Where Lithuania meets the Baltic Sea, golden sands backed by pine timber and dramatic cliffs, above pristine waters, are a magnet for each native and worldwide holidaymakers.
Flights arrive at Palanga, the principle resort, good for households, the place forest paths lead inland to picket farms and small villages. South of right here is Klaipėda, Lithuania’s foremost port with extra seashores close by. Stretching the size of the coast is the Curonian Spit, an extended sandbar, comparatively underdeveloped, with various birdlife.
The third-largest metropolis in Lithuania belonged to Prussia till the tip of WW1 when it was referred to as Memel. Indeed it briefly grew to become the capital of Prussia in 1806 when King Frederick Wilhelm II was trapped right here by Napoleon’s troops. In 1923 it grew to become Klaipėda, after Lithuanian troopers marched in and seized it for his or her nation. All that modified in 1939 when Hitler sailed into the harbour and was welcomed by the largely German inhabitants.
During WW2, the port was used as a Nazi submarine base and fierce preventing destroyed a lot of town. Rebuilding was carried out after the warfare though one tower of its red-brick citadel survived, nestling inside immense earthworks. Some of the previous city was additionally left intact and it sits on one aspect of the Danė River. Wander the cobbled streets, with their distinctive Prussian structure, and admire the trendy sculptures on each nook.
Once Lithuania’s solely port, Palanga was destroyed by the Swedes in 1710. Later, within the 19th century, its lengthy sandy seashore backed by sand dunes, made it the proper location to assemble a resort. Elegant villas have been erected, all spires and gables and the picket pier prolonged to almost half a kilometre. Today its scented pines and parks nonetheless retain the spa city environment.
Running inland from the ocean is Basanavičiaus gatvė, the principle pedestrianised thoroughfare filled with eating places, bars, outlets and amusements. Occupying the south of the city is Birute Park, an enormous expanse of parkland with manicured lawns, intensive flower beds and unique tree species. In the centre is, the Neoclassical Tyszkiewicz Palace, housing an Amber Museum with over 20,000 displays.
Located on the hills east of Palanga, Kretinga was placed on the map within the 17th century by a victorious Lithuanian General. He constructed the primary church right here and established a Franciscan monastery. Later the city grew to become a key industrial centre, on the commerce route between Russia and Prussia.
Today, the monastery Church of the Annunciation dominates the city sq. and inside is a Baroque marble excessive altar, really fabricated from painted wooden. Nearby is the palace constructed by Jozef Tyszkiewicz within the Nineties and now occupied by the Kretinga museum. Tacked onto the aspect is Tyszkiewicz’s Winter Garden, a bell-shaped glass conservatory, full of palms, ferns and cacti. Pillars encompass a fountain at floor stage and above are elaborate wrought-iron balconies.
Running parallel to the coast is the Curonian Spit, a 97km sandy promontory and a UNESCO World Heritage web site. The southern half is Russian however the Lithuanian part is now a protected National Park with a novel ecosystem, house to large colonies of cormorants. Over the years, Baltic winds induced the dunes to shift progressively eastwards, devouring fishing villages.
The solely method to get right here is by boat, as there aren’t any bridges. Out of 4 small settlements, essentially the most engaging is Nida, 3km from the Russian border. From the late 19th century it was a German artists’ colony and author Thomas Mann spent three summers right here from 1930. His home is now a museum detailing the historical past of his keep.
The city, all brightly painted picket fisherman’s homes round a marina full of boats, has a model new Mizgiris Amber Museum with state-of-the-art interactive displays. South of the village is Parnidis Dune, the mom of all dunes at 52m excessive. There are 180 steps to the highest the place you stare over pristine sands over the border into Russia.
Back on the mainland, on the opposite aspect of the Curonian Lagoon, Dreverna is a former fishing village, now a brand new resort. It presents cruises on an vintage sailboat and particular excursions to find native tradition. There’s Lithuanian conventional dancing, tastings of the fruit wines from Memel Winery and heritage dishes within the eating places.
GO: Wizzair flies direct from London Luton to Palanga
STAY: The National Hotel is within the coronary heart of the previous city in Klaipėda.
Atostogų Parkas is a large spa and wellness resort close to Palanga.
The Nerija Hotel is cosy base in Nida and has a wonderful restaurant.
INFO: Lithuanian Travel has details about the nation
Klaipeda Travel has details about town.
Visit Kretinga has details about the city.
Visit Palanga has details about the resort.