Kaliningrad, also occasionally known by its prior German name of Königsberg is called 'Karaliaučius' in Lithuanian. Lithuanians, cousins to the 'Old Prussians', used to live here. Along with the Polish name (Krolewiec) it is sometimes known as the 'City of the Four Ks: Kaliningrad/Königsberg/Krolewiec/Karaliaučius'. Following WWII it was briefly known as Kyonigsberg (Кёнигсберг), the Russified form of the original German name.
The economy is currently booming due to favoured access to the EU for both its inhabitants and goods.
Kaliningrad's history dates back to the 13th century, when it was under the rule of the Teutonic knights, an order of German knights, priests and lay men who sought to expand Christianity through missions and conquests. Known by its German name of Koenigsberg then, the city was the capital of Prussia.
Kaliningrad was a hub for science and culture whizzes from Germany, Poland and Lithuania. It was home to renowned philosopher Immanuel Kant and prominent German writer Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann. Kant had such pride in his home town that he barely left the place in his lifetime, declaring that he did not need to venture abroad because ships came to tell him stories.
Destroyed in World War II and annexed to the USSR in 1946, the region was stripped of its German identity and was named after Mikhail Kalinin, a Russian communist leader. A highly militarised zone during the Soviet era, the area only opened to visitors about 20 years ago.
The best time to visit is in summer between June and August, when the temperature is around 20-25°C. Temperatures in autumn range from 10-15°C and the season lasts from September to November. The Kaliningrad winter, which is from December to February, is a much milder winter than Russia, with temperatures typically ranging from 5°C to -11°C.
Take along an umbrella, because the weather is unpredictable and windy. The weather is quite humid too, thanks to its proximity to the Baltic sea. The Baltic sun is mild.
As Kaliningrad is an exclave of the Russian Federation, almost all visitors require a Russian visa to enter. If you plan to travel overland between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia, you will need at least a double-entry visa in order to exit and re-enter Russia. Travelling by air on domestic flights between Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg can be done if you hold a single-entry visa. For more information about Russian visas, see the visa section on the Russia page.
Special Kaliningrad visa: If you are only visiting Kaliningrad (and not the rest of Russia), you may be able to obtain a special Kaliningrad visa if you fulfil all of the following conditions:
your stay in Kaliningrad is a maximum of 3 days
you are a citizen of a Schengen member state, the UK or Japan
you enter and exit Kaliningrad from the border check points of Bagrationovsk, Mamonovo and/or Khrabrovo Airport
Kaliningrad Hrabrovo Airport is located 16km from Kaliningrad. A regular bus (144) runs every hour from the terminal to various stops in the city centre for RUB33. Taxi services are also available; one company offers a fixed price of RUB450 to get from the airport to any point in the city, that you pay at the desk at the airport. This is a far better choice than any of the people who may approach you at the airport, especially any with a name tag saying Official Taxi in English.
Airlines and destinations include:
Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo, St. Petersburg)
airBaltic (Copenhagen, Riga)
Air Berlin (Berlin)
Gomelavia (Grodno, Gomel, Minsk)
Rossiya (St. Petersburg)
Sky Express (Moscow-Vnukovo)
UTair Aviation (Moscow-Vnukovo)
The South Train Station
First of all, be aware that trains leaving from Kaliningrad runs on Moscow time an hour ahead of the local time. Thus a train advertised as leaving at 18:30 actually leaves at 17:30 local time. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff might have said, In Russia, trains leave on time but you get to the station late! Clocks at stations use Moscow time.
As of now (May 2011) train connections with central European countries are scarce and regular over-night trains from Berlin and Warsaw have been drastically reduced. However, there will be a nightly train from Berlin taking 17 hours during May-October 2011. Long-distance trains are however still running if travelling from the east. Departures are daily from Moscow (22h) via Minsk (11h) and every two days from Saint Petersburg (26h). More irregular services are available from Kiev (26 h), Kharkiv (30h), the northern city of Murmansk (61h) and Chelyabinsk (69 h) in the Urals. While trains from Black Sea resorts such as Sochi (61 h) and Sevastopol (41h) are intended mostly for tourists getting home, it is still possible to book regular tickets on them, except 1-2 trains a week during summer.
In summer season regional trains PKP depart from Gdynia via Sopot and Gdansk. Or not, check the website.
The road system is extensive in the Kaliningrad region; however, they are not always well-maintained, and sometimes it is hard to get around because of absence of signage indicating directions/destinations (especially in the city. On large roads, signs are displayed in Cyrillic and Roman letters).
Driving rules are generally the same as in most European countries, but many do not follow the rules, especially during rush hour in the city. Beware of the traffic police because they like to stop foreigners and often expect bribes.
There are two ways to get to Kaliningrad by car - from Poland and from Lithuania, but you should expect delays on the borders (sometimes it can take a couple of hours, and expect up to 5 hours or more on exit, which is why most inhabitants of Kaliningrad prefer the bus which uses a special corridor at the border). The green card for insurance has been valid since beginning of 2009.
Bus to/from Gdansk to Kaliningrad, with two companies.
- Zelenogradsk-Trans, price is PLN50 (RUB500) from Kaliningrad to Gdansk. You can buy tickets until 18:00 at the underground level of the bus station, located behind Gdansk's train station, or directly with the driver, if you are more adventurous. The bus leaves Gdansk at 06:00, 15:00 and 17:00 (as of June 2013). Small coaches. leaving from Platform 11 in Gdansk, arriving at Autobus Vokzal in Kaliningrad.
- KenigAuto, departures from Gdansk at 06:30 and 15:30, from Kaliningrad to Gdansk at 06:30 and 16:30. Price is also RUB500. In summer 2014 there was a special offer at RUB350. Comfortable coaches with TV in Russian and free coffee. When the bus is full, however, border transit times are longer because of the number of passengers. Schedules are subject to change, it is advised to consult the company's website at . It leaves from another platform in Gdansk, further on the right when you are looking at the bus station from the street, in Gdansk, and leaves from Moskovskiy Prospekt (where the company is located) or from the Train Station, not far from the entrance (so not at the autobus station). You must buy your ticket in advance, seats are numbered.
Please note that the schedule on the following websites, that appear via a Google search, are not actual: , 
A night bus also runs from Kaliningrad to Warsaw. However, as of summer 2008 this bus departed not from the main bus station, but from a bus station east of the city centre. To get to this bus station, take Moskovski Prospekt east from the main Leninsky bridge over the river and walk for about a mile. The bus station is clearly visible on the right hand side of the road.
During summer there is a boat service between Kaliningrad, and Frombork, Krynica Morska and Elblag, Poland - more info at Zegluga Gdanska
City has bus, minibus, trolleybus, and tram networks. The best way to explore the city is by bus. The public transportation system is very good. Half of the population live in the city, hence it is very well-connected. Fares are kept low, at a flat rate of RUB12 (USD0.40) on the bus and the waiting time is short. Tickets on the buses are handed out by the conductors.
Taxis within the city may have meters, but most prefer to negotiate fares in advance. Minimum charge within the city is at least RUB100, even for short distances.
Königsberg Cathedral(КафедральныйсоборКалининграда), ulitsa Kanta (Kant's street), 1 (Easily approachable by foot either from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend the stairs when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the direction of the Fish Village), ☎ +7 4012 934-583. 09:00-17:00. Originally built in 1333-1380 and largely reconstructed after World War II, the cathedral on Kneiphof Island along the Pregolya River is a sight to see. The cathedral links Kaliningrad to its German past, where the Prussian kings were once crowned. There are two rooms in the Cathedral Museum devoted to the life of Kant, whose tomb lies beside the cathedral walls. Up the stairs to the left of the main door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed). Kant's grave can be viewed outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building.RUB270. (54.706389,20.511667)
The 'Monster' as viewed from the Plaza Center
The House of Soviets. Known to locals as 'The Monster,' this is sort of an anti-attraction, but useful for orientation in the city centre. It was constructed on the ruins of the Königsberg Castle, but was deemed structurally unsound and therefore never occupied. Rumour has it that a mysterious owner prevents it from being demolished. An archaeological dig is active on the grounds, which is not open to tourists, but specialists may be able to arrange for a visit of the remains of the castle.
The old fortifications (approx. 1860-'70). Includes 15 town gates - Sackheim, King's, Rossgarten, Attack, Railway, Brandenburg, Friedland, Friedrich Wilhelm III. One of the towers is home to the Amber Museum.
Amber Museum(Музейянтаря), Marshal Vasilevsky Square 1 (In the Dohna Tower of the city wall), ☎ Info +7 4012 466-888, excursion booking +7 4012 538-219 (info@.ambermuseum.ru, fax: +7 4012 466-550). Tu-Su 10:00-19:00. Houses a large number of amber ornaments and jewellery from Yantarny in the wider Kaliningrad region.Adult RUB170, school kid RUB80.
Bunker Museum(МузейБлиндаж - The Blindage Museum), Universitetskaya St 2a (Enter the first courtyard to the right behind the Kaliningrad Hotel), ☎ +7 4012 536-593, excursion bureau +7 4012 453-844 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. This is a branch of Тhe Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art. A bit hard to find (one must weave through three or four courtyards and children's playgrounds before finding it, which is barely marked except by two black upright triangular canopies over the bunker doors), it was the headquarters of the local German command during the 1945 battle. A museum of the city's German past (which lasted 689 years) and Soviet "liberation" of the city, including several interesting dioramas of events during the days of the battle.RUB100, school kid RUB30. (54°42'47N,20°30'35E)
Annual Jazz Festival 'Don Chento Jazz', . Takes place in August
Fish at the Baltic sea, (See Curonian Spit sand dunes below). All year round
Trek in the forests, (Two-hour drive from the city). Soak up nature in the untouched forests
Kaliningrad's annual two-day City Day. Commemorates its founding since 1255. It is celebrated in July. The city comes out in full force to party under the dazzling fireworks, concerts, performances, sports, arts and car-related events.
Europa shopping mall, Ploshad Pobedy, 2A Victory Square (Train to Severnyy vokzal), ☎ 8 (4012) 21-08-23. 66,000 m2 of high-end boutiques, cinemas, food and beverage outlets ranging from fine-dining restaurants, cosy cafes to cheap food kiosks.
Amber jewellery and art and craft is the local specialty:
Kaliningrad Amber Factory, Ul. Chernyakhovskovo 62 (also other locations in the city), ☎ 8 (4012) 53 05 45 (email@example.com), . Factory store offering a wide variety of jewelry and objets d'art for almost any budget.
Amber pavillion, (A few blocks up Leninsky Prospekt from the Kaliningrad Hotel). opens at 10am. Several stores grouped together with a variety of amber items at competitive prices.
Yantarny, Information tourist center «Gorod Vdohnoveniya», Masterov Square, Yantarny settlement (Located an hour's drive from the city), ☎ 8-911-462-79-59/ 8-911-462-79-59 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Yantarny has the biggest amber mine in the world and accounts for more than 90 per cent of the world's output. This settlement has a wide variety of amber products.
Amber Museum's gift shop, 236016 1, Marshal Vasilevsky square, ☎ 8 (4012) 46 68 88, 46 65 50 (email@example.com). You can buy a piece of amber from 240 rubles.
Papasha Beppe Pizzaria, Leninsky Pr. 20/26 and Baltiiskaya Ul. 12 (Central location on Leninsky Prospekt is within walking distance of the Plazma Center). 11am to 11pm. Many locals consider this to be the best thin crust and thick crust pizza in town, and Papasha Beppe also offers a wide variety of reasonably-priced salads, pastas, risottos, and desserts.200-600 Rubles per pizza.
Zarya, Prospekt Mira 41/43 (Just up the street from the Moscow Hotel), ☎ (4012) 21-39-29. A trendy, upscale restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, wide selection on the menu, excellent desserts. In the same building as a movie theater.
Karamel, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (On the top floor of the Plaza Center; note the separate elevator to the right of the main entrance to the shopping mall.), ☎ (4012) 53-04-61. Some of the best views from the city from this cafe. Excellent food and fairly broad range of European cuisine, approximately 500 rubles per entree.
Kropotkin, Teatralnaya ulitsa 30 (Next to the big McDonalds near Victory Square.), ☎ +7 401 266 8060. Self-made beer (100 RUB 0,5l), probably the best in town. Try the unfiltered one. Acceptable food, cosy beerhall atmosphere and business lunch.400 RUB.
Razgulyai, Ploshad' Pobedy 1, ☎ (4012) 533-689. Cafeteria-style restaurant with rustic decor. Good for children.
Twelve Chairs (Dvenadstat' Stulyev). A very chic bohemian style cafe with a decent food menu
In the Shadows of the Castle (V Teni Zamka, (In the strip mall across from the Kaliningrad Hotel, on the same block as the 'Monster'). opens at 11am. One of Kaliningrad's longest-lasting cafes.
Viktoriya Supermarket, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (Ground floor of the Plaza Center). A 24-hour supermarket, useful for self-caterers. Other locations throughout the city, too.
Solyanka Cafe, 24 Prospect Mira, ☎ +7-4012-936-203. Try the solyanka, a a thick, piquant soup that is either meat-based, fish-based or vegetable-based. It is cooked with preserved cucumbers, olives, capers and tomato puree that give a strong sour-salty taste to the the soup. Solyanka is perhaps one of the most popular soups besides borscht (beetroot soup) in Russia, but remains unknown beyond the national boundaries.500 rubles.
Hmel Restaurant and Brewery, Pobedi Square, 10, 'Klover' Shopping Centre, 2nd Floor (Situated next to the Victory Square), ☎ +7-4012-593-377. Savour traditional Russian and Siberian cuisine.700 rubles.
Gelateria Italiana (Rosso Arancio), Kaliningrad, ul. Theatre 30, Europa Centre, 2nd Floor (Main entrance opposite Victory Square at top of escalators.), ☎ +7 (4012) 373-666, . Ice cream restaurant located in Europa Centre. 150-1200RUB.
Hmel Restaurant and Brewery, Pobedi Square, 10, 'Klover' Shopping Centre, 2nd Floor (Situated at the Victory Square), ☎ +7-4012-593-377. Live music starts at 9pm every night. A gigantic brewery on the second floor churns out home-made beer.95 rubles/glass.
Local Beer. Local beer brands that are available in stores include Ostmark and Königsberg.
Gelateria Italiana (Rosso Arancio), Kaliningrad, ul. Theatre 30, Europa Centre, 2nd Floor (Europa Centre, opposite Victory Square), ☎ +7 (4012) 373-666, . Ice cream restaurant located in Europa centre. Top of escalators near the entrance opposite to Victory Square.150-1200 RUB.
Kaliningrad Hotel, Leninsky Prospekt 81 (Very center of the city), ☎ +7 4012 536021 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A landmark hotel in the city center, clean and well renovated, within walking distance to most sights. Breakfast buffet is 250 Rubles extra.2100-2500 Rubles per night.
Moscow Hotel, Prospekt Mira 19, ☎ +7 4012 352333 (email@example.com), . Affiliated with the Kaliningrad Hotel, and quite similar although a little bit up the road, but still near the city center.2100-2500 Rubles.
Skipper Hotel, Oktyabrskaya Ulitsa 4A (In the Fish Village), ☎ +7 4012 592-000 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A boutique hotel in the Fish Village, within walking distance of the cathedral and the circus. Breakfast buffet is 200 Rubles extra.2800-3000 Rubles per night.
The Art Hotel «Pushkin Hall», Dostoevskogo st. 19, ☎ +7 (4012) 36-57-52, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. It is a family hotel where you can feel at home or at your close friends’.40 Eur. (20.530592,54.737789)
Amigos Hostel, Yablonevaya Alleya 34, ☎ +7 911 485 9761 (email@example.com), . checkin: 12; checkout: 11.00. Hostel is a two-story house with a fenced free parking. Kitchen combined with a spacious dining room. Bathroom on the second floor and shower room on the first floor. English speaking staff, free WiFi. 30-40 minute walk to the centre.500-600 RUB.
Radisson Hotel Kaliningrad, 10 Pobedy Square 236010 Kaliningrad, ☎ + 7 (401) 259 3344 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Located in the historic main square of Kaliningrad. The hotel contains 178 rooms and suites created by Swedish designer Christian Lundveld
Estonia (Estonian visa service provided by the Consulate of Lithuania), Proletarskaya street, 133, ☎ +7 (4012) 95-7688, 95-9486 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (4012) 95-6838). Mon-Fri, 8-30 - 12-30.
Hungary and Slovenia (Hungarian and Slovenian visa service provided by the Consulate of Latvia), Engels street, 52-а, ☎ +7 (921) 107-4224, (411) 270-6755, (401) 256-5502, 295-7441 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (921) 232-9750). Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM.
Sweden (Swedish visa service provided by the Consulate of Poland), Kashtanovaya Alley, 51, ☎ +7 (4012) 976-440, visa issues - (4012) 218-741 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (4012) 976-443). Mon-Fri, 9-00AM - 2-00PM.
Curonian Spit A nearly 50-km-long spit stretching between Zelenogradsk and the Lithuanian border, separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Bay, it includes pine forest, hiking paths (beware of encephalitis-bearing ticks), and beaches. The average height of the sand dunes is 35m, with some reaching to 70m high. Entry fees are 30 rubles per person, plus 200 rubles per car.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!