Difference between revisions of "Klaipeda"
Revision as of 11:10, 20 September 2012
Klaipeda   is Lithuania's third largest city, located in the north-western corner of the country. Originally founded by Baltic tribes, the city and castle was built by the Teutonic Order in 1252 and named Memel in honor of the river of the same name some 40km to the south. For most of its history, Memel was part of Prussia and large battles with Lithuanian lords took place here. Invasions came from Sweden and Russia and the city was part of the Prussian Kingdom and became a prosperous harbor town. It represented the northernmost city in Germany and Prussia until 1918. After Germany lost the First World War, Memelland was first given free city status and then subsequently annexed to the newly established Republic of Lithuania. It was briefly reabsorbed by Nazi Germany before WWII and then reverted back to Lithuania (the Soviet Union) in 1945. Since Lithuanian independence in 1990, Klaipeda has become one of Lithuania's most buoyant cities with a steadily growing tourist trade.
Bus trip per person - 2.00 Lt (from kiosk), 2.40 Lt (from bus driver) (€0,58-0.71). Minibus trip per person - 2.50 Lt (day time), 3.40 Lt (night time) (€0,74-1.00). Taxi trip per 1 km - 1.30 Lt (€0,29).
Klaipėda is known for its main icons: sculpture Annchen von Tarau, located in theater square, old sailing ship Meridianas (there wes a restaurant inside), also there are lots of small sculptures (sculpture of mouse, dog, dragon, chimney sweep, post pigeons and others) hiding in the old town. There aren't many museums in Klaipėda. Most popular include the History Museum of Lithuania Minor, the Klaipeda Picture Gallery, the Marine museum and the Clock museum. Klaipeda's old town is small but interesting. Anika Square has a balcony where Adolph Hitler addressed a crowd. Legend has it that Hitler was annoyed because the statue depicting "Anikė" of the Lithuanian folk tale was not facing him, so he had the statue removed. A replica is now in its place.
If you like nature - you must visit Curonian spit, which is a 10 minute boat ride from the Old ferry terminal (New ferry terminal for vehicles). In summer time the ferries are running each 30 minutes, starting from 6 am, till midnight. In other side (Smiltynė) you can visit Sea museum, ethnographic fisherman farmstead, take a walk on the pier, see the white sanded beaches or just take bus to Juodkrante or Nida towns (they are located 18 and 50 km from Smiltyne to south). Renting a bicycle and cycling to Juodkrante is a nice day trip. The forst is magnificent.
There is a big and wide sand beach at Smiltynė, full of locals and tourists in the summer. Giruliai and Melnragė beaches are at Northern Klaipėda, big and popular place to visit. The water is clean and warm (in summer).
Klaipėda is a unique city - here you will not find shopping street or Old town overcrowded with various stores. Ofcource you will find some stores in the center but, most of them are located in big shopping malls such as: "Akropolis", "BIG", "BIG-2", "Herkaus Galerija", "Mega Plaza", "Studlentas", "Banginis", "Arena", so it is quite simple to go shopping, because, most of the shops are under one roof.
The biggest shopping mall is called Akropolis  and it is one of the biggest shopping malls in the Baltics. Akropolis attractions include cinema, skating rink, restaurants, shops, 2 supermarkets, gym, pizzerias and so on.
There is a decent selection of Lithuanian and Western restaurants, most of which are located around the city's main thoroughfare, Herkaus Manto street, and its continuation into the Old Town, Tiltu street. Main course prices range from €3 at the lower end up to around €20 at the higher end.
If you are looking for non-expensive lunch you can go to any restaurant/bar and get the day lunch, from "day lunch" menu. The time when you can eat day lunch is between 11:30 to 14:00. It consists from one soup "day soup" and 2 to 4 main dishes to choose from. Approximate price is from 9 to 14 Lt (€3-4).
If you are looking for snacks, you will find small bakeries in city center and the Old town.
There are also few popular bistros: "Friedricho bistro" at Herkaus Manto street, and not far from it there is Mažvydo alley "Alėja".
Klaipėda city is famous for it's mysterious cheese fingers - you can't leave the city without trying this. These you can get in the bar "Senamiestis", located in Bažnyčių street 4. Many bars tried to copy famous cheese fingers but did not succeed.
In Klaipėda city center and old town is not so easy to get fast food. Here most common fast food is "Kebab", but still in the city center it isn't easy to find where you can get one. Klaipėda has only one McDonald's restaurant (located next to the "Akropolis" mall, about 3 km from center).
For dinner you should try to visit these places:
The local brewery is Švyturys (transl. Lighthouse) . The "Š" is actually a "sch" - sound and the "y" is pronounced as a long "i".
Klaipėda is known not only for its beer, locals are very into wineries. Almost on every corner you can find a small and cozy winery with huge variety of wines.
In old town you can find cocktail bars-panorama bars in hotel "Amberton" operating bars: "12th floor", "Viva La Vita".
There is a great down-to-earth but arty bar with cool music/decor/staff called "Balta Varna"  on Sukilėlių g. 18 near to Teatro square. As well you can find plenty of small and cozy pubs in the Old town "Herkus Kantas", "Leika", "Senamiestis".
Most of the pubs are located in the city centre and also in the southern part of the city. In the city centre there is old warehouse Memelis (now it is renovated and working as bar/club), there is a brewery inside and you can taste beer that's produced in the same building. Average price for a pint of beer in city center for pub 6-9 Lt (around €2-3).
Popular clubs include:
Klaipeda is a safe place but like anywhere you have to use common sense. Try and walk with a confident air and never look lost.
From Klaipėda there is an easy way to the most famous unspoiled nature resort Curonian Spit with the most famous old fisherman towns Nida and Juodkrantė. On the peninsula you can find amazing sand dunes (highest dune is in Nida), amazing white sanded beaches. Lithuanian (52 km long) and Russian (48 km long) side of Curonian Spit is a part of UNESCO world heritage list.