Russia’s Curonian Spit

Curonian Spit sounds like something Russia would be doing. Here it is a UNESCO-listed strip of forests and sand dunes between the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon. Shared with Lithuania, the Russian side is less than a 90-minute drive through empty villages from Kaliningrad Khrabrovo Airport. The Lithuanian side reportedly has more bird spotting, though is considerably farther from Vilnius than the Russian to Kaliningrad. Crossing between the two with rental car by all reports requires paperwork and tremendous hassle, since, well, it is Russia, and also the Kaliningrad enclave is a smuggling conduit between the EU and Russia. Indeed Kaliningrad is a geopolitical oddity, a lasting relic of WWII. Formerly Königsberg of Germany’s East Prussia, and the home of Immanuel Kant, Stalin emptied it of Germans and Russified it.

Curonian Spit 03

Curonian Spit 02

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All of that human struggle has passed over the Curonian Spit, now left to shifting sands, trees twisted from brutal winds, and elderly mushroom foragers.

Curonian Spit 05

Curonian Spit 01

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  • Mr. Cool

    where are all the cotton candy stands?

  • Great pictures

  • john

    nice pictures. Looks like there may be more nature on the Russian side than what I saw on the Lithuanian side.
    What do you mean by empty villages? Abandoned? (interesting?)
    Been thinking about going there. Is the whole place eerie or just normal Russia?

  • @john – just very quiet and normal looking. The city itself is about the limit of activity. I’ll post on that. As a destination it is very much specialist and more about that it exists rather than the tourist attractions. Everything I read about the land borders sounds like a hassle. Flights are limited. Schengen, UK, and Japan get 72-hour visa on arrival though.

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