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==Understand==
 
==Understand==
Liepāja, a wonderful city of about 90,000 residents, is a gemstone, located on Latvia's Baltic coast. It is Latvia's third largest city (and arguably the next most important city after the capital Riga) and the former capital of Latvia during World War I. It is important for tourists to know that Liepaja city consists of two main areas of interest - 1) the city center, and 2) Karosta, the northern part of the city, which used to be a secret soviet military town. Both the city center and Karosta have great beaches, and you will be surprised how unspoiled and beautiful the central beach is, and how white and soft the sand is! Karosta is essentially another city, because it really has a different history and look from the rest of Liepaja; Karosta is worth a separate visit. In Liepaja there is no place to be called `the old town`, but the center and surroundings are full of old, beautiful wooden buildings, little irregular streets, etc. The center also includes the Seaside Park (Jurmalas parks) area, which has a fantastic white, soft sand beach; the park itself is great, too, with many nice buildings.
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Liepāja, a wonderful city of about 90,000 residents, is a gemstone, located on Latvia's Baltic coast. It is Latvia's third largest city (and arguably the next most important city after the capital Riga) and the former capital of Latvia during World War I. It is important for tourists to know that Liepaja city consists of two main areas of interest - 1) the city center, and 2) Karosta, the northern part of the city, which used to be a secret military town for the Russian Empire (hence many Tsar-time buildings) and the Soviet Union (brutal blocks of flats from the 1970s just next to a 110 years old orthodox cathedral). Both the city center and Karosta have great beaches, and you will be surprised how unspoiled and beautiful the central beach is, and how white and soft the sand is! Karosta is essentially another city, because it really has a different history and look from the rest of Liepaja; Karosta is worth a separate visit. In Liepaja there is no place to be called `the old town`, but the center and surroundings are full of old, beautiful wooden buildings, lots of Art Nouveau - both wooden and in bricks, little irregular streets, etc. The center also includes the Seaside Park (Jurmalas parks) area, which has a fantastic white, soft sand beach; the park itself is great, too, with many nice buildings. Liepāja is known as the city where wind was born (it`s part of the lyrics of a song of the same name, which was officially chosen as the anthem of the city, and characters of these lyrics are represented in 5 monuments in Kūrmājas prospekts street). It is also known as the capital of music of Latvia, many famous Latvian musicians are exactly from Liepāja. It is a major center of culture, education, industry etc. Despite being relatively small, it is one of Latvia`s largest cities and has rich history, hence it`s very diverse architecture and rich heritage.
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
 
Liepaja is easily accessible. It is located 220 km (136 mi) west from [[Riga]], 100 km (62 mi) north from [[Klaipeda]], on the coast of the Baltic Sea. You can get to Liepaja by plane, train or bus from Riga, and by bus from Klaipeda or Palanga. You can get to Liepaja by your own car from Riga even faster than by public transport. Normally a bus ride from Riga to Liepaja takes about 3hours 30minutes, and a bit less than 2 hours from Klaipeda.
 
Liepaja is easily accessible. It is located 220 km (136 mi) west from [[Riga]], 100 km (62 mi) north from [[Klaipeda]], on the coast of the Baltic Sea. You can get to Liepaja by plane, train or bus from Riga, and by bus from Klaipeda or Palanga. You can get to Liepaja by your own car from Riga even faster than by public transport. Normally a bus ride from Riga to Liepaja takes about 3hours 30minutes, and a bit less than 2 hours from Klaipeda.
 
===By plane===
 
 
As of the end of 2009, all regular airline services to and from Liepaja were suspended. Check AirBaltic.com website. Palanga airport is just about 65 km (40 mi) south; it has some more direct routes all year round. Riga International airport (the largest airport in the Baltic states with many direct flights to Europe and Asia, including cheap Ryanair, AirBaltic and Easyjet routes) is 220km east from Liepaja city. Liepaja International Airport is located 7 km (4 mi) from the center and is connected with the city with bus number 2. It goes further than the center, so make sure to get off some stops after you have crossed the channel bridge in the center, otherwise you will end up in the residential area Ezerkrasts-2, which is nice too, since it is located near Liepaja Lake. This bus would take approximately 20 minutes to get to the center and it costs 35 santims. Make sure to validate your ticket, which you can buy from bus driver! (See GET AROUND - BUS section)
 
  
 
===By car===
 
===By car===
There are two main roads going to Liepaja. One is A9 from Riga direction, and the other is A11, from Klaipeda, a city in Lithuania. Other roads are P111 to/from Ventspils, and many regional roads.
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There are two main roads to Liepaja. From [[Riga]], the A9 runs westward for 220km. From [[Klaipėda]] in [[Lithuania]], the A11 runs north for 100km. From [[Ventspils]], on the coast further north, take the P111.
 
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===By hitch-hiking===
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It is pretty popular to hitch-hike in Latvia and if you want, you should try it for Liepaja, too. To get out from the city and hitch-hike from Liepaja to somewhere else, the tram is extremely good. Go to the north terminus, cross the railway crossing and you are in the hitch-hiking spot to Riga (also Ventspils) direction, or go to the south terminus, walk some 400 meters (1,300 ft) till the city ends completely and you are on the way to Klaipeda!
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===By bus===
 
===By bus===
Liepaja is connected by bus service with Riga (many times every day), Klaipeda, Palanga, Ventspils, Kuldiga and other towns, as well as smaller villages in Liepaja region. The Bus station is located some distance away from the center. Take the tram to the south to get to the center (take the tram at a tram stop which is on your right side when you quit the Bus station building. Do not cross the tram-railway, which is a wrong direction! The Liepaja region bus terminal is in the southern part of the center, at Sienatirgus. But all busses also go to the main Bus station. A ticket to Riga costs around 6,40 Lats (9 Euros).
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Liepaja is connected by bus service with [[Riga]] (many times every day, €9, 3.5 hours), [[Ventspils]], [[Kuldiga]] and other towns and villages in Liepaja region, as well as [[Klaipeda]] (2 hours) and [[Palanga]] in [[Lithuania]]. To get from the bus station to the center, take the tram at a tram stop which is on your right side when you exit the bus station building. Do not cross the tram tracks, which is the wrong direction! The Liepaja region bus terminal is in the southern part of the center, at Sienatirgus. All buses also go to the main bus station. A ticket to Riga costs around 6,40 Lats (9 Euros).
  
 
===By train===
 
===By train===
A nice and relatively quick train runs every day to and from Riga. It leaves the Liepaja railway station (which is the same building as the bus station) at 6AM, and arrives at Riga railway station at 9:10AM. The train from Riga leaves at 6:30PM and arrives in Liepaja at 9:37PM. These trains also stop at Skrunda, Saldus, Dobele and Jelgava. On the train one can watch a DVD movie or use a vending machine to have a cup of coffee. Despite the fact that the train actually takes a longer route – about 240 km {149 mi} compared to 220 km {136 mi} if you go by bus – because it goes through Jelgava, it takes a bit less time to go to Riga by train than by bus. As of February 2009, a single one-way normal fare ticket cost 5,80 Lats (around 8,80 Euros). The railway station is located some distance away from the town center. Take the tram heading south to get to the center (get on the tram at a tram stop which is on your right side when you exit the railway station building). Do not cross the tram-railway — it will put you in the wrong direction!
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The Liepaja railway station is located in the same building as the bus terminal.
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A nice and relatively quick train runs every day to and from Riga (€8.80). It leaves Liepaja at 6:00, and arrives at Riga railway station at 9:10. The train from Riga leaves at 18:30 and arrives in Liepaja at 21:37. These trains also stop at Skrunda, Saldus, Dobele and Jelgava. On the train, you can watch a movie or buy coffee from a machine. Despite the fact that the train actually takes a longer route – about 240km compared to 220km if you go by bus – because it goes through Jelgava, it takes a bit less time to go to Riga by train than by bus.  
  
 
===By boat===
 
===By boat===
A ferry service connects Liepaja with Germany. The ferry terminal is in Ziemelu priekspilseta, 15 minutes from the center by bus 10,11 or 15, or minibus 3. However, there is some distance between the terminal building and the street where public transport operates. If you have a yacht, you are welcome to Liepaja yacht harbor, located in the center, in Tirdzniecibas channel.
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A ferry service connects Liepaja with [[Travemünde]] (near [[Lübeck]]) in Germany. The ferry terminal is in Ziemelu priekspilseta, 15 minutes from the center by bus 10, 11, or 15, or minibus 3. If you have a yacht, you are welcome to Liepaja yacht harbor, located in the center, in Tirdzniecibas channel.
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===By hitch-hiking===
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It is pretty popular to hitch-hike in Latvia and if you want, you should try it for Liepaja, too. To get out of the city to go somewhere else, go to the north tram terminus, cross the railway crossing, and you are in the best spot to hitchhike to Riga or Ventspils, or go to the south terminus, walk some 400 meters until the city ends completely, and you are in a good spot to hitchhike to Klaipeda!
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===By plane===
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There are currently no scheduled air services to Liepaja Airport. [[Palanga]] airport in [[Lithuania]] is 65 km to the south and has scheduled services year round. Riga International airport, which is the largest airport in the Baltic states with many direct flights to Europe and Asia, including cheap Ryanair, AirBaltic and Easyjet routes, is 220km east of Liepaja.
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
There are four types of public transport in Liepaja city - tram, bus, minibus, taxi. Trams, buses and minibuses now have the same tickets, which you can purchase from the driver (0,50 Ls - about 0,73 EUR) or in many shops and small newsagents` boutiques such as Plus Punkts or Narvesen, which can be found in many place throughout the city. There are also 1 DAY PASS, week, month etc. passes. 1 day pass costs 1,50 Ls and gives you unlimited number of rides, but you must validate it when you first use it. This ticket is then valid on that specific date, printed on your ticket once you validate it. (Important - it is valid until midnight, not for 24 hours!)
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There are four types of public transport in Liepaja city - tram, bus, minibus, taxi. Trams, buses and minibuses now have the same tickets, which you can purchase from the driver (0,50 Ls - about 0,73 EUR) or in many shops and small newsagents` boutiques such as Plus Punkts or Narvesen, which can be found in many place throughout the city. There are also 1 DAY PASS, week, month etc. passes. 1 day pass costs 1,50 Ls and gives you unlimited number of rides, but you must validate it when you first use it. This ticket is then valid on that specific date, printed on your ticket once you validate it. (Important - it is valid until midnight, not for 24 hours!) The center and the Seaside park / Central Beach areas can be easily seen on foot. Karosta is far from the center. And when you are IN Karosta, the sightseeing objects can be far from one another. There are almost no bicycle paths in Karosta, but it CAN be explored very well by bike, which you can rent from the tourist office in the center.
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To see public transport routes on the map, consult the schedules etc., visit [http://www.marsruti.lv/liepaja marsruit schedules] or [http://www.liepajastransports.lv liepajastransportes]
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===Tram===  
 
===Tram===  
has only one line, however a new line is being built and will start operating in autumn 2012, it will go to Ezerkrasts (lakeside) residential district. The current line runs from the southwest, along beaches, through the center, to Jaunliepaja, a place with a flea market and ends near the metallurgic factory. It operates from 5AM till midnight and costs 0.40 Ls if ticket is bought in a kiosk, or 0.50 Ls, if you buy it from the tram driver. Ticket must be validated in one of three yellow validators in the tram, which will print date and time on the ticket. The ticket is valid for one ride. Tram is the best transport to get to/from the '''Railway''' / '''Bus station''' to / from the city center. If you are going to catch the morning train to Riga, do so, because trams operate in early morning, but not as frequently. A ride from the center to the station takes approximately 8 minutes. An electronic tram ticket is also available by sending SMS, but this might be complicated for those who don't have local mobile phones.
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The Liepājas Tram is very popular among locals and tourists. It started operating in 1899 as the first and only electric tram in the Baltic states (in some other cities it was drawn by horses). It has seen many changes, currently has only one line, however it was recently extended and now operates to Ezerkrasts-2 (lakeside-2) residential district. It is the south east of the city. As the name suggests, there is a lake nearby, fifth largest in Latvia. The tram line runs from the lakeside, then along the residential districts next to the beach, two shopping centers, then goes through the center, right next to the Rose square, the University building, Kurzeme shopping center, crosses the bridge, goes to Jaunliepaja, a place with diverse old architecture, passes the bus station/ railway station and then ends near the metallurgic factory. It operates from 5AM till midnight and costs 0.40 Ls if ticket is bought in a kiosk, or 0.50 Ls, if you buy it from the tram driver. Ticket must be validated in one of three yellow validators in the tram, which will print date and time on the ticket. The ticket is valid for one ride. Tram is the best transport to get to/from the '''Railway''' / '''Bus station''' to / from the city center. If you are going to catch the morning train to Riga, do so, because trams operate in early morning, but not as frequently. A ride from the center to the station takes approximately 8 minutes. An electronic tram ticket is also available by sending SMS, but this might be complicated for those who don't have local mobile phones.
 
===Bus===  
 
===Bus===  
has many lines, the most important for tourists being 1,3,4,7,8 - with these you can get from the city center to Karosta and back. You can get to the Southeastern part (Ezerkrasts) to see Meynard`s church and Liepaja Lake by 3, 4, 10, 15, 912. Costs 0.50 from the driver or 0,40 Ls in shops and newsagents` boutiques. Buses stop at bus stops throughout the city. Tickets can be bought in kiosks or from the driver. Tickets must be validated in the bus by inserting them in an electronic validator just like in trams. Some, but not all, buses have audio announcement system for next stop and a LED screen in front of the bus displaying next stop name. In case of going to '''Karosta''' you will most likely want to go till the last stop, so don't worry. An exception might be bus number 8, which terminates far north in summer house and garden district Skede near the sea, which is kind of too far for Karosta, however is the best bus to get as fas as the '''Jewish holocaust memorial''' or the '''Northern fortress'''.
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has many lines, the most important for tourists being 1,3,4,7,8 to get from the center to Karosta, 2 for the airport, 1, 2, 6 for the Seaside park area / Central beach - with these you can get anywhere within the city and 912 even takes you to the neighbouring town of Grobiņa with a Livonian castle ruins and a nice promenade next to it. You can get to the Southeastern part (Ezerkrasts) to see Meynard`s church and Liepaja Lake by 3, 4, 10. Costs 0.50 from the driver or 0,40 Ls in shops and newsagents` boutiques. Buses stop at bus stops throughout the city. Tickets can be bought in kiosks or from the driver. Tickets must be validated in the bus by inserting them in an electronic validator just like in trams. Some, but not all, buses have audio announcement system for next stop and a LED screen in front of the bus displaying next stop name. In case of going to '''Karosta''' you will most likely want to go till the last stop, so don't worry. An exception might be bus number 8, which terminates far north in summer house and garden district Skede near the sea, which is kind of too far for Karosta, however is the best bus to get as fas as the '''Jewish holocaust memorial''' or the '''Northern fortress'''.
 
===Minibus===  
 
===Minibus===  
 
number 22 and 23 also serve Karosta, however 23 only goes to Karosta swing bridge and you can end up waiting by a closed bridge for an hour or even more. It is therefore recommended to choose route 22, which will take you further into Karosta and in case the bridge is closed, will sometimes go around the channel to get there anyway. They cost 0.40 Ls from a shop or 0,50 Ls from the driver. Tickets must be validated just like in trams or buses. To stop a minibus, you have to wave your hand. You can stop it only at bus stops. To stop a minibus when you are in it, you have to demand the driver to do so.
 
number 22 and 23 also serve Karosta, however 23 only goes to Karosta swing bridge and you can end up waiting by a closed bridge for an hour or even more. It is therefore recommended to choose route 22, which will take you further into Karosta and in case the bridge is closed, will sometimes go around the channel to get there anyway. They cost 0.40 Ls from a shop or 0,50 Ls from the driver. Tickets must be validated just like in trams or buses. To stop a minibus, you have to wave your hand. You can stop it only at bus stops. To stop a minibus when you are in it, you have to demand the driver to do so.
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==See==
 
==See==
The former secret military town of Karosta (northern Liepaja), the Fortress of Liepaja (its parts are located all around the city, the most spectacular ones are on the Baltic shore in Karosta), Liepaja city center with many old art-nouveau and wooden building and cobblestone streets, and the seaside park with its white sandy beach, as well as Liepajas lake - fifth largest lake in Latvia, are nice places with lots to see.
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When in Liepāja, one must see its diverse architecture, art nouveau, definitely go to the former secret military town of Karosta (northern Liepaja), the Fortress of Liepaja (its parts are located all around the city, the most spectacular ones are on the Baltic shore in Karosta in Krasta street and Jatnieku street), Liepaja city center with many old art-nouveau and wooden building and cobblestone streets, and the seaside park with its white sandy beach, as well as Liepajas lake - fifth largest lake in Latvia, are nice places with lots to see. Streets not to be missed in terms of architectural values include - Liepu, Dzintaru, Uliha, Kurmajas, Diku, Graudu, Kr. Valdemara, Rozu, Peldu, Toma, Republikas, Palmu, Veidenbauma, Kursu, Barona, Fr. Brivzemnieka, Ludvika and many others in the centar/seaside, and Katedrales, Atmodas, Lozmetejnieku, Imantas, Cesu Rotas, Krasta in Karosta. For best Liepājas lake views head to Reinu meza street or Eduarda Tise street. There are two bird observation towers next to the lake - one on the corner of Tise and Lauku streets, another in Zirgu sala island, get there through Ezermalas street, cross the island and walk on a jetty in the lake.
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To find all these streets and places, take a look at a map, zoom in, street-view it and enjoy when here.
 
*'''Beaches''' What attracts tourists the most is probably the whitest and softest sandy beach. One part of it receives the Blue Flag every summer. It is a special indicator, showing that the beach is really good and safe to swim at etc. A very good thing about Liepaja beach is that it is rarely too crowded. And in the evening, night or early morning, or in winter season, you can sometimes find your self all alone in a magnificent beach, stretching as far as you can see. This is all about Vecliepaja and Dienvidrietumi beach, which are located in the central and southwestern part of the city. There are, however, other beaches in the northern part of the city, which is a very interesting place to visit (see Karosta - the former secret soviet military town). The central beach is the place where Latvia’s biggest music festival occurs every summer - the Baltic Beach Party.
 
*'''Beaches''' What attracts tourists the most is probably the whitest and softest sandy beach. One part of it receives the Blue Flag every summer. It is a special indicator, showing that the beach is really good and safe to swim at etc. A very good thing about Liepaja beach is that it is rarely too crowded. And in the evening, night or early morning, or in winter season, you can sometimes find your self all alone in a magnificent beach, stretching as far as you can see. This is all about Vecliepaja and Dienvidrietumi beach, which are located in the central and southwestern part of the city. There are, however, other beaches in the northern part of the city, which is a very interesting place to visit (see Karosta - the former secret soviet military town). The central beach is the place where Latvia’s biggest music festival occurs every summer - the Baltic Beach Party.
 
[[Image:Juurmalas parks.jpg|thumb|200px|Liepaja Seaside Park]]
 
[[Image:Juurmalas parks.jpg|thumb|200px|Liepaja Seaside Park]]
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===Liepaja Lake===  
 
===Liepaja Lake===  
  
Liepaja is surrounded by water. There are the Baltic Sea coast, two big lakes, some smaller ones, four channels in the city. The city, especially the southern part (''Vecliepāja'') is almost an island. Liepaja Lake is the fifth largest lake in Latvia. It is lagoona-type, meaning it was part of the sea in ancient days. It is not deep, and is relatively narrow - up to 3.5 km (2.2 mi) - and long - about 15 km (9.3 mi). Liepaja city is on the north-western coast of the lake. If you go to Ezerkrasts (''Lakeside''), you can see the best lake views from Tise iela (''Tise street''). On one side are apartment buildings, and on the other, a meadow; behind the meadow is the lake. The lake, together with surrounding meadows, is a nature protection area, mostly because of some rare plants growing there and many species of birds that live or come across this place regularly. Swimming in the lake is not as nice as in the sea (but warmer), because the bottom is sometimes swampy. There is, however, a special place for swimming at the very end of Vainodes street.  
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Liepaja is surrounded by water. There are the Baltic Sea coast, two big lakes, some smaller ones, four channels in the city. The city, especially the southern part (''Vecliepāja'') is almost an island. Liepaja Lake is the fifth largest lake in Latvia. It is lagoona-type, meaning it was part of the sea in ancient days. It is not deep, and is relatively narrow - up to 3.5 km (2.2 mi) - and long - about 15 km (9.3 mi). Liepaja city is on the north-western coast of the lake. If you go to Ezerkrasts (''Lakeside''), you can see the best lake views from Tise iela (''Tise street''). On one side are apartment buildings, and on the other, a meadow; behind the meadow is the lake. The lake, together with surrounding meadows, is a nature protection area, mostly because of some rare plants growing there and many species of birds that live or come across this place regularly. Swimming in the lake is not as nice as in the sea (but warmer), because the bottom is sometimes swampy. There is, however, a special place for swimming at the very end of Vainodes street, where the lake `comes` very close to blocks of flats. It`s right next to the southern terminus of the tram and most busses - M. Kempes street.
  
There is an interesting, yet very dirty and untouristic place called Zirgu sala. It is the biggest isle in the lake and is very close to city center, where it is connected by bridge. From the island, an approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) long jetty, accessible even by car (a very bad road though) built of metallurgical factory oven-burned metallic stones, goes into the lake, providing nice views. It is sometimes called Golodova dambis or Zirgu salas dambis, but does not appear in any travel guides.
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There is an interesting, yet a bit dirty and untouristic place called Zirgu sala. It is the biggest isle in the lake and is very close to city center, where it is connected by bridge. Take Ezermalas street to get there. From the island, an approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) long jetty, accessible on foot or by bicycle (a very bad road though) built of metallurgical factory oven-burned metallic stones, goes into the lake, providing nice views. It is sometimes called Golodova dambis or Zirgu salas dambis, but does not appear in many travel guides, however, a bird observation tower was built there in 2013 and the place is becoming more and more popular now. Another bird observation tower is located in the previously mentioned meadow next to Tise streets, at the end of Lauku street - the terminus of bus number 1.
  
 
===Karosta===  
 
===Karosta===  
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==Learn==
 
==Learn==
 
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Liepāja has a University, many exchange students arrive each year www.liepu.lv
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Liepājas branch of Rīgas Technical University
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Liepājas branch of Stradina University of Medicine
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Liepājas branches of several other educational institutions.
  
 
==Work==
 
==Work==
Knowledge of Latvian language is essential in most jobs. Some permits are required, depending on your home country. It is easier for EU citizens. The average salary is about €400-500 per month, but it varies greatly depending on the area of activity.
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Knowledge of Latvian language is essential in most jobs. Some permits are required, depending on your home country. It is easier for EU citizens. The average salary is about €500-600 per month, but it varies greatly depending on the area of activity.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
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Main shopping centres are located in the centre and in the South of the city and they are - Kurzeme, Ostmala, Rietumu centres, XL Sala, Baata, Ezerkrasts, DEPO etc.  
 
Main shopping centres are located in the centre and in the South of the city and they are - Kurzeme, Ostmala, Rietumu centres, XL Sala, Baata, Ezerkrasts, DEPO etc.  
  
In Liepaja you will find all shops you might want to find, except for expensive brand shops. DEPO is the largest DIY store in Latvia. Rietumu centres has JYSK, interesting and reasonably priced. Ostmala has a RIMI hypermarket and many clothes shops. XL SALA has MAXIMA XX and many other shops. BAATA is probably the trendiest shopping centre - it is not large, but has a nice selection of shops and a very good restaurant Olive. Go there by tram till the last stop in the South. And just 5 minutes from there is a wonderful white sand beach of the Baltic sea.
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In Liepaja you will find all shops you might want to find, except for expensive brand shops. DEPO is the largest DIY store in Latvia. Rietumu centres has JYSK, interesting and reasonably priced. Ostmala has a RIMI hypermarket and many clothes shops. XL SALA has MAXIMA XX and many other shops. BAATA is probably the trendiest shopping centre - it is not large, but has a nice selection of shops and a very good restaurant Olive. Go there by tram, one stop further to the south than XL Sala. And just 5 minutes from there is a wonderful white sand beach of the Baltic sea.
  
 
Amber, craftworks, souvenirs in '''Petertirgus''' (central market, the biggest and main one). Go to '''Annas tirgus''' - a smaller market in Jaunliepaja (open daily, except Sundays), or better to small markets in '''Silku/Kalpaka street corner''' and another one in '''Karosta''' for cool soviet-style souvenirs and other interesting stuff.  
 
Amber, craftworks, souvenirs in '''Petertirgus''' (central market, the biggest and main one). Go to '''Annas tirgus''' - a smaller market in Jaunliepaja (open daily, except Sundays), or better to small markets in '''Silku/Kalpaka street corner''' and another one in '''Karosta''' for cool soviet-style souvenirs and other interesting stuff.  
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'''Stendera ziepju fabrika''' produces interesting soaps and soap-related products for bathing, such as '''Burbuļbumbas''' - the bubble balls.
 
'''Stendera ziepju fabrika''' produces interesting soaps and soap-related products for bathing, such as '''Burbuļbumbas''' - the bubble balls.
 
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
 
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Go to '''Petertirgus''' (Peter’s market, the main open market, open every day) for fresh, clean local food which is natural and healthy. Especially strawberries in July.
Go to '''Petertirgus''' (Peter’s market, the main open market, open every day) for fresh, clean local food which is natural and healthy. Especially strawberries in July...  
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Try Latvian food in a cafeteria, restaurant or just buy a '''Sklandrausis''' (carrot pie, typical for Kurzeme, Western Latvia) in ''Šaras'' (a local word used for inner pavilion of a market, in this case Petertirgus market, and the official word in Latvian would be ''skārņi''). '''Black bread''' is extremely important part of Latvian food. There are many types of black breads and they are believed to be much healthier and better than white bread. Latvia is much richer in milk products than an average Western country. Try '''Biezpiena sieriņš''' - a curd snack with sweet taste. Many types are available, the most popular being '''Karums''' and '''Baltais'''. Try the dessert '''Maizes zupa''' (bread soup, made of black bread and fruits). Taste the '''Biešu zupa''' (red beetroot soup). Latvian cakes are also nice and the best place to take a cup of good coffee and a cake, such as whipped egg whites `basket` '''Līga''', is definitely Serenade on the corner of Graudu and Pasta streets. Such a cake costs just 0.30 Ls, approximately €0.40.  
 
Try Latvian food in a cafeteria, restaurant or just buy a '''Sklandrausis''' (carrot pie, typical for Kurzeme, Western Latvia) in ''Šaras'' (a local word used for inner pavilion of a market, in this case Petertirgus market, and the official word in Latvian would be ''skārņi''). '''Black bread''' is extremely important part of Latvian food. There are many types of black breads and they are believed to be much healthier and better than white bread. Latvia is much richer in milk products than an average Western country. Try '''Biezpiena sieriņš''' - a curd snack with sweet taste. Many types are available, the most popular being '''Karums''' and '''Baltais'''. Try the dessert '''Maizes zupa''' (bread soup, made of black bread and fruits). Taste the '''Biešu zupa''' (red beetroot soup). Latvian cakes are also nice and the best place to take a cup of good coffee and a cake, such as whipped egg whites `basket` '''Līga''', is definitely Serenade on the corner of Graudu and Pasta streets. Such a cake costs just 0.30 Ls, approximately €0.40.  
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Any Latvian would tell you that chocolate of '''Laima''' (the local sweets factory) is much better than Belgian one. Laima offers not just chocolate, but also ''konfektes'' - candies of different types, sold by grams and kilos and the price is about 5 LVL per kilo. The best ones are Rudzupuķe, Lācītis Ķepainītis, Serenāde, Vētras putns, Rīts, Soho, Sarkanā magone, Vāverīte etc. An assortment in a nice box can also be a nice gift to friends who stayed home. Try Zefirs - a soft marshmallow-type sweet. Gotiņa (Little cow - well, not exactly little, but English lacks diminutive) is a famous milk candy. Apart from Laima, there is '''Emihls Gustavs''' chocolate factory. It is more exclusive and they make little sculptures of different shapes of chocolate, but it is a bit pricy.
 
Any Latvian would tell you that chocolate of '''Laima''' (the local sweets factory) is much better than Belgian one. Laima offers not just chocolate, but also ''konfektes'' - candies of different types, sold by grams and kilos and the price is about 5 LVL per kilo. The best ones are Rudzupuķe, Lācītis Ķepainītis, Serenāde, Vētras putns, Rīts, Soho, Sarkanā magone, Vāverīte etc. An assortment in a nice box can also be a nice gift to friends who stayed home. Try Zefirs - a soft marshmallow-type sweet. Gotiņa (Little cow - well, not exactly little, but English lacks diminutive) is a famous milk candy. Apart from Laima, there is '''Emihls Gustavs''' chocolate factory. It is more exclusive and they make little sculptures of different shapes of chocolate, but it is a bit pricy.
  
 
+
''For more information on typical Latvian food, see [[Latvia#Eat]]''.
 
===Budget===
 
===Budget===
For a western traveler Liepaja`s prices might seem quite cheap. Even top-class restaurants are cheaper than similar ones in Western Europe. This is, of course, because of local average salary, which is about €400 per month. Public transport is also relatively cheap.
+
For a western traveler, Liepaja`s food prices might seem quite cheap, even for top-class restaurants. This is because the local average salary is about €400 per month.  
 
+
It is important to know that in Latvia the whole concept and meaning of words '''Cafeteria''' (''Kafejnica''), '''Canteen''' (''Ednica'') and '''Restaurant''' (''Restorans'') are different than they would be understood in other countries.
+
 
+
A Cafeteria or Kafejnica is not just a coffee shop. Usually you can have all meals that you would probably expect in a restaurant. The difference is that in Kafejnica you sometimes bring your food to your table yourself. However, some Kafejnicas have waiters, but these are then something in between of Kafejnica and Restorans. Restorans is usually a more or less top class place. Ednica is a canteen of schools, universities, factories etc. They are very cheap, but sometimes have limited access.
+
 
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Some places are very cheap and yet good - for example, '''Cepeline''' 5 minutes from the bus and rail stations on the corner of Rigas and 1905. gada streets. For a more soviet kitch experience - go to '''Chebureki''' on the corner of Raina and Jelgavas streets. In the center, try '''Tris Siveni pizza''' in Rose square, go to '''Fontaine Delisnack''' and many, many other places, which are all reasonably priced and offer tasty food.
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+
Restaurants:
+
  
 +
*'''Liepājas Pētertirgus''' [http://petertirgus.lv/] (Peter’s market, the main open market, open every day) has fresh, clean local food which is natural and healthy. Especially strawberries in July...
 +
*Try Latvian food in a cafeteria, restaurant or just buy a '''Sklandrausis''' (carrot pie, typical for Kurzeme, Western Latvia) in ''Šaras'' (a local word used for inner pavilion of a market, in this case Petertirgus market, and the official word in Latvian would be ''skārņi'').
 
*'''Doka Pica''' just behind the main University building on Brivzemnieka Street. Good and cheap pizzas, meat dishes, fish - everything.
 
*'''Doka Pica''' just behind the main University building on Brivzemnieka Street. Good and cheap pizzas, meat dishes, fish - everything.
 
+
*'''Karosta Prison''' [http://www.karosta.lv/] has an authentic soviet style canteen, but it does not operate regularly and is used by group requests only.
All cafeterias (kafejnīca) in the center are nice, too.  In '''Karosta Prison''' there is an authentic soviet style canteen, but it does not operate regularly and is used by group requests only.
+
*'''Serenāde''', Pasta 28, on the corner of Graudu and Pasta streets has great cakes and pastries costing €0.40.  
  
 
===Mid-range===
 
===Mid-range===
  
*'''Upe''', in hotel LIVA.  
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*'''Upe''' [http://www.restoransupe.lv/en/], in hotel LIVA.  
*'''Barons Bumbiers''', In shopping centre Kurzeme.
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*'''Barons Bumbiers''' [http://www.baronsbumbiers.lv/], In shopping centre Kurzeme.
 
*'''Medus''', in guest house Porins.  
 
*'''Medus''', in guest house Porins.  
  
 
===Splurge===
 
===Splurge===
* Restaurant '''Piano''' in hotel Promenade*****,
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* '''Piano''' [http://www.promenadehotel.lv/en/] in Hotel Promenade
* '''Oskars''' in hotel Amrita****,
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* '''Oskars''' [http://www.groupeuropa.com/europa_city_lv/amrita_liepaja/restaurans_liepaja/] in hotel Amrita
* '''Kolumbs''' in hotel Kolumbs****,
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* '''Kolumbs''' [http://www.hotelkolumbs.com/] in hotel Kolumbs  
* '''Libava''' in guest house Libava.
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* '''Libava''' [http://www.libava.lv/] in guest house Libava
* '''Fontaine Royal''', a very stylish restaurant on the Promenade (not to be confused with the nearby top-class restaurant in hotel Promenade). Everything is in pompous royal style, golden colored chairs and tables etc.
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* '''Fontaine Royal''' [ http://www.fontaineroyal.lv/en/home], a very stylish restaurant on the Promenade (not to be confused with the nearby top-class restaurant in hotel Promenade). Everything is in pompous royal style, golden colored chairs and tables etc.
* '''Postman`s house''' - Pastnieka māja.  
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* '''Restorāns Pastnieka Māja''' [http://pastniekamaja.lv/] - literally, postman's house
* '''Old Captain''' - Vecais kapteinis (fish restaurant)
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* '''Vecais Kapteinis''' [http://www.vecaiskapteinis.lv/#/restaurant/]- literally, old captain. Fish restaurant.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
 +
Nightlife is active and good in Liepāja. The area around Promenāde is the place to go for good music, dancing, snacks, drinks etc.
  
Nightlife places are '''RockCafe''', '''Fontaine Palace''' (hotel's music club in an old warehouse, capacity 600 people, offering live bands from around the globe), '''Big7''' - all in the centre.
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===Clubs===
 
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*'''Fontaine Palace''' - hotel's music club in an old warehouse, capacity 600 people, offering live bands from around the globe
 +
*'''Big7''' (right behind the Trinity Cathedral).
 +
*'''Ego''' (corner of Lielā/Teātra streets(.
 +
*'''Red Sun Buffet''' - mostly frequented by younger crowd, in summer they have a summer cafe/ dance club on the central beach
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*'''Pilsētas Vārti''' (In the central Rožu square next to Kurzeme shopping center on the corner of Zivju) - for those over 30.
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
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[[fi:Liepāja]]
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[[nl:Liepāja]]
 
[[pl:Lipawa]]
 
[[pl:Lipawa]]
 
[[pt:Liepaja]]
 
[[pt:Liepaja]]

Revision as of 00:42, 29 April 2014

Liepāja [1] is a city in Latvia.

Contents

Understand

Liepāja, a wonderful city of about 90,000 residents, is a gemstone, located on Latvia's Baltic coast. It is Latvia's third largest city (and arguably the next most important city after the capital Riga) and the former capital of Latvia during World War I. It is important for tourists to know that Liepaja city consists of two main areas of interest - 1) the city center, and 2) Karosta, the northern part of the city, which used to be a secret military town for the Russian Empire (hence many Tsar-time buildings) and the Soviet Union (brutal blocks of flats from the 1970s just next to a 110 years old orthodox cathedral). Both the city center and Karosta have great beaches, and you will be surprised how unspoiled and beautiful the central beach is, and how white and soft the sand is! Karosta is essentially another city, because it really has a different history and look from the rest of Liepaja; Karosta is worth a separate visit. In Liepaja there is no place to be called `the old town`, but the center and surroundings are full of old, beautiful wooden buildings, lots of Art Nouveau - both wooden and in bricks, little irregular streets, etc. The center also includes the Seaside Park (Jurmalas parks) area, which has a fantastic white, soft sand beach; the park itself is great, too, with many nice buildings. Liepāja is known as the city where wind was born (it`s part of the lyrics of a song of the same name, which was officially chosen as the anthem of the city, and characters of these lyrics are represented in 5 monuments in Kūrmājas prospekts street). It is also known as the capital of music of Latvia, many famous Latvian musicians are exactly from Liepāja. It is a major center of culture, education, industry etc. Despite being relatively small, it is one of Latvia`s largest cities and has rich history, hence it`s very diverse architecture and rich heritage.

Get in

Liepaja is easily accessible. It is located 220 km (136 mi) west from Riga, 100 km (62 mi) north from Klaipeda, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. You can get to Liepaja by plane, train or bus from Riga, and by bus from Klaipeda or Palanga. You can get to Liepaja by your own car from Riga even faster than by public transport. Normally a bus ride from Riga to Liepaja takes about 3hours 30minutes, and a bit less than 2 hours from Klaipeda.

By car

There are two main roads to Liepaja. From Riga, the A9 runs westward for 220km. From Klaipėda in Lithuania, the A11 runs north for 100km. From Ventspils, on the coast further north, take the P111.

By bus

Liepaja is connected by bus service with Riga (many times every day, €9, 3.5 hours), Ventspils, Kuldiga and other towns and villages in Liepaja region, as well as Klaipeda (2 hours) and Palanga in Lithuania. To get from the bus station to the center, take the tram at a tram stop which is on your right side when you exit the bus station building. Do not cross the tram tracks, which is the wrong direction! The Liepaja region bus terminal is in the southern part of the center, at Sienatirgus. All buses also go to the main bus station. A ticket to Riga costs around 6,40 Lats (9 Euros).

By train

The Liepaja railway station is located in the same building as the bus terminal. A nice and relatively quick train runs every day to and from Riga (€8.80). It leaves Liepaja at 6:00, and arrives at Riga railway station at 9:10. The train from Riga leaves at 18:30 and arrives in Liepaja at 21:37. These trains also stop at Skrunda, Saldus, Dobele and Jelgava. On the train, you can watch a movie or buy coffee from a machine. Despite the fact that the train actually takes a longer route – about 240km compared to 220km if you go by bus – because it goes through Jelgava, it takes a bit less time to go to Riga by train than by bus.

By boat

A ferry service connects Liepaja with Travemünde (near Lübeck) in Germany. The ferry terminal is in Ziemelu priekspilseta, 15 minutes from the center by bus 10, 11, or 15, or minibus 3. If you have a yacht, you are welcome to Liepaja yacht harbor, located in the center, in Tirdzniecibas channel.

By hitch-hiking

It is pretty popular to hitch-hike in Latvia and if you want, you should try it for Liepaja, too. To get out of the city to go somewhere else, go to the north tram terminus, cross the railway crossing, and you are in the best spot to hitchhike to Riga or Ventspils, or go to the south terminus, walk some 400 meters until the city ends completely, and you are in a good spot to hitchhike to Klaipeda!

By plane

There are currently no scheduled air services to Liepaja Airport. Palanga airport in Lithuania is 65 km to the south and has scheduled services year round. Riga International airport, which is the largest airport in the Baltic states with many direct flights to Europe and Asia, including cheap Ryanair, AirBaltic and Easyjet routes, is 220km east of Liepaja.

Get around

There are four types of public transport in Liepaja city - tram, bus, minibus, taxi. Trams, buses and minibuses now have the same tickets, which you can purchase from the driver (0,50 Ls - about 0,73 EUR) or in many shops and small newsagents` boutiques such as Plus Punkts or Narvesen, which can be found in many place throughout the city. There are also 1 DAY PASS, week, month etc. passes. 1 day pass costs 1,50 Ls and gives you unlimited number of rides, but you must validate it when you first use it. This ticket is then valid on that specific date, printed on your ticket once you validate it. (Important - it is valid until midnight, not for 24 hours!) The center and the Seaside park / Central Beach areas can be easily seen on foot. Karosta is far from the center. And when you are IN Karosta, the sightseeing objects can be far from one another. There are almost no bicycle paths in Karosta, but it CAN be explored very well by bike, which you can rent from the tourist office in the center. To see public transport routes on the map, consult the schedules etc., visit marsruit schedules or liepajastransportes

Tram

The Liepājas Tram is very popular among locals and tourists. It started operating in 1899 as the first and only electric tram in the Baltic states (in some other cities it was drawn by horses). It has seen many changes, currently has only one line, however it was recently extended and now operates to Ezerkrasts-2 (lakeside-2) residential district. It is the south east of the city. As the name suggests, there is a lake nearby, fifth largest in Latvia. The tram line runs from the lakeside, then along the residential districts next to the beach, two shopping centers, then goes through the center, right next to the Rose square, the University building, Kurzeme shopping center, crosses the bridge, goes to Jaunliepaja, a place with diverse old architecture, passes the bus station/ railway station and then ends near the metallurgic factory. It operates from 5AM till midnight and costs 0.40 Ls if ticket is bought in a kiosk, or 0.50 Ls, if you buy it from the tram driver. Ticket must be validated in one of three yellow validators in the tram, which will print date and time on the ticket. The ticket is valid for one ride. Tram is the best transport to get to/from the Railway / Bus station to / from the city center. If you are going to catch the morning train to Riga, do so, because trams operate in early morning, but not as frequently. A ride from the center to the station takes approximately 8 minutes. An electronic tram ticket is also available by sending SMS, but this might be complicated for those who don't have local mobile phones.

Bus

has many lines, the most important for tourists being 1,3,4,7,8 to get from the center to Karosta, 2 for the airport, 1, 2, 6 for the Seaside park area / Central beach - with these you can get anywhere within the city and 912 even takes you to the neighbouring town of Grobiņa with a Livonian castle ruins and a nice promenade next to it. You can get to the Southeastern part (Ezerkrasts) to see Meynard`s church and Liepaja Lake by 3, 4, 10. Costs 0.50 from the driver or 0,40 Ls in shops and newsagents` boutiques. Buses stop at bus stops throughout the city. Tickets can be bought in kiosks or from the driver. Tickets must be validated in the bus by inserting them in an electronic validator just like in trams. Some, but not all, buses have audio announcement system for next stop and a LED screen in front of the bus displaying next stop name. In case of going to Karosta you will most likely want to go till the last stop, so don't worry. An exception might be bus number 8, which terminates far north in summer house and garden district Skede near the sea, which is kind of too far for Karosta, however is the best bus to get as fas as the Jewish holocaust memorial or the Northern fortress.

Minibus

number 22 and 23 also serve Karosta, however 23 only goes to Karosta swing bridge and you can end up waiting by a closed bridge for an hour or even more. It is therefore recommended to choose route 22, which will take you further into Karosta and in case the bridge is closed, will sometimes go around the channel to get there anyway. They cost 0.40 Ls from a shop or 0,50 Ls from the driver. Tickets must be validated just like in trams or buses. To stop a minibus, you have to wave your hand. You can stop it only at bus stops. To stop a minibus when you are in it, you have to demand the driver to do so.

Taxi

is relatively expensive compared to other types of transport, but still cheaper than in Western Europe. This is, however, the only public transport available at night (approximately from 12:30AM-5AM). There are some places in the city center and near the Bus/Railway station where Taxi cars use to assemble, but you can call (+371) 63422222, (+371) 63466666 or (+371) 63488888.

Liepaja city is relatively big for Latvian city sizes. For example, to go from the center to Karosta by bus 3, you will need approximately 35 minutes and the distance you go would be around 10 km.

Talk

Some Latvian phrases will be admired by locals, such as Paldies (Thank you). Latvian is spoken natively by more than half of Liepaja's population and is the only official language. Written signs and labels are mostly in Latvian. However, you will also hear Russian in the streets of Liepaja, which is by far the most widespread minority language since the Soviet times, when lots of Russians immigrated into Latvia`s main cities, including Liepaja, to work in industries.

In summer there are many German tourists and German can be heard in most touristic areas. Latvians, especially younger generations, speak good English.

See

When in Liepāja, one must see its diverse architecture, art nouveau, definitely go to the former secret military town of Karosta (northern Liepaja), the Fortress of Liepaja (its parts are located all around the city, the most spectacular ones are on the Baltic shore in Karosta in Krasta street and Jatnieku street), Liepaja city center with many old art-nouveau and wooden building and cobblestone streets, and the seaside park with its white sandy beach, as well as Liepajas lake - fifth largest lake in Latvia, are nice places with lots to see. Streets not to be missed in terms of architectural values include - Liepu, Dzintaru, Uliha, Kurmajas, Diku, Graudu, Kr. Valdemara, Rozu, Peldu, Toma, Republikas, Palmu, Veidenbauma, Kursu, Barona, Fr. Brivzemnieka, Ludvika and many others in the centar/seaside, and Katedrales, Atmodas, Lozmetejnieku, Imantas, Cesu Rotas, Krasta in Karosta. For best Liepājas lake views head to Reinu meza street or Eduarda Tise street. There are two bird observation towers next to the lake - one on the corner of Tise and Lauku streets, another in Zirgu sala island, get there through Ezermalas street, cross the island and walk on a jetty in the lake. To find all these streets and places, take a look at a map, zoom in, street-view it and enjoy when here.

  • Beaches What attracts tourists the most is probably the whitest and softest sandy beach. One part of it receives the Blue Flag every summer. It is a special indicator, showing that the beach is really good and safe to swim at etc. A very good thing about Liepaja beach is that it is rarely too crowded. And in the evening, night or early morning, or in winter season, you can sometimes find your self all alone in a magnificent beach, stretching as far as you can see. This is all about Vecliepaja and Dienvidrietumi beach, which are located in the central and southwestern part of the city. There are, however, other beaches in the northern part of the city, which is a very interesting place to visit (see Karosta - the former secret soviet military town). The central beach is the place where Latvia’s biggest music festival occurs every summer - the Baltic Beach Party.
Liepaja Seaside Park
Playground in Liepaja Seaside Park
  • Seaside Park, located in the center of the city, nearby the beach, is the most beautiful park of Liepaja. It has many different tree species, three stadiums, a concert-garden, a bowling center, minigolf, and in summer - summer cafeterias and many cultural events. You might also find some fountains there, and if you are lucky, you will see a squirrel running up the tree.
  • Amber clock, which is actually a sundial-shaped design object, is on the PROMENADE, and it is created of thousands of pieces of amber, donated by anyone who wanted to do so. The sundial shows time every hour on the hour, by a special light performance. The performance can be seen much better, when it is dark outside.
  • Craftman's House Here you can see the longest amber necklace in the World (123 meters (403 ft), weight - almost 20 kg (44 lb)). You can also watch weavers working a creating beautiful tablecloths, skirts etc. Usually closed on weekends.

Churches

Churches of Liepaja will surprise you nicely with the huge variety of architecture styles they are built in. This depicts very well the religion situation in Latvia - it is very mixed. It is mostly within Christianity, but several branches of it, and this can be seen in Liepaja, because there are Lutheran, Protestant, Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Russian Oldbelievers and other religious groups` churches and these vary from tiny wooden churches to huge towers and cathedrals. There are about 20 churches in Liepaja.

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
  • The Saint Trinity Cathedral- has 55 m (180 ft) high tower, which is a perfect sightseeing place for tourists. It also has a huge church organ, made of more than 7000 pipes, and it was the biggest organ in the World till 1912. It is now the biggest in Latvia and still one of the biggest and most beautiful in Europe.
  • Saint Anne's Church - it is built of red brick and is the oldest of Liepaja`s churches. The organ it there is third biggest of Latvia.
  • St. Joseph's Cathedral - the biggest catholic church in Liepaja. Built of yellow brick, has many small towers. There is a ship model in the church, which was believed to bring good luck for fishermen.
  • St. Meynard's Church - is very different from all the others, because it is just some years old. It was a gift from Vatican. It was the Vatican’s pavilion at the exposition EXPO2000 in Hannover, Germany. The church is not located in the city center.

Many other churches are scattered throughout the city, the most important being St. Nicholas maritime cathedral in Karosta (see Karosta).

Open air markets

They are always something special for western tourists, but part of daily life for local people. There are many markets throughout the city, but the two most important and largest are Peter’s market (Petertirgus) and Anne’s market (Annas tirgus). Petertirgus is in the city center. It has big indoor and outdoor sections. In both you can find food and non-food items. There is a fish market in the basement of the indoor market building. Some craftworks can be bought outside, such as amber bracelets etc. This is the best place to buy local, ecologically clean fruit and vegetables, and July is strawberry time! Everything is relatively cheap. Annas tirgus is located one tram stop closer to the center than the bus/railway station, in Jaunliepaja. It is smaller, but has a big flea market section, where you can find many things from the Soviet era.

Liepaja Lake

Liepaja is surrounded by water. There are the Baltic Sea coast, two big lakes, some smaller ones, four channels in the city. The city, especially the southern part (Vecliepāja) is almost an island. Liepaja Lake is the fifth largest lake in Latvia. It is lagoona-type, meaning it was part of the sea in ancient days. It is not deep, and is relatively narrow - up to 3.5 km (2.2 mi) - and long - about 15 km (9.3 mi). Liepaja city is on the north-western coast of the lake. If you go to Ezerkrasts (Lakeside), you can see the best lake views from Tise iela (Tise street). On one side are apartment buildings, and on the other, a meadow; behind the meadow is the lake. The lake, together with surrounding meadows, is a nature protection area, mostly because of some rare plants growing there and many species of birds that live or come across this place regularly. Swimming in the lake is not as nice as in the sea (but warmer), because the bottom is sometimes swampy. There is, however, a special place for swimming at the very end of Vainodes street, where the lake `comes` very close to blocks of flats. It`s right next to the southern terminus of the tram and most busses - M. Kempes street.

There is an interesting, yet a bit dirty and untouristic place called Zirgu sala. It is the biggest isle in the lake and is very close to city center, where it is connected by bridge. Take Ezermalas street to get there. From the island, an approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) long jetty, accessible on foot or by bicycle (a very bad road though) built of metallurgical factory oven-burned metallic stones, goes into the lake, providing nice views. It is sometimes called Golodova dambis or Zirgu salas dambis, but does not appear in many travel guides, however, a bird observation tower was built there in 2013 and the place is becoming more and more popular now. Another bird observation tower is located in the previously mentioned meadow next to Tise streets, at the end of Lauku street - the terminus of bus number 1.

Karosta

A former secret Soviet military town. If you are in Liepaja, you must go to Karosta. It is the northern part of the city, about 10 km (6 mi) from the center. Karosta translates as War Port (or Navy Harbor) from Latvian. It used to be a secret military town for Russian empire, and later also for the Soviets. Latvia became independent, and some years after that, in 1994, the Soviet militarists had to leave Karosta. The population dropped dramatically from 25000 to 6000, leaving many empty houses behind. Then Karosta experienced something like a war without guns. Many houses where turned into ruins. Everything was taken away. Brick by brick, many historic, beautiful buildings disappeared forever. Now, Karosta has a population of 7000 and a dream of renaissance, which has already started. It is now a popular tourist destination and also home for international artist’s center, called K2. Many places of Karosta still look like after a war. Some places remind the abandoned towns of Chernobyl nuclear disaster area.

  • There is a beach in Karosta. There you will find some pebbles and the sand might not be that soft as in the previous beach. But Karosta is definitely a must see, if you visit Liepaja! Karosta translates as War Port from Latvian. It used to be a secret military town for Russian empire, and later also for the Soviets. On the seashore of Karosta you can also see a Breakwater, the longest one of Liepaja`s breakwaters, stretching 1.8 km into the sea, and you can go on it by car till approximately half of its length. Just be careful of waves in windy weather. And wind is famous in Liepaja. A Latvian expression says "the city where wind was born". And as any Latvian would tell, it's Liepaja. On the shore you can also see two fortresses. This is a wild beach with steep coasts, unlike the central beach with dunes.
  • Eight fortresses all around the city, but the most scenic and interesting ones are these two on the shores of Karosta. The one closer to breakwater (you can even see a small part of it from the breakwater), is Tuvejie Forti (Nearby Fortress), and it was blasted up shortly after being built. The other one, further to the north, is Ziemelu forti (Northern Fortress). It is not blasted up, so it has much more underground labyrinths and tunnels to explore, but it is not as scenic and dramatic from the outside as the first one. Nearby the Northern fortress you can see nature-friendly energy being made by a huge wind power generator, which can be seen from far in the distance.
  • Orthodox cathedral in the central part of Karosta. It is surrounded by Soviet-style apartment buildings, making it very surreal and contrasting. It was used as a cinema and a gym for soldiers during the soviet occupation years. Now the St. Nicholas maritime cathedral is a church again and the sound of its bells can be heard from afar.
  • Submarine Accumulator Fence and Hangar are the remains of a submarine base that was once here. There are also former dormitories, beautiful red brick buildings. All are abandoned and partially demolished.
  • Horse Arena (MANEZA) is a roofless building, which was once used for soldiers` training to ride horses, as well as for official celebrations for up to 4000 people who could fit there. These days the building is not used, except for one nice event, when Liepaja symphony orchestra made an open-air concert here.
  • Twinned town of Chernobyl are empty Soviet style apartment buildings, left in 1994. Some are already destroyed, some 10 are still there. Many older houses are empty as well.
  • Karosta Prison It was a real military prison till 1997 and is now for tourists, where they are treated like real prisoners, and, if they are brave enough, can even stay overnight
  • Castle is unfortunately in bad condition.
  • Temporary Art Gallery - modern, a bit weird, but always original and interesting exhibitions at Atmodas bulvaris 6. gallery k.Maksla. Ask for bicycle rental here, too.
  • Other things - Water supply tower, Karosta cemetery with soviet style monuments, Karosta park, many forests and Beberlini Lake - a nice place to have a barbecue party in summer. There is camping, too.

In the city center:

  • The Liepaja Museum; 16, Kurmajas Avenue; Phone: 63422973; [2].
  • Liepaja During Occupational Regimes; 7/9, K.Ukstina Street; Phone: 63420274;

In Liepaja region: there are some nice towns, 100km of beautiful Baltic coast, lots of forests and it is worth to visit the Kalvene Zoo park, which is very big and animals have bigger space to live than usually in city zoos. Pape Nature Park is another option, if you want to see wild horses and wild boars. Same animals can be seen in Vitinu meadows, which is just the opposite coast of Liepaja Lake, not far from the airport. This visit must be guided and pre-booked in the tourism info center, because it is a nature protection area. Town of Aizpute has medieval atmosphere with little irregular streets, old wooden buildings and castle ruins, and it is on the way to Kuldiga, the medieval town with Europe's widest waterfall.

Do

The city center and Karosta must be visited.

If you visit in summer, go to the beach and swim.

Windsurfing activities are popular and city has both the sea and the lake, so there are wide opportunities for this and equipment can be rented in Windsurfing club Rietumkrasts in Katedrales street, Karosta.

Learn

Liepāja has a University, many exchange students arrive each year www.liepu.lv Liepājas branch of Rīgas Technical University Liepājas branch of Stradina University of Medicine Liepājas branches of several other educational institutions.

Work

Knowledge of Latvian language is essential in most jobs. Some permits are required, depending on your home country. It is easier for EU citizens. The average salary is about €500-600 per month, but it varies greatly depending on the area of activity.

Buy

Main shopping centres are located in the centre and in the South of the city and they are - Kurzeme, Ostmala, Rietumu centres, XL Sala, Baata, Ezerkrasts, DEPO etc.

In Liepaja you will find all shops you might want to find, except for expensive brand shops. DEPO is the largest DIY store in Latvia. Rietumu centres has JYSK, interesting and reasonably priced. Ostmala has a RIMI hypermarket and many clothes shops. XL SALA has MAXIMA XX and many other shops. BAATA is probably the trendiest shopping centre - it is not large, but has a nice selection of shops and a very good restaurant Olive. Go there by tram, one stop further to the south than XL Sala. And just 5 minutes from there is a wonderful white sand beach of the Baltic sea.

Amber, craftworks, souvenirs in Petertirgus (central market, the biggest and main one). Go to Annas tirgus - a smaller market in Jaunliepaja (open daily, except Sundays), or better to small markets in Silku/Kalpaka street corner and another one in Karosta for cool soviet-style souvenirs and other interesting stuff.

Visit the tourism information center; they have nice souvenirs, too. A good souvenir from little bays near fortresses in Karosta is little pebbles from the Baltic Sea. It's free and natural. Some tourists take a little jar of Liepaja central beach unbelievably white and soft sand as a souvenir.

Stendera ziepju fabrika produces interesting soaps and soap-related products for bathing, such as Burbuļbumbas - the bubble balls.

Eat

Go to Petertirgus (Peter’s market, the main open market, open every day) for fresh, clean local food which is natural and healthy. Especially strawberries in July.

Try Latvian food in a cafeteria, restaurant or just buy a Sklandrausis (carrot pie, typical for Kurzeme, Western Latvia) in Šaras (a local word used for inner pavilion of a market, in this case Petertirgus market, and the official word in Latvian would be skārņi). Black bread is extremely important part of Latvian food. There are many types of black breads and they are believed to be much healthier and better than white bread. Latvia is much richer in milk products than an average Western country. Try Biezpiena sieriņš - a curd snack with sweet taste. Many types are available, the most popular being Karums and Baltais. Try the dessert Maizes zupa (bread soup, made of black bread and fruits). Taste the Biešu zupa (red beetroot soup). Latvian cakes are also nice and the best place to take a cup of good coffee and a cake, such as whipped egg whites `basket` Līga, is definitely Serenade on the corner of Graudu and Pasta streets. Such a cake costs just 0.30 Ls, approximately €0.40.

Any Latvian would tell you that chocolate of Laima (the local sweets factory) is much better than Belgian one. Laima offers not just chocolate, but also konfektes - candies of different types, sold by grams and kilos and the price is about 5 LVL per kilo. The best ones are Rudzupuķe, Lācītis Ķepainītis, Serenāde, Vētras putns, Rīts, Soho, Sarkanā magone, Vāverīte etc. An assortment in a nice box can also be a nice gift to friends who stayed home. Try Zefirs - a soft marshmallow-type sweet. Gotiņa (Little cow - well, not exactly little, but English lacks diminutive) is a famous milk candy. Apart from Laima, there is Emihls Gustavs chocolate factory. It is more exclusive and they make little sculptures of different shapes of chocolate, but it is a bit pricy.

For more information on typical Latvian food, see Latvia#Eat.

Budget

For a western traveler, Liepaja`s food prices might seem quite cheap, even for top-class restaurants. This is because the local average salary is about €400 per month.

  • Liepājas Pētertirgus [3] (Peter’s market, the main open market, open every day) has fresh, clean local food which is natural and healthy. Especially strawberries in July...
  • Try Latvian food in a cafeteria, restaurant or just buy a Sklandrausis (carrot pie, typical for Kurzeme, Western Latvia) in Šaras (a local word used for inner pavilion of a market, in this case Petertirgus market, and the official word in Latvian would be skārņi).
  • Doka Pica just behind the main University building on Brivzemnieka Street. Good and cheap pizzas, meat dishes, fish - everything.
  • Karosta Prison [4] has an authentic soviet style canteen, but it does not operate regularly and is used by group requests only.
  • Serenāde, Pasta 28, on the corner of Graudu and Pasta streets has great cakes and pastries costing €0.40.

Mid-range

  • Upe [5], in hotel LIVA.
  • Barons Bumbiers [6], In shopping centre Kurzeme.
  • Medus, in guest house Porins.

Splurge

  • Piano [7] in Hotel Promenade
  • Oskars [8] in hotel Amrita
  • Kolumbs [9] in hotel Kolumbs
  • Libava [10] in guest house Libava
  • Fontaine Royal [ http://www.fontaineroyal.lv/en/home], a very stylish restaurant on the Promenade (not to be confused with the nearby top-class restaurant in hotel Promenade). Everything is in pompous royal style, golden colored chairs and tables etc.
  • Restorāns Pastnieka Māja [11] - literally, postman's house
  • Vecais Kapteinis [12]- literally, old captain. Fish restaurant.

Drink

Nightlife is active and good in Liepāja. The area around Promenāde is the place to go for good music, dancing, snacks, drinks etc.

Clubs

  • Fontaine Palace - hotel's music club in an old warehouse, capacity 600 people, offering live bands from around the globe
  • Big7 (right behind the Trinity Cathedral).
  • Ego (corner of Lielā/Teātra streets(.
  • Red Sun Buffet - mostly frequented by younger crowd, in summer they have a summer cafe/ dance club on the central beach
  • Pilsētas Vārti (In the central Rožu square next to Kurzeme shopping center on the corner of Zivju) - for those over 30.

Sleep

In Liepaja you have all you need - choose a cheap and cosy hostel or a five star hotel - Liepaja has it all. Some examples:

  • Fontaine Hotel, Juras 24, (+371) 63420956, [13]. Charming hotel in 2 old wooden houses on the same street, dating 1760 and 1890, with a nice backyard. Each room has its own design and charm. The reception is also a shop selling antiques and souvenirs. 18 - 35 Ls.
  • Beach Hostel [14] The Liepaja Branch of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia has a guesthouse for travelers in Liepaja. It is most suited for backpackers and small groups of friends and families. The Liepaja Beach Hostel is becoming popular with the Riga expat community. Located between the beach and the centre.
  • Karosta Military Detention Center[15] Invalīdu Street 4; Phone: (+371) 26369470; Email: info@karostascietums.lv The Karosta prison is probably the most inhospitable hotel in the world. There is no hot water, mattresses consist of wooden planks, and prison guards bark at the guests also known as prisoners. The hostel is in a former prison noted for its exceptional brutality during the Soviet era. Price: 5 Ls per person.
  • Europa City Amrita [16] Four star hotel on the bank of Trade channel in the centre, only 15 minutes walk from unique white sand beach. Hotel is preferred for businessmen and those travelling on leisure, friendly for families. Prices: €17 -180. Phone: +371 63403434, e-mail: liepaja@europacity.lv
  • Viesnīca Līva [17], Lielā iela 11, Phone: (+371) 63420102.
  • Fontaine Royal hotel [18], Stūrmaņu iela 1, Tel. +371 63489777; Fax +371 63489776; royal@fontaine.lv; at the canal front downtown in an old factory building. Fontaine Royal offers swimming pool, health centre, conference hall, restaurant, bar and various shops. The hotel is full of royal furniture, all gold plated standing in contrast with the old factory spirit, you will feel like a king staying at the Fontaine Royal. The hotel offers the biggest conference & banquet facilities in Kurland with 300 seats.

Stay safe

Liepaja is a safe place. Some people think it is not safe at night, but it is all a matter of personal opinion. Avoid walking alone in darkness. Do not leave your belongings unattended in clubs and pubs, or on the streets. Be careful in Karosta - during the 1990s it was a criminal place; however, it is much better now.

Cope

Latvia is Nordic in its weather. The temperatures in July can reach 30ºC (86ºF). And they can also fall as low as -30ºC (-22ºF) in January... But both winter and summer has their beauty. Make two visits - one in summer, one in winter - and you will have two totally different experiences! And make yet another visit in mid October, when all the trees are colorful.

Get out

There is so much to see in the city that there is actually no need to get out. Nature is everywhere, even within the city: those are not just artificially planted city parks. There are also absolutely unspoiled and natural beaches, forests and meadows near the Liepaja lake. There are some swamps, but they are not that accessible. You can visit special swamp trails in Liepaja region, as well as even bigger and denser forests. You might want to go to other towns and villages. In addition to Riga (Latvia's capitol), an excursion to Kuldiga (about 100 km away) is highly recommended; there you will find Europe’s widest waterfall.

  • Riga the capital of Latvia, 220 km. Ventspils is a very nice town just 110 km north from Liepaja. It is also on the Baltic coast, has many things to see, and is one of the tidiest towns in the region, which gets its prosperity from the huge Ventspils harbor and oil transit business.




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