Top 9 things to do in Liepaja

Liepaja is the third largest city in Latvia and the musical capital of the country. It’s also the third most popular city among tourists after Riga and Jurmala. The city is located on a stretch of land between the Baltic Sea and the Liepāja Lake, connected by the Trade Canal. About 70,000 people have chosen it as their home place. Liepāja has rich cultural, artistic and sports traditions. Summers in Liepāja are usually filled with various events and festivals – starting from the massive “Summer Sound” beach party to the festival of speed “Rally Kurzeme” when tens of thousands of guests gather in the city. The true pearl of art is the internationally recognized performances of Liepāja Symphony orchestra. The magnificent interiors of historical Liepaja’s churches and cathedrals are stunning. The cosy atmosphere of the local cafes and restaurants is capable of replenishing the inner spirits of the most tired travellers. Liepāja has lots of things to offer for travellers and I recommend staying there for a weekend or any two days. Here is my selection of the top 9 things to do in Liepaja.25 liepaja latvia 1290128

1. Admire the city's architecture

Liepāja is an excellent place to explore both wooden and Art Nouveau architecture. Just stroll around the old part of the town and make your discoveries. Here are just a few examples for your inspiration. Get more information about the architectural walking route at a tourist information centre.
Graudu iela 44.(1909) Dwelling house with shops 
The large building on the street corner is one of the most heavily decorated Art Nouveau buildings in Liepāja. There are plant and animal motifs on the entrance portal and pediments, balcony railings and column lintel decorations made in the National Romanticism style.

10 liepaja latvia 1290472Graudu iela 46. Former Oscar Thal’s fashion house.
Eclectically decorative Art Nouveau. The interior was significantly modified during the Soviet era. Despite multiple reconstructions, the original appearance of the exterior has been preserved.11 liepaja latvia 1290483Peldu iela 44. (1902). Dwelling house in neogothic style. Architect P.M. Bertschy

12 liepaja latvia 1290068Fricaa Brivzemnieka iela 53.
Pastnieka maja restaurant with a summer garden in the very centre of the city. The building was built in 1880 and reconstructed in 2000. The building has received the annual architecture award of Liepaja for the best interior. Additional bonus: just go in and have a meal.

13 liepaja latvia 128099914 liepaja latvia 1290014

2. Take a selfie at the Liepaja city sign

Liepāja city sign is a popular place for taking selfies for visitors of Liepaja. Walk Peldu Street from the city center admiring stunning architecture on your way. After a short stroll through the Seaside park, you will get there.20 liepaja latvia 129008921 liepaja latvia 129009322 liepaja latvia 129009523 liepaja latvia 1290099

Take your time to explore the sea views with the widest sandy beach in the country, strolling through beautiful scenery. After strong wind, you can find some pieces of amber washed ashore. Liepaja has the first beach in Latvia, adjusted for people with special needs. It has special audio beacons for the visually impaired, swimming chairs for people in wheelchairs, and a wide convenient path to get directly to the seafront. Liepaja Beach is popular among kitesurfers and windsurfers.26 liepaja latvia 1290112

3. Feel the musical soul of Liepaja at the concert hall Lielais Dzintars

Everyone can find the most appropriate musical rhythms according to their taste, ranging from musical afternoons in the Seaside Park and live music evenings at one of the restaurants. Many favourite youth festivals take place in Liepāja, Summer Sound being the most popular. Similarly, proof of music quality and sophistication in Liepāja are exquisite classical music concerts with Liepaja Symphony Orchestra. If you happen to notice musical note signs on the city centre's pavement, follow them and travel through the route "Follow the notes!" and get familiar with the most popular tourist sites.30 liepaja latvia 1290063It seems only natural that the city has its own „Great Amber” concert hall, home to the Liepaja Symphony orchestra. The concert hall „Great Amber” comprises eight stories of more than 14 000 m². It has three halls. The biggest of them, Great Hall accommodates 1000 spectators. At the basis of the architectural concept of the concert hall, created by excellent Austrian architect Professor Volker Giencke, lies amber – the symbol of Liepāja and the Baltic Sea. The shape, unique interior and excellent acoustics of „Great Amber” make for an unforgettable experience!31 liepaja latvia 129043834 liepaja latvia 129025735 liepaja latvia 129027134 liepaja latvia 129029138 liepaja latvia 1290463

4. Listen to the great organ at Trinity Church

The Liepaja Holy Trinity Cathedral features the world’s largest mechanical organ that has never been reconstructed. Construction of the church started in the middle of the 18th century and was fully completed more than 100 years later. The interior of the church displays splendour typical of the rococo style. The organ was built by one of the best organ builders of that time H.A. Contius. The instrument with 38 stops was officially handed over to the church in 1779. During the 19th century, the instrument was repeatedly enlarged, in 1885 - up to 131 stops.40 liepaja latvia 129042642 liepaja latvia 129042740 liepaja latvia 1290433

Learn more about the organ by listening to the organ player's story and don't miss the chance to see how the organ is played or attend an organ music concert! Also, take the opportunity to climb up to the top of the church’s 55-meter high tower revealing a breathtaking panorama of Liepāja!44 liepaja latvia 1290437

46 liepaja latvia 12904355. Take a tramway ride through the city

The oldest electric tram line in the Baltic States’ territory curves through the city’s residential neighbourhoods from north to south. Liepaja tram started to run in 1899. Liepaja was the first city in the Baltics to introduce the most modern transport vehicle of the time. It is also worth mentioning that this nature-friendly type of public transportation in Latvia is only available in three cities of Latvia.50 liepaja latvia 129004051 liepaja latvia 1290180

6. Visit Karosta (War Port)

Now Karosta has become a part of Liepāja, while it was a completely separate world next to the city for more than 100 years. Karosta- the largest historical military territory in the Baltics occupies the northern one-third of the city. In 1890 to the north of Liepaja city, massive construction of fortifications and a military camp was begun. The official order to start building was given by Russian Tsar Alexander III. It was a fully autonomous, populated area with its infrastructure, electric power plant, sewage system, church, and schools.59 liepaja latvia 1290338During the Soviet times, Karosta was made a secret territory and was closed to the public. Today Karosta is a spectacular, paradoxical and unique site in the world’s history and architecture reflecting the interaction of Tsarist Russia's military elegance and robust Soviet militarism. You may like or dislike it, but Karosta certainly won’t leave you indifferent. Don’t forget to visit Karosta’s prison for a strong emotional experience. If you want more adrenaline you might ask to stay there overnight.60 liepaja latvia 129031861 liepaja latvia 129032363 liepaja latvia 1290336You can reach Karosta by public buses No 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8 or public mini-bus No 22.

7. Visit St. Nicholas Cathedral in Karosta

The St. Nicholas Cathedral is the visual and spiritual dominant of the whole Karosta area. It was built in the early 20th century and is unique. It has no columns inside because of special construction techniques. The first service in St. Nicholas Cathedral and its consecration took place in 1903. The Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family took part in this ceremony.70 liepaja latvia 129034373 liepaja latvia 129035873 liepaja latvia 129035974 liepaja latvia 1290353

8. Watch the sunset at Ziemelu mols

Ziemelu mols (Breakwater) is located in Karosta. When the sea is calm the 1800 m long breakwater is a gorgeous place for romantic walks and watching the sunset. Breakwater protects the port of Liepaja from the North against storms and sand. In stormy weather, one can feel intense bursts of waves rolling on the breakwater.81 liepaja latvia 129037784 liepaja latvia 129036682 liepaja latvia 129040885 liepaja latvia 1290400

9. Get some gifts at the Peter's Market

The market is located in the very city centre. The pavilion of the market was opened in 1910. It was designed by architect Melvil. The pavilion had an innovative shape for those times. The roof structure with its large windows provides ample light. Did you know that the pavilion of Peter's Market has been recognized as one of the most beautiful market pavilions in Europe?90 liepaja latvia 1290227Buy a locally produced vine. Yes, Latvians produce their own vines from different fruits and berries. Latvia is also known as the most Northern place where grapes are grown.
91 latvain vine thesanetravel com 1280507Take an opportunity to taste sklandrausis, a traditional dish in Latvian cuisine of Livonian origin. It's a pie made of rye dough, filled with potato and carrot paste and seasoned with caraway. It’s not very sweet, relying primarily on the natural sweetness of carrots and the rye crust.92liepaja latvia 1290370

Practical information

Liepāja is located a bit more than 200 kilometres from Riga. You can reach it by public bus or taking a short flight from Riga airport. I recommend spending two days there including attending the concert in the Great Amber concert hall or another place of your choice. The city is walkable, but to get to Karosta you’d better take a public transport ride. Iela means street in Latvian.
Have you been to Liepaja? What are your favourite places in the city? Share in the comments section!Liepāja is the third largest city in Latvia and a musical capital of the country. It’s also the third most popular city among tourists after Riga and Jurmala. The city is located on a stretch of land between the Baltic Sea and the Liepāja Lake. Liepāja has lots of things to offer for travellers and I recommend staying there for a weekend. Here is my selection of top 9 things to do in Liepāja. #Liepaja #Latvia #travel #visitlatvia #travelphotography #travelblog

  • Published by Anita on August 26, 2017

  Author: Anita Sane

Anita 03 18

About the author
Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


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Latvia has always intrigued me, and your beautiful photos and post seal the deal! What a gorgeous place to go explore - and I love that it's not on everyone's bucketlist, kind of off the beaten path. Absolutely beautiful photography in this post too Anita!
Liepaja looks so enchanting. There are so many lovely sights to see in this beautiful city. Looking at the pictures of St. Nicholas Cathedral, I have immediately fallen in love with the structure. It is so beautiful, that it looks like the imagination of a master artist has come to life. I think a great example of Russian architecture.
Have not yet been to Latvia but it sounds fascinating. The St Nicholas cathedral is lovely!
This city looks super beautiful! I've actually never heard of it, but if I end up in Latvia, I'll definitely have to make a trip to Liepaja.
We would love to visit Latvia someday. Your article was so comprehensive. I have already bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for sharing. PS: Love pictures.
The great thing about this Facebook group is that it is opening my eyes to new destinations all over the world. Latvia was never a country that I would consider visiting but now you have changed my mind. Beautiful!
Holy Trinity Cathedral, sounds like an addition to our bucket list. Worlds largest mechanical organ is a must see for sure. My husband is into music and he will surely love the experience.
I'd love to visit Latvia. One only reads about Riga, so it's nice to see something else! Love the architecture of the houses.
We visited Liepaja a few years ago and it was one of our favorite places. The beach is gorgeous, the food was delicious, and we particularly loved our trip to Karosta! Your sunset pictures there are stunning.
I just got back from Latvia, but I only made it to Riga. I wish we'd had a couple extra days to see a few more cities, I would have given Liepaja a visit. The beach looks beautiful and I love all the architecture. If I make is back to Latvia, I'm definitely making a stop here.

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