Zelenogradsk is one of the top destinations in the Kaliningrad Oblast. This is an old, wonderful city with German architecture, a long history and a unique geographic location on the shore of the Baltic Sea. The long sandy beach, little German houses, and famous promenade are things that appeal tourists from all over the world. Curonian Spit National Park, which is located not far from this town, is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Before planning your trip to Zelenogradsk, you might want to get some information about what to see there, where to stay, and how to get to Curonian Spit National Park. You will find answers to all of these questions in this article. Let us start with the places of interest in Zelenogradsk.
The Promenade of Zelenogradsk
The Promenade of Zelenograd runs along the shore of the Baltic Sea and is 3 kilometers long. You can either walk along the paved embankment or go down to the sandy beach to walk along the shore and feed the Baltic seagulls. The Koroleva Luiza Byuvet (the well room of Queen Louisa) is located in the central part of the promenade. You can try clean and natural mineral water there. There are several hotels and restaurants along the embankment. The Ambar restaurant is famous for its delicious food and varied cuisine of diverse countries. Near the beach there is a monument called the Gray Baltic Seal, depicting the animal. Seals like to show up at the beach every once in a while and swim with the people. As a legend goes, if you pat the head of this animal, you will be very lucky.
Zelenogradsk City History Museum
This building was individually designed and appeals to tourists with its antique patterns and a beautiful balcony on the first floor. In the past, this house used to be a manor house of Max Clell, a lawyer. In this museum, you can learn the history of the city from ancient to contemporary times, admire expositions dedicated to diverse topics, purchase some souvenirs, if you wish, and visit multiple masterclasses and art exhibitions. The ticket price is around 100 rubles.
This old tower was built in 1904 to provide the water supply to the city. It is 40 meters tall and is located in the central part of Zelenogradsk. After the Second World War, there were several attempts to rebuild the tower; however, the water pressure crushed the pipes. Now there is a cat museum on top of the tower, along with a viewing platform at a height of 24 meters.
Murarium, the Museum of Cats
There is a statue of a cat sitting in a window, which shows how much the citizens of Zelenogradsk adore cats. Moreover, there is a museum dedicated to cats that is situated in the water tower in the center of the city, and occupies 5 floors. The story of the museum traces back to 1985 when one woman who loved cats realized that the cat figurines that she had collected up to that point were so numerous that they could constitute an entire museum. Now, visitors can observe all types of cats there, including glass, stuffed and wooden sculptures. You can even buy a souvenir (a cat figurine, obviously!) if you wish. After visiting the exhibition, you are welcome to visit an observation deck of the building. The ticket price is 280 rubles.
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Sobor (Transfiguration Cathedral)
The cathedral was built in 1897, and was consecrated as St. Albert’s Lutheran church. It stands 42 meters tall, which, along with its old gothic style and its grandeur, make this church quite an impressive sight to many tourists. During the Second World War, the building was used for military purposes; later it accommodated a gym. It was supposed to be a catholic cathedral; however, in 1995 it was consecrated as an orthodox church. The building of this cathedral and the water tower are the tallest buildings in the city.
Square Queen Louise
This square was opened in 2010. There is a monument to one of the greatest women in history – Louise, the Queen of Prussia, who visited Krantz in 1807. The visitors of the square will be able to enjoy the beauty of the park, learn the exciting story of Queen Louise, and visit the library, which is located in the summer house on the grounds of the square.
Curonian Spit National Park
In addition to all the sites mentioned above, tourists can also visit a unique nature protection area, the Curonian Spit, which is located not far from Zelenogradsk. The park was created in 1987, and since then it has become a very popular place for tourists. This is a real monument of nature, and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The spit is 98 kilometers long, starting in Zelenogradsk and ending in Klaipeda (Lithuania). The territory of the park is divided equally between Russia and Lithuania. Forests occupy 72 percent of the area.
These forests have various species of animals such as, for example, sika deer and wild boar. In total, there are around 290 species inhabiting this territory. The protected natural area and unique environmental conditions contribute to the favorable living conditions and reproduction of the animals. Among the most frequently seen species are martens, moose, foxes, European badgers, squirrels, beavers, hares and many others.
It has been seen that sometimes wild boars come to people to ask for food. The flora of the area holds 400 species of plants and trees (including birches, pines and alders). Bird migration patterns cross the Curonian Spit and connect Finland, the Republic of Karelia and the Baltic states with Southern Europe and Africa.
There are many places of interest in this national park: the Dancing Forest, the Rossitten Forest, the Royal Forest, the Swan Lake, the Seagul Lake (Lake Chayka), Vysota Efa, ornithological station Fringilla, Vysota Myullera and many other wonders of nature. The main peculiarity of the area is that the spit is bordered by the Baltic Sea on the one side, and by the Curonian Lagoon on the other side. In order to observe the crossroad of the sea and the lagoon, sand dunes and vast woods, you will have to visit the Vysota Efa. From this mountain peak, you will be able to admire a fantastic view and hear the famous Singing Sands. There are also residential settlements in the territory of the park: Lesnoy, Rybachy and Morskoye. The Lesnoy settlement is located in the narrowest part of the Curonian Spit and occupies only 400 meters of land.
Another astonishing place is the Dancing Forest. It takes a while before you notice that the pines lean and bend, but the further in you go, the more pines you see and the more you get the feeling that an invisible hand bends them. There are a lot of legends and tales connected with this place. As the local legend goes, if you can fit through the circle of the trees, you will be rid of all your illnesses.
There are a lot of tours that you can take to get to the Curonian Spit, where you will learn the history of the place and many interesting facts about it. There are private tours and group tours. You can go on a motorboat tour to admire the beauty of the land from the sea. You can also take a bus tour that takes 5-6 hours. You can come here for one day or for a weekend. The average price of a tour is 2000 rubles per person. You can get here by car or by bicycle. The entrance price is 150 rubles. Here you will have a chance to plunge into the magical atmosphere of the park, its history and its immense beauty. There are lots of museums, cafes and hotels in the territory of the spit.
Make yourself at home.
It is also quite important to know where you can stay in Zelenogradsk. There are many hotels in the city, and this article will help you to choose the most suitable and the most comfortable option for you.
Zelenogradsk Spa Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a hotel situated on the shore of the Baltic sea, right near the bottom of the spit. The staff here is very polite and well mannered, and speaks both Russian and English. The rooms are spacious, with lots of light, and a balcony or a terrace, which allows visitors to enjoy the marvelous view and breathe the fresh sea air. There is a restaurant in the hotel where you can try sophisticated dishes, and enjoy a delicious breakfast and good coffee. The hotel offers spa services such as a Turkish bath, sauna, swimming pool, health club and massage services, all of which will help you relax, rejuvenate and improve your health. Children can be occupied with a special playground and educational games. You can visit the hotel website for more information about promotions, sales and special offers. The average price for one night is 4500 rubles.
Princess Eliza Hotel ★ ★ ★
This exterior of this hotel is designed in the old German style, as are the exquisite rooms of the hotel. Visitors have an access to a private beach on the shore of the Baltic Sea. The hotel holds the Chopin Café, where you can always order pastries, or other dishes from the varied menu, and enjoy classical music concerts. Guests of the hotel are provided with free passes to the Sports Center and lottery tickets. On the weekends diverse events are held in the hotel, such as Flamenco evening, quests, games, Fairytale evenings, and various festivals. The staff is always glad to help you and speaks both Russian and English. You can borrow a bicycle free of charge in order to ride around the city. The average price per night is 4000-5000 rubles.
Koshkin Dom Hotel ★ ★★
The peculiarity of this hotel is that it reflects the atmosphere of love for cats that is so characteristic of this city, where you can also find a museum of cats and a cat sculpture in the center of Zelenogradsk. The hotel offers a cozy interior with cat figurines here and there. You can enjoy delicious dishes of European cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant and swim in the pool, if you wish. The exterior of the hotel calls to mind a German castle, which gives off a fairytale feeling. There is a special barbeque area, a gazebo, a restaurant, a sauna and bicycle rental available. The hotel is not far from the center of Zelenogradsk, which enables you to travel comfortably around the city. Prices are quite affordable.