A wonderful city albeit much smaller than Riga and quite relaxed to walk around in, Liepāja is known locally as “The city where the wind is born”…just walk to the seafront and you’ll experience this first hand!
To cement this even further, the largest wind power plant (Enercon) in the nation of 33 wind turbines is close by – say’s it all really!
Unfortunately, I was pretty sick the whole time and spent a couple of days in bed again here. Think I picked up some sort of virus in Sapa (Vietnam) or on the flight from Vietnam to Estonia, as still sick weeks later; but still managed to experience the city as best I could.
Nordic in its weather, Latvia’s temperatures in July can reach 30ºC but can also fall as low as -30ºC in January.
Liepāja’s town centre and surrounds comprise little irregular streets, beautiful old wooden buildings, lots of Art Nouveau in wooden and brick, all of which makes wandering around the streets a pleasant experience.
The city centre and Karosta (northern part of the city) are the two main areas of Liepāja. Karosta used to be a secret military town for the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
There didn’t seem to be many western tourists around so occasionally got some side glances and smiles from the locals, especially when we walked to the bus station hauling huge backpacks.
You’ll find soft sandy beaches at the city centre and Karosta, which are unspoiled and beautiful; the main attraction for tourists to Liepāja. Walk along the Tirdzniecības Kanāls (Trade Canal) and watch the locals fishing in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Latvian musicians walk of fame
Liepāja is also home to an especially active rock scene. A huge metal guitar, the largest in Latvia is in the centre of town and the alley hosts many bronze plaques with handprints of musicians honouring current and former music bands; also some to those that passed away. A path of metal musical notes is also set into the pavement marking the musical trail, which follows through the town centre and out to the canal area. It’s cool to follow this around Liepāja.
Seaside Park (Jurmalas Park)
As it is winter, bitterly cold, and the windiest city in the country, the freezing walk to the seafront was no exception! So much so that the surf is actually frozen along the shoreline and waves were breaking over the frozen surf. I’ve never seen this before but as Liepāja is located on the Baltic Sea, it’s no surprise really.
The walk around the seafront is pleasant once you’re behind the protection of the dunes and in the park. The park with many different tree species hosts a bowling centre, a concert-garden, three stadiums, and mini-golf. Apparently in the summer, cafeterias open and many cultural events take place.
The local authorities have beautified the seafront and park, and it’s very lovely to walk around here and stroll back into the city centre for a warm drink and pastry.
Toma Street Apartments (Toma iela 50) – Martin (owner) ensures you have a great stay here and is super friendly; there’s also his gorgeous Golden Retriever dog that comes and says hello as soon as you’re in the front door.
The apartment is cosy and has everything you need to self-cater and keep your costs down. At only about a 10-minute walk to the town and the best coffee shop around, Boulangerie, don’t miss this apartment.
Boulangerie (Kuršu iela 2) – For the absolute best coffee and delectable freshly baked pastries in town – scrumptious! Breads and pastries are baked on the premise. Excellent service and the Baristas seem to make coffee with a passion. Great music and ambience in its cosmopolitan surrounds, so, frequented here almost every day (apart from when I was too sick to get out of bed). This place really is that good.
Onwards to Klaipėda (Lithuania)
The Eco Line bus (€6) from Liepāja bound for Klaipėda leaves from the town square at 12:00hrs and you can buy tickets on the bus. The bus journey (about 2.5 hours) stops at Palanga, Lithuania’s very popular seaside resort town, which is fashionable with local tourists but also Russian tourists.