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Introducing Talsi

Once a medieval war zone, today peaceful Talsi, 115km from Rīga, is the cultural and economic centre of northern Kurzeme. Nine hills, which locals are fiercely proud of, ring the village. Cobbled streets twist around the slopes above the town's two small lakes, making it a pleasant place to wander. Quiet as it might be, Talsi does serve as good base for exploring. About 30km west lies Lake Usma, a 39-sq-km puddle of water polka-dotted with seven islands and backed by leafy forests. The Moricsala Nature Reserve, established in 1912, is one of Europe's oldest nature reserves. It protects the lake's western waters, shores and several islands. The heavily wooded reserve makes a great camping place, with several serene spots around the sandy shores. The reserve's tourist office (6324 2542; Dakterlejas iela 3, LV 3270 Dundaga) is in Dundaga village.