Curonian Spit National Park & Nida
Curonian Peninsula starts at the sea gate of Klaipeda and runs for a 100 km south into the Russian territory of Kaliningrad. It is a remarkable geological formation, protected by UNESCO.
The Curonian Spit, also called Neringa, has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of outstanding natural beauty. It is also a Lithuanian National Park.
The Curonian Peninsula is a popular nesting place and an important bird migration route. Here you can see whooper swans, white-tailed eagles or sheldrakes.
Another attraction of Curonian Spit is Nagliai nature reserve. It is known for the “Dead Dunes”. The entire length of the dunes is made up of ravines of the most intricate patterns blown by the wind. Between 1675 and 1854 the sand blown by the westerly winds buried four villages! Take a walk on the hiking trail and see the breathtaking beauty of this natural and sensitive landscape.
Nida is the main settlement on the Spit. It is about 50 km south of Klaipeda and is on the border with Kaliningrad (Russia). Nida offers you a peaceful, soul-cleansing alternative to the rush and bustle of normal life. Here you can see the authentic fishermen’s cottages and beautiful weathervanes. Visit the Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann’s house-museum or Kazimieras Mizgiris amber gallery. Admire the magnificent panorama from the 53 metres high Great Dune.
It is worth visiting Curonian Spit at any time of year. The Curonian lagoon freezes over in winter and is an extraordinary site to behold.
Things to do in Nida
His summer house, which overlooks the lagoon, is now a museum. Many of the rooms have been given over to exhibits charting the man’s fascinating life both here and abroad. A tour of the museum with an expert offers a fascinating way to spend an hour or so whilst in Nida.
Inside are a relatively new organ, some fine stained glass and a lot of iconography relating to the local fishing industry. Of most interest however are the graves in the attached ethnographic cemetery. Known in the local parlance plural as krikštai (christenings). These peculiar graves feature markers at the foot of the graves rather than the usual headstone arrangement. Using masculine-named wood for deceased males and vice-versa and carved with horses’ heads, plants and birds. The footstones, for want of a better word, are placed thus to help the deceased rise up on Judgement Day.