When a flight from Russia becomes more difficult, but you want to walk along the well-groomed European streets, Kaliningrad and the region help out.
Where to go from Kaliningrad and how to get to the Curonian Spit? We share our experience and impressions that will help you build a route and see the most interesting things in 3-4 days.
Rent a car in Kaliningrad – where and what we took
The most convenient way to complete the list of “What to see in the Kaliningrad region” is to travel by car. I speak from personal experience.
For example, you will surely want to see the Baltic Sea with dunes. And although public transport runs from Kaliningrad to the Curonian Spit, the coast is not limited to one bus stop, but stretches further for many picturesque kilometers ahead. Which are more comfortable to overcome by car.
- My advice: choose and book a car for Kaliningrad on the LocalRent website – simply the best and most profitable aggregator. We use it both abroad (yes, it accepts our bank cards) and inside Russia. The only pity is that the service is present only in 15 countries and several cities of the Russian Federation – I really look forward to expanding!
At the peak of the summer season in Kaliningrad, the cost of renting a small car starts from 2200 rubles per day ; and in November – from 1000 rubles. It is definitely cheaper and more convenient than a taxi in the area. We flew to the airport and left in our temporary car. Gasoline in the city costs 50–54 rubles per liter.
A small confession: we are so smart now and we recommend Locarent to everyone. And in 2020, they were not very good and rented a car at the Kaliningrad airport upon arrival in some kind of booth. And they put up with a check of 3,800 rubles a day for an old Solaris. That's it!
What are some interesting excursions?
And the easiest way to go outside of Kaliningrad is by sightseeing bus or car. There is no longer any need for rights, no navigator, no dozen tabs in the browser with information about the destination.
The travel time is reduced, which means you can see much more. There are also services for excursions in Kaliningrad and the region:
You do not need to think over the route – a local guide is next to you. He will tell you all the most secret, show you the most untrodden paths and take you to the most picturesque places. And you can bypass a big bus with a group of 40 people by choosing an individual tour: this is often in terms of a person – if you are with a company – the price is equivalent to a group one.
Where to to go from Kaliningrad? If it wasn't for the car, we'd think of these excursions:
|🚌 Curonian Spit without crowds||All the main attractions of the Curonian Spit in one day: Nesselbek, Efa and Muller Heights, the beach and Zelenogradsk. The company will be accompanied by a guide who is in love with the region.||1300 rubles per person
(+ eco-fee of 300 rubles)
|🚌 Amber Path||In addition to the classic route through the village of Yantarny, Svetlogorsk and Baltiysk, the guide will show you the Vitland art village.||9000 rubles tour
(up to 3 people)
|🚌 Castles of East Prussia||There are castles hidden all over the Kaliningrad region that are over 500 years old! This tour is a historical excursion just for your company.||9000 rubles per tour
(up to 4 people)
|🚌 Gastronomic Middle Ages||For those who like to explore new places through food, we recommend the Schaaken CASTLE cheese tour. As a bonus, you will be taken to the Museum of the Inquisition and treated to wine.||1150 rubles (+350 rubles for tasting)|
+6 excursions around Kaliningrad >>
Our itineraries — where to go from Kaliningrad for 1 day?
For trips to distant sights of Kaliningrad and its environs, it is best to build a route with stops in Zelenogradsk and Svetlogorsk. Both cities can be reached by public transport or even by taxi.
Where is it worth going from Kaliningrad for one day with limited time? Of course, to the Baltic Sea, to the Curonian Spit! The nearest point near Kaliningrad with harsh northern beaches is Zelenogradsk. From here it is also convenient to drop into the spit, it is only 9 km from the city.
So, let's dive into a detailed story about 12 places where you can go in one day and diversify your impressions of the Kaliningrad region.
You can be tempted for a long time with castles, forts and churches, but first of all, I bet you will go here: to a 98-kilometer long sandy strip (divided between Russia and Lithuania) with grayish-white beaches and forests planted along the dunes.
The Curonian Spit is a place where you can go on your own if you have a car. Here is our ideal scenario:
- departure from Kaliningrad in the morning,
- several points on the spit – Müller and Ef heights, Dancing Forest,
- and overnight at the classy local glamping Polyana – with vats, evening lights and comfortable tents in the middle of the forest, but close enough to the sea to fall asleep to the sound of the Baltic waves.
Coming by bus – even from Zelenogradsk – with plans to “see everything in one day” does not seem like a good idea. Because the buses, although they run almost to the border with Lithuania, and the stops are within walking distance from the sights, they do not run often, with a break of 1-2 hours. But using public transport to take a leisurely stroll and spend the night in nature in glamping is another matter.
You can cover everything in 6–10 hours on an excursion with a guide, a clear program and schedule. Excursions usually start in Kaliningrad, but you can also find trips from other cities in the region.
Entrance to the Curonian Spit National Park and Reserve costs 300 rubles per person. For entry by car – surcharge of 150 rubles. That is, if the three of you arrive at the park by car, the total amount will be 1050 rubles.
How to get there?
From Kaliningrad by bus number 593; from Zelenogradsk – No. 210, 596, 593; from Svetlogorsk — #596.
Where to stay for the night?
The most budgetary in the near Zelenogradsk. If you want to plunge into the cool waters of the Baltic Sea early in the morning, without reaching the spit for an hour or more, the villages right on the spit are suitable – Morskoye (Zen ecolodge, 5000 rubles per night) or Lesnoy (Mayakovsky hotel, 6500 rubles per night).
A place to connect with nature – and a personal recommendation, just look at the photo! — this is glamping Polyana. A night in a luxury tent costs from 10,000 rubles. For this money, you will have a stylish vacation in a tent, but with all the benefits of civilization, including unlimited Internet and a restaurant on site.
Former Kranz, and now Zelenogradsk is the Russian Jurmala. People come here for seafood and measured walks along the promenade in the company of seagulls. Cat lovers will also like the city, here even traffic lights are dedicated to them. But the most interesting thing – and then how lucky – is to meet a fur seal or a seal on the shore! They swim ashore to bask in the sun, and the local authorities urge them not to save them and admire them from afar, they just rest.
On the way to Zelenogradsk, be sure to look out the window – I was personally struck by the combination of a deep sky with fluffy clouds and straight, stretching fields with small houses on the horizon. It seems like a trifle, but very beautiful.
What to see in Zelenogradsk?
Murarium, Museum of Skulls, Museum of Angels, Tortilla Pond, embankment.
< strong>How to get there?
Bus #114,140,141 from the bus station or train from the South or North Station.
Where to eat?
Try Scandinavian fish soup for 490 rubles at the restaurant “At the very blue sea”. Or warm up with tea with sea buckthorn and ginger for 195 rubles at Veranda. Or have a Moscow-style breakfast and drink coffee at Port-o-coffee with a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea.
Where to stay overnight?
You can find a hotel instead of Booking on these services:
In Zelenogradsk, I recommend staying in Paradox if you like beautiful and modern hotels. In season, a night will cost 10,000 rubles for two. And at the end of October – already 4000 rubles 🙂 The famous water tower is not far away and the beach is only 10-15 minutes on foot.
A clean city with fresh mountain air. Former Rauschen is famous for its sandy beach, colorful funicular and, of course, old streets. The city is especially pretty in the summer – buildings are covered with ivy, forests and parks are in bloom, and the smell of fried fish and sweet pastries can be heard from restaurants.
In autumn and spring, I recommend coming here warmed up: the weather seems much gloomier than in Kaliningrad. This applies to all coastal cities of the Baltic.
What to see in Svetlogorsk?
Water tower, organ hall, villas, Silent Lake.
How to get there?
Bus number 118, 118A from the South Station or train.
Where to eat?
We remember croissants at the Kruassan chain, adored by Kaliningraders, and dinner at Local, a restaurant with an incredible 5 out of 5 rating from reviews and the same incredible cuisine (book a table in advance).
Where to stay for the night?
You can stay in Svetlogorsk at the Storyteller's House. The hotel is located in the wilderness and resembles a fairy tale about a gingerbread house, only the owners are more friendly here. It is only a 5-minute walk to the Pacific Lake, and about 10 minutes to the coast of the Baltic Sea. Price per night – from 5500 rubles.
Kaliningrad? Our city guide for the first trip
Baltiisk and Baltic Spit
In the westernmost point of the Russian Federation, the city of Baltiysk, there is an ancient fort, sand dunes of the Baltic Spit (yes, not only Curonian here!) and shops with German chocolate.
On the spit, you can take a bike and ride to the end of the breakwater – there, local artists set up an impromptu gallery. Then there are the Polish territories. There is a ferry between the spit and, so to say, the mainland Baltic, the journey is only 70 rubles there and back.
It is best to come to Baltiysk and take an excursion with a local guide who will tell you everything about the Russian fleet, the Swedish history of the Baltic Sea and the fortress of Pillau. To visit the citadel, do not forget your passport, entrance only with documents.
What to see?
I recommend that stalkers and other lovers of abandoned places go to the remains of the German airfield Neutif. The rest are the Old Lunet Museum, the forts, the Pillau fortress, the beaches and dunes of the Baltic.
How to get from Kaliningrad?
Bus No. 107, minibus No. 207E – departure from South station; electric train No. 6407.
Where to eat?
Well, here you should definitely go for a fillet of Baltic pike perch (390 rubles) at the Count of Monte Cristo.
Where to stay overnight?
I will offer several options in case you decide to stay overnight in Baltiysk. Hotel Amber from 8000 rubles per night for two. Standard, tidy rooms – suitable for adults or couples with a child. For young and active travelers, I recommend the Vodolad hostel, located 5 minutes from the ferry to the Baltic Spit. Book early, often full.
Photo source: wikimedia
Where to go from Kaliningrad for the weekend? In the village of Yantarny, you can arrange an impromptu tour with the capture of several cities.
Surprisingly, every centimeter of the city is dedicated to amber. Museums, a gemstone quarry, restaurants and hotels with amber names. They won’t let you forget where you are 🙂 I recommend staying for more than 1 day to those who really want to take a break from the hustle and bustle.
What to see?
Beach and promenade, amber plant, Amber Castle.
How to get from Kaliningrad?
Bus №120, 550А, 550Ы, 550Ч from the bus station.
Where to eat?
In the “Brut Bar” fish kebab by the sea. The average bill for two is 800 rubles.
Where to stay for the night?
The most luxurious hotel in Yantarny is Schloss Yantarny. The reviews of tourists are a complete admiration for the cuisine in the hotel restaurant, service and SPA, which is located on the territory. The hotel rooms are in the old German style, some with panoramic windows overlooking the park. A night at the hotel will cost 10,000 rubles for two with breakfast.
Castles in the Kaliningrad region
The most common reason for traveling to Kaliningrad is the desire to see old churches and ancient castles. Unfortunately, very few Prussian castles and villas have survived in the city itself, with the exception of Amalienau and other areas that miraculously survived.
But if you take a car and drive around the area, you will find dozens of Gothic masterpieces. Among the most popular surviving ones are Waldau in the Nizovye, Geogenburg in Mayevka and Insterburg in Chernyakhovsk. Many of them are hidden from prying eyes – you can safely take a blanket, a thermos with hot tea, German chocolate bought in Baltiysk, and come to the castles to be alone with thoughts about the Teutonic Order. Do they still do this?
Here are a few places worth visiting:
Address: Nekrasovo, st. Tsentralnaya, 42
Back in 1270, the Teutons lived in Schaaken, and today the castle has become an entertainment center for tourists from all over the world. Entrance to the territory, including the museum of torture, costs 250 rubles. There is a tavern inside the castle, sometimes performances are held, demonstration archery or performances of a symphony orchestra, and roosters walk around the courtyard. The whole family will like it.
- Kircha Domnau
Address: Domnovo, st. Sadovaya, 11
The church of 1400 attracts lovers of a measured walk in the atmosphere of antiquity. There are several crypts on the territory, not everyone can go inside – the doors are closed or completely boarded up. Locals believe that this is one of the most underestimated gothic churches by tourists, where the spirit of the former owners of the land has practically not disappeared – for a 700-year-old age, it has been perfectly preserved.
- Lauken and Georgenburg Addresses: Saranskoye and Mayevka
Both castles have been preserved in sufficient condition for a walk around the surroundings. Kaliningraders like to arrange photo sessions here, which they advise you too.
You can see several castles at once accompanied by a guide on an excursion:
Thinking where to go in the Kaliningrad region by car? How about the settlement of Daimehekh (now Abundant)! This is a pastoral complex, which now houses a convent. It is difficult to call it a castle, but it is worth coming here in the summer for the sake of color: on the shore of a small lake, in the wilderness and a grove, several buildings are hidden, one of which is covered with ivy from top to bottom. Great unloading after a big city.
Slavsk, Primorye, Sovetsk and other interesting cities
Limited to the most popular Svetlogorsk and Zelenogradsk is not worth it. There are other cozy cities in the region where you can go from Kaliningrad. For example, Slavsk, Primorye and Sovetsk. It’s worth going here for half a day: to look around, relax in silence, get to know the locals – they are very calm here, which charges them for at least a week 🙂
Special mention is worthy of Chernyakhovsk and Pravdinsk. These are the cities where the churches have been preserved in excellent condition. Thousands of tourists flock here every year for the sake of them and walks along the bright streets.
What to see in …
- Slavsk – Heinrichswalde Church;
- Primorye – old houses and villas, a Lutheran church, an almost deserted beach;
- Sovetsk – the bridge of Queen Louise, the villas of Frank and the timber merchant.
The Kaliningrad region is a special place. The region does not come into contact with the rest, Greater Russia, as some residents of the former Koenigsberg call it. The border touches Lithuania and Poland.
Eh, before the quarantine restrictions, it was common to go on an excursion to Europe. Is there an open Schengen? Welcome to Warsaw and Vilnius. Now, in 2022, the Eurotour has become even more complicated. But we hope that the situation will change very soon, and the restrictions will remain in nightmares, and we will again be able to enjoy the sunset in Gdansk.
What do I advise you to see on your first trip to Kaliningrad?
The most interesting places in the Kaliningrad region are hidden from tourists. Kaliningrad itself is a city where Europe modestly peeps through the gloomy Soviet buildings, and new areas (Rybatskaya village) only imitate how these places looked before.
Old castles, churches, cobbled streets – everything this is the property of remote areas of the former East Prussia. Locals are very fond of the history of the region and recommend not staying too long in the city itself, but renting a car and rushing towards small, cozy towns on the edge of Russia.
What to see in the Kaliningrad region?
On the first trip, I advise you to go on a tour of the resort towns in the Kaliningrad region or spend your vacation in the format of an independent “mini-euro tour”.
For example: land in Khrabrovo – take a car – drive to Zelenogradsk for a day – drive along the Baltic Sea – and the next day stop in Kaliningrad and make sorties from there (it's cheaper). The distance between the cities is small, and in a day you can get to any point in the region.
Here is an approximate route for 4 days:
Khrabrovo – Morskoye village on the Curonian Spit – Zelenogradsk.
Zelenogradsk – Svetlogorsk – Yantarny – Baltiysk.
A trip to coastal resort towns will take an hour and a half without stops and traffic jams. With snacks, museums and entertainment, you will spend the whole day. You can stay overnight in Baltiysk at the Amber Hotel or spend an extra hour and come to Kaliningrad – it will be cheaper.
Where to stay in Kaliningrad? Our selection of 8 hotels, 8 apartments and 5 options by the sea
Baltiysk/Kaliningrad – Waldau Castle – Gvardeysk – Chernyakhovsk – Maevka – Kaliningrad.
The third day can be devoted to visiting castles and cities that have preserved the historical appearance. Be sure to buy pastries at Konigsbaker – with croissants and puffs from the best (in our humble opinion) bakery in the area, the trip will be brighter 🙂
Kaliningrad – Guryevsk – Schaaken – Khrabrovo.
Spend the last day in Schaaken Castle, there will be enough entertainment for several hours. A great option for hanging out before a flight – the airport is only 20 minutes away by transport.
Be sure to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the former owners of the land – beer and branded sausages are served here in every self-respecting restaurant (in Kaliningrad, this is “Aunt Fisher”). Visit the cities that survived after the war, walk along the cobbled streets. Kaliningrad is a living fairy tale of Hoffmann and the most unusual holiday in Russia. You will definitely want to come back!