Getting to Klaipėda
By plane via Palanga (31 km), Kaunas (227 km), Riga (307 km), Vilnius (316 km), or Gdansk (317 km), then take a bus or a train to Klaipėda;
By bus from Riga, Tallinn, and all Lithuanian cities and major towns;
By ferry from Kiel, Sassnitz, Karlshamn;
By train from Vilnius.
Palanga airport is the nearest airport to Klaipėda. It hosts Air Baltic, Norwegian, Ryanair, SAS, and Wizzair, and offers direct flights to Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Oslo, and Riga. Taxi service from Palanga airport to Klaipėda should cost you €25-30.
Another popular way to reach Klaipėda is via more popular Vilnius airport and then by train / bus. There is a direct train from the Vilnius airport, leaving 2-3 times a day, and the train from the Vilnius train station, leaving up to 6 times a day, costing €17-24. A direct bus from leaves Vilnius airport approx. 10 times a day and costs €20-30. Use this website to search for the train and this website for the bus connections.
Also visit www.rome2rio.com to find the shortest and cheapest way to reach Klaipėda from any city.
Klaipėda's public transport is city buses, shuttle taxi (minibuses) and taxi. Bus ticket for 1 ride costs €1.00 purchased either from Narvesen shop or from the bus driver. Taxi trip per 1km costs c. €0.60-0.80.
Old Town district is small and can be easily explored by foot. To get to the beaches or some suburbs, bicycle may be a reasonable option, as it allows to explore both city and its surroundings in more detail and without losing significant amount of time.
History of the City
Originally founded by Baltic tribes, the city and castle were built by the Teutonic Order in c. 1252. The German name Memel was adopted from Mēmele, a Scalovian name of that place, which, in turn, was named after Mēmele river, which in Lithuanian is called Nemunas. The word Mēmele means "calm", refering to the calm flow of this river. By that time, it was supposed that the channel between Curonian Spit and mainland is an actual mouth of Nemunas (Mēmele) river, and Curonian Lagoon was treated as a part of its delta. Currently these two are treated as separate subjects, Nemunas delta is about 47km south of Klaipėda.
Klaipėda, the name used by Samogitians and Lithuanians, refers to the same place, as seen from the inland, and refers to its relief, meaning "low and flat ground" in old Samogitian.
For most of its history, Memel was part of Prussia and large battles with Lithuanian lords took place here. Invasions came from Sweden and Russia and the city was part of the Prussian Kingdom and became a prosperous harbor town. It represented the northernmost city in Germany and Prussia until 1918. After Germany lost the First World War, Memelland was first given free city status and then subsequently annexed to the newly established Republic of Lithuania. It was briefly reabsorbed by Nazi Germany before WWII and then reverted back to Lithuania (the Soviet Union) in 1945. Since Lithuanian independence in 1990, Klaipėda has become one of Lithuania's most buoyant cities with a steadily growing tourist trade.
Sightseeing in Klaipėda
Klaipėda is known for its main icons: sculpture Ännchen von Tarau, located in theater square, old sailing ship Meridianas (there was a restaurant inside) and Fachwerk (German for half timbered) architecture in the Old Town. Klaipėda is also known for plenty of small sculptures like: the mouse, the guard dog, the chimney sweep, the black ghost, foot prints and others, hiding in the old town. Also you will find Lithuanian modern sculpture park with 116 various stone sculptures.
The Sea Festival (Jūros šventė). Annual maritime festival, first time celebrated in 1934. Various music stages, street art installations, food pavillons around the city. Visiting is free of charge. Our academy provides three events for this year's festival, July 24-26.
If you like nature - you should visit Curonian Spit, which is a 10 min boat ride from the Old ferry terminal. In summer time the ferries are running each 30 minutes from 06:00 till midnight. On the other side (Smiltynė) you can visit the Sea museum, ethnographic fisherman farmstead, take a walk on the pier, see the white sanded beaches or just take the bus to old fishermen towns Juodkrantė and Nida (they are located 18 and 50km from Smiltynė to the South). Renting a bicycle and cycling to Juodkrantė is a nice day trip. The forest is magnificent.
Beaches - there is a one big and wide sand beach at Smiltynė, full of locals and tourists in the summer. Smiltynė beach is a part of UNESCO world heritage list. Giruliai and Melnragė beaches are at the Northern Klaipėda. The water is clean and warm.
The lovely seaside resort Palanga is just half an hour away. It is busy with tourists from June to September. During the high season Palanga is being called the summer capital of Lithuania or the Lithuanian Las Vegas.
Remains of the Klaipėda Castle (German: Memelburg). Built in 1253 by Teutonic Knights in strategically important place of Courland - on the left bank of Danė river mouth, close to Klaipėda Channel which connects the lagoon to the Baltic Sea. Many times destroyed and rebuilt, finally demolished in 1888, currently the site is undergoing gradual archaeological research. Most of the site is open for visitors..
Prince Friedrich and Prince Karl bastions with posterns (north of the Castle site). Currently there are two surviving 16-19th centuries bastions with the posterns, the western part of curtain wall and fossé. Both bastions are c. 14m in height and ranging 15 to 20m in width. Underground T-shaped posterns with cylindrical vaults connect the bastions to the castle courtyard.
City bastion complex (area east of the Old Town territory). 17th century fortification objects constructed in accordance with New Dutch system: two northern bastions in relatively good shape, and two southern bastions almost completely destroyed.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is located at the northernmost point of the Curonian Spit, where ends 98 kilometers long the Curonian Spit Peninsula, and the Seaport Gate of Klaipėda opens. In the second half of the 19th century, the defense fortress of the seaside was built in Kopgalis, which was almost destroyed during the Second World War. In 1979, the it was rebuilt and adapted to the needs of the museum. In total, the Sea Museum collection contains more than 88 thousand exhibits. The most abundant collection of marine fauna, which includes the following exhibits: mollusk shells, corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, seabirds, fish, and mammals.
Klaipėda's Regional Museum is located in one of the oldest buildings of the old town, built at the end of the 18th century. Here you will find both Pagan and Christian culture, you will see old maps of the region, and learn how East Prussia and the Klaipėda region were formed. You‘ll also see old Klaipėda in historic postcards and photographs.
The Clock Museum is one of the most truly unique museums in Europe. Its first floor reveals the principles of time measurement and the evolution of clock construction from antiquity to the present day. Visitors are acquainted with calendars and ancient sundials, hourglasses, water, fire, and mechanical clocks, etc. The second floor reveals the changes in the shape and design of mechanical clocks from the Renaissance to the modern style (16th-20th century). This exhibition presents the work of famous European and Lithuanian master clockmakers – Theodor Tarasowig of Vilnius as well as Abraham Louis Breguet and Theodore Perret of Switzerland and others.
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