life through the lens
home destinations a-z the big trips about me world beers newspapers updates/links top fives Russia travel store




Location - Baltic, Eastern Europe; Capital - Moscow; Population - Kaliningrad - 950,000; Russia - 143 million; Currency - Russian Rouble MORE RUSSIA

The best attractions of Kaliningrad lie on its Baltic coast, so I combined a stay at Zelenogradsk with day trips to the region - April 2015.


russianote1Like the rest of Russia the Rouble is the currency of the Kaliningrad enclave










kaliningrad269On the very edge of the capital, along the road leading to Svetlogorsk, is Fort No.5. When you see this monument you're at the right place - Kaliningrad


kaliningrad275The outer walls and moat of Fort No.5, also known as Fort Friedrich Wilhelm III. It's one of a series of forts forming an outer ring, in addition to the inner ring of 19th century forts covered in page 1 - Kaliningrad


kaliningrad270Memorial to the soldiers who died in the Battle of Konigsberg.
In 1945 a fierce battle between the Germans and Red Army took place here - Kaliningrad














kaliningrad277 There's a museum and exhibition hall inside Fort No.5 - Kaliningrad















kaliningrad280A propaganda poster portrays Germany as a three-headed dragon - Kaliningrad


kaliningrad292A rather pathetic attempt to visit Fort No.1 on the eastern outskirts of Kaliningrad. Even the nearby Motel Baltika hadn't heard of it, but I eventually came across this view behind a petrol station. Not worth it!


kaliningrad330A wide Baltic coast beach at Zelenogradsk, just 45mins by train or bus from Kaliningrad














kaliningrad333The early 19th century Kurhaus on Kurortniy Prospekt, with Lenin hanging around in the garden - Zelenogradsk














kaliningrad334A lot of care and attention has gone into reconstucting this water tower, built in 1905. Not surprising, as the tower is home to an art collection of cats, the Murarium - Zelenogradsk


kaliningrad335Welcome to Zelenogradsk!



kaliningrad337There's some kind of feline obsession in Zelenogradsk















kaliningrad339Coffee shop at the bus station - Zelenogradsk













kaliningrad344Zelenogradsk marks the beginning of the Curonian Spit, a narrow sand-dune strip of land that stretches 98km to Klaipeda in Lithuania. It separates the Baltic Sea from the freshwater Curonian Lagoon (pictured) - Morskoye, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad342The Curonian Spit, or Kurshkaya Kosa, is a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tiny village of Morskoye is 45km north of Zelenogradsk, close to the border with Lithuania - Morskoye, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad350Just south of Morskoye is Epha's Height trail, a 3km path linking the Baltic Sea with the Curonian Lagoon - Epha's Height, Curonian Spit













kaliningrad354It was a rainy, windswept day but the lagoon can (just!) be made out, past the shifting sand dunes in the foregound - Epha's Height, Curonian Spit














kaliningrad360Keep heading north and you'll end up in Lithuania - Curonian Spit


kaliningrad365Moving the other way, the Dancing Forest is at the 37km mark (37km north of Zelenogradsk) - Dancing Forest, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad367The twisting, dancing pine trees give this section its name - Dancing Forest, Curonian Spit














kaliningrad376CCCP is the Cyrillic version of USSR, the former Soviet Union. I found this picture in what was purported to be the tourist information office, though all I discovered was something more akin to a youth centre - Rybachy, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad378A very Soviet looking statue in the grounds of the youth centre/school/tourist info office - Rybachy, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad371Rybachy, around the 33km mark, is the largest village on the Russian side of the Spit with 1,000 inhabitants - Rybachy, Curonian Spit













kaliningrad372So far I hadn't had a decent view of the lagoon. I asked around, and lucky me was escorted through the Rybachy Biological Station to this shoreline - Rybachy, Curonian Spit













kaliningrad374A speedboat powers across the Curonian Lagoon - Rybachy, Curonian Spit


kaliningrad384At the 14km mark is the interesting and very quirky Museum of Russian Superstitions - Curonian Spit


kaliningrad401 The museum displays carvings representing various spirits in Russian mythology. Unfortunately all the descriptions are in Russian - Curonian Spit













kaliningrad381At last some blue sky and a lovely Baltic Sea coastline (opposite the museum) - Curonian Spit














kaliningrad394You only have to walk about 500m from the sea to reach the Curonian Lagoon - Curonian Spit


kaliningrad397A calm and glistening lagoon - Curonian Spit


kaliningrad398Pine forest, sand dunes, migrating birds, fish and wildlife are all on show - Curonian Spit














kaliningrad403A windmill at Lesnoy, the first main village on the spit after Zelenogradsk, at the 11km mark - Lesnoy, Curonian Spit













kaliningrad404Until recently a permit was required to visit the militarised town of Baltiysk


kaliningrad407The entrance to Pillau Citadel, now an off-limits military area - Baltiysk


kaliningrad409The moat surrounding the 17th century Pillau Citadel. In German/Prussian times Baltiysk was called Pillau













kaliningrad411The Torpedo Boat Memorial, a strange monument in a square that was called Adolf Hitler Platz in the Nazi era - Baltiysk













kaliningrad412Baltiysk is a naval port that's home to the Baltic Fleet, and a town of major strategic importance due to its year-round ice-free port and proximity to Western Europe


kaliningrad415The early 19th century lighthouse stands behind a statue of Peter the Great, ruler of the Russian empire in the 17th/18th centuries - Baltiysk


kaliningrad414Naval and cruise ships enter the Kaliningrad enclave via the Baltiysk Strait - Baltiysk














kaliningrad424A decrepit water tower on the banks of the Baltiysk Strait.
Or is it?! I read it was actually a military guard-post disguised as a water tower - Baltiysk













kaliningrad420Beneath the tower is the entrance to a flooded subterranean tunnel/bunker complex, which may connect to the Baltiysk Spit across the water. The rumour goes that in recent years a diver tried to see where the submerged section led, but his rope was cut and his body never recovered - Baltiysk


kaliningrad425Overlooking the entrance to the Baltiysk Strait is an equestrian statue of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna of Russia - Baltiysk


kaliningrad426From the statue there's good views of the arc of beach to the north east - Baltiysk














kaliningrad430The Baltiysk Spit (also called the Vistula Spit or Baltiyskaya Kosa) is a narrow spit of land opposite Baltiysk that stretches all the way to Poland.
In the foreground are the ruins of a castle.












kaliningrad418Baltiysk was the only place where I booked a tour as I wanted to visit the Baltiysk Spit. It's home to war bunkers and a former German air base built prior to WWII (pictured above) - Baltiysk

However my guide messed up - a soldier was at the ferry office enforcing the notice stating a permit was required to visit the Spit. My guide said we didn't need one but the officer wouldn't back down (not for a bribe either, which landed us in more bother). After allegedly phoning his superiors we left, to mutters of 'bloody KGB'. It sounds like foreigners often get away without a permit but I got unlucky during a crackdown. Damn! It's likely that the spit is a location for military installations, no doubt built well away from prying eyes.


kaliningrad434Apparently war bunkers are scattered along the dunes of the Baltiysk Spit, but a zoom lens was the closest I got! Baltiysk


kaliningrad436The obligtory statue of Lenin stands in Svetly















kaliningrad435This poster, originally a WWII (or Cold War?) propaganda poster, encourages locals to pay their taxes - Svetly














kaliningrad438The Baltiysk Spit mentioned earlier separates the Baltic Sea from the Vistula Lagoon (or Kaliningrad Lagoon). Svetly is a good place to see the Kaliningrad Sea Canal, a banked section of the lagoon along which ships travel as they head to Kaliningrad port


kaliningrad439One of the smaller boats in the Kaliningrad Sea Canal - Svetly


kaliningrad444The most attractive place in Kaliningrad is the spa town of Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad441The Frog Princess greets arrivals, opposite the train station - Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad446A street-art advertisement on the walk down to the beach - Svetlogorsk


kaliningrad447Along the promenade is the Nymph statue - Svetlogorsk


kaliningrad450A narrow strip of beach on the waterfront - Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad454Also on the waterfront promenade is the colourful zodiac mosaic sundial - Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad456The Central Square, with the Organ Hall on the left - Svetlogorsk


kaliningrad457A cafe mural (like the ones in Kaliningrad's Fish Village) in front of the Rauschen Water Tower - Svetlogorsk


kaliningrad460The 25m high Rauschen Water Tower - Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad464Some of the older German homes in Svetlogorsk














kaliningrad467Waiting for the bus to Yantarny at Lake Tikhoe - Svetlogorsk


kaliningrad471This was one of my first impressions of Yantarny. It gets better!













kaliningrad472Yantarny is known for having the world's largest deposits of amber














kaliningrad475Yantarny has a wide stretch of sandy beach


kaliningrad474Above the beach is the upmarket Schloss Hotel - Yantarny


kaliningrad478Not sure who this is but the cleaning tools were out in force to scrub him up - Yantarny















kaliningrad483Crossing the Polish border at Mamonovo, then on to Gdansk and the European Union



Website and content Copyright © 2008-2015 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - coaches to Kaliningrad - Russian Railways website - Kaliningrad tourist board - Russia National Tourist Office - UK/Russia based company - visa support and train tickets - Seat 61's page on train travel in Russia


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


countries a-z