Old historical part of Kuldiga
Kuldīga is a town in Latvia, it was a capital of Duchy of Courland and Semigallia in 1561-1795.
Kuldiga Tourism Information Centre (Kuldīgas tūrisma attīstības centrs) located in the central square of town, address Baznīcas St 5, ☎ +371 633 22259 ([email protected], fax: +371 293 34403).
Both downloadable and interactive Kuldiga maps can be found on Kuldīgas karte page of the TIC website.
(Latvian for Alex Stream) that flows across the town.
Kuldiga town in the Kurzeme region (formerly Courland) with its historical part and Valley of the River Venta is known as “The Latvian Venice”. Indeed the river flows along the walls of many of the town’s houses.
The vision of the local authorities is to make the old town of Kuldiga an important international tourism destination, with the potential to attract domestic and foreign tourists and contribute to the sustainable development of the town.
The tourism recourses of Kuldiga town are based on its historical and cultural heritage and the Venta River which is one of the largest and most picturesque rivers of Latvia.
The historic and architectural heritage of Kuldiga is well preserved. In the park near the Kuldiga district museum fragments of the stone wall and the cellar of the first Kuldiga castle, built in 1242 by German knights, have been preserved to this day. Later Duke Jacob’s castle (ruined in 1701) was situated there as well. Today it is a sculpture park. The old brick bridge across the Venta, built in 1874, is one of the longest of such type of bridges in Europe. The bridge was built according to the road standards of the 19th century (500 feet long and 26 feet wide), so that two carriages could pass next to each other on it.
The Old Town Hall was built in the 17th century. The cellar of the building was the first prison in Kuldiga. The oldest wooden building in Courland was built in 1670 near the Town square on the banks of the River Alekšupīte.
The town square was an old assembly place for people. Traditional cultural heritage is part of everyday life in Kuldiga with textile workshops, celebrations of national festivals and also with more contemporary events such as the annual running competition on the Alekšupīte (River of Aleksis) and the ‘naked people run’ over the historical bridge on the Venta River at Midsummer night.
View to the town from the Church of Saint Catherine.
Kuldiga is in the middle of the road P108 between Ventspils (a sea port in the W of the country) and Saldus, which is 50 km SE from Kuldiga in the middle of the road A9 between Riga (capital) and Liepaja (another sea port).
The railway passes through Saldus connecting it with Liepaja and Jelgava, however the passenger trains are canceled on this line.
If going from Liepaja use a shortcut via Aizpute town, the road P112 will take you directly to Kuldiga.
Depending on where from you are going to start, choose the appropriate direction and mode of transport.
Town itself is small enough, can be easily explored on foot.
Venta river and Kuldiga town in a distance.
, Latvian for "Venta Waterfall".
Entrance to Riežupe Cave 5.8 km north of town.
The Historical Centre of Kuldīga
Kuldīga is a small and attractive town in Kurzeme which has always been admired and praised by poets and painters. The city centre, which developed in the 17th –18th centuries, has still preserved the old wooden buildings which form small and narrow streets.
The Venta waterfall (Ventas rumba) is the widest waterfall in Europe. This 240 meter wide naturally formed waterfall is associated with a number of legends and historic events. In ancient times, due to Duke Jacob’s invented devices for catching fish on the Venta waterfall, Kuldiga was considered the place “where salmon were caught in the air”. Flying fish shows (jumping salmons over the Venta Waterfall) attract, in springtime, visitors to the town.
The old brick bridge across the Venta was built in 1874 and is the longest bridge of this kind of road bridge in Europe – 14 m. It was built according to 19th century standards – 500 feet long and 26 feet wide, allowing two carriages to pass. It consisted of seven spans of brick vaults. During World War I two of the spans were blown up.
Alekšupīte Waterfall - it was fixed and built up in the 17th century to use the stream to operate the first paper-mill in Kurzeme. As the waterfall is created artificially and is located next to the unattended mill building.
The Alekšupīte River flows directly along the walls of many buildings which is why Kuldīga has been called the Venice of Latvia. Initially the buildings of the town centre were constructed as the suburb of Kuldīga. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, the Swedish army invaded Kuldīga Castle and in 1709 it became uninhabitable, but in the 19th century the castle ruins were relocated.
St Catherine’s Church, was originally built in 1252. However, it was built anew with baroque style wood carvings on the altar. In this church Duke Jacob was baptized and later married to Princess Louisa Charlotte from Brandenburg. The church was given the name of St Catherine, the patroness of the town.
An pedestrian street with several 17th-20th buildings, interesting doors and special windows.
Sculptress Livija Rezevska’s sculpture museum
Founded in 2003. The visitors may see more than 15 sculptures charactrizing Latvian nation, its strenght unity and love.
The Riežupe Sand Caves
The Riežupe Sand Caves make up the longest underground cave labyrinth in Latvia (about 2 km, 460 m can be toured). During Duke Jacob’s reign the sand from Riežupe sand caves was taken by ships abroad for glass production.
- Bicycling, bike rent at Baznīcas St 5 (Centre). €7 1st day, €5.70 2nd day. Discounts for groups.
- Canoeing, canoe rent at Ciņi, Renda parish, Kuldiga Municipality (27 km NE of Kuldiga by Abava river, not far from Usma lake), ☎ +371 268 25352 ([email protected]). Two-seated canoe €15 1st day, €10 2nd day. (57°04.013'N,022°17.376'E)
- Stender's Pizza (Stenders Pica), Sūru St 2 (“Rimi” supermarket), ☎ +371 633 23763 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 23243). 09:00-21:30. Pizza €3-15, pancakes €1.5-3, dessert €1-2.50.
- Stender’s Bar & Club (Stenders bārs–klubs), Liepajas St 3 (Centre, eastern end of the main pedestrian street), ☎ +371 633 22703 ([email protected]). Hot snacks €2.53-3.50, second course €3.62-4.00, coffee €1.15, beer ~€1.5-3.5, vodka ~€2.20.
Dormitories and camp sites
- Kuldiga Sport School (Kuldīgas novada Sporta skola), Two places: Kalna St 6 (30 beds), Virkas St 13 (57 beds) (Kalna St - SE of centre, near the junction of Mucenieku and Jelgavas streets; Virkas St - northern district, next to the blue building), ☎ +371 294 40515 (Kalna St); +371 633 22671 (Virkas St) ([email protected]). Two dorms in different locations within premises of Sport School complex, also offer sport facilities rent. €10.
There are no camp sites within town limits, however there are several ones in recreation areas by the lakes in the countryside of Kuldiga Municipality or just immediately outside its bounds:
North East by Usma Lake
- Dižāpas Āpciems village, Renda parish, Kuldīga Municipality (NE of Kuldiga, take the road P120, then after crossing Abava river turn W to the rural road and head towards eastern shore of Usma lake by Kāņupe stream), ☎ +371 263 96247. 1 cabin for 5 persons, a gipsy bathhouse, places for tents and picnic, boat rent. Asking price. ("57°10'38"N","2°12'45"E")
- Muižnieki Muižnieki farm, Renda parish, Kuldīga Municipality (NE of Kuldiga, eastern shore of Usma lake south of Tiezumi village), ☎ Mobile +371 294 76530 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 47144). Heated cabins (6 beds each), the guest house (4 rooms) with a fireplace and sauna, a separate bathhouse. Catamaran, boat, canoe, yacht rent. Places for tents and picnic. Asking price. ("57°8'35.93"N","22°12'16.97"E")
- Usmas Meķi Kalnameķi village, Renda parish, Kuldīga Municipality (NE of Kuldiga, S end of Usma lake near Mekupe stream), ☎ +371 291 66276 ([email protected]). Recreation area by Usma lake. Bathhouse, summer terrace, active recreation, canoe rent. Place for tent for 1 person per 1 day €3, other €3-70 per person. ("57°7'20.61"N","22°11'23.91"E")
North West - by Liela Naba lake:
- Nabīte Padure parish, Kuldīga Municipality (NW from Kuldiga down the P108 road, by the lake Liela Naba, visible from the road on the other side of the lake), ☎ +371 294 58904 ([email protected]). 28 summer cabins (4 persons each), 7 Lux-doubles in the guest house, 35 beds total. Bathhouse, summer cafe, water bike and boat rent. Place for tent for 1 person per 1 day €3, banquet hall from €29.
West - by Zvirgzdu Lake
- Ezermaļi Alsunga Municipality (28 km/30 min from Kuldīga by car: take a road P119 west up to Ēdole, then turn south towards Zvirgzdu lake, round it from the W and arrive from S), ☎ +371 291 22870 ([email protected]). 34 beds; camp site, cabins and cottages. A leisure complex, offers the “sauna ritual”. Place for tent for 1 person per 1 day €6, other €28-145.
- Ķīši Alsunga Municipality (By Zvirgzdu lake, same directions as Ezermali camp site), ☎ +371 633 53427, mobile +371 292 44221 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 51242). 47 beds; camp site, cabins and cottages. Place for tent for 1 person per 1 day €7, cabin for 1 person €10, whole cabin or cottage €30-40, whole complex €430.
- Kolonna Hotel Kuldīga Pilsetas laukums St 6 (Centre), ☎ +371 633 22430 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 23671). A budget hotel in the centre, close to the old town, the park and the river. In the early 70-ties a hotel “Kursa” was built in the new center of the town.
- Metropole Baznīcas St 11 (Centre), ☎ +371 633 50588 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 50599). checkin: 15:00; checkout: 13:00. Offers 14 furnished rooms. Each room is equipped with cable TV, bathroom with shower or bath and a phone. From the windows, a sight to the busiest pedestrian street of Kuldiga, Liepaja Street, opens, but in case you want more quiet view, hotel has rooms with view to the River Aleksu that cranks though the very heart of Kuldiga. €50-115.
- Ventas Rumba “Rumba”, Mārtiņš Island, Kuldiga (On the eastern bank of Venta, just between the bridge and the waterfall), ☎ +371 633 24168 ([email protected]). A guesthouse on the artificial Mārtiņš Island of Venta river. Offer 2-10 bed rooms, a hall for banquets and seminars, and sauna. Pets are allowed by prior arrangement. €30-75 per room, extra bed €7. During the festivals the price may be changed.
- Virkas Muiža Virkas St 27 (Northern part of town east of northern roundabout, near River Venta and the stadium), ☎ reservation +371 220 60780 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 22787). Hotel in the former manor house of a German baron Firchshof. Offer rooms and facilities for seminars and celebration up to 50 people. €17.5-43.00. (N56°58.723,E021°57.696)
Land line phone
Kuldīga (both town and the municipality) phone code is 633 and the five digit local subscriber number.
Kuldīga Post Office-1 (Kuldīgas 1. pasta nodaļa), Liepājas St 34, (Centre), ☎ +371 633 50445. M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa 09:00-13:00. Post office is at the 1st floor of the 2 storey red brick building on the corner.
- Outdoor recreation areas of central Courland: rivers Abava, Riežupe and Venta, lakes Usma and Zvirgzdi; horse riding at Zāģkalni leisure complex by Usma lake. 44 km west of Kuldiga you find the Baltic sea - drive the road P118 till the end, then turn left (south) via Jūrkalne up to the mouth of Muižupīte stream, the nearly empty beach from horizon to horizon is yours.
- Dairy Museum (Piena muzejs), Sieksāte, Rudbārži parish, Skrunda Municipality (South of Kuldiga ~47 km if driving either P112 or P116 roads; 10 km west of Skrunda, by the road P117), ☎ +371 265 18660 ([email protected]). Neo-Rococo style manor, now known as Milk Manor (Piena Muiža), initially built as a hunting residence of Baron von Medem. Offer accommodation (from €35.57), catering in Rose Tavern (open daily 12:00-24:00), milk SPA, several types of sauna, tennis courts, camping site. Museum price for 1 adult €1.5, guided tour “Milk Story” €3.54, guided tour “Way of Milk” that involves hand milking €7.10 per 1 adult. (56°41.415N,21°53.405E)
- Ēdole Castle (Ēdoles pilsmuiža), Pils St 1, Ēdole, Kuldiga Municipality (19 km/18 min west of Kuldiga), ☎ +371 633 21251, mobile +371 262 28899 ([email protected]). 08:00-18:00. Initially built as a castella type castle in 1264, it was significantly reconstructed in 1835-1841 and now represents a first example of Neo-Gothic architecture in Latvia. Adult €5, child €2, guide €15, photography €15.
- Garīkas baronial estate (Garīku muiža), Rudbārži parish, Skrunda Municipality (About 35 km south of Kuldiga and 11.3 km west of Skrunda; from the road P117 slightly west from Sieksāte village follow the green sign - turn north and drive towards Vecsieksāte village 1.4 km up to Garīkas), ☎ +371 291 47778 ([email protected]). Operates as a guest house, has a party room for up to 50 people, seminar facilities for 40, a vaulted fireplace room in the basement for 16 people. Bedrooms for 2, 3 and 4 people. Place for up to 50 tents and picnicking by the pond. Bathhouse. A special offer - a shiitake mushroom soup or sauce tasting. 1 bed with breakfest €28 (without breakfest ~€18), double €40 (€30); fresh shiitake mushrooms (1 kg) €9, dried shiitake mushrooms (30 g) €3, dried shiitake mushroom powder (50 g) €5. (56.70191,21.87116)
- Skrunda Manor Estate (Skrundas muiža), Pils St 2, Skrunda (SE of centre), ☎ Mobile +371 221 13355 ([email protected], fax: +371 633 45645). Classicistic manor built in the beginning of 19th century by Count Gustav von Lamsdorf, now operates as a hotel (12 rooms of individual design) and a restaurant. Set on a bank of Venta river, south of the bridge. (56.670021,22.023172)
- Skrunda-1 (Military ghost town), Skrunda-1, Raņķi parish, Skrunda Municipality (North of actual Skrunda town, north of lake, west of the P116 road). Object of Urban Exploration, entrance is opposite to the Lapsas Rest House, marked by Do Not Pass sign. It is a large territory of a former Soviet radar station, code name “Комбинат” (“Factory”), served by military unit 18951. Construction started in 1963, two 5N86-Dnepr radars have been installed. Since 1980 the large expansion of military town has started, construction of the dual 90N6 Daryal-UM radar (transmitter and receiver) began in 1983, the site was renamed to Skrunda-2. The station operated until 1998, radars were blown up, and the next year the last Russian soldier left the territory of Latvia. Some 60 buildings that were left, including apartment blocks, a school, barracks and an officers club, were abandoned. The territory was auctioned in 2010, however nothing has changed to date, just the entrances are placidly guarded by a security service. Access from the swamp side is possible.