On the Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit there is a resort town Neringaconsisting of four villages: Nida, Juodkrante, Preila and Pervalka. All settlements keep the “gingerbread” flavor of the 19th century Lithuanian fishing villages with their one-story wooden houses, thatched and painted in the traditional colors of the local guild. Add to this an abundance of greenery and flowers, generous forests, endless whitish dunes and an extraordinary silence of solitude and contemplation. According to populationmonster, Curonian Spit is one of the largest cities in Lithuania.
It is most pleasant to stay in Nida or Juodkrante. Here, well-restored, old fishermen’s huts have been turned into private hotels, restaurants or pubs with folklore interiors and national cuisine delicacies. The embankment of Nida with a beautiful green esplanade, a favorite place for promenades of the resort’s regulars, repeatedly during the summer season becomes the “proscenium” of numerous sailing regattas, and the town itself is famous for its jazz festival “Nida Jazz Marathon” (first half of August), a festival of ancient crafts that reconstructs the local medieval life (mid-August), and the international film festival “Baltic Wave” (end of August). Both resorts have a well-developed tourist infrastructure and offer hotels and private villas of various levels of comfort and privacy, well-groomed and equipped beaches, clear sea, local home gastronomy and rich festival programs (music, literature and folklore). Here you can also collect mushrooms and berries in the old fashioned way, go boating and fishing in the bays.
The whitish sandy beaches of Neringa stretch in a strip 25-70 meters wide along the coast of the Baltic Sea. They are equipped according to all European standards, including special slopes, telephones and toilets for the disabled, and are kept immaculately clean. This allowed local beaches to acquire the honorary “Blue Flag” – an international certificate that guarantees the safety and environmental friendliness of the territory.
Tourist information centers:
- Nida — Tajkos, 4, tel.: 8 469 523 45, fax: 8 469 525 38, [email protected]
- Juodkrante – L.Rezos, 54, tel.: 8 46 534 90
How to get there
By plane or train to Vilnius, Kaunas, Kaliningrad, then by bus routes Vilnius-Nida, Kaunas-Nida, Kaliningrad-Nida. Bus schedule on the website. From Klaipeda, you can only get to Kosa by ferry. The old ferry (lit. Senoji Perkėla) connects the final bus stop in Smiltyne and the center of Klaipeda, transports only passengers. The new crossing is equipped with ferries transporting all types of transport. Domestic routes: Nida-Smiltynė bus, minibus connecting Nida bus station with the beach (summer only), bus from the old ferry to the Maritime Museum.
If you prefer to use your own or rented car, then the only highway Zelenogradsk-Klaipeda is at your service. It passes through Lesnoye, the outskirts of Rybachye and Juodkrante, congresses branch off to the rest of the villages. The entire length of the highway has only one lane in each direction. Entrance to the territory of the National Park is paid. The post “Alksnine” is equipped with payment machines that accept only cash and only banknotes, change is issued in coins. When paying on the panel, you need to select one of the buttons corresponding to the paid vehicle. So the passage of a car with a capacity of up to 9 people in the summer will cost 5 EUR. The nearest ATMs are located next to the crossing.
On the Lithuanian side of the Curonian Spit – from Nida to Smiltyna – there is a part of the European cycling route R1. In the vicinity of other villages, local bike paths are laid. Cycling routes Nida-Klaipeda, Klaipeda-Palanga-Latvian border and Klaipeda-Silute-Rusne are also open.
Entertainment and attractions of the Curonian Spit
The northern half of the Curonian Spit, which is part of Lithuania, is the Curonian Nerija National Park (26.5 thousand hectares), which in 2000 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The uniqueness of the Curonian landscape lies in the endless sand dunes, reaching up to 70 meters in height and stretching in a continuous chain for tens of kilometers. The spit is also located on the White Sea-Baltic migration route for migratory birds that stop here for feeding and rest. The approximate number of feathered “nomads” reaches 10-20 million per season, among them there are rare endangered species. The exposition of the Museum of Nature “Kurshyu Neri” tells in detail the geographical and geological features of the formation of the landscape, about archaeological finds, about the flora and fauna of the region.
It is best to observe the migration of birds from high hills, dunes, from specially installed panoramic towers or simply in an open place: on the seashore or in wide fields. The most popular ornithological observatory is the Dune of Parnigio, located near Nida and nicknamed the Dune of the Hourglass. In spring, the first “migrants” arrive at the beginning of March, and the last – at the end of May. Much more birds can be seen in autumn – from August to November – when a young summer brood joins the flocks going to the winter hut. More closely on the Curonian Spit, you can get to know the local semi-tame wild boars that go out onto the roads in the hope of begging for something tasty. Near Juodkrantė one can observe the most numerous and oldest colonies of herons and cormorants in Lithuania.
Sights of Neringa
You can get acquainted with the history of the region and the Curonians, the people who originally inhabited these lands, in the Historical Museum of Neringa (53 Pamario Street, Nida). Here are finds from the Stone Age, an exhibition dedicated to traditional local crafts, including catching crows, photographs, documents and items from family and state archives. Another source of local history is the Fisherman’s Ethnographic Manor (Naglyu Street, Nida), located in one of the residential buildings of Old Nida (circa 1900). The decoration, furniture, utensils and the very organization of the interior are a living illustration of the fishing life of the end of the 19th – early 19th century. XX century. Here, near the house, 4 original fishing boats sheltered: from a boat to a kurenas.
Sights of Nida
The Miniature Amber Museum (20 Pamario St., Nida) tells about the origin of Baltic amber, its rich morphology – external features: from transparency to different shades, and the history of local crafts. Here you can see a unique collection of inclusions – minerals with insects inside. The gallery of the museum offers author’s jewelry and accessories, which differ from most of the offered local products with an original modern design. And in the exhibition hall of the Nida Cultural Center “Agila” (St., Taikos 4) you can see and buy paintings, graphic, sculptural works and photographs of Lithuanian artists.
Near the village of Juodkrante, the Hill of Witches sheltered – a sacred place professing the old Vedic cults, the Curonians. During the Inquisition, pagans from all over Europe flocked to this mountain, then resting on a small island and perfectly protected from the “guardians of law and order” by shallow waters, to worship the forces of nature and the mother goddess. In the XIX – early. In the 20th century, the inhabitants of Lithuania Minor loved to celebrate the Summer Solstice Day here – Jonines. Guests, choristers and musicians from Klaipeda, Tilsit, Rusne gathered on the spit on sailing boats and small steamers. During the era of Nazi rule, they tried to revive the ancient Germanic and Aryan cults on the mountain. At the end of the 1970s and 1980s, a park of wooden sculptures carved by Lithuanian craftsmen and illustrating the plots of local ancient beliefs and epics appeared on the sacred hill.
In the gallery of Daiva and Remigius Jadeikis (13 G. Rezos St., Juodkrantė) – Weather Vane Gallery – you can learn about all the secrets of Kush weather vanes, the color, shape and combination of plot elements of which are by no means accidental. This space also hosts various ethnographic and historical exhibitions and fairs for the sale of paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, linen and amber products.
At the northern tip of the Curonian Spit in the Smiltynė region, in the German bastion fortress of the second half of the 19th century, the Maritime Museum-Aquarium was located (site). The museum complex includes many thematic expositions dedicated to marine flora and fauna, the history of Lithuanian shipbuilding, shipping, military and merchant fleets. In the restored central redoubt, there are aquariums impressive with their exotic living creatures, on the former gun platforms and ramparts there is a collection of ancient anchors collected throughout Lithuania, the life and life of Pomeranian fishermen is shown in an ethnographic exposition deployed on the site of a former fishing village – traditional huts lined up here and ships on which fishermen went to the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.
About 40 species of fish from Lithuanian rivers, lakes and the Baltic Sea (catfish, chubs, barbels, graylings, eels, sabrefish, whitefish, etc.), tropical freshwater fish (including a huge moray eel), invertebrate inhabitants of coral reefs (starfish, clams, sea urchins, etc.). The museum is also famous for the richest collection of rare species of corals and shells in Lithuania. The exposition of dissected animals, according to scientific systematics, covers the entire spectrum of marine animals: from sponges to birds and mammals. In the outdoor pools you can watch penguins, seals, sea lions.
Here, a stone’s throw from the museum is a dolphinarium. During the summer season, colorful performances are held here with the participation of Black Sea dolphins and California sea lions. There is also a dolphin therapy center in the dolphinarium.
Until 1945, the Curonians who lived on the Curonian Spit spoke their original dialect, close to the Latvian language. At the end of World War II and German citizenship, many of the local residents were evacuated to central Germany, in connection with which the Curonian Spit lost its own colorful language. Now only a few dozen elderly people, residents of Germany, speak the Curonian dialect.
The Curonian and Klaipeda lagoons are excellent places for fishing. Here bream, perch, pike perch, roach, syrt, herring, etc. peck willingly. Ice fishing for burbot and capelin is also very popular here. In the Baltic Sea, flounder, herring, cod and halibut are caught from boats. You can fish from the shore with a float rod at any time of the day and without “documents” in compliance with the rules of recreational fishing. Fishing at a distance of more than 500 meters from the shore and using various fishing equipment is allowed only with a special license issued by the Ministry of Nature Protection, for fishing raids in the Baltic Sea, permission from the border police is required. The total weight of fish caught per day should not exceed 5 kg per person.
- Nature Protection Agency of Klaipeda st. Birutes, 16, tel.: (8 46) 21 71 06)
- Agency for Nature Protection of the city of Neringa, Taikos Ave., 2, tel.: (8 469) 5 12 32)