Curonian Spit is a narrow stretch of land on the shores
of the Baltic Sea. Much of this land is covered by sandy dunes, pine
forests and small fishermen villages. Curonian
Spit National Park sits on the shores of the Baltic Sea on its western
side and Curonian Lagoon on the eastern side on the border between
Lithuania and Kaliningrad Russian Federation. This sand bar reached a
length of 98 km in length and in width it reaches 3.8 km, although in
its most narrowest parts it measures just 400 meters. Much of the
protected reserve is covered by coniferous pine forests, sand dunes and
birches. In 2000 Curonian Spit was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage
List. Park covers a total area of 7890 hectares. In addition to
picturesque nature, beautiful Baltic Sea, Curonian Spit was also
inhabited by people by centuries. The only way to make a living here is
by fishing. Hence national park also contains traditional fishermen
villages including Lesnoe (Forest in Russian), Rybachiy (Fisherman) and
Curonian Spit is a narrow stretch of land
formed about 3rd millennium BC by the glacial deposits that protect Curonian
Lagoon. Although local legends claim that it was giantess Neringa that was
playing on a shores of a Baltic Sea. A patchwork of sand dunes, pine forests
and meadows covered by a carpet of flowers is easily accessed by
numerous trails. Human impact on the region was brief, but devastating.
Deforestation quickly decreased soil stability. Alarmed by impeding disaster
that could easily swallow up local fishermen's villages, Prussian government
put a stop to any ecological destruction in 1825. Since then the Spit was
preserved and nature quickly recovered.
Curonian Spit despite its modest size plays an
important role in the migration route of birds that come here from
Finland, Karelia region (Russia) and the Baltic states on their way
to southern Europe and Africa. This route probably formed because
for most of human history and development, Curonian Spit was never
inhabited by any significant amount of people. Thus it became a high
density of migratory birds flow in spring and autumn periods.
The climate in the region of a Curonian Spit is
variable throughout a year. It has mild winters, moderately warm
summer, warm autumn and cool spring. The landscapes of the Curonian
Spit has an extraordinary beauty and aesthetic effect on the person
and provide a unique facility for the development of eco-tourism and
The special significance of the Curonian Spit is manifested in a
rare combination of natural and cultural heritage. Here there is a
high level of presence of artifacts of human presence from various
chronological periods. Curonian Spit is also famous for numerous
well preserved historical fishing villages.
History Curonia was conquered by the Teutonic Order in the
13th century, and remained under German rule until World War I.
While fishing was the major occupation of the Spit's inhabitants in
the Middle Ages, tourism has flourished in the area since the start
of the 20th century.
Landscape The Curonian Spit contains
the largest drifting sand dunes in Europe. The highest of them rise
up to 60 meters. The area is generally covered with forests, that
constitute about 70 percent of land.
Flora and fauna For
flora and fauna, head down to the Curonian Lagoon, where the highest
sand dunes in Europe are located. In order to protect the sand
dunes, wooden broad walks have been built above them to enable
visitors to marvel at the desert-like scenery without causing
damage. You may spot some wildlife. Along the way, it is worthwhile
to find the 'Dancing Forest' or 'The Drunkards' Forest', where tree
trunks are curled and twisted from their roots and "Efa's dune". It
is a magnificent sight to step into a forest of trees that look like
Get in Most visitors get into the spit either by taking a
ferry from Klaipėda to Smiltynė, or taking a bus from Zelenogradsk.
From Klaipėda Take a ferry to Smiltynė. The old ferry
terminal nearer to the city centre is for passengers and bikes only,
and the new ferry terminal is for cars. Fare is €1 for round-trip
ticket per passenger. After getting off the ferry, there is an
hourly bus connection to the villages until Nida, and a daily bus
239 which runs all the way along the spit to Zelenogradsk and
There are also long-distance buses which the bus
itself travel on the ferry, from the city centre of Klaipėda to
Zelenogradsk Take any
bus to Morskoye (Морское) or Klaipėda. These buses include 210
(Zelenogradsk — Morskoye), 239 (Kaliningrad international bus
station — Smiltynė old ferry terminal), 384 (Kaliningrad —
Klaipėda), 593 (Kaliningrad — Klaipėda) and 596 (Otradnoye —
Morskoye). Fare depends on the distance travelled.
Kaliningrad Bus 593
from the city centre to the spit. The journey costs less than 120
rubles and takes about two hours. As departures are few, it is
advisable to take a train or bus to Zelenogradsk first and continue
by any bus there.
Fees and permits A car or a motorbike
entering Neringa municipality that contains most of the spit on the
Lithuanian side is charged an ecological fee of €20, and campers are
charged €30 (2018 rates). A car entering the Russian part is charged
Entering some of the nature reserves, including
the border zone, is either limited or prohibited.
Get around There is a single road running through the whole
length of the spit. It is possible to travel on it by car, bicycle
or bus. However, travelling on foot across the border is strictly
Visiting the Curonian Spit on car requires the
correct documentation and insurance in order to bring the car from
Russia into the EU, or vice versa, so using a bicycle may be the
easiest option. Using bus is also possible, but require working
around the schedule as there are only 2 to 3 buses per day which run
along the whole length (most buses only run south of Morskoye or
north of Nida).
The Lithuanian part of the spit has a bicycle
path from the northern tip of the peninsula to the town of Nida near
the Russian border, so a more environmentally friendly way of
travelling is also possible.