Klaipėda is Lithuania's third largest city, located in the north-western corner of the country. It is a seaport, stopover point for cruise ships, and the gateway to the Curonian Spit.
Originally founded by Baltic tribes, the city and castle were built by the Teutonic Order in c. 1252. The German name Memel was adopted from Mēmele, a Scalovian name of that place, which, in turn, was named after Mēmele river, which in Lithuanian is called Nemunas. The word Mēmele means "calm", refering to the calm flow of this river. By that time, it was supposed that the channel between Curonian Spit and mainland is an actual mouth of Nemunas (Mēmele) river, and Curonian Lagoon was treated as a part of its delta. Currently these two are treated as separate subjects, Nemunas delta is about 47km south of Klaipėda.
Klaipėda, the name used by Samogitians and Lithuanians, refers to the same place, as seen from the inland, and refers to its relief, meaning "low and flat ground" in old Samogitian.
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, Klaipėda has become one of Lithuania's most buoyant cities with a steadily growing tourist trade.
- Klaipėda Tourism and Culture Information Centre (Klaipėdos turizmo ir kultūros informacijos centras), Turgaus St 7 (next to the bank and close to the grocery store in the Old Town, S of Dane river), ☎ +370 46 412-186 ([email protected], fax: +370 46 412-185). May: M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. Jun-Aug: M-F 09:00-19:00, Sa-Su 10:00-16:00. Sep: M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. Oct-Apr: M-F 09:00-18:00. Provides all regular tourist services, sells souvenirs, maps, post cards, arranges trips for individuals and groups. Guided tours in several foreign languages. Offers bicycle rent, internet access. Helps to arrange accommodation, to rent a car or bus. (55.70835,21.13354)
Klaipėda's public transport is city buses, shuttle taxi (minibuses) and taxi.
Bus ticket for 1 ride €0.64 purchased from kiosk, or €0.75 purchased from bus driver. Online list of bus routes and their schedules may help to plan your exploration of the city. For more information on passenger transport see Klaipėda Transport website.
Shuttle taxi trip per person €0,74 (day time), €1.00 (night time), schedules can be found at the municipality timetable. Shuttle taxi mostly serve the routes from city centre to the outskirts and suburbs.
Taxi trip per 1km c. €0.45. Boarding fee applies, but there may be a discount up to 100% of it.
Old Town district is small and can be easily explored by foot. To get to the beaches or some suburbs, bicycle may be a reasonable option, as it allows to explore both city and its surroundings in more detail and without losing significant amount of time.
1948 Finnish-made barquentine "Meridianas", now serves as a restaurant
Geldern bastion to the left, ravelin to the right, strait connecting fossé to Danė river in the middle.
Klaipėda is known for its main icons: sculpture Annchen von Tarau, located in theater square, old sailing ship Meridianas (there was a restaurant inside) and Fachwerk (German for half timbered) architecture in the Old Town. Klaipėda is also known for plenty of small sculptures like: mouse, guard dog, dragon, chimney sweep, post pigeons, black ghost, foot prints and others) hiding in the old town. Despite that, in Klaipėda you will find Lithuanian modern sculpture park (next to bus station) with 116 various stone sculptures.
Klaipėda's old town is small but interesting. Theater 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 original place.
- Klaipėda Castle and Bastions complex (Klaipėdos pilies ir bastionų kompleksas), Pilies St 4A (port area S of Danė river).
- Remains of the Klaipėda Castle (Lithuanian: Klaipėdos pilis; German: Memelburg), (yacht marina area). Built in 1253 by Teutonic Knights in strategically important place of Courland - on the left bank of Danė river mouth, close to Klaipėda Channel which connects the lagoon to the Baltic Sea. Many times destroyed and rebuilt, finally demolished in 1888, currently the site is undergoing gradual archaeological research. Most of the site is open for visitors, entrance by path that begins from Pilies St at 55°42'19.61"N, 21°8'0.23"E. The long-term plan involves to exhibit found authenticity, by covering it with recreated volume of the brick castle. (55.70568,21.12895)
- Prince Friedrich and Prince Karl bastions with posterns (Princo Frydricho ir princo Karlo bastionai su poternomis), (north of the Castle site). Currently there are two surviving 16-19th centuries bastions with the posterns, the western part of curtain wall and fossé. Both bastions are c. 14m in height and ranging 15 to 20m in width. Underground T-shaped posterns with cylindrical vaults connect the bastions to the castle courtyard. (55.70616,21.12868)
- City bastion complex (Bastionų kompleksas), Pylimo St - Galinio pylimo St (area east of the Old Town territory). 17th century fortification objects constructed in accordance with New Dutch system: two northern bastions in relatively good shape, and two southern bastions almost completely destroyed.
- Geldern and Purmark bastions (Gelderno ir Purmarko bastionai), Pylimo St (between Pylimo and Bastionų streets, S of Danė river). Two bastions with a curtain wall and posterns in between, to the E of them - an old triangular ravelin surrounded with fossé (access from 55°42'38.02"N, 21°8'21.07"E). (55.70979,21.14001)
- Prussian and Mill bastions (Prūsijos ir Malūno bastionai), Galinio pylimo St (south of Old Town between Taikos Av and Turgaus St). Both bastions were severely damaged during Soviet times, the street was constructed through them, the school and hospital buildings were built on bastion remains. (55.70490,21.13903)
- Lithuanian Sea Museum and Dolphinarium. Smiltynės st. 3. .
- The Castle Museum. Pilies st. 4. .
- The Blacksmith's Museum. Šaltkalvių st. 2. .
- The History Museum of Lithuania Minor. Didžioji Vandens st. 6. .
- Clock Museum. Liepų st. 12. .
- P. Domšaitis' Gallery. Liepų st. 33.
- Sea Feast ((Jūros šventė)), Klaipėda. HQ street address Daukanto St 15, 2nd floor (Festival takes place in the whole town and suburbs), ☎ +370 46 400-300 ([email protected], fax: +370 46 311-353), . Last weekend on July. Annual maritime festival, first time celebrated in 1934. Visiting is free of charge.
- If you like nature - you should visit Curonian Spit, which is a 10 min boat ride from the Old ferry terminal. In summer time the ferries are running each 30 min since 06:00 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 Juodkrantė or Nida towns (they are located 18 and 50km from Smiltyne to south). Renting a bicycle and cycling to Juodkrantė is a nice day trip. The forest is magnificent.
- Beaches - there is a one big and wide sand beach at Smiltynė, full of locals and tourists in the summer. Smiltynė beach is a part of UNESCO world heritage list. Giruliai and Melnragė beaches are at Northern Klaipėda, big and popular place to visit. The water is clean and warm (in summer). Try also Palanga further north.
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 Akropolis and it is one of the biggest shopping malls in the Baltics. Akropolis attractions include cinema, skating rink, restaurants, shops, supermarket, 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, Tiltų street. Main course prices range from €4 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 €3-4.
- J. Kocienės IĮ užkandinė, Turgaus a. 10 (is right across from the central market.). from 8:00 to 17:00. is a non-descript breakfast and lunch spot. It serves huge, hearty dumplings. Nothing costs more than €3.
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 3km from center).
For dinner you should try to visit these places:
- Friedrich passage is located in Klaipėda old town - at Tiltų st. 26A. Here you can find wide variety of different food facilities in one place (Lithuanian dishes restaurant, pizzeria, tea/coffee house, bakery, winery, Mediterranean sea restaurant, stake house) .
- Forto dvaras restaurant is one of the most popular, Lithuanian traditional dishes, certified by the Cookery Heritage Fund. All dishes are prepared by the traditional way of production, by using the local Lithuanian products .
- Monai (Liepų st. 4) restaurant is ranked as 4th best restaurant in Lithuania. One of the best chefs in Lithuania, Vytautas Samavičius, had long dreamed about a place where you could spend an evening with your family, organize business meetings or just spend your time with friends, a place where the plates are full of improvisation, seasonal character and elegance .
- Momo grill (Liepų st. 20) is a small, steak restaurant, yet perfectly formed restaurant serving outstanding food. It is ranked and stands at place 10 in Lithuanian restaurant list position .
- Restaurant "Stora Antis" was built in 1856 on the burnt foundation after the Great Fire in Memel in 1854. Restaurant is an architectural monument and is guarded by the state. It's a small restaurant in the very center of an old town, on Tiltų street, 6. It slightly reminds of a shop of antiques, a little bit of museum, and also of a club for variety stars, politicians and businessmen. But the most important is qualitative cuisine .
- Senoji Hansa restaurant in Teatro street 3 is located in the very center of the Klaipėda Old Town, next to the Theater square.
The local brewery is Švyturys (Lith. for "Lighthouse"). The "Š" is actually a "Sh" sound, and the "y" is pronounced as a long "ee". This brewery produces many types of "Švyturys" brand beers, that you can find in almost any pub, bar or restaurant.
"Herkus Kantas" (Kepėjų st. 17). Very few people would disagree that this is the best bar in the city, both in terms of atmosphere and what they sell in the way of beer. Specializing in quality ale from small breweries in Lithuania and abroad and featuring a weekly guest beer, they also churn out an impressive selection of hot food from burgers to burittos. Find it hiding in a cramped Old Town cellar, which thankfully is improved during the warmer part of the year .
"Faksas" (Žvejų st. 2) is a fantastically popular bar on weekend nights. Faksas is positioned at Žvejų Street, next to the river, to attract noisy boys and girls who like a bit of rock music to go with their tacos. Faksas is known as a house of Tequila and a menu of mostly of Mexican food .
"Senamiestis" in translation means "old town" and it is short for "Klaipėdos senamiestis" (Klaipeda old town). In this particular pub you can try one recipe, that only this pub can offer - so called "Senamiesčio piršteliai" (transl. old town fingers). It's a originally cheese (can be chosen chicken as well) fried in dough. It is a tasty snack recommended with glass of local beer.
There is a great down-to-earth but arty bar with cool music/decor/staff called "Balta Varna"  on Sukilėlių st. 18 near to Teatro square. As well you can find plenty of small and cozy pubs in the Old town.
Average price for a pint of beer in city center for pub around €3-5.
Wineries here are also popular. Just walking you can easily find a small and cozy winery with huge variety of wines.
In old town you can find cocktail bars-panorama bars in hotel "Amberton Klaipėda" operating bars: "12th floor", "Viva La Vita".
Popular clubs include:
- Cartel21 (Club music) Naujojo Sodo st. 1.
- Rocco and Ella (Club music) Turgaus st. 16 .
- PORT night club by BarBar'a (Club music) Naujoji Uosto g. 11
- Klaipėda hostel, Butkų Juzės St 7, . It is pretty small but cozy hostel right by the bus and train stations. €10-15 per night depending on season. Discounts with IYHF card.
- Hostel Kubu. is located in Herkus Mantas street 37A, next to Lietuvininkų square. Small, new (opened in 2012) in the city center hostel. Prices are €9-15 per person (depending on the room).
- Lūgnė, . not the most comfort place in the city, but has cheap prices for rooms.
- Euterpe, .
- National, .
- Litinterp Klaipeda guest house, Puodziu street 17, ☎ (37046) 410644, . checkin: from 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Located on historical, cobbled Puodžių Street right in the heart of the town centre. In 2004 the house as renovated and converted into a cosy guest house with 2 apartments, 9 double, 5 triple and 3 single rooms. Rooms are spacious, carpeted and comfortably furnished. Some of the brick walls have been left unplastered in order to give an authentic reminder of the house's history. Every room has a private en-suite bathroom and only 4 rooms share bathrooms. In that case only two rooms sharing one bathroom. Guests have their own keys and are free to come and go at any time. All rooms are non-smoking. Car parking in the courtyard is available. Breakfast included. Free WiFI. singles €20-30, doubles €35-46, triples from €52.
- Lūgnė, . not the most comfort place in the city, but has cheap prices for rooms.
- Memel hotel, Bangu str. 4, Klaipeda, ☎ +370 46 474 900 ([email protected]), . 3 star hotel located in the Old Town of Klaipeda within easy walking distance of the city‘s main tourist attractions. Hotel is housed in a historic cultural heritage building of a XIX century which has been restored in 2012 and transformed into a cosy hotel. All hotel rooms are decorated in pastel colors and warm shades, there is summer terrace in the yard. Memel Hotel also offers for the guests private car parking free of charge, free Wi-Fi Internet Access, complimentary breakfast buffet, 24 hours working Lobby Bar, Conference Hall and other services.
- Morena, . located near to the shore of Baltic Sea (about 4 km from city center).
- Old Mill hotel. http://www.oldmillhotel.lt.
- Promenada, . hotel is located just 2-3 minutes walk from the bus and train stations.
- Reval Inn, . "Green key" policy hotel that accepts pets.
- Vėtra, . but very cosy and warm 3 star hotel in Klaipeda in the neatly trimmed surroundings in the quiet southern part of the city, far from noisy streets. In the two-storied brick building there are 17 spacious bright rooms which were renovated and furnished with natural dark wood furniture in baroque. Each of the 17 rooms with exclusive interior will dispose you to calm rest.
- Amberton Klaipėda, . The biggest hotel in the city with the most rooms, all thought they have rooms in old part of the building and new part of the building. In the new part of the hotel building rooms are way more nicer and comfortable, and are a bit more expensive. On the ground floor of hotel there is gym with swimming pool, casino, they have 2 restaurants and 2 bars/cafes. There are two sky-bars at 12th and 20th floor. During summer season in 21st floor open air terrace is being opened.
- Ararat, . Apartment type rooms with maximum comfort.
- Radissadon BLU, . is known for it's outstanding service and facilities. Hotel is located in the center of the city, 5 minutes walk to the bus and train stations.
- Pajūrio kempingas (Seaside camping), . In this camping place you can stay in a tent, camper, camping wagon or indoors. You can stay in one hostel like room with five beds for reasonable price €15/person..
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 (52km long) and Russian (48km long) side of Curonian Spit is a part of UNESCO world heritage list.
The lovely seaside resort Palanga half an hour north is on the way back to past glory. It is busy with tourists from June to September. During the high season Palanga is being called summer capital of Lithuania. Buses and minibuses run as often as every half hour even during the low season (€1.40 as of May 2016).