Liepaja, Latvia's third largest city and a longtime home of the Soviet Baltic Fleet located 120 mi/195 km southwest of Riga, boasts an ice-free harbor. There are also many lakes and a nice, long sea beach with fine sand. Czar Peter the Great (called Peter the First in Latvia) lived there, and his house is worth a visit.
Liepaja still looks a bit scruffy, but the old town (Vecliepaja) is gradually being restored. The main thoroughfare, Liela iela, is bustling with cafes and shops located behind renovated neoclassical and art-nouveau facades.
Do not miss the Anna Church (Sv. Annas Baznica) with its elaborate, 17th-century Baroque altar carvings or the Baroque Trinity Church (Sv. Trisvienibas Baznica), whose 1855 mechanical organ is Latvia's third largest.
The annual Liepaja's Dzintars (rock 'n' roll festival) in August draws people from throughout the Baltics. http://www.liepaja.lv.
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