Welcome to Kolka
A monument to those claimed by treacherous waters marks the entrance to the beach near a small information centre with varying hours. The poignant stone slab, with its haunting anthropomorphic silhouette, was erected in 2002 after three Swedes drowned in the cape’s shallow but turbulent waters. One side reads, ‘For people, ships and Livian earth’; the other, ‘For those the sea took away’. Locals claim the cape’s waters are littered with more shipwrecks than anywhere else in the Baltic. For obvious reasons, Cape Kolka’s beauty is best appreciated from the safety of the sand.
Centuries ago, bonfires were lit at the cape’s tip to guide sailors around the protruding sandbar. Today, the solar-powered Kolka Lighthouse guides vessels to safety. The shimmering scarlet tower, built in 1884, sits on an artificial island 6km offshore.
Next to the information centre, a summer-only field kitchen constantly churns out tonnes of hearty Latvian fare. There is no menu, so your lunch will largely depend on the whims of the cook. The same people run Laimes Mājas, which consists of sea-facing barrel-shaped houses on the top of the dune. They are quite charming, but pricey for a place with outside toliets and common showers.
In Kolka village, Ūši has simple but prim rooms, and a spot to pitch tents in the garden. Look for the brick guesthouse, opposite the onion-domed Orthodox church near the ‘Ūši’ bus stop. Bike rentals are available.
Don't leave Kolka without stopping by one of the stalls selling smoked fish. With enough charm, persistance and time, you can also arrange to partake in the process of smoking.