Houses of the Sun – Latvia - Atlas Obscura

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Houses of the Sun

Rent a barrel for a personal view of where the Baltic Sea meets the Gulf of Riga.  


Traveling out to Cape Kolka, near the very tip of Latvia’s western peninsula, feels like journeying to the edges of Europe. The park is a little over a mile (2 kilometers) walk from the small village of Kolka. For those who enjoy a bit of isolation, the Houses of the Sun of Cape Kolka offers an opportunity to sleep right on the beach.

The barrels are located within the national park on the western beach of Cape Kolka, providing an excellent view of the sunset, and of the “seam” created by the confluence of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga.

The barrels have no electricity and the only light inside comes from a few small candles, usually set out by the park authorities in advance. The national park information center is a short walk away and is the only contact point with the outside world. Inside, visitors can find small necessities as well as showers and a bistro open during the summer. Bathrooms are outhouse-only.

Guesthouses in the nearby village of Kolka offer bike rentals to those without personal transportation, allowing for day trips to the charming villages down Latvia’s western coast. The village also has a supermarket filled with basic supplies. Otherwise, barrel-dwellers of Cape Kolka are left to their own devices. It’s truly a rustic experience on Latvia’s west coast.

Know Before You Go

Public transit: A few buses per day run directly from Riga to the village of Kolka (with a walk of two kilometers from the village to Cape Kolka national park), otherwise, it may be necessary to change over in Talsi. For bus transit down the western coast, a change over in Talsi is generally required.

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May 24, 2021

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