The tourism destination for many Lithuanians, Palanga (pop. 20,000) has a beach that seems to stretch forever. There are two must-sees in Palanga: Birute's Hill-is a tall sand-dune which originally boasted a pagan temple to Thunder god Perkunas that was guarded by Vestal Virgins. Grand Duke Vytautas, smitten by one of the guardians, Birute, kidnapped her and made her his wife. The hill is now topped with a chapel and a statue of Birute rests at the foot of the hill. The second and most interesting tourist site is the Amber Museum, which has tens of thousands of different amber pieces on display, including some bigger than you can imagine.
These days, Palanga is the place to go for active youngsters in search of bars and nightclubs, of which the town now has plenty. In summer, Palanga gets noisy.
Even when you visit in peak season in summer, keep in mind that there can be strong winds and rain. So bring a wind stopper or rain jacket and umbrella. You may be amazed to see people swimming in the sea whereas others are packed up quite wind proof. Sunscreen, beware of the wind! If you have a digital camera you may want to make sure you have enough batteries or your battery charger with you. I had to sun around several shops to find Lithium batteries and the vendor said that I was buying the wrong one (which wasn't true), it was the only one in stock. So be prepared. Note that some public toilets only give very little toilet paper. You may find it a good idea to carry a bit on you.
J.Basanavicius street and the sea bridge
J.Basanavicius street and the sea bridge is the most popular strolling place in Palanga. It is full of cafes and entertainment. Evening strolls to see the sunset is old and popular tradition among vacationers.
"The Resort has already celebrated the 750 th anniv"
Palanga settlement, first mentioned in 1253, was a significant trading and pagan center in the Middle Ages. In the first half of the XIX c it was known as a seaside resort. News about new treatment methods without a doctor spread quickly. Popularity of Palanga increased after the visit of well-known Polish writer Adam Mickevich in 1824. Soon Palanga became so popular that all local houses, huts and garners were occupied with vacationers.
Due to the earls Tiskeviciai, Palanga became a real resort. In the eighties of the XIX th c earl Juozapas Tiskevicius made huge investments in the future resort: in 1877-1880 he opened a spacious restaurant and the first hotel, which was called The Kurhauz, a few summer house complexes were built, a summer theatre was established, stroll paths in the forest were laid, bathing cabins on the beach and bathing places with marble baths and heated water were built. In order to make a landing-stage, a sea bridge was built in 1884-1888. Soon it became one of the most popular attractions and symbols in Palanga resort. Earl Tiskevicius established a resort, which was very popular among rich people from various Russian provinces and, therefore, created competition to Klaipeda.
After the death of earl Juozapas Tiskevicius, his son Feliksas Tiskevicius inherited Palanga. In the southern end of Palanga he built a new palace and formed a remarkable English-style park around it. The park has been diligently preserved until now, therefore, it is very popular among citizens and guest of Palanga. The Tiskeviciai family continued to have new resort territories planted, summer-houses and warm bathing-places built and specialized healing-homes established. Many of these buildings have been preserved till now. They decorate the old Palanga and serve the vacationers' needs.
In the beginning of the XX c Palanga equaled the best German resorts, its beach was equipped following the best foreign examples. Palanga had a gymnastics and orthopedics house with massage specialists and solarium equipped there. During the high season local doctors and those from Vilnius, Warsaw and Lodze took care of the vacationers' health. Every day a wind-orchestra gave concerts in the park and beach. In the Kurhauz there was a café with billiards, a playing-room and a reading-room. In the town there were grounds for gymnastics, tennis, football, bowling and basketball. Sight-seeing services on horses were provided. Palanga resort was recommended for those who suffered neurasthenia and indigestion, for women who had gynecological diseases and for children who were physically weak or exhausted after long periods of illnesses, who had rachitis or chronic catarrh. People traveled to Palanga to strengthen their bodies after injuries or surgeries and to find peace after psychical weariness, here they found fresh air, peace and quietness.
During the years of the first independence, Palanga became informal summer capital of Lithuania. In the third and fourth decades of the XX c wealthy Lithuanians were purchasing land from earl F.Tiskevicius and building summer houses and villas. Presidents of Lithuania Antanas Smetona and Aleksandras Stulginskis, famous Lithuanian artists and intellectuals used to spend their holidays in Palanga. Ministers used to come here for weekends and sometimes even held the meetings of the Ministers' Cabinet.
During the Soviet time the resort area expanded, many departmental rest houses and sanatorium were erected, a number of public eating places were built. An airport was built to serve the resort needs. Palanga was made one of the most significant Baltic seaside resorts in the Soviet Union.
After the restoration of independence, the flood of tourists from the east decreased sharply. However, a long-time experience helped Palanga sanatoriums to reorganize and adjust to the new market demands. Many of them are being revived, acquire modern equipment for treatment and rehabilitation, use progressive methods and work successfully.
"Palanga, the spring of health"
Palanga, the spring of health
Palanga is the biggest health promoting resort in Lithuania. Vacationers come here to escape their daily urbanized routines and gain strength from natural resources: the sun, sea water and fresh pine-forests' air. The sun baths activate metabolism, improve health and raise spirits. The sea bathing is the best way to harden the body. Dry and warm pine-forests' air is perfect for those who suffer from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis or aesthetic neurosis.You are welcome in any of the ten Palanga sanatoriums, health and rehabilitation centers, which are open all year round. These institutions use physiotherapy, kinezitherapy, psychotherapy, mechanotheraphy, reflexotheraphy, heliotherapy, healing massage, baths and showers, the healing mud and other procedures, which are selected to correspond your personal health needs.In Palanga people with functional CNS disorders, heart and blood-vessels' neuroses and overweight undergo an extremely successful treatment. Palanga resort is especially suitable for those who are recovering after infection diseases and surgeries of various kinds. During the warmest season Palanga welcomes those who have rheumatics or other joint diseases.
It has been discovered that the best results are achieved when people undergo treatment in their usual climate conditions; therefore, Palanga resort in many cases can be more useful for the inhabitants of medium climate zone than the warm South resorts.