Difference between revisions of "Kaliningrad"
Revision as of 14:04, 16 May 2008
Kaliningrad, also known by its original German name, Königsberg, is the capital city of Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia. It has about 450,000 inhabitants. It is also called 'Karaliaucius' in Lithuanian, as Lithuanians (cousins to the 'Old Prussians') used to live there. So it is truly 'City of the Four K s: Kaliningrad / Konigsberg / Krolewiec / Karalaucius '. Following WWII, it was briefly known as Kyonigsberg (Кёнигсберг), the Russified form of the original German name.
As Kaliningrad is an exclave of the Russian Federation, almost all visitors require a Russian visa to enter.
Kaliningrad Hrabrovo Airport is located 16 kilometers away from Kaliningrad. There are buses to/from the domestic terminal to the bus station (YOUzhny vokZAL), but there is no public transportation at the international terminal. Taxi service is also available, normal price is about 200 roubles. Airlines and destinations include:
Train number 345 departs Berlin daily at around 21.00, arriving in Kaliningrad around 16.00 the next day. Train 344 operates the return trip, leaving Kaliningrad around 18.30 and arriving in Berlin around 07.00 the next day. Timetables of trains to/from Germany at DB.
Several trains from Moscow pass through Belarus and Lithuania. Also daily train to/from Saint Petersburg via Lithuania. Timetables at Timetables of trains to/from Poland at Poezda.net.
Timetables of trains to/from Poland at PKP - Polish Rail.
Road system is highly developed in Kaliningrad region (thank to Germans, who lived there before), however, they are not always very good (major Russian problem), and sometimes it is hard to get around because of absence of the signs with destinations (especially in the city). Driving rules are generally the same like in most European countries, but not everyone follows these rules, especially when it is rush hour in the city. Be aware of the road police, because they like to stop foreigners and expect some 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)! You must have Russian insurance to cross the border, green card is not valid yet (expect it to be valid in 2007-2008). The cost of insurance is about $40-50 for 2 weeks.
Eurolines.ee Bus from Tallinn via Riga.
Bus to/from Gdansk (Zloty 28) - leaves Gdansk at 07:00 and 15:30. See http://www.itisnet.com/english/e-ce/e-poland/e-gdnsk/e-t-gdn.htm
During summer there is a boat service between Kaliningrad, and Frombork, Krynica Morska and Elblag, Poland - more info at Zegluga Gdanska
City has bus, trolleybus, and tram networks. The public transportation system is very good and quite cheap.
Don't forget to visit Curonian Spit National park (Kurshskaya kosa), a sand split between the Baltic sea and the Curonian Bay.
Annual Jazz Festival "Don Chento Jazz" in August is a great time to visit the city. The atmosfere is wonderful and the line of bands is allways very good too.
Amber is the local specialty.
There is a fabulous Cafe/Restaurant named Twelwe Chairs (Dvenadtsat' Stuljev). A VERY chic bohemian style Café with a very decent food menu.
In the very center of the city located are hotel Kaliningrad and hotel Moscow. Both hotels are well renovated with the room's prices of 50 - 90 euro. The hotels' cite www.hotel.kaliningrad.ru