Curonian Spit Stories and Tips

Visiting the Curonian Spit

Curonian Spit Photo, Curonian Spit, Lithuania

Ninety-seven kilometres long by no more than four kilometres wide and split between two countries, Russia and Lithuania, the Curonian Spit is arguably the single most memorable landscape in the whole of the Baltic Republics.

From Lithuania, the Spit is a ten-minute ferry journey from Klaipeda, the country's third biggest city and well worth an overnight stay in its own right. The services depart from one of two ports, one for foot passengers and cyclists, the other capable of taking vehicles too. If you don't have your own transport, the ferry terminals are located on the river a couple of hundred metres from Klaipeda's Old Town and in Smilyne, close to the Sea Museum. Tickets cost two litas ninety for foot passengers.

Aside from the Sea Museum and Dolphinarium there's no real reason to hang around in Smiltyne. Buses leave every two hours (10.15 / 12.15) for Juodkrante and Nida, the southernmost settlement on the Lithuanian side of the border. Tickets are nine litas each way; the journey takes approximately fifty minutes.

If you're planning to visit the Dunes, a Unesco-listed living biosphere, Nida makes by far the most convenient base, with a range of accommodation from camping and guesthouses to luxury apartments. The Jurate, in the centre of the village at Pamario 3 is a good budget choice at 170 litas per night for twin or double rooms including a buffet breakfast. The rooms are simply furnished but clean and spacious and many have sea views.

The easiest way to see the dunes from Nida is to hire a bike (around 30 litas per day). From the harbour, the 54-metre high Parnidis Dune is a five-minute ride south, providing views across a mini-Saharan landscape right down to the Russian border and taking in the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon and the coastline of mainland Lithuania. North of Nida, the remaining dunes can be seen along the sixteen-kilometre long cycle path to Pervalka. Don't miss the Baltic beaches either, a long sliver of white-sand framing the western shores of the Spit.

Although Nida isn't the liveliest of places for a night out there are plenty of restaurants serving beer in the village, some of which stay open until around midnight in season. You won't need to bring supplies with you as there's a Maxima supermarket next to the tourist information office (which supplies basic maps of the area) in the centre of town.

While it's possible to see Nida and the Spit in one long day from Klaipeda, I found it much better to stay overnight. The Curonian Spit is an ideal place to hire a bike, kick back, relax and enjoy nature. If you're in Lithuania, you really shouldn't miss it.

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