Introduction of Lithuania: Unesco Heritage Site - Curonian Spit
Photo credit: Amber255 via Bitlanders.com
Greetings. I continue the introduction of Lithuania, my beautiful country. Every country has its own gem they are proud of and want to show it to everyone. Lithuania's gem is Unesco World Heritage Site - Curonian Spit, otherwise called as Neringa. It consists of a long sand dune strip and a few little settlements along it. To get to the Neringa, we can only by the ferry from the town of Klaipeda. Another way is from the Russia side that had owned another half of the Curonian Spit.
Nowhere else we can see the blue and the white, the white and the black, the green and the blue, which the sun-painter generously spills in the Curonian Spit. In the middle of the day, when the hot summer sun hangs in the blue sky, the beauty of the white Neringa dunes, the greenery of the forests, the shining sea and white sand simply takes away our breath.
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius
In the hours of sunrise and sunset, the Spit's nature dresses up in different colors and shades. The morning's dawn brightens the high slopes of the Neringa dunes with yellowish-pink color. The tops of the dunes it covers with the shadows. The sunrise covers the forests and the seafront of the Spit with the bluish fog. While the sunset lights up the red color on the sand hilltops, and the lagoon with valleys it paints in the gray. The Neringa landscape is like a colored glass's pieces that bring together the finest combinations of colors and shapes in this natural kaleidoscope, constantly moved by the sun.
I have been there several times, and I have a lot of photos to share with you.
Neringa Dunes - Photo credit: canacopegdl.com
Entertainments In Curonian Spit
The Curonian Spit has plenty of sights and activities to offer. There is the Lithuanian Sea Museum, an aquarium, and a Dolphinarium, where it is possible to observe sea lions and seals performances. The aquarium is rich in marine life, fishes, and plants, which delight the eyes of all visitors. You feel like it moves you into the depths of the water world. Also, there is the legendary Hill of Witches, where the wooden sculptures of witches, devils, and other mystical creatures presenting unique folk art are exhibited.
In Smiltyne, Juodkrante, Pervalka, Preila, and Nida - in the most charming settlements of the Curonian Spit - you can enjoy many interesting places, recommended to visit every lover of fishing, sailing, cognitive flights, and cycling.
The Curonian Spit has a unique landscape and cultural heritage. The Neringa resort was founded in the Curonian Spit National Park. Since the 2000 year, it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural landscape with many natural and cultural heritage values. Perhaps this is another sign that here, in Lithuania, we have a hand-accessible piece of real paradise, which must be preserved and nurtured.
Entertainments in Curonian Spit National Park- Photo credit: Amber255 via Bitlanders.com
There, you will find excellent and appreciated beaches: internationally recognized Neringa beaches, which since 2002 (first of all Nida beaches) have been awarded the Blue Flag. It is a recognition that the beaches meet high environmental and service quality requirements. The clean sea water, professional rescuers who ensure the safety of holidaymakers, medical staff, and first-aid equipment, beaches are cleaned and maintained daily, special trails for people with disabilities, telephones, drinking water fountains are the key features of the Blue Flag program. All this you will find on the beaches of the Blue Flag of Neringa Municipality!
The Curonian Spit has taken the second place in the top ten beaches of the world! The Lonely Planet, one of the world's leading tourist publisher. has published its top-notch beaches in the world. The white quartz sand and scented pine forests were outrun only by the golden so-called Dahab Coast in Egypt.
Visit the Settlements of the Curonian Spit
The Smiltyne settlement is a part of Klaipėda port located in the Curonian Spit National Park, on the other side of the Curonian Lagoon. As with the entire Curonian Spit National Park, Smiltyne is decorated with beautiful forests, while the seaside is surrounded by mild white sand dunes and beaches. Only about a hundred permanent residents live there.
Since Smiltyne is not a separate resort, but the part of Klaipeda city, there is not much accommodation available here. In this part of the seaport, Hotel Palva and Smiltyne Yacht Club Motel are providing accommodation, as well as private individuals are renting apartments and rooms. In the private sector, prices are negotiable, depending on the season, employment, and weather conditions.
Smiltyne Beach - Photo credit: smiltynesjachtklubas.lt
Smiltyne is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Lithuania. This is a recreation area for the Klaipėda inhabitants and the port city guests. It is also an intermediate stop between Klaipeda and the settlements of the Curonian Spit. From Smiltyne International Ferry Terminal, there are regular buses that carry passengers to Juodkrante, Pervalka, Preila, and Nida.
The Lithuanian Maritime Museum and Dolphinarium located in Smiltyne are constantly visited by tourists from abroad and excursions from all over Lithuania.
Juodkrante is the resort settlement along the Curonian Lagoon, which is closest to Klaipėda Seaport. Although Juodkrante is the second largest settlement in the Curonian Spit, there are only 7000 inhabitants living. This small, tranquil, and neat resort belongs to the municipality of Neringa, and it is declared as a historical - urban reserve.
Near the Juodkrante are famous Gray Dunes. Since they looked dark from the other shore of the lagoon, the village got the name of Juodkrante. Juodkrante translated into English means Black Coast.
Juodkrante Resort - Photo credit: lrt.lt
Although Juodkrante is a small settlement, the choice of accommodation here is rather diverse: several dozen different hotels, rest and guest houses, rooms and apartments located in private villas, and small privately owned homes hired out by local residents. There is a possibility to rent a cottage, and also there is a place for travelers with camps. As in the whole Curonian Spit, it is quite difficult to find a place to stay in the season due to the influx of tourists from the abroad (especially Germany), and Lithuania itself. Many tourists rent accommodations before the hot season begins.
Juodkrante is a very tidy, calm, and appealing resort. It's perfect for family vacations. The XIX century fishermen's homesteads and other wooden buildings have still remained in the settlement. Their preserved ethnocultural details create a special atmosphere. On the Curonian Lagoon, there is a cliff of stone sculptures and a neat walk path. In Juodkrante, there is also a small port, a yacht marina.
Juodkrante is located in the valley of the old parabolic dunes and is surrounded by picturesque pine trees, walking by which you can reach the Baltic Sea beach located about 2 km away. The sculpture park Hill of the Witches, located in the village, is a favorite place for the young holidaymakers. Near Juodkrante, there is also the Gray or Dead Dunes, a viewing site on the Herons Hill, and the cormorants land.
Gray or Dead Dunes - Photo credit: fotokudra.lt
The Juodkrante coast is one of the most universal sailing places in Lithuania. Power kite sailing and windsurfing can be found both in the lagoon and on the sea. In Amber Bay, near Juodkrante, amber is mostly mined in Lithuania.
The most far away from the world and closest to the heaven - the so-called Pervalka is famous for its scenic nature, clean beaches, a vibrant atmosphere, and privacy.
Pervalka is a small resort extended along the Curonian Lagoon shore between Pervalka Bay and the two horns: the Horn of Horses and the Pervalka Horn. Although both Lithuanians and foreign guests are fond of spending their holidays in the summer season in Pervalka, the population is only a few dozens of native citizens. There usually stay people who avoid the noise, who are seeking a peaceful place - families with children, and elderly vacationers.
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Pervalka - the smallest resort in the Curonian Spit - a journey of walking from one side to another takes less than half an hour. There are no night bars, discos or similar entertainment facilities, but there are two beautifully equipped cafes on the lagoon coast and a cafe at the fish smokehouse. There, you can always purchase a fresh fish from the local fishermen.
There is a 2 km long path to the lovely white sandy beach through the picturesque pine forest. The beach is spacious, so you can enjoy sunbathing or swimming in the sea, as well as playing various beach games.
Although the village is small, it is very cozy and beautiful. There are survived buildings of the XIX century, and the old boat harbor, which is often visited by swans. The fishermen, coming back from the lagoon, are met by the bunch of seagulls. People who want more active rest can travel to the dead dunes by the cognitive path or go to the other villages of the Curonian Spit.
Throughout the years, Pervalka is famous for its enchanting nature and peaceful atmosphere with the active Horsescape lighthouse, built in 1990, arranged in an artificially created island in Curonian Lagoon.
Pervalka Resort - Photo credit: pervalka.com
The Preila is a resort of Neringa along the Curonian Lagoon shore between Preila Bay and two horns - the Goat's horn and the horn of Preila. Here, as in Pervalka, are staying those people who avoid noise and seek for a peaceful atmosphere: families with children, and elderly vacationers.
Preila is a calm resort. There are no night bars, discos or similar entertainment places, but there are two beautifully equipped cafes on the lagoon where you can have a delicious meal. Another cafe is located on the seafront, near Preila Beach. Less than 2 km length bike path goes through the picturesque pine wood to the lovely white sandy beach. The beach is spacious, so you can enjoy sunbathing or swimming in the sea, but also play various beach games (volleyball court).
The bike trail runs through Preila, the most convenient and enjoyable way to reach Nida for those who miss the noisy entertainments. When you ride it, you will see the largest dune of the Curonian Spit - Vecekrug (67 m), which, thanks to the strong roots, kept its height.
For over half a century, Preila is well known as a great resort for holidays, providing an amazing rest surrounded by pine trees. There is one main street that passes along the lagoon, smelling from time to time by freshly smoked fish.
Preila Resort Beach - Photo credit: baltic360.lt
The Nida is the biggest resort of the Curonian Spit having more than a thousand citizens. It is settled in the center of this long and narrow peninsula. At the same time, this is the southernmost Neringa resort in Lithuania - from the Nida port to the border with Russia is just over three kilometers. Finally, this is the most prestigious resort in Lithuania, which nobody chooses as a cheaper alternative to something else.
The Nida resort fascinates its tourists with its picturesque pine forests and dunes, spacious soft and white sandy beaches with very few people. The fishermen homesteads, beautiful wooden houses have preserved the unique ancient architectural and interior details. Small cafes, cozy courtyards, beautifully arranged on the coast of the lagoon with a cliff, near which often come ducks and swans, fishermen's marinas and boats, the opportunity to taste freshly smoked fish attracts many tourists.
Nida Resort and Dunes - Photo credit by Amber255 via Bitlanders.com
Nida resort is great for all kinds of people: the elderly, the families with little children, and for young people. Everyone will find what to enjoy and where to spend their free time there. There are various cafes and restaurants in Nida, there are several small grocery stores, and one shopping mall. Near the lagoon, there is a port, the yacht club, the marina.
Visit the Parnidis Dune, which reaches 52 m. From its top, an absolute clear horizon opens to your eyes. From the observation deck you can enjoy wonderful views of the open dunes, the lagoon, the sea, the woods, the panorama of Nida resort, so here you can to admire the wonderful landscape. In addition, it is the only place in Lithuania where you can see how the sun rises from the surface of the water and sets into the water. In 1995, a solar clock was built on the dune - a calendar that shows the exact time of this place. Check that your watch is showing in the Nida's rhythm.
Artists have found Nida. They were the heralds of this corner of paradise, which mesmerized them again and again and inspired their creations. Here, between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon, a second Worpswede has formed, which has not lost its mesmerizing influence on artists-creators. Here, surrounded by irreplaceable and unique scenery, among people reflecting the native land, the artist is able to choose impressions which create deeply moving works of art.
Fishing in the Curonian Spit has long been not just a business but a way of life. So, it's clear that the main food is fish. It was eaten as meat, as well as instead of bread and vegetables. And today, walking through the streets of the Neringa resort, you can feel the smell of smoked fish. Smoked eel, perch, bream, sparlings you can taste at cafes, restaurants or directly from local smokers.
Get 200 steps on Mount Urbo and see the Nida Lighthouse. There is a Nida lighthouse on the mount - a 29.3 m high concrete tower, to which leads a stone-lined path of 200 steps. The lighthouse sends white lights that can be seen at sea for 41 km (22 miles). Visit the Nida lighthouse both day and night, and you will be amazed at what the unique atmosphere it creates.
On The Final Note
Big Neringa dunes buried several villages on their way. It is believed that there are even 14 sand-covered villages in the Curonian Spit. Their inhabitants moved from one place to another, but moving dunes every time caught the runners. Moving Neringa dunes forced to look for ways to stop this process. In this way, the dune hillocks were artificially formed by people. Later, it turned out that the moving sand is being best held back by the mountain pines. The planting process is still ongoing. The reinforcement and planting of such a scale in the Curonian Spit are the only one in the world.
The Curonian Spit is a unique, peculiar piece of the land in the very center of Europe preserved by the fate and people. Everyone here can find something that has long been a history already in Europe. The weathercocks, which have become a symbol for a long time already, testify to the main profession of locals - fishing.
Visit Curonian Spit - Photo credit: laisvalaikiozemelapis.wordpress.com
The nature of Curonian Spit is unique - surrounded by the water, a small stretched land strip has dunes, forests, and cities that are recognized as one of the best resorts.
However, Neringa is not only a land of the fishermen, parabolic dunes, an ancient and unspoiled nature. This is where you can spend your holidays or weekend and have a great rest. So, if you want to see our most famous Unesco Heritage Site, you are welcome to the Curonian Spit.
Welcome to explore one of the tree Unesco World Heritage Sites in Lithuania - Curonian Spit!
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