Birds in Nida
The most popular place to fish in Kuronian lagoon is the port gate.... There are not only fishermen who enjoys it :-) Near Juodkrante there is a big territory occupied by cormorans. They are famous trees killers. I have a feeling this territory can be well used for horror movie :-) But there are also more kind birds :-)
Differently than in developed summer resorts, don't expect to see strawy umbrellas, cots and umbrellas prepared for you in the Curonian Beach. There are also no high buildings close to the beach of Neringa. Anyhow, the beach is free for everyone (if you don't count entrance fee to the Curonian Spit), sand is cleaned regulary so just follow the weather forecast and enjoy the nature :)
Bring your own towels, umbrellas (possible to rent on main entrances to the beach), drinks and everything else you may need while sunbathing or playing physical games. Don't leave your belongings without attention if you are going to take a swim in the Baltic Sea. Clothes may be changed in little cabs every 20 or 50 meters. Possible to buy snacks and drinks on the main entrances of the beach.
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
- National/State Park
The scene for horor movie
When you drive from Juodkrante town to Nida town, take a little stop to see "nature monument" - Cormorants camp. These crazy, humongous birds eat fish from the Baltic sea, they are pretty good divers, then they come back home to nests in trees and empty their bowels. Everything looks very natural and fine if not dead trees around.. the thing is that their excrement somehow kills trees and makes this part of the forest look like a scene for a horror movie.
- National/State Park
All the Baltic side of the Curonian spit is a long sandy beach, but remember that you cannot go anywhere, there are reserves also on this side of the spit. Anyway there's really a lot of space for everyone who wants to swim in the cold Baltic sea, or just stay at the sun to get the "right" colour! ;-)
We went to a beach very close to Nida, just on the opposite side of the town.
Pay attention to the signs: there are some nudist beaches for women only and other ones for men only. Fortunately there are also "normal" beaches for everyone, and I prefer to take my swimsuit with me! ;-)
Thomas Mann house
The famous German writer, Thomas Mann, a winner of the Nobel Prize, took his family to Nida for the first time in 1929. Then he decided to have a summer cottage there. At the end of Skruzdyne street, on the Uosve (which means Mother's-in-Law) Dune he found a vacant piece of land and with the help of E.Molenhauer rented it for 99 years. Very soon, just in half a year, an architect, H.Reisman, drew the project and built the house. It was the very first private cottage in Nida. Thomas Mann and his family spent their summers here from 1930 to 1932. Here he wrote his novel "Joseph and His Brothers".
When Hitler came to the power in Germany in 1933, the writer T.Mann and his family had to emigrate from the country. They also had to leave their summer cottage in the Curonian Spit. The writer authorised E.Molenhauer to take care of his cottage. But soon World War II started and Reich's Field-Marshall Gering was going to turn it into a hunting lodge. After the war it became a residence of the leader of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Snieckus. Latter the Young Specialists' Hotel was set up here.
The writer A.Venclova defined further history of this house. During his visit to Germany in 1955, he met Thomas Mann, who asked him about the cottage in Nida. Since then A.Venclova took care of it and soon the cottage was donated to the Klaipeda Library as a summer reading room. The current memorial exposition was opened in 1967. It tells about the writer T.Mann and his works. Mann family photographs and books translated into different languages are presented for visitors.
The reconstruction of the house was finished in 1996. Today it appears in the way it looked in early thirties. Maya Elerman gave the painting "Old Nida Rescue Station Near the Sea" by her father Ernst Molenhauer to the museum as a present in eighties. This painting now hangs in veranda. The cottage itself is an object of interest. The Thomas Mann Culture Centre was established here. Classical music and poetry fans meet here on summer evenings
The Parnidis Dune is maybe less impressive than the ones up in the north, but it's particular since there is much less vegetation, it really looks like the Sahara desert in some points... except the fact that you are on the Baltic sea! ;-)
At the foot of Parnidis Dune on the northern side lies the "Valley of Silence", a peaceful place surrounded by dunes, while on the southern part of the reserve lies the "Valley of Death". The story says that in the 1870s there was a war-prisoners camp here, built by the Germans whose "guests" were mostly French soldiers. Of course, from the name of the valley, it's not hard to imagine how finished the story...
Nida is the southernmost village on the Lithuanian side of the Curonian Spit, just 2/3Km from the Russian (Kaliningrad region) border.
It's the biggest village on the spit, very picturesque, and with many restaurants and accomodation offers.
All the wooden houses are in perfect conditions, it seems that thay all have been restored yesterday!
Here you can find also the tourist information office and a supermarket.
The grey (dead) dunes
Here are the grey (or "dead") dunes which are often covered with grass vegetation.
Underneath are places of old villages that were buried by drifting sand, naturally grown forest and ancient forest soils. In places where the wind blew out deep hollows, the cultural strata of old settlements and buried forest soils can be seen.
(information taken from official site)
Nagliai strict nature reserve
Nagliai Strict Nature Reserve is 9 km long and lies between the villages of Juodkrantė and Pervalka. It's probably the most spectacular part of the Curonian Spit, here you can walk along a touristic trail up to the dunes on the lagoon side. From the top point you can see both the sea and the lagoon, and the view is really breathtaking!
You can park the car at the 31st Km of the road to Nida, there are some free parkings there, but not too many. Then you walk up to the dune, there is a wooden path till a certain point, then you can go on climbing directly on the sand till the top of the dunes. You cannot go further, since it's prohibited and dangerous. But there's no need to go further, that is already the nicest point of view! ;-)
Juodkrantė is the first village you see going south from the ferry pier.
It's a very small village along the lagoon, not much to see there, but there's something nice there around.
The Witches' Hill is probably the most famous attraction here, but it's nice just to go around the little village, or cycling along the lagoon.
Witches' Hill (Raganų kalnas)
Witches' (also called St. John's or Eve's) Hill is reminicent of the Midsummer celebrations from ancient times. The hill was used to roll the burning pitch barrels down to the lagoon on this night.
The major attraction of the hill today is the park of wooden sculptures. It was set up in 1979 according to the project developed by the sculptor S. Sarapovas and architect A.Nasvytis. Forty nine artists carved sixty five sculptures, which embodied the heroes and characters of Lithuanian fairy-tails and legends. Witches and devils are especially abundant here. For the joy of little visitors, swing and climbing facilities were constructed at the foot of the hill.
Each year some sculptures are restored or replaced with others.
(info taken from official site)
The wonder and beauty of nature that still remains in this tiny corner of Europe. Amongst these dunes you could imagine yourself in the Sahara rather than a little part of Lithuania. Villages have even been buried by these sand giants.
- National/State Park
This is a wonderful open air exhibition. There are many wooden sculptures produced by Lithuanian craftsmen who spent summers in Juodkrante between 1979 and 1981 and created a place of witches and spirits based upon Lithuanian legends, folk stories and fairy tales. In 1988, more sculptures were added making this place more interactive with the sculptures. In recent years more items have been added.
This is a really intersting and enjoyable place as you walk around the hill following paths and discovering wooden characters and creatures.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Thoms Mann Museum
This was Thomas Mann's summer retreat where he and his family spent time. A place where he relaxed and also wrote. Having first visited Nida in 1929 he obviously liked as he had a summerhouse built soon afterwards. the house is now a museum and has photos and books which give an glimpse into the life of this writer.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Hill of the Witches (Raganø Kalnas)
Hell is some kind of park, which is full of wooden sculptures of witches, devils and other mythical creatures. There is a path through the park. Statues are varying in their nature - some are just statues, others has other purposes as well - for instance, they could be used as benches, tables for picnics or objects for children to play. The park is in forest, which adds up to the feeling. Entry is free. Park was built in 1997 by the participants of international wooden sculptures competition.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel