“Ventspils is a city of cows and slow food” – This is what I thought on my first visit to Ventspils. The city of cows because colorful cow figurines are scattered everywhere. And the city of slow food because each trip to a restaurant, cafe and even a coffee shop took me a couple of hours. So this time no restaurant recommendations, just prepare to wait long.
But seriously, Ventspils is a very cozy, green and even some kind of relaxed city. Great weekend destination.
How to get to Ventspils?
Ventspils is located 186 km from Riga. There are two ways to get to Ventspils: by car and by regular bus Riga – Ventspils.
The bus leaves from the international Riga bus station. The journey will take about 3 hours. Follow the link to see the bus schedule.
What to see on your way from Riga to Ventspils?
Since we have to travel almost 200 km, why not separate them with pleasant stops in interesting places. Of course, all these sights cannot be seen on the same path, unless you drive in zigzags. But you can organize them in a round trip.
1. Jaunpils castle
A castle with a rich history dating back to the 14th century. Today it is a museum, hotel and restaurant.
Read my article: 13 most interesting castles you have to visit in Latvia
2.Kuldiga and the widest waterfall in Europe
Ventas Rumba waterfall, 249 meters wide, is located in the small town of Kuldiga.
3. Cape Kolka
Cape Kolka is a unique natural phenomenon, the meeting point of two seas: the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. This is a truly bewitching sight, you can see with the naked eye the merger of different currents and even different colors of water.
Tukums is a small town with many castles (Jaunmoku Castle, Jaunpils Castle, Vecmoku manor ruins) and nature trails in the Kemeri National Park.
Check my latest article: Top-10 places to visit in Jurmala.
What to do in Ventspils?
1. Baltic sea
If in Riga and Jurmala you see the shallow waters of the Gulf of Riga, on Kolka – the merging of the waters of the sea and the bay, then in Ventspils you will see the real sea. With waves, with depth, the Baltic Sea. The swimming season lasts from late June to mid-August. The beach in Ventspils is considered the best beach in Latvia. It is wide enough with white sand and numerous playgrounds for children.
Ventspils Open Air Museum is dedicated to the history of fishing. Here you can get acquainted with the fishing traditions in Latvia. The collection of the museum has more than 24 thousand exhibits, located in the premises and in the open air.
3. The castle of the Livonian orden
Ventspils Castle is the largest of the surviving Livonian Order castles in Latvia. Today it is a museum with a digital exposition about the history of the castle, city and port – “Living History”.
Follow the link to get to the official museum website.
The entrance to the museum costs 3 euros for an adult and 1.5 euros for schoolchildren, students and pensioners. Family ticket – 6 euros. Day ticket to visit all museums in the city – 5 euros per person.
4. Cows in Ventspils
The undeniable symbol of Ventspils is the figures of cows left over from the famous “cow parade” in 2002 and 2012. So you may challenge yourself and try to find as many cows as possible (there are a couple dozen of them all over the city) and take a photo. Following the link you can learn more about cows and their location.