This city, located in the north-west of Latvia, at the mouth of the Venta River, is one of the oldest settlements in the country. Recently, it has been developing dynamically and is considered the main tourist center of the Baltic state. The popular resort offers a luxurious vacation on a pristine beach, marked by a special award - the blue flag.
A bit of history
The port of Ventspils (Latvia), whose territory is approximately 55 thousand square kilometers, was first mentioned in 1290, when the Knights of the Teutonic Order founded a small settlement on the seashore. In the Middle Ages, it was a major shopping center due to its favorable location.
Ventspils, in which the ships were built, was completely destroyed by the Swedes and lost a large number of inhabitants during the plague. Literally from the ruins, the village was slowly recovering, but it suffered the heaviest financial damage after the First World War.
In 1991, there were changes in the political and cultural life of the resort, and now its economic development is observed. Currently, Ventspils (Latvia) is actively investing its oil transit revenues in tourism infrastructure.
A large commercial and industrial center surprises with silence and tranquility. It does not at all resemble the resort towns of Latvia, where fuss reigns around the clock. Surprisingly, even in the high tourist season, from May to September, the streets of the Latvian capital of flowers are not very crowded. The colorful Ventspils will appeal to history buffs as well as lovers of splashing in the sea.
Castle of the livonian order
The charming Ventspils (Latvia), whose sights tell a story of rich history, is famous for the most famous ancient monument - the ancient fortress of the Livonian Order.
The visiting card of the city, which retained its original appearance with almost no changes, appeared in the XIII century. Knights and their servants lived in a stone castle with narrow loophole windows. When the Livonian Order ceased to exist, the judicial administration was located in the citadel. In the XVII century, the Swedes, who attacked the city of Ventspils, burned the fortress, however, the inhabitants reinstated their former appearance.
Now the castle houses a museum that is open all year. Curious tourists will be surprised by the Ghost Basement exhibition, the Living History exposition, and after prior registration, visitors will be able to shoot a real cannon and try archery.
The city with a mild climate is everywhere decorated with floral arrangements that delight the eyes of tourists. But the most famous work of landscape art is considered to be a luxury watch at the crossroads of Lielais and Kuldigas streets. Beautifully decorated, they emit melodic sounds every hour, causing delight among the guests of the resort.
Ventspils (Latvia) - city of cows
It is curious, but after 2002, when the world parade of cows was held in the city, plastic sculptures painted by artists remained to delight local residents. Original art objects fit perfectly into the landscape of the tourist center and decorated its streets.
Now the number of giant horned animals is only growing every year, as well as the number of tourists.
Family oriented city
Washed by the waves of the Baltic Sea, one of the cleanest cities in the world, the most beautiful Ventspils. Rest at the resort, a significant part of which (almost 40 percent of the territory) is occupied by forests and parks, will please parents and their children. Each green corner offers visitors a huge selection of entertainment.
Seaside park, where excellent conditions for the rest of children are created, is a real paradise for kids. A lot of attractions, a children's town, a Cuckoo train that will take you along a narrow-gauge road, a mini museum with samples of ancient anchors and boats - this is just a small list of what a richly picturesque place, which is a modern attraction of the resort.
Young tourists will love the Piedzīvojumu parks - a real adventure park that has existed for over 13 years. They will test their endurance on rope tracks, walk along the cable car, ride electric cars, play children's paintball, go down the trees like Tarzan on ropes. Young adventurers will even be able to experience a feeling of weightlessness by flying on a catapult. Here you can buy a subscription to all attractions or purchase a ticket for certain types of entertainment, and the provided system of discounts will pleasantly surprise parents of children.
Everyone who loves outdoor activities, goes to the country's largest sports center, promoting the Olympic movement. The complex located on the seashore includes an ice and a basketball court, a football field, a stadium, an athletics arena, an indoor skate park and a water park, open in winter. Ventspils Olympic Center boasts a hotel with a high level of service. 150 comfortable rooms are designed for short or extended stay of city guests.
Hotels in Ventspils (Latvia)
The resort offers tourists more than 43 accommodation options. You can choose hostels, villas, guest houses, hotels according to your desire and wallet. Of course, the prices for accommodation in them depend not only on the season, but also on the location. Many hotels are located both in modern buildings and those erected at the beginning of the last century, which adds to their special attractiveness. Like other cities in Latvia, which are characterized by high quality service, Ventspils will not disappoint even the most demanding tourists.
For example, the hotels Dzintarjura and Vilnis offer rooms for all comers with all amenities. The Muiza and Ostina hotels are considered a higher class, and for those who want to stay outside the city, the Pension Sarnate will come to the rescue.
Amrai Guest House, located near the center, opens the door for couples who do not want to spend a lot on accommodation.
Located near the sea, Piejuras Kempings is a cozy campsite with a kitchen, fridge and bathrooms. Two-room houses are best booked in advance. Here you can also rent comfortable tents.
The resort area of the capital of cows and flowers has long reached the European level, so travelers from around the world, including our compatriots, often come here on vacation. Here children, couples in love, people of respectable age will find entertainment. Not a single guest will be left disappointed, and no one will regret a fascinating trip to Ventspils (Latvia).
How to get there
Ventspils is located 190 km from the capital of Latvia - Riga. From Riga bus station every 3 hours a bus leaves for the resort area. Travel time is 3 hours. The ticket will cost 9 euros. Travelers from Riga need to follow the A10 highway by car; they will have to spend a little more than 2.5 hours on the road. There is an airport in Ventspils, but so far it only accepts charter flights.
The best time to relax
Despite the active development of tourism infrastructure, including beach, it is rather difficult to call the city a beach resort in the usual sense. The reason for this is a very harsh climate. The warmest months are July and August. The thermometer column at this time does not fall below the mark of 20 degrees.
The beach season opens in June and ends by the end of August. However, despite the very short swimming season, tens of thousands of tourists annually go to this quiet corner of Latvia. The quality of the local beach is what enables the city to carry the proud title of a resort.
At the end of the last century, the local coast was awarded a high award - the Blue Flag was set on the beach. The blue flag indicates that the composition, cleanliness of coastal waters and beach infrastructure meets international environmental quality standards.
Ventspils beach was recognized as the best among all Latvian beaches. The length of the coastline is more than a kilometer, the width of the beach strip is over 90 meters. The sand on the coast is light and fairly shallow. There are several relaxation areas on the beach, including for surfers and nudists.
For people with disabilities, special bridges are equipped with handrails and suitable platforms. Sports infrastructure of the beach is represented by beach volleyball courts. Children feel at ease in special play areas. For a bite to eat, check out one of the many cafes.
By the way, smoking is prohibited on almost the entire beach.
For those who come to the sea by car, in the immediate vicinity of the beach, a free car park is equipped.
Where to stay and how to get around the city?
Local hotels and pensions are not designed for tourists who are accustomed to relaxing in luxury. Room prices for 2-seater accommodation start from 2000 rubles. At the same time, inexpensive does not mean uncomfortable. The bulk of the hotel offers a quality unobtrusive service.
The hotels located in various ancient buildings differ in special charm, looking at which you least expect to find inside the hotel.
Within the city, it is most convenient and economical to travel by bus or minibus. There are several taxi services in Ventspils.
By the way: It is quite realistic to get around the main attractions of the city on foot, the distance between them is covered in 15-20 minutes.
Where to eat
Over the past 20 years, city authorities have made significant investments in tourism infrastructure. It concerns not only hotels and tourist sites. Catering establishments are an important element for attracting tourists.
Most city restaurants are characterized by unexpected, original interior solutions. There are no unnecessary details in the design of this or that cafe, each little thing is in its place. This, in combination with the dishes offered, allows you to get gastronomic and aesthetic pleasure from food.
Cafes in Ventspils offer their guests dishes of European cuisine, including Latvian national dishes.
What to try with food?
1. Rauschi or vegetable pies. It is best to try it, seasoning with sour cream.
2. Bacon rolls - may be served as a snack or as a complement to the first dish.
3. Cheese with caraway seeds, which is a mandatory attribute of the summer solstice.
4. Cold soup with sour cream - scuba putra. Eat better with a herring or sandwich.
5. Fish in milk - the main second dish in Latvia, usually served with potatoes.
The listed dishes are a small part of what you can enjoy while relaxing in Ventspils.
Important! Whatever you order for lunch, do not forget about rye bread baked in Latvia according to the original recipe and which is an important component of every Latvian's life.
Livonian Order Castle
The castle is the main historical attraction of Ventspils and the oldest well-preserved Latvian medieval fortification. The construction of the castle was started at the end of the 13th century, the final appearance was formed a little later. The castle was an architectural complex of the convent type with internal territory.
Over the next several centuries, the castle was destroyed (years of the Polish-Swedish war), restored and rebuilt. From the 40s of the 19th century, a prison was equipped in the castle walls, which took prisoners until 1959. After the castle was used as a base for Soviet border guards. Only in 1997, the historic appearance of the castle was restored, now the facade of the building corresponds to the appearance of the building in the 19th century.
Today, the city museum is located within the walls of the castle. Its expositions are created using modern computer technologies, which contribute to the fact that the study of museum exhibits is not only informative, but also exciting. So, for example, going down to the ghost cellar you can see a black pig running nearby. Prison displays are accompanied by the muffled voices of the convicts.
The ticket price depends on the type and completeness of the castle and territory inspection. An adult visitor will pay from 1.4 to 2.1 euros for admission. There are special family tickets, as well as discount programs for students, schoolchildren and people of retirement age.
The museum located in the seaside park has united various ethnographic exhibits on its territory. Fishing yards have been recreated here, a collection of schooners, boats and anchors has been compiled.
On weekends, everyone can try their handicrafts, for example, reincarnate as a blacksmith. There are several play areas for children. On one you can ride on a narrow gauge railway, and on the other you can feel in a real jungle, passing between the den of a crocodile and a stork’s nest. The museum is open from 10 to 18 hours, weekends - Monday and Tuesday.
In Ventspils with children
The open-air museum is not the only place where little tourists can have fun. Ventspils is one of the most child-friendly cities in Latvia. The amount of entertainment for families with children significantly exceeds the number of historical attractions of the city.
1. Children's town. The area of the park is 4 hectares. Dozens of play facilities are available for children of different ages, there is a cafe with a special children's menu. The park is a wonderful green area for joint walks. Entrance to the territory is free. Opening hours: from 7 to 22 hours, in the winter - until 20:00.
2. Water adventure park. The park is indoor, includes several zones: a water entertainment zone, a spa zone, and gyms. Here you can not only have fun splashing, for example, in a pool with artificial waves. A visit to the park is a great opportunity to play sports. Tickets have different prices, and they pay extra for visits to the attractions, spa and sports complex. The cost of tickets can be clarified on the official website - www.udensparks.lv.
3. Beach water park. There are few attractions in the park - two pools and three slides for adults and separate areas for children. In addition to water activities, visitors can bask in the sauna and grab a bite to eat at the cafe. The water park is open from May to September.
4. Park deer. In a picturesque place, not far from Lake Busnieku, there is an observation tower about 7 meters high. From it you can watch deer, roe deer and wild boars freely walking with their cubs in the park territory.
The park is open daily, except Mondays, from 10 to 16 hours.
5. Adventure park, which includes an artificially created mountain for winter sports and the Cat Track path. The park is not bored in the winter, when visitors have the opportunity to go down the mountain on skis or snowboarding. High-quality descent is guaranteed by powerful snow generators. In the summer, the park is annually replenished with new gaming and entertainment areas, which attracts a greater number of visitors.
By the way, in addition to the Cat's rope path for adults, the Bear Track is equipped here, where younger daredevils can try their hand.
The cost of visiting the park depends on the amount of attractions included in the price and is 7 - 8.5 euros per adult.
Having a rest in Ventspils, it is impossible not to pay attention to the fact that the city has a huge number of walking green areas and parks. If urban greenery is not enough for you, then you can go to the oldest nature reserve in the country - Moritzsala. The reserve located on the islands in Lake Usmas has sheltered more than 400 species of vascular plants, hundreds of species of lichens and mosses on their lands. More than 40 species of birds and about 330 species of butterflies live here. All this splendor can be seen against the backdrop of an untouched forest landscape.
Worth to know. You can visit the reserve only with special permission issued by the administration of the Slitere National Park.
Ventspils is a city, walks through which is a great opportunity to get acquainted with how the modern industrial landscape successfully fits into numerous natural parks and squares. A city that leaves pleasant memories of relaxation in the soul of every traveler, even the youngest.