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louis Palanga - A travel report by Rafal
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Palanga,  Lithuania - flag Lithuania -  Joniskio Rajonas
4685 readers

louis's travel reports

Lithuania undiscovered jewel of the Europe

  17 votes
After gaining it independence the country is developing very fast. They even gained the nickname The second Ireland. Most of us know Vilinius which is beautiful city, but if we turn from the main road we can discover a fascinating countryside

Palanga beach from the jetty
Palanga beach from the jetty
This summer I took my car to discover two close countries - Latvia and Lithuania. I have been once in Lithuania so now I decided to pass over Vilnius and Trakai and see the countryside. I started from Druskininkai, then through Kaunas to Klajpeda, Palanga and Keidainai. Roads in Lithaunia are generally in a good conditions but very often are under reconstruction. And one advice if you travelling by car be careful on the police. Speed limit must be respected - I had to pay 200 litas (60 EUR). In every city there is no problem with hotels, but bacpakers can be negative suprised because Lithuania is not so cheap place.
Country is rather flat, has beautifull villages with originall architecture. From Kalinigrad Region until the Latvian border there are excellent sandy beaches. In western part of the country is a region of lakes. Beside big cities live goes very slowly.
Lithuanian sea shore is kingdom of amber so if you are lucky you can find your own jewel, if not you can buy it everywhere.

Favourite spots:
Druskininkai church
Druskininkai church
Druskininkai nestled on the Nemunas river not far from polish border are main spa city in Lithuania. Its resort status stems from its mineral springs which have been in demand for yheir curative properties since the 19th century. Now after soviet era city is changing it face, becoming elegant spa town.
Huge part of the city is covered by parks in the middle of the city is small lake. In the park is a lot of wooden houses, sometimes they are after refurbishment, others still waiting for its turn. Also pretty town hall, Cathedral and Orthodox Church making the city plesant stop for a day.
Latest city attraction is swimming pool complex, where for 40 litas you can spend all day having great fun. Complex is hidden in one of the parks. This one who prefer quiet can have a walk in the parks, or on the paths close to Nemunas river.

What's really great:
Klaipeda Theather Square with Simon Dach Fountain
Klaipeda Theather Square with Simon Dach Fountain
Palanga is premier Lithuanian seaside resort in summer, is famed for its sandy beach backed by dunes and pine woods. Other jewel of Palanga is 19th century Palace of the Tyszkiewicz family, nowadyas surrouned by Botanical Park. The Palace now is Amber Museum - open daily (except mondays).
Palnga now has a facelift - is turned into thriving, younag and fun place.
From the city to the beach leads the Basanaviciaus gatve, where is a lot of the restauratns, cafeterias and dancing places very close is also a seasonal lunapark. The beach was very crowdy and quite loud, Baltic sea as always very cold.
Only 25 kilometers from Palanga is Klaipeda, the third largest city in Lithuania, heavily destroyed during the WWII, now poses small old time nicley rebuilt. The main focus on the Old Town is Theatre Square , whch Klaipeda Theatre, where Hitler stood on the balcony and proclaimed the incorporation of Klaipeda into Germany. In front of the theatre stands the Simon Dach Fountain.

Kaunas market square with town hall
Kaunas market square with town hall
Klaipeda is gateway to the Curonian Spit - world of windswept sand dunes, coastal cycling paths, pines trees and wooden architecture. The spit has been subscribe to the UNESCO world heriatge list.

Only 7 kilemeters from Druskininaki is Soviet Sculpture Park in Grutas, the owner is collecting a old statues of the Lenin, Stalin, Marks and others communists. So you can see there 5 m high Lenin from Kaunas.

Kedainiai very cosy city in central Lithuania. During my visit city was perparing for 650 anniversary so it was after resoration. Main atractions of the city are: Lutheran Church, wooden Carmelite church, market square and two synagogues (both open for visitors with entrance fee).

Kaunas is second largest city in Lithaunia, after gaining independence city was capital. Kaunas main attractions are cathedral, ruins of the castle, town hall which hosting a devil museum now, churches and pretty old town. At the end of Liasves aleja is very beautifull "St. Michael the archaengel church"

wooden houses in Druskininkai, you can reant a room here
wooden houses in Druskininkai, you can reant a room here
As in every seaside resort there is no problem with accomodation in Palnaga. Most of private houses ofering the rooms for rent for resonables prices (about 20 litas per person, 1 eur= 3,5 lit). Just look for the signs reading "nuomojami". Be prepared that only few people speak english. In the city is also the range of 3 and 4* hotels but prices in the peak season are relatively high, and during my stay all hotels were full.

Druskininkai are quite similar to Palanga, few private houses but also few russian style hotels :)

Besides Palanaga is not so easy with accomodation. All cities have tourist information which is very helpfull, but places to sleep are expensive and rotue to them is not marked to clearly. If you see that hotel is not full you can try to bargain (in Keidainiai i got 20 % discount).

lazy afternoon in Klaipeda
lazy afternoon in Klaipeda
Palanga during the seanson is very vibrant and lively city. A lot of discos starting form midnight until morning.

Others cities were rather quiet and for example in Kedainai after 8 pm is nothing to do (of course if you like nightlife), city seems to be empty, similar feeling I had in Klaipeda.

sunset in Palanga
sunset in Palanga
A lot of restaurant propose live music to the dinner, some of them even karaoke. So if you are not the fan of such entertainment , better check before enter. Some of the places charges extra money for this.

Almost all restaurants in Palanga were open until 11 pm, in others cities they are closing earlier.

In Palanga was also lunapark, enjoying people until midnight.

But for me the best thing was walk on the beach in the evening, watching the sunset, listening to the sea. Was very safe, I haven't any unplesant adventures.

main street in Kaunas with a lot of restaurants
main street in Kaunas with a lot of restaurants
Lithuanian food is very tasty but also very heavy for the stomach. You can't leave the country without trying "zepelines". Also soups are very popular and others pancakes which come with different fillings - fruit, meat, curd, cheese, jam, sour cream. Worth a try is "strogonff" cubes of meat in sauce or gravy. For those who like more international food in every city is easy to find a pizzeria.

Very good is local beer "Utena" also vodka and champagne are worth to try.

Good advice - because the plates are quite big you can find yourself in the middle of dinner full, and you won't be able to eat more. So it is better to order plates systematicly.

Published on Friday December 7th, 2007

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Thu, Jan 17 2008 - 01:52 PM rating by bineba

I really enjoyed your report. The small towns and countryside look very picturesque.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 11:42 AM rating by shalini_md

An interesting report (with really good pictures) of a country that I knew so little about.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 08:00 AM rating by frenchfrog

Excellent report, gives a depth view of the country. Good info provided.

Sat, Dec 08 2007 - 01:08 AM rating by rangutan

An excellent new look into that developing world of the Balkan States which I hope to visit next year. Many "delicious" tips too!

Fri, Dec 07 2007 - 08:28 PM rating by horourke

great report. The information on speed limits and all the details of various accommodation options is very yuseful and very well presented.

Fri, Dec 07 2007 - 01:10 PM rating by zrusseff

Rafal, thanks for sharing your wonderful report of Lithuania. One of my friends once volunteered for the Peace Corp over there in the early 1990's. By the way, what is in the "zepelines"?

Fri, Dec 07 2007 - 10:01 AM rating by marianne

Rafal, An excellent overview of Lithuania. I had been thinking of visiting, but hadn't yet been reading about the country. In excellent words you paint a picture of what to expect and where to go. I especially like the idea of going to Soviet Sculpture Park.

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