Curonian Spit

GO WEST – KLAIPĖDA, CURONIAN SPIT, PANEMUNĖ CASTLES AND HILLFORTS

Date: Sunday 04 September-Tuesday 06 September 2016
Duration: 3 days, 2 overnights
Transport: Coach, walking, ferry
Departure: 8 AM, Daukantas (Presidential) square in front of Vilnius University
Cost per person: 290-335 Eur
Minimal number of people: This tour operates with a minimum of 12

Important information: Please note that the tour involves a reasonable amount of walking around the mounds, sand dunes and climbing stairs. Most of the route is relatively flat or has a slight incline.

On the way to Klaipėda we will visit the Medvėgalis Hillfort, which is the highest in Žemaitija (Samogitia). Medvėgalis was one of the strongest defensive castles of Samogitia which have faced numerous attacks of Teutonic knights in the 14th century.

Klaipėda is a charming port city of Lithuania with beautiful architecture and the Old Town overlooking the Baltic Sea. During the tour we will visit the Castle Museum located in the Prince Friedrich chamber under the bastion, where artillery was stored in the 17th century. The Museum‘s exhibitions show the development of Klaipėda Castle and Klaipėda City during the 13th–17th centuries.

After museum the tour will continue with a walk through Klaipėda Old Town including the Square of Theatre with the famous sculpture of Ann from Tharau and Drama Theatre. Here you will get to know about the Old Town of Klaipėda, street layout features, architecture and history. You will be introduced to the sculptures which became Klaipėda‘s Old Town attraction for many years – „The cat with the face of a gentleman“, try to find „mysterious mouse“ and learn what power it has, also find out why the Dragon clambered up on the wall and  why rooftop chimney sweeper is located on the roof of one of the Old Town houses. You will see the only existing ravelin in Klaipėda located on Jonas Hill and you will hear the story of the city‘s fortification and defensive systems. We will visit the Lithuania Minor History Museum with its archaeological exhibitions.

During the second day we will take ferry and go to the UNESCO World Heritage site – Curonian Spit. It is a narrow peninsula of sand dunes that separates Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The tour includes town of Juodkrantė with famous Witches Hill and the trail of Nagliai Nature Reserve, which is protecting the Grey Dunes often called as dead dunes. It is the most picturesque place in the Curonian spit with the high dunes and sites of the former settlements covered in sand. In famous Nida town we will visit Mizgiriai Amber Gallery where a copy of Neolithic amber treasure is on display. After the Gallery we will go to the ethnographic cemetery of Nida with the wooden tomb monuments of unique shape, typical for the Curonian Spit, called christenings. The tour will continue to the Memorial Museum of Thomas Mann, the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature. After free time and lunch a walk to the famous 52 m high Parnidis Dune with a sundial and splendid view of marvellous drifting dunes is planned.

On the third day we will go to the Rambynas Hillfort, which is the last remaining sacred place of the Balts that commemorates tribal life and battles with the Crusaders, and Lithuania Minor pantheon – Bitėnai Cemetery.

The tour will continue with a drive through beautiful Panemunė region that is famous for Renaissance style castles, manors and their parks, fragments of the defensive line of the river Nemunas from the 13–15th centuries and  Panemunė landscape and we will stop at Panemunė Castle (lunch is planned at the castle’s restaurant), Raudonė Castle and Veliuona Hillfort.

Itinerary:

Day 1

  • Medvėgalis Hillfort
  • Check-in at Klaipėda hotel
  • Lunch

Klaipėda:

  • Klaipėda Castle Museum
  • Square of Theatre
  • Ravelin on Jonas Hill
  • Lithuania Minor History Museum

Day 2

  • Ferry to Curonian Spit
  • Juodkrantė and Witches Hill
  • Trail of Nagliai Nature Reserve

Nida:

  • Mizgiriai Amber Gallery
  • Ethnographical Cemetery
  • Thomas Mann Museum
  • Lunch in Nida
  • Parnidis Dune
  • Klaipėda

Day 3

  • Rambynas Hillfort
  • Bitėnai Cemetery
  • Panemunė Castle and lunch
  • Raudonė Castle
  • Veliuona Hillfort
  • Return to Vilnius