Wild horses, bison, and wild ox can be observed on the shores of Pape Lake, and from the specially built tower you can also see migratory birds. It is possible to take a guided tour through the park, to walk, take a bike, or a boat along a specially marked route through the lake.

  • Papes bāka
  • Photo: Andris Maisiņš
  • Taurs dabas parkā
  • Papes ezers
  • Savvaļas zirgi dabas parkā

On the shores of Lake Pape you can see wild horses, bisons and wild oxen and, from the specially built tower, migratory birds. The park may be seen accompanied by a guide, walking, cycling or going by boat on a specially designated route.

The park is located in the extreme SW corner of Latvia in the Rucavas and Nīcas parishes of the Liepāja District. The park’s core is formed by Lake Pape – the 12 km2 large and 0.3 m deep coastal lagoon lake and Nida bog with the adjacent territories.

Officially, the nature park was established in 2004. Nature Park "Pape" is formed by the unique and diverse mosaic of nature’s ecosystems: coastal lagoon lake and wet high peat bog with transitional bogs, sand beaches and walking dunes, coastal dry and wet forests, flood-plain meadows with the characteristic flora and fauna groups. 

The trip has five stops: lake, meadow, forest, bog and dunes. Each of these tells how the beauty of nature – the landscape – is formed. This is a story about the formation of landscape under the influence of various natural processes, for instance, water, fire, wind, large herbivorous animals.

Information about Pape Nature Park is available at the Rucava TIC, by calling +371 63494766, +371 29134903 or writing to rucava.tic@inbox.lv.

56"9'29 21"1'40
56.157978, 21.027832
  • Languages spoken: 
    • English
    • German
    • Latvian
    • Russian
  • Guide service available
Amenities and Features: 
  • Free parking
  • Smoker-friendly
Working Hours: 

10:00 – 18:00 from June till September.

Last updated: 02.09.2014

The Engure Lake nature park was established in 1998 and it contains not only Engure Lake, but also the seashore of the Gulf of Riga from Mērsrags to Engure. During the bird migration period, almost every species of bird identified in Latvia can be seen here because some species of birds use this territory as a place to replace flight feathers, as a resting and feeding place during migration, or a place for spending the winter.

Rare bird species, which are under the threat of extinction, are found here, for example, the corncrake, the eagle-owl, the little crake, the white tailed eagle, the European penduline tit, the great white egret, and others. Mērsrags Piejūras meadows are a very important nesting and rest sites for migrating wading birds and water birds. Three bird observation towers are built on the shores of Engure Lake so that visitors can have a better view of the birds in the lake, the beautiful landscape, and wild animals.

Several paths for walking have been set up – Lāčupītes path in Apšuciems, Plieņciems, Vecupe and Engure paths in Engure and the Orchid Path. More than 30 cattle are pastured in the nature park near the lake - Highlander, Charlotte, and Alpine Grey cows and Konik horses. Latvian Blue cows graze in the littoral meadows in Mērsrags. The blue cow is a very rare species, which is in fact on the brink of extinction.

The State Register of Herds contains information on 89 cows. The Latvian Blue cow is a unique species, its place of origin is considered to be the coast of Kurzeme in Latvia. Initially they belonged only to Liiv farmers but, as the entries of the cattle herd-book show, in the 1930s they were encountered also in Valmiera and Cēsis districts. These cows, typical only found in Latvia, are sturdy and endure cold, rain, and wind.

Ventspils Castle is the only castle of the Order built in Kurzeme which has survived to the present. It was built in 1290 and is a convent-type castle with four residential blocks and a tower in the southeast corner of the castle. The walls are up to 2 metres thick. It has been rebuilt several times throughout history.

In the 18th century a church was set up in the Castle and at the beginning of the 19th century – a prison, a school and an observation tower for port pilots, which has not survived to the present.

The Chapel of the Castle is the oldest preserved church in Kurzeme. For almost two centuries, the prison was located in the Castle. A. Austriņš (1884-1934), a poet and a participant of the Revolution of 1905, was imprisoned here, and after World War II – poet K. Jēkabsons (1879-1946), who also died here.

At present, the restored Castle houses a museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of the Ventspils Castle and the prison. Following the reconstruction carried out during the last decade, the Ventspils Museum is located in the Castle, its digital exhibition on the history of the Castle, the city and the port is considered the most modern in the Baltics.

The first owner of Stāmeriena Palace was Johann Gottlieb von Wolff. The palace was built in the historicist style on the second half of the 19th century. After it was burnt down during the 1905 revolution, the palace was restored with elements of Art Nouveau.

Stāmeriena Palace is located in a very picturesque venue by Stāmeriena and Poga Lakes. The palace is surrounded by a park that spans 25 hectares and follows the English, or, landscape gardening design. The park has been arranged according to the so-called fan-shaped principle. Stāmeriena was visited several times by the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the novel Il Gattopardo.

In 1919 the palace became home for an evening school, then, after the World War II, it became a technical school of agriculture, but in the later years a Soviet management office was located in the premises of the palace.

Today the palace is managed by Stāmeriena Parish Municipality and it has become a centre of culture for exhibitions, theatre performances and other activities. The palace offers excursions in the palace and lets out premises for weddings, banquets and other events. The park has become a popular place for walks and arrangement of different outdoor festivities and celebrations.

Jaunpils Castle is one of the few medieval castles which has retained its original appearance. Jaunpils Castle was built in 1301 as a fortress of the Livonian Order. The castle was built by Gottfried von Roga, Master of the Livonian Order. The castle is located in a scenic place on the banks of a mill lake.

The castle and the castle museum, the church built at the end of the16th century, and the water mill are open to visitors. Today, Jaunpils Castle hosts the entire social life of Jaunpils.

The scenic surroundings and the social folklore serve as the backdrop for tourist attractions. You will be able to turn into a full fledged medieval hero together with the monks, jesters, lords, and servants of the castle. A romantic atmosphere prevails here because everything is taking place in a seven century old castle. Re-enacted theatrical tours of the castle are offered.

Kartavkalnu nature path is situated in the vicinity of Jaunpils. A settlement of ancient Latvians with log buildings and a fortification wall is under construction near the castle mound. Benches have been placed along the path and campfire sites have been equipped, tents can be safely set up at the foot of the castle mound, there are also country-style toilets found in the thickets.

Heading in the direction of Strutele, you can reach Elles (the Infernal) hill and have a look at Strutele Church. If you wish to visit the place where Matīss Siliņš, the outstanding Latvian ethnographer and cartographer lived, then the road will take you to the farmstead "Ķuņķuri" near Viesatas.

In 2005 the Castle was included in the List of the 100 Best Cared-for Monuments of European Cultural Heritage in Latvia.

Dikļi castle was built in the Neo-Baroque style in 1896 and restored in 2003. The second most important component of the Dikļi castle ensemble is the barn, which pre-dates the palace and was built in the late eighteenth century using elements of late Classicism and featuring a majestic portico, untypical for barns in Vidzeme.

The buildings of the Dikļi castle are organically complemented by a park spanning 20 hectares. Adjacent to the palace lies a duck pond, which is said to have had a floor made of oak. Mazbriede River begins just beyond the pond, whose ravines contain a landscape garden, also known as the Forest Park. In the 1960s, after surveying Dikļi castle park, it was found that approximately 20 exotic trees grow on its grounds.

Dikļi castle is one of the few palaces and landed estates in Vidzemes where much of the original interior décor has been relatively well-preserved. The palace contains a collection of luxurious old stoves and fireplaces. Dikļi castle was restored in 2003. At the moment, the palace houses a hotel, a restaurant, a spa and it provides a venue for various functions.

The Bīriņi castle is spacious, filled with the atmosphere of the past, surrounded by a park and two lakes; it was built in 1860 for the von Pistohlkors family, and today it serves as a prestigious venue for receptions and seminars. Next to the castle, the Gardener’s House is now a hotel that beckons one to take a break from the urban hubbub and savour the romantic surroundings of the castle. The landscape park is modestly sized and encircles the castle from the horse stables up to the Gardener’s House hotel.

An Aviary is located on one side of it, while at the very centre of the park one finds the Lovers’ Oak, in whose branches tinkle the love bells left there by newlyweds. Down the broad stone staircase, we arrive at the lake-side arbour. Numerous visitors have memorialised themselves here in photographs, and newlyweds have promised each other eternal love on their wedding day!

The Water Mill Lane along the Mill Lake leads to the old Water Mill, where a museum of antiquities cosily shares space with a pub in the summer months. While sipping a cocktail on the wooden deck over the lake, you will be able to watch fish devour every crumb thrown at them. In wintertime, we invite you to try leze, an ancient merry-go-round on ice. If you book in advance, a roaring fire, hot tea and a bath-house will await you.

The Bīriņi castle was built based on a design by the architect F. W. Hess. It is the most impressive representative of the Rundbogenstil in Latvian manor architecture. The overall architectonic execution of the structure can be attributed to the Neo-Gothic style, yet the lintels of the windows are a significant component of the overall composition, and these are typical of the Rundbogenstil. Thus, in terms of style, the Bīriņi castle can be considered an unusual two-way combination. It received recognition from contemporaries, and in the present day it can be seen as an example of atypical architectonic thinking. The building used to boast an opulent décor – sculptures, mouldings – but this was lost in World War I. A Neo-Renaissance interior has been preserved in the castle: a spacious entrance vestibule with a bilateral staircase, a dining-room with a wooden-panelled ceiling and glazed-tile stoves.

The Exhibition Hall offers changing expositions of the artists’ paintings. This house was also a place where different recognised artists used to stay in summer, giving their works to the hosts.Two of these works have been retained up to now and can be seen.

One can see work premises of the artists on the first floor of the building, and the Exhibition Hall of Inta and Imants Ozoliņi is set out on the ground floor. When attending the exhibition, one can also see the works of graphic artist Imants Ozoliņš who received the 2007 Jurmala Art Award.

This art studio offers art-therapy and a theatre of paintings to those who are interested and the possibility to attend the meditation drawing studio and to create paintings themselves in the unique technology of light painting.

In the art gallery, one can see an interesting original exhibition of paintings created using a unique technique (fluorescent painting effect) – paintings start glistening under special lighting and the viewers see another painting in place of the original one, which is like earlier hidden version of the painting. The art studio offer visitors a salon shop with floral design and luminaries, the Architects and Designers Bureau, who are capable of creating artistic works in the light painting style. 

This gallery exhibits works from both renowned Latvian artists and students of Kandava art school. At present there is an exhibition of the 2008/2009 school year graduates of the Kandava art school.

The gallery has exhibited works by such recognised artists as Jāzeps Pīgoznis, Velta Toropina, Imants Vecozols, Benita Bitāne, Aleksejs Naumovs, Aija and Juris Jurjāni, Roberts Muzis, Uno Daņiļevskis, Jānis Zemītis, and others.