Our recent visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania was a very laid back trip for us, yet we were still able to see quite a bit of Lithuania's third largest city and only port. Both online and in travel guides I couldn't find a lot of information about what to do in Klaipeda, so we instead wandered the winding streets to see what we could uncover. We found a budding coffee culture, a creepy statue, sneaky street art, and much more. It was pleasant to just walk the parks that flanked the river and wander the docks by the Curonian lagoon to watch fishing boats come and go.
1) Wander the Old Town: Klaipeda has a cozy little old town with Scandinavian influenced architecture. It is small enough that dedicating a day to wandering is sufficient, though I think taking it in slowly over a few days was just right for us.
2) Cafe Hop: Lithuanians drink coffee, that is for sure. A couple new cafes have cropped up in Klaipeda that really seem to take advantage of a Lithuanian's love for coffee and growing interest in brewing techniques and single origin beans. (check out next week's post for some suggested cafes!).
3) Try the Freshest Smoked Fish: Klaipeda is a fishing city through and through. On sunny days soak up your vitamin D along the piers while watching the fishing boats come and go. You'll also spot fish, so fresh that it's right off the boat, being smoked and sold to passersby.
4) See the Creepy Black Ghost: One of the things that I was sure I wanted to see this trip to Klaipeda was the Black Ghost statue (I had heard about it on the Say Labas podcast). Pretty cool, right?
5) Watch the Hand-Cranked Drawbridge Open or Close: To view the Black Ghost statue from the front you must wait for the hand-cranked drawbridge to close for you to walk across. See those two guys in the middle of the bridge? They crank the bridge open and closed several times per hour.
6) Eat Lithuanian Food: Lithuania has some tasty cuisine, including borscht, potato pancakes, cold beet soup, and cepelinai, to name a few. Try some delicious food at Stora Antis, or taste beloved Lithuanian cheese at Dziugas.
7) Look for Sneaky Street Art: I love to look for street art wherever I go. I didn't see a huge street art scene in Klaipeda, though I did find a few cool pieces that caught my eye!
8) Check out the Post Office: I know, this tip sounds questionable, but have you ever seen a post office more beautiful than this one?
9) Search for Sculptures around the City and in the Sculpture Park: While in Klaipeda, J and I saw a family doing what appeared to be a scavenger hunt to find all of the statues around the city. They looked like they were having a blast, and hopefully one of their stops was to visit the Sculpture Park. J and I visited the Sculpture Park our first time in Klaipeda and it made for some cool photos.
10) Take the ferry to the Curonian Spit: Last but certainly not least for your visit in Klaipeda, I suggest actually leaving Klaipeda and heading to the Curonian Spit, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Even just a visit to the Spit for a couple of hours will allow you to walk the long beaches, see pristine forests, and dip your feet into the chilly Baltic Sea. With a visit of a day or more (or with a bike or car) you can visit the Hill of Witches in Juodkrante or see the fishing village of Nida (more on these locations coming in the upcoming weeks!).
Have you visited Klaipeda before? What else do you suggest doing there?