Welcome to Ventspils
Fabulous amounts of oil and shipping money have turned Ventspils into one of Latvia’s most beautiful and dynamic cities. The air is brisk and clean, and the well-kept buildings are done up in an assortment of cheery colours – even the towering industrial machinery is coated in bright paint. Latvia’s biggest and busiest port wasn’t always smiles and rainbows, though – Ventspils’ strategic ice-free location served as the naval and industrial workhorse for the original settlement of Cours in the 12th century, the Livonian Order in the 13th century, the Hanseatic League through the 16th century and finally the USSR in recent times. Although locals coddle their Užavas beer and claim that there’s not much to do, tourists will find a weekend’s worth of fun in the form of brilliant beaches, interactive museums and winding Old Town streets dotted with the odd boutique and cafe.