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Slitere National Park
Slitere National Park is located in the Northern Kurzeme peninsula washed by the Baltic Sea. The park is known for its incredibly beautiful vista – courtesy of the sea, broadleaf forests, bogs, wetlands, boreal forests and swamps.
Besides unique and rare natural values for Europe, some of the most prominent features of the park include Cape Kolka, Liv fishing villages, sandy beaches, depressions (vigas) and dunes (kangari), Slitere Lighthouse, and Blue Hills.
Slitere National Park was founded in 2000, but its origins go back to 1921, when a conservation area of 1,100 ha was designated at the foot of Slitere Blue Hills. In 1957, Slitere State Reserve was established, 7,861 ha in area, in 1977 it was expanded to 14,882 ha, and in 1979 the reserve had its own administration and staff of scientists. At the moment, the area of the park is 16,414 ha.
For public convenience, there are several nature trails in the park, as well as cycling paths, routes for motorists, boaters, and hikers, and observation towers to discover the diversity and cultural history of the park.
- Families with children may find nature trails in the park particularly attractive. Kolkasrags Pine and Evazi nature trails are good for any walker, while Peterezers Nature Trail and Slitere nature trail will entail climbing steeper hills – but the views they afford will be well worth the effort.
- The sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea are excellent for walks. Choose the best route along the shore, and go!
- If you prefer travelling by bike, there are several cycling paths to choose from: Mazbanitis (Choo-choo) Trail from Mazirbe to Sikrags, Slitere Circle (along the beaches of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga) or the route through Liv fishing villages from Kolka to Sikrags.
- Experienced sailors are definitely recommended sail to Kolka Lighthouse at least once. They have to bear in mind though that only 40 days a year are good for sailing and boating in the area.
- Visit Sliteri during the bird migration period or take part in the annual Bird Days.
- Sample the traditional cuisine of Northern Kurzeme shores – sklandrausis and smoked fish.
What to see at Slitere National Park
- Cape Kolka – the horn where waters of the Sea Inlet (Gulf of Riga) and the Great Sea (Baltic Sea) meet
- Slitere Lighthouse on top of the Blue Hills. The second oldest lighthouse in Latvia (built in 1849-1850) affords views of Slitere forests, the coastline, the sea and ships. Some of the views can also be seen via the web camera.
- Mazirbe (Ire) is one of the largest villages on the Liv Coast that has long developed in two parts – fishing homesteads at the sea and, couple kilometres away from the coast – a church, pastor’s manor, cemetery, and a pub. While in Mazirbe, you can visit the Liv People’s House, see a collection of ancient Liv items at Sturisi, the boat cemetery, or spend time on the beach.
- A collection of antlers in Vaide’s Purvziedi includes over 550 items. Except for a few roebuck antlers, most of the antlers on show are not trophies – they were found by a forester on duty.
Flora and fauna
- The national park lies along the migratory flyways, and there is immense concentration of migratory birds in the park at springtime.
- The park is home to the rare and protected smooth snake, and the environs of Kolka – the natterjack toad, also a protected species.
- Depressions and dunes (vigas and kangari in Latvian) – a panorama of dunes and grassy swamps in between, unique to Europe. Best viewed while walking along the Peterezers nature trail.
Slitere Blue Hills – steep, 20-30 m high hills that once formed the ancient shore of the Baltic Ice Lake. They can be best seen while walking the Slitere nature trail.
The fishing villages on the shores of the sea that lie in the territory of the national park offer visitors a chance to learn about the cultural heritage of the Livs, which is also important part of the cultural and historic heritage of Northern Europe.
Liv Coast is a string of 12 villages along the Baltic Sea cost in Northern Kurzeme. Each has something special – unique features of fishermen buildings that have been preserved through centuries, the reserved charm of the scenery. The small Finno-Ugric nation’s presence is obvious in everything in the area – the local dialect, culture, traditions, and the tenacity brought up in the people by the gales from the sea.
Liv Coast / Livodranda – Luzna / Luz – Mikeltornis Tower / Piza – Lielirbe / Ira – Jaunciems / Užkila – Sikrags / Sikrog – Mazirbe / Ire – Kosrags / Kuostrog – Pitrags / Pitrig – Saunags / Sanag – Vaide / Vaid – Kolka / Kuolka – Melnsils / Mustanum.
Events in Slitere National Park
- Slitere Traveller Days – guided tours of the park, a fair of local goods and wares, workshops for children. Held on the first weekend of June every year.
- Slitere Insect Night – held on the first Saturday of August every year.
- Liv Festival in Mazirbe – held on the first Saturday of August every year.