Curonian Spit / Palanga

CURONIAN SPIT 

  

The Curonian Spit is a unique monument, light multisided strip of a land, uniqueness of which is comprised of relief created by the sea and wind, the highest spit in the whole Northern Europe, Lagoon marl prints, remains of former Lagoon‘s forest and soil brought by the wind and constant interesting eolic processes.
The Spit is a peninsula that separates the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon in a slightly concave arc for 98 km from the Kaliningrad Peninsula to the town of Klaipeda. The largest settlements in the Lithuanian part are Smiltyne, Pervalka, Juodkrante, Preila and Nida. Dune valleys divide the ridge into separate dune massifs, and capes are generally formed in front of these valleys.

  

In the 19th century  the Spit became a recreational centre: Juodkrante became famous as a health resort as early as 1840 and Nida, Preila and Pervalka were given official recognition in this category in 1933. In the centre, Nida, the largest settlement on the Spit, has a linear plan based on a single main street that runs parallel to the lagoon and which developed spontaneously in the 19th century.
The most northerly part of the Spit, Smiltyne, was not settled until the mid-19th century, when a health resort was created. It is the point where ferries from Klaipeda on the mainland arrive on the Spit.
In 1961 the main settlements of Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit - Alksnyne, Juodkrante, Pervalka, Preila, and Nida – were united into Neringa town. Currently, around 2.6 thousand people permanently reside in Neringa.

   

The most typical and impressive element of the spit‘s nature is the dunes. However, the value of uniqueness of the Curonian Spit hides not in separate components of its nature, but in unrepeatable combination, coexistence and interaction of those components. The Curonian Spit is the reachest humans‘ and nature‘s laboratory of natural research of interaction of ecological coast processes, and an original museum of life nature. Only here you can observe and integrally investigate ecological processes of the coast and their particularities. The dunes of the Curonian Spit is an excellent laboratory for analysis of not only formation and dynamics of the dunes, but also of spontaneous grassing of the dunes, and formation and development of new plant communities of the dunes.
The most significant element of the Spit's cultural heritage is represented by the old fishing settlements. The earliest of these were buried in sand when the woodland cover was removed. Those that have survived are all along the coast of the lagoon.
Other buildings that are worth visiting are the sturdy lighthouse at Pervalka and the neo-Gothic Evangelical Lutheran churches at Juodkrante and Nida, both built in the 1880s. 
Lithuanian Sea Museum is located in the farthest northern point of the Curonian Spit – Kopgalys. 

  

 

PALANGA  

Palanga is a seaside resort with a split personality - peaceful pensioner paradise in winter, pounding party spot in summer. Tourists from all over Lithuania and abroad flock to its idyllic 10km sandy beach backed by sand dunes and scented pines.
Palanga is known for wide swaths of beach, party atmosphere, crowds, concerts, and nightlife—a sort of Miami Beach of the Baltics. During the summer season, Palanga attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, swelling its population from a mere 17,000 local inhabitants.
Palanga grew into a resort destination in the 19th century; prior to that period, it was a fishing village. Today, some of the landmarks from a count who owned the surrounding land continue to remind visitors of Palanga’s past. 

Basanavicius Street is a main thoroughfare, which becomes a pedestrian-only street in the summer, is the place to be in Palanga. It’s lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and funfairs.

Also known as the Sea Bridge, the Palanga Pier is a long-established feature of Palanga’s beachside atmosphere. It was originally built over a century ago for passengers coming to Palanga by water.

Birute Park (also know as the Botanical Garden) was developed in the 19th century as a complement to the Tiškevičius manor. Foot and bike paths make enjoying this park, with its hundreds of species of trees and other plant life, easy. If you like cycling, bike rentals are readily available from hotels or independent bike rental agencies.

  

Amber Museum is Palanga’s most famous museum and also one of its most highly recommended. Visitors are acquainted with the formation, processing, practical application, and morphological variations of amber. The museum has a wealth of amber pieces with trapped insects or plants, a collection of unique pieces of amber, and examples of fossilized tree resin brought from all over the world.

Palanga’s sandy stretch offers everything from water sports to leisurely sunbathing. Watch the sunset at the pier or enjoy beers at one of the beachside bars.To cope with its impressive crowds, Palanga’s restaurant scene is varied and includes international as well as Lithuanian options. From cheap cafeterias to Caucasian, Russian, and other international cuisines, visitors will find they have plenty to choose from. Beach bars are a favorite place to spend the twilight hours of the day.