( with scorching water), rest room , electrical cooker plus exterior every home has a small terrace with a picket grill. There’s additionally a sauna onsite which may be booked upfront. The glamping tents are spacious, waterproof and are available full with carpets, cozy beds , espresso tables plus en-suite services.

It’s so peaceable and chilled out right here. We spent right here simply the one night time however want we might have stayed longer. The tents may be rented for as little as €50 whereas the cabins begin from the €80 mark by way of reserving.com

Cool issues to do in Liepaja on a finances

 

Great Amber Concert Hall liepaja

The Nice Amber Live performance Corridor

The Nice Amber Live performance Corridor

Designed by Graz architect Volker Giencke ,The Nice Amber Live performance Corridor with its putting Amber colored conical form positively stands out amidst the medieval spires of Liepaja as an emblem of the town’s renaissance. When it comes to its uncommon color and form, it jogged my memory loads of Olafur Eliasson’s magnificent rainbow panorama on the rooftop of ARoS Aarhus Artwork Museum. The second you become visible of the constructing, it actually takes your breath away. It’s even higher from the within. Even on a cloudy day I used to be basked within the wondrous amber gentle of the assorted amber glass panels. Its an enormous live performance corridor. With 1024 seats it’s in actual fact the biggest live performance corridor within the Baltics. The acoustics are unbelievable right here and it’s positively price catching a live performance right here if the chance presents. Sadly there was nothing on provide after I visited however they do provide guided excursions on request of the constructing the place you may be taught spectacular information about how the corridor was constructed and creative programmes within the pipeline. The views of the town from the seventh ground are unbelievable.

Tour value is €2.50 for adults and €1.50 for pupils, college students, seniors. Individuals with disabilities kids as much as the age of seven years get free entry. Guided excursions have to be booked Three days upfront – name the Nice Amber data centre +371 634 24 555 or ship them an e-mail to [email protected] to organise your tour.

 

St.Trinity Cathedral

One other spotlight of a go to to Liepaja is the possibility to see the world’s largest mechanical organ which has by no means been reconstructed. Inbuilt 1742 and 1758 within the Baroque-style , St.Trinity Cathedral’s well-known organ options over 7000 pipes and was constructed by probably the greatest organ builders of that point -a sure H.A. Contius. If that organ doesn’t excite you , you can too climb the cathedral’s 55-meter excessive tower to get an impressive panorama of the town. Sadly, on the time of my go to the church tower was beneath reconstruction so enquire forward of your go to to verify if the tower is open for public visits.

The cathedral is open for public viewing from Monday until Saturday solely between the hours of 11 and 1pm.

karosta prison hotel rooms

Banged up in Liepaja: That is what €15 will get you at Karosta

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Sabrina wanting a bit grim on our tour of Karosta (with a little bit of spectacle)

Karosta Jail

Should you’re a glutton for punishment and have the fantasy of being holed up in a depressing jail cell for an evening the place you’ll be awoken at common durations by a jail guard with the posh of a primitive, dingy squat rest room , then that fantasy is yours for as little as €15 on the notorious Karosta jail. If that sounds a tad an excessive amount of for you, alternatively you would go to Karosta for one among their hourly excursions.

Initially conceived as a infirmary and later an enormous naval base, Karosta beneath Nazi and Soviet occupation gained notoriety for turning into a ‘re-education’ centre the place Latvian deserters had been subjected to torture  , typically locked up in solitary confinement or later launched into the close by woods the place they had been shot. Used as a detention centre as not too long ago as 1997, the jail now has been reborn as a customer attraction the place a ‘Comrade Commander’ offers you a actuality TV present type guided tour of the jail and what life was like for prisoners right here. The tour can initially really feel a bit on the grim aspect relying in your information however its positively an expertise price sampling in the event you’re visiting Liepaja. Frozen in time, surrounding by bleak redbrick buildings and a wild unkempt forestland, getting into Karosta is like getting into into time capsule the place you’re transported to a way more troubled period in Latvian historical past.

PS: Guided excursions of Karosta begin from €5. Schoolchildren, college students, seniors pay €3.50. Each working day excursions begin on the hour each hour. Length of tour is one hour.  Should you’re searching for a tour with an additional edge, anticipate to pay an additional euro for a tour ‘with parts of spectacle’ to straight quote from the Karosta Jail web site )

Northern-Forts-Baltic-Sea-Liepaja.

The Northern Forts

There’s an unworldly feeling about Karosta. This might be partially to do with the truth that solely few individuals had entry to the realm and it was shrouded in secrecy. In Soviet occasions the city virtually doubled in dimension and but, paradoxically, grew to become a closed city, with non-residents requiring permits to go to household there. As we speak the naval base and its residential areas are a digital ghost city with lots of the buildings deserted, empty, stripped, and returning slowly to the earth. The put up apocalyptic feeling is amplified while you wade via the close by pine forest and are available throughout this labyrinth of deserted concrete bunkers. These nearer to the seashore are slowly being reclaimed by the ocean and have taken on a tragic, nostalgic and haunted appeal, partially submerged and slowly being drowned by the livid waves sweeping in from the Baltic Sea. There’s hardly a soul in sight once we arrive which lends to the eerie environment which I unusually discover comforting. I hope it stays it this fashion. As a lot as locations like Karosta and Liepaja may benefit from extra tourism, my coronary heart shudders on the considered immediately’s Instagram jetset taking on a spot like this and turning into some kind of dismaland.

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Maritime Cathedral Liepaja

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Maritime Cathedral

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Maritime Cathedral

One other outstanding constructing whose towering golden cupolas will catch your eyes when questioning via Karosta is the St. Nicholas Orthodox Maritime Cathedral. Completed in 1903 and christened by Nicholas II himself, the cathedral served because the Soviet Naval Base’s church. The Soviets nevertheless used it as a recreation and leisure room, fitness center, cinema and assembly corridor earlier than it was restored to its former incarnation after the Russians left Karosta.

The Northern Breakwater Liepaja

Strolling alongside the 1080 metre lengthy Northern Breakwater, Liepaja

The Northern Breakwater

To the west of Karosta, an additional stroll up the seashore will convey you to a 7.35 metre broad, 1800 metre lengthy breakwater that cuts into the fiery embrace of the Baltic Sea. It is a great spot to return and watch sundown over the Baltic Sea sunsets or be part of the storm watchers and see some big waves lash the coast.

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The oldest electrical tramline within the Baltics!

Take a trip on the oldest electrical tramline within the Baltics

I like a very good previous classic tram trip as readers of my weblog will pay attention to. So after I learnt that Liepaja has an electrical tramline that dates from 1899, making it the oldest tramline within the Baltics, I had to slot in a trip. Working on a single tram line the tram cuts via the town’s residential neighborhoods from north to south. Price: Simply €0.80. You should buy the ticket from the driving force.

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Liepaja Museum

Liepaja Museum

Liepaja Museum

Should you’re eager to dig into the historical past of Liepaja and the Southern Kurzeme area from which Liepaja originates, pop into the Liepaja Museum which isn’t removed from the town’s principal seashore strip. From archaeological artefacts relationship again to the Vikings to distinctive historic information concerning the metropolis plus an exposition of the life and artwork of native wooden sculptor Miķelis Pankoks, there’s a number of fascinating displays to move the time. Plus, its free.

 

The place to eat in Liepaja

Boulangerie Liepaja

Boulangerie Liepaja

Be part of the native hipsters within the fashionable Boulangerie Liepaja that serves a spread of very Instagram worthy scrumptious candy treats from almond croissants to delectable cupcakes to probably the most heavenly chocolate eclairs ( which is now an enormous factor in Latvia), True, the costs are above the norm and fairly costly by Latvian requirements however for the standard, good atmosphere, it’s positively price it.

upe restuarant liepaja

Lamb soup with rice and greens, Upe Restaurant

Upe Restaurant

Located within the metropolis centre Liva Resort, Upe Restaurant serves an important worth enterprise lunch menu with mains across the €four mark , starter soup for €2.50 plus dessert across the similar value mark.

The menu adjustments each day however after I visited, I loved their lamb soup with greens and rice ( €2.40) whereas Sabrina had a scrumptious fried goats cheese salad.

 

Darbnica Liepaja

Darbnica

Darbnica

Darbnica was our pleased place in Liepaja and I keep in mind swinging by a number of occasions for espresso and wine right here throughout our transient time right here. Place is at all times full of a combination of locals, from {couples}, college students to younger households. The workers are pleasant, the espresso nice , meals effectively priced and the wifi wonderful. I noticed a number of locals plugging away at their laptops right here so if it’s essential get some work carried out, that is the place to return to.

 

Roma Restorans Liepaja

Roma Restorans, Liepaja

Roma Restorans

Flanked by a up to date artwork gallery proper throughout from an attractive water fountain, this restaurant is located within the historic Romas Dārzs courtyard aka Rose Sq., the place roses had been first planted in 1910. If the climate is good, come right here to take pleasure in a glass of wine or a cup of espresso on their outside terrace, sheltered from the notorious wind of Liepaja. The menu has an emphasis on effective eating with an in depth wine record. Their enterprise lunch is nice worth in the event you’re on a finances. I loved a fillet of steak in a peppercorn sauce which was scrumptious and the meals parts had been very beneficiant right here. The interiors have a heat, welcoming feeling with wooden floors. Extremely beneficial!

 

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Liepaja- Sudden

 

So. To summarise my journey to Liepaja. Completely sudden.

From the eerie Karosta to the majestic Nice Amber Live performance Corridor , from the put up apocalyptic Northern Forts to the sweeping grandeur of its pearly white sand seashores ( oh yeah, it is best to positively checkout the seashore right here) , from the crumbling decadence of its picket structure to its magnificent artwork nouveau mansions- my journey to Liepaja was one other journey of contrasts that has been a defining function of my time right here in Latvia. I positively see myself coming again. Simply to eat these rattling effective chocolate eclairs….

Train timetable, Liepaja Traib Station

Bus timetable, Liepaja Practice Station

Know earlier than you go to Liepaja

Getting round Liepaja

Liepaja is a small compact metropolis and all the primary sights are inside strolling distance together with the seashore. Town is served by a wonderful public transport system ( see map right here ) with tickets for an area tram or bus costing as little as €0.70.

 

Liepaja: Getting there and away

Variety of coach companies ply the route between Liepaja and Riga. Journey time is round Three hours , tickets prices as little as €7 and may be purchased at Riga Bus Station or from the driving force.

For extra details about Liepaja and present, upcoming occasions checkout the official Liepaja Tourism web site

Disclaimer

We visited Liepaja as a part of a month lengthy storytelling venture with Magnetic Latvia (LIAA) Whereas my journey was coated by LIAA, all of the opinions expressed listed here are solely my very own. Paldies to Liepaja College, Sintija from Liepaja Tourism ,Gundega from Bartas Krasts, Monta Krafte from Ezera Maja and to LIAA for bringing us to Liepaja-another metropolis in Latvia we hope to return quickly!