TRAVEL GUIDE TO KALININGRAD REGION
Here you will find interesting information about the Kaliningrad region.
No region in Europe is so wrestling with its past and present and for a new self-image as the Kaliningrad region. The historic Königsberg and the former East Prussia are omnipresent and can still be found in the cities today.
The Kaliningrad region, the former northern East Prussia, is a region steeped in history. Above all, travelers on the trail of the past will discover a lot of interesting things in the area, which is not even as big as the state of Thuringia. The advance of the Teutonic Order and its defiant castles, the time of the German Empire, the Second World War and the subsequent Sovietization as part of the USSR have shaped this region in various ways. And today’s situation – trapped as an exclave between the EU members Lithuania and Poland and thus cut off from the “mother country” – is not without its problems. More than 1,000 kilometers and an external EU border separate the administrative district from the seat of government, Moscow – a distance that doesn’t exactly have a positive effect. The area is not doing very well economically. Kaliningraders need a transit visa to travel to the rest of Russia.
Anyone who travels through the Kaliningrad Oblast (oblast = area) fluctuates between delight and sadness. Delight, whether the beautiful landscapes such as the Curonian Spit or the Elk Lowlands, the partially preserved or now restored buildings that protrude like rays of light between the Soviet blocks, or the hospitality of the population. Wistfulness arises at the sight of the sad prefabricated housing estates and the sadness that many cities radiate today. Historic buildings gave way to Soviet town planning and massive concrete blocks. Everything “German” was to be banned, was allowed to decay or even willfully destroyed. The Königsberg Castle is one of the most famous examples of this. Even today there are discussions about whether this building.
All in all: the former East Prussia is a region that – despite or precisely because of it – fascinates. If you like the slightly ailing charm of the old seaside resorts of Cranz or Rauschen and the spacious, slightly hilly landscape with its long avenues, want to explore the old Königsberg and its remains between the concrete blocks of today’s Kaliningrad and then bring a sense of history with you, you can visit former East Prussia spend a varied vacation. A journey of discovery is worth it!
After the opening of the area, it attracted numerous tourists every year – often so-called homesick tourists. They went in search of clues and visited their previous homes or those of their families. Today there are fewer and fewer people who travel for this reason. The people whose past is connected with East Prussia are getting older, getting fewer.
But the region has a lot to offer – even beyond its past. The seaside resorts on the Samland coast or on the Curonian Spit have been inviting you to relax again since the area was opened, hikes in the secluded natural idylls of the Rominter Heath or the Elk Lowlands are a true experience of nature. And the old Königsberg, today’s Kaliningrad, attracts with culture, modern shopping possibilities and a colorful restaurant and café scene. Welcome to the Kaliningrad Region!
The Kaliningrad region is located in northeastern Europe and has a coastline of around 250 kilometers to the Baltic Sea. It is a Russian exclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland and thus isolated from “Central Russia”. Since Poland and Lithuania joined the EU, the Kaliningrad Oblast has even been surrounded by an external EU border.
The Kaliningrad area covers around 15,000 square kilometers, making it slightly smaller than the German state of Thuringia. It is the westernmost national territory of Russia. Well-known rivers in the Kaliningrad region are Neman (Memel) and Pregel. The Pregel flows into the Fresh Lagoon near Kaliningrad. The Memel forms the northern border of the oblast and flows into the Curonian Lagoon.
The freshness and the Curonian Spit are of particular geographical interest. The Kaliningrad region has only one share in both spits: the fresh spit belongs to Poland in the southern part, and the Curonian spit in the northern part to Lithuania. Both spits are headlands that separate the “belonging” lagoon from the Baltic Sea.
The Curonian Spit is about 100 kilometers long, at its northern end, near Klaipeda in Lithuania, there is an opening to the sea that is about 300 meters wide. At the widest point (in Lithuania) the spit measures four kilometers, at the narrowest point (in Russia) it is only 400 meters. The Curonian Spit was formed during the last Ice Age. Between the terminal moraine hills off the coast, which formed individual islands, there were further sand deposits, from which the headland formed. The approximately 70 kilometers long Fresh Spit is a maximum of two kilometers wide. At Baltijsk (Pillau) there is an opening to the Baltic Sea.
The Samland coast in the west of the oblast, located between the Fresh and Curonian Spit, is known for its rich amber deposits. In Jantarny (Palmnicken) the fossil resin was and is mined in opencast and underground mining. The Kaliningrad Region has a temperate continental climate with maritime influence. In the relatively short summers between June and August, the days are warm. The nights remain twilight, but they also cool down quite a bit in summer. Winters can get cold.