Introducing Cape Kolka (Kolkasrags)
Enchantingly desolate and hauntingly beautiful, a journey to Cape Kolka (Kolkasrags) feels like a trip to the end of the earth. During Soviet times the entire peninsula was zoned off as a high-security military base, strictly out of bounds to civilians. The region’s development was subsequently stunted and today the string of desolate coastal villages has a distinctly anachronistic feel – as though they’ve been locked away in a time capsule.
Slītere National Park guards the last 25km of the cape, right up until Dižjūra (the Great Sea, or Baltic Sea) meets Mazjūra (the Little Sea – the Gulf of Rīga) in a great clash full of sound and fury. The park’s administrative offices are in the nearby town of Dundaga (the purported birthplace of the man who inspired the film Crocodile Dundee), although information is also available at the Slītere Lighthouse. This towering spire acts as the gatekeeper to the park’s rugged, often tundra-like expanse, home to wild deer, elk, buzzards and beaver. In mid-April, during spring migration, the Kolka peninsula sings with the calls of 60,000-odd birds and, during the summer, the park’s meagre human population doubles when high-profile Rīgans escape to their holiday retreats.