In “Spāre”- the kingdom of blueberries

Did you know that there are in total 5000 types of dragonflies in the world but in Latvia itself there 54 different types? Why did we mention dragonflies? Because our destination is Latvia’s state forest (LVM) leisure and tourism location “Spāre” which means ‘dragonfly’ in Latvian. In this magical place nearby city of Talsi and next to the Swans’ Lake guests can escape the busy city life and have a peaceful, pleasant and comfortable day in the nature.

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LVM leisure and tourism centre “Spāre”

Bath/sauna
Camper location
Fireplace
For children
For cyclists
Paid place
Pets allowed
Recreation
Shed
Suitable for people with reduced mobility
Walking trails
Water
WI-FI

“Spāre” offers plenty of benefits: scenic and silent location, convenient traffic, possibility to enjoy time in a romantic getaway or together with the whole family and all of the friends in the big or small guest houses or at the camping site with your own tent. This is a great location for organising the wedding, seminars, gatherings or picnics or just spend a time on water- riding the boat, swimming or fishing. The forest is rich with all treasures of nature tempting all passionate berry or mushroom pickers or just those who feel like going for a bicycle ride through the forest road taking you through the blueberry paradise to the watchtower which will reveal a breath-taking landscape to the legendary island “Moricsala” in Lake Usma. Conference room with a cosy fireplace in it can welcome up to 40 people for any business gathering or for enjoying the lake view while at the fireplace. Wishes and needs are different, but this place will meet everyone’s expectations! Hunters are visiting this place because the nearby forest offers a lot of catch.

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Swans’ Lake (Gulbju ezers)

Fireplace
For cyclists
Toilet
Walking trails
Water

Seven-kilometre-long bicycle road will take you around the Swans’ Lake. It is not a very big lake, its area is only 115.5 ha. Although there is a wide variety of fish living in the lake (northern pikes, roaches, perches and tenches), it is very challenging to do fishing in this lake because of the specific flora. The lake has another peculiarity – the water plants in the lake are growing in a thick layer at the bottom creating somewhat of a double bottom of the lake. Between this plant layer and the real bottom of the lake there is water, its own unique vegetation and food where fishes are mostly staying as in a shelter and leaves it very rarely. Taking into account that the average depth of the lake is 2.5 m and almost third of it is the thick bottom layer of water plants, fishermen only get 30 to 50 centimetres of depth. That is the reason why fishing is challenging in this lake and makes each catch even more valuable, especially the 11 kilogram heavy Northern pike that was once caught by a very passionate fisherman. Little Swan, as it is nicely called by the locals, sometimes disappear from one’s view because the road takes you through the picturesque and ever-changing forest. Deciduous forest changes into the pine forest which is full of blueberries and therefore has got the title of the Blueberry Paradise. Hazel trees are always very generous so do not be surprised when you notice a squirrel on the side of the road. The road then will take you by the lake water with reeds and lupines growing by the shore and once the lake disappears again, a marvellous and fragrant meadow will reveal itself to you. The fragrances are never enough here but do not miss the swimming spot – Swans’ Lake stores the heat of the summer for quite some time.

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Otter Mountain (Ūdrkalns)

For cyclists
Toilet
Walking trails

You can also proceed in the other direction of the path. The road will again take you through the blueberry fields which is an essential part of this neighbourhood. If you decide now to stay for long in a blueberry meadow, the road will take you further to the 57-meter-tall Otter Mountain (Ūdrkalns in Latvian) which has its own 26-meter-tall watchtower. If you count all the meters together, then math is pretty simple – you can climb to a height of 83 m. Watchtower was built in 2007 and those who witnessed the construction works are still in a little shock. Men were working very hard, walking the wooden logs and making their way up that was only possible to the bravest ones. If you dare the climb, you will be rewarded with a nice view to the lake Usma, get a glimpse of Stende town and village Munidgciems, but when the sky is clear one can even see the city of Talsi and, of course, never-ending green carpet of forests. Otter Mountain is a must-see place for those who are worried about the forests being cut down too much – here they will change their mind.

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Lake Usma

Walking trails
Water

Lake Usma is one of the biggest lakes in Latvia and is gifting its beauty to three regions at the same time: Talsu, Ventspils and Kuldīga. The lake name comes from Livonian language where it translates as the ‘fog’. And surprisingly, yes, foggy mornings and evenings here are so often that even the locals sometimes lose their path through all seven lake islands. Although, local legend tells a different story about the origin of the name. It says that a little boy saw a big, dark and threatening cloud and started yelling: “Usmīgs, usmīgs” (word play of word ‘angry’ in Latvian) and then the cloud landed on the land and turned into a lake because it name was revealed. The lake formed 10 thousand years ago and around that time also sandy dunes were forming, including the Otter Mountain and many bays of the lake. Lake Usma is also rich with islands, out of which the biggest one is Viskūžu Island, but the most romantic one that has been subject to legends throughout the times – Morica Island.

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