Located between a lake and the sea, the port city of Liepaja has gradually grown from a small fishing village into the musical capital of Latvia. It's a great destination to enjoy art and music, while the sea and sandy beaches attract many travelers seeking relaxation. What to do in Liepja ? Continue reading.
Eight kilometers long and 80 meters wide, Liepāja’s white sand beach seems to never end. And, thanks to the seaside cafés, you can also gaze at the horizon forever, no matter the weather conditions. As summer nears and people begin sunbathing, swimming, and doing beach sports, discover the various different zones along the beach.
For example, the central beach tends to draw the biggest crowds, while the southwestern section is great for strolling in solitude. For sports, the best places are the central beach and the section of open sea in the Karosta district.
Horse Island Liepaje
Meaning ‘horse island’, the island at the edge of this lake really was used as a pasture for horses in the past. Nowadays it’s a popular place to watch the return of migrating birds in the spring. One of the best times to come is early in the morning, when you can watch the birds’ romances – and arguments – unfold.
Nature’s theater begins at sunrise! Follow the path along the spit of land at the far end of the island to the bird observation tower and beyond, to the very middle of the lake.
Great Amber Concert Hall Liepaja
The amber jewel in Liepaja's cultural crown opened in the autumn of 2015. The roundish concert hall, which means to resemble a piece of amber, is a welcome addition to the city's skyline.
You'll have an incredible view when you take the lift to the 7th floor.
Karosta Prison Liepaja
Latvia’s very own version of Alcatraz, but without the water, the sharks and the view of the Golden Gate bridge. The ominous brick building has however been witness to some ghastly crimes over the past century.
Originally built as an infirmary in 1900, it served as a military prison by a long succession of regimes including the Soviets, Nazis and most recently, the Latvians. Indeed, the last prisoner was here as recently as 1997, a disturbing thought once you’ve seen the frightening scenes inside.
Although the Nazis sentenced ‘criminals’ such as Latvian deserters to death here and executed them in the yard, the post-independence Latvian military mostly imprisoned drunks and seamen who went AWOL and then usually only for a few days. A tour of the building will show the horrible life lived by the inmates and the graffiti they left. Above the door in the solitary confinement cell is a cryptic message: ‘izeja no elles’ or ‘exit from hell.’
Guides are also happy to tell you the tale of the ghost that haunts the prison and how doors often swing open by themselves, how light bulbs screw out of their sockets and how visitors and staff have felt the disturbing cold of a presence not of this earth.
Visitors can take a simple tour with a guide or audio guide, take part in a reality show (in English or German), spend the night in a cell or become a prisoner for the night including regular bed checks, verbal abuse by guards in period uniforms and experience the horrors of using the latrine. For participatory events you must call ahead and reserve a time.