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Kurzeme

Kurzeme is a region that is known for its cultural and historic heritage and untamed steep coast and white beaches which are a mixture of sand and pebbles. Visitors will also like the charming towns and beautiful forests.

The special air of this region is best felt in fishermen’s villages and in the ancient Livonian settlements, as well as during local festivities and festivals such as, for example, during the annual fishermen's festivals in July.

Kurzeme is an unusual, unspoilt, rather unique and, at the same time, a very energetic and exciting region.

Nature

Kurzeme attracts visitors thanks to its open sea, sea breezes, unspoilt nature, and various significant natural sights. Kurzeme has the widest waterfall in Europe - Ventas Rumba - at which both in spring and autumn you can watch fish trying to jump upstream, over the waterfall.

The Kolka Horn is a good place for bird watching, especially during the bird migration period.

Likewise, visitors are welcomed by various nature parks and restricted natural areas that feature a wide variety of bird species and flora and other important natural sights that remain unspoiled by modern civilisation. In several places you will have the chance to see wild horses and cows and visit deer gardens. Riežupe Nature Park proudly presents the longest labyrinth of man-made caves in Latvia.

The region has a large number of rivers, the Venta and Abava being the most important. What’s more, some of the largest lakes in Latvia are located in Kurzeme - Lake Usma, Lake Engure, and Liepāja’s lakes.

Culture

The modern locals of Kurzeme have managed to preserve the unique, centuries-old traditions and the values of their culture. In some places, such as for example the old Livonian fishermen’s villages in the northern part of Kurzeme, you can still hear Livonian being spoken, and annual Livonian festivals are still organised. Alsunga is famous for its ethnographic ensemble, ‘Suitu sievas’ - women singers who are characterised by their colourful folk costumes.

Whilst in Liepāja, do not miss the large international festivals (such as, for example, ‘Summer Sound’ in July) and also Karosta Prison. Other places in Kurzeme are also the home of exciting sights that bear an important cultural and historic heritage.

Gastronomy

Traditional foods in Kurzeme County are fish, Sklandrauši or rye flour pies with potato or carrot filling, Biguzis, or black bread pudding with whipped cream, and Bukstiņputra, or pearl-barley with potatoes.

Several farms offer the chance of participating in the fish smoking processes, or of tasting home-made cheese and making your own Sklandrauši.

Whilst taking part in the Kurzeme wine excursion, gourmets can become acquainted with the production process and can taste wine at several farms, including the Sabile Wine Hill which used to have an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the northern-most vineyard.

In Saldus, visitors can observe the production process behind ‘Gotiņa’ bonbons and can also taste them.

Kurzeme's Cities and Towns

The port cities of Ventspils and Liepāja are the largest cities of Kurzeme. With its cultural events programme, Liepāja attracts visitors while Ventspils surprises them with various entertainments and objects of interest - the adventure park, neat flowerbeds, the colourful cow statues that are part of the Cow Parade, the little train (mazbānītis), the Blue Flag beach and its dunes, the opportunity to observe stars at the observatory which is equipped with a modern telescope, and also the digital planetarium which is the most modern in the Baltics and is the only one in Latvia.

Anyone who wants to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a small town will be enchanted with the antiquity of Kuldīga and its romantic, narrow streets which offer the air and charm of the Middle Ages.

Active Recreation

Holidays in Kurzeme will be an unforgettable adventure. Lovers of water activities can enjoy romantic boat trips on the Abava, Venta, Bārta or Irbe rivers and on Kurzeme’s lakes, getting to know both the beauty of the unspoilt nature along the riverbanks and lake shores, and the hospitality of the locals. Kurzeme’s windy and wave-filled coastline is a paradise for windsurfers and kiteboarders.

Kurzeme has several specially-created cycling routes that cut through Slītere National Park and the Livonian seaside villages which allow you to enjoy Kurzeme’s breezes and beautiful nature at your own unhurried pace.

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Šlokenbeka manor

Šlokenbeka (Schlockenbeck) manor is the only surviving specimen of a fortified manor in Latvia.
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Jaunpils Castle

Jaunpils Castle is one of the few medieval castles which has retained its original appearance. Jaunpils Castle was built in 1301 as a...
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Jaunmoku Castle

The castle was built in 1910 as the hunting lodge of the Mayor of Riga, G.Armitstead. The castle houses a 3 star hotel, premises for...
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Ventspils Castle of the Livonian Order

Ventspils Castle is the only castle of the Order built in Kurzeme which has survived to the present.

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Last updated: 
08.12.2014