Two-day plan: a two-day trip to Klaipėda will allow you to explore not only the city’s history and culture, but also its most important natural landmarks. During an extended stay, you’ll be able to visit Smiltynė, which is part of the Kuršių Nerija National Park, enjoy a relaxing walk along the shoreline, and explore the mesmerising world of aquatic plants and animals at the Lithuanian Sea Museum.
Teatro aikštė (Theatre Square)
Teatro aikštė (Theatre Square) is one of Klaipėda’s most popular locations, the historical Drama Theatre being its main attraction. Fun fact – the Drama Theatre of Klaipėda is nearly 200 years old, and considered to be the oldest theatre building in Lithuania. It’s widely believed that, in the past, troupes of wandering thespians held outdoor performances here. Although this is now in the past, you can still visit one of the charming Theatre cafés and have a cup of coffee to start your day.
Castle site and Castle Museum
Klaipėda is one of the most prominent Lithuanian cities with its unique history. If you’re a history buff or just someone who loves to explore different cultures – definitely consider visiting the Castle Museum, which provides an excellent overview of the city’s development through the ages.
Once the museum tour is over, we recommend you take a walk around the historical surroundings and climb the castle mound to enjoy a beautiful view of the Old Town.
Cruise ship terminal and the Childhood Dream sculpture
Once you’ve done exploring the castle site, head on over to the cruise ship terminal (which is also used by military vessels, by the way). This is arguably the best spot if you want to get a feel for the spirit of Klaipėda – visitors often lose all sense of time here and spend countless hours gazing at the broad, foggy panorama, dotted here and there by passing ships, and the distant shores of Smiltynė on the other side. Here you’ll also find one of the city’s most famous sculptures, namely that of a little boy waving a sailor’s cap towards the sea, and his dog guarding an incantation that says “Love, believe, and wait” under his paw. The bronze sculpture – titled “Childhood Dream” – is by Vytautas Paulionis and Svajūnas Jurkus. The message is believed to bring good luck to seafarers.
Old Town of Klaipėda
Done exploring the cruise ship terminal? If so – time for a short reprieve in the Old Town! So grab a cup of hot tea or coffee and take a leisurely walk around the intricate labyrinth of the Old Town’s cobbled streets and narrow alleyways.
If you’re visiting Klaipėda for the first time, seeing it from a bird’s-eye view is non-negotiable! Our first recommendation goes out to all of you romantics – the Viva LaVita restaurant, located 70 m above sea level, is an excellent way to both savour a great meal and enjoy a view of the sea below. The second recommendation is for those in a rush – all you have to do is climb the 46 m tower of The Church of Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, and a breath-taking panorama of the city is all yours.
Klaipėdos rotušė (Town Hall)
When in Klaipėda, make sure to visit the Town Hall – the majestic, regal building that used to be home to the Prussian royal family in 1807-08. Many believe it to be the place where some of the period’s key political decision were made.
Fachtwerkhäusen-style buildings in the Artists’ Yard
Klaipėda differs from most other towns and cities of Lithuania due to (among other things) its German Fachtwerkhäusen architecture that reached its peak of popularity in the early XIX century. The highest concentration of Fachtwerkhäusen-style buildings can be found in the Old Town, between Didžioji Vandens Street and Turgus Square, while the most beautiful structures of this type are located in the Artists’ Yard.
Beaches of Smiltynė
On day two of your trip, we recommend you take it easy – tune in to the locals’ daily rhythms and enjoy the sounds of waves crashing against the shoreline. The beaches of Smiltynė are the most beautiful in all of Klaipėda. During the summer, city residents and guests like to go here for the fresh pine-scented air and sunbathing. If you come to Smiltynė during the winter, you can still have fun hiking along the snowy-sandy mounds or try a beachside sauna. The public sauna located at the Smiltynė Rescue Station is open to everyone – no pre-registration required!
Lithuanian Sea Museum
The Lithuanian Sea Museum, also known as the Dolphinarium, is one of Lithuania’s most popular attractions, both among the locals and tourists from abroad. Interestingly, the Museum is located inside a XIX-century coastal fort, which makes it perfect if you care to learn about the history of Lithuanian shipping or see a massive collection of ancient and contemporary anchors. In addition, you can also enjoy a dolphin or Californian sea lion performance!
Old cottages of Smiltynė
After visiting the Lithuanian Sea Museum, the next logical step would be to take a stroll around Smiltynė, where you’ll find many architectural marvels, including Smiltynė’s old cottages – a number of wooden and Fachtwerkhäusen-style buildings adorned with elements of folk architecture.
Pier of Melnragė (or North Breakwater)
Keep walking until you reach the Pier of Melnragė (or North Breakwater), where you can enjoy a bit of quiet solitude, disturbed only by the sounds of restless waves below and the lonely calls of seagulls above.
The Yacht Club of Smiltynė
If you’re feeling a little tired after your walk around Smiltynė, why not stop for a bite at the Smiltynė Yacht Club’s café next to a fleet of yachts, bobbing quietly on the surface nearby?
Ethnographic homestead of a seaside fisherman
Visit the ethnographic homestead of a seaside fisherman, built following surviving examples of the old fishermen’s homesteads and other structures that used to line the coast between Palanga and Šventoji.
Inside you’ll find an exhibition concerning the fishing trade on Lithuania’s coast and see the different furniture and tools commonly employed by XX-century fishing communities.
Exhibition of veteran ships
As long as you’re in Klaipėda, failing to visit the local exhibition of old fishing vessels would be a real shame. With that in mind, we recommend you shore up the last remnants of energy and go see The Long Voyage located inside a mid-sized fishing trawler Dubingiai. The vessel – also known as The Marine Giant – weighs as many as 330 tonnes, and used to be famous for its fishing prowess and exceptional catch.
If you’re the type of traveller, who prefers to explore unfamiliar cities by way of unorthodox methods, feel free to skip some of the attractions mentioned above, and get to know Smiltynė by navigating its 7 km-long orienteering path. The path is open year-round, so grab a map at the Klaipėda Tourism and Culture Information Centre, and off you go!