Kaliningrad

Curonian Spit (Куршская Коса)

The National Park Curonian Spit is located on a long peninsula of 98 kilometers long and from 350 to 3800 meters wide, between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian lagoon. The name of the Curonian Spit originates from the ancient ethnic group of Curonians who lived here before the colonization of Prussia by the Germans.

Sandy dunes of Curonian Spit

The nature reserve “Curonian Spit” is on the territory of two states – Russia and Lithuania. In 2000, the area of the Curonian Spit was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the “cultural landscape” category.

By the beginning of the XIX century, the peninsula was on the verge of an environmental disaster – forest clearance led to the destruction of the natural protective background, led to the sand movement and the destruction of roads, structures and remains of forests. For a long time, the government of East Prussia, which owned the Curonian Spit, did not devote funds for preserving and restoring the natural balance on the peninsula.

In 1803, the first work on strengthening the sands began – the construction of “fences” from brushwood, later on – works to strengthen the protection embankment and plant new forests. Supporting works are still ongoing.

Depositphotos_163766178_originalThe peninsula landscape is very picturesque – it is a mixture of sand dunes, pine and birch forests, and fields with moss. On the national park territory, there are more than 800 species of plants. Some species have never vegetated in this place before, but have been specially imported to the Curonian Spit and have successfully taken root during the environmental balance recovery activities.

The landscape diversity causes a rich fauna. The Curonian Spit has more than 290 species of overland vertebrates. Some of them are considered rare and specially protected.

The area of settlements on the peninsula is about 3%. The Russian part of the Curonian Spit has 3 settlements – Lesnoy, Rybachy, and Morskoye.

 The Curonian Spit sights

The Curonian Spit Museum Complex (Визит-центр «Музейный комплекс»)

  1. The permanent exposition of the Museum of Curonian Spit.

The Museum introduces the history of formation and settlement of the Curonian Spit, with its plant life and wildlife, the influence of people on the cultural landscape of the peninsula formation and the preservation of its natural resources.

    2. Museum of Russian superstitions by Mikhail Semenov.

Located in a wooden building, the museum collection is dedicated to Russian folklore: the spirits of the Slavs, characters of fairy tales and various folk beliefs.

   3. The open-air museum “Ancient Sambia” (“Древняя Самбия”). 

A platform where an overview of the culture of the people of the Baltic during the Viking times takes place in an interactive form. Guests of the site take part in ancient ceremonies; try their hand at amber processing, weapons manufacture, and arbalest shooting.

30 minutes classes are held for groups of 10 to 20 people on a first-come basis.

   4. Boat tours in Curonian Lagoon

From May to September, boat tours in the Curonian Lagoon are available from the pier of the Museum complex.

  • Tour duration – 2 hours
  • Boat capacity– 10 person tops
  • Departure time – from Wednesday to Sunday, at 11.00 and at 14.00
  • The tour cost 7200 rubles for the boat, so the price per person depends on the real load
  • Please note – children are allowed to board the boat at the age of 7 years.

Walking routes

  1. The Royal Pinewood (Forestry Grenz)

Королевский бор (Лесничество Гренц)

Location: 6.5th km of the Curonian Spit from the side of the Curonian Lagoon

Length: 2,9 km

Things to see:

  • Age-long needle-leaved forest – in the 17th century under the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I, this place was defined as a wildlife area, to protect against deforestation and poachers;
  • The planting of red cedar;
  • Coast of the Curonian Lagoon.

    2. «Fringilla» (“Фрингилла”) – the field station of the Biological Station of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Location: 23rd km of the Curonian Spit

Length: 0,5 km

Things to see:

  • Station of the world’s first ornithological station opened in 1901;
  • The Curonian Spit is situated on the birds’ migration path between northern regions of Russia, Scandinavian countries and Baltic countries, and the southern countries of Europe and Africa. In the autumn and spring, millions of birds fly over the Curonian Spit. Tours to the station are carried out by professional ornithologists.

    3. Mueller height (Высота Мюллера)

The height is named after the forest ranger Mueller from the Koenigsberg Forest Management who studied forest soils and introduced a new method of a plantation, which allowed steadying the moving sands.

Location: 32nd km of the Curonian Spit near Rybachiy village

Length: 2 km

Things to see:

  • Age-old pine-wood.
  • The highest dune Bruchberg near the Rybachiy village.
  • A sky deck on the top of the Bruchberg dune allows seeing the panoramas of the Baltic Sea coast, Curonian Lagoon, Chaika Lake and Rybachiy village.
  • The memorial stone in honor of forest ranger Mueller.

    4. Rossetten Forest

Location: 34th km of the Curonian Spit, from the side of Baltic Sea

Length: 2 km

Things to see:

  • Mixed woods – pine, birch, oak spruce, mountain ash.
  • Forest inhabitants –boars, roes, foxes, raccoon dogs, elks;
  • Bird-watching – here you can see a dorhawk, gray-headed woodpecker, white-backed woodpecker, gray woodpecker, black woodpecker, red-backed shrike, barred warbler, red-backed shrike, flycatcher.

   5. Dancing forest

Dancing trees in National park Curonian SpitLocation: 37th km of the Curonian Spit

Length: 0,8 km

Things to see:

  • Dune Kruglaya – unlike the other dunes it is not located along the coast of Curonian Lagoon, but in the middle of a flat wooded plain.
  • Unusual pine forest planted in the 1960s – tree trunks form bizarre bends that gave the forest the name “Dancing.”

    6. Epha Height (Высота Эфа)

The highest point of the dune Orekhovaya (Petch) is named after the dune inspector Wilhelm Franz Epha who devoted himself to the study of sand-dune stabilization.

Location: 42nd km of the Curonian Spit

Length: 2,8 km

Things to see:

  • One of the highest dunes in Europe – the dune Orekhovaya (Petch).
  • Two sky decks overlooking the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon, and the village of Morskoye.

    7. Lake Lebed – temporarily under reconstruction (Озеро Лебедь)

“Lebed” is a unique lake of air-borne origin on a lagoon plain and separated from the Curonian Lagoon by a thin sand bridge.

Where: 46th km of the Curonian Spit

Length: 3 km

Things to see:

  • The lake Lebed a habitat for waterfowl: mute swan, baldicoot, great-crested grebes, quacks and common herons.
  • Avandunes – coast protection works.
  • Great dune ridge.
  • A sightseeing platform on a high of 55 m above sea level.

Open hours and price

Price of the Curonian Spit territory entrance:

  • 300 rubles per auto, and 150 rubles per each passenger extra.

The Curonian Spit Museum Complex (Визит-центр «Музейный комплекс»)

October, 1st – April, 30th

Wednesday – Sunday – from 9 to 17

Day off – Monday, Tuesday

Ticket office

Wednesday – Sunday – from 9 to 16.30

Day off – Monday, Tuesday

May, 1st – September, 30th

Every day  – from 9 to 17

Ticket office

Every day  – from 9 to 16.30

Museum Complex ticket price – 100 rubles.

Museum Complex and the open-air museum “Ancient Sambia” ticket price – 300 rubles

How to get to the Curonian Spit

3 ways to get to the Curonian spit:

  1. By own transport. The Curonian Spit territory starts from Zelenogradsk, Kaliningrad region.
  2. By bus from Kaliningrad, Svetlogorsk (Kaliningrad region, Russia), Zelenogradsk (Kaliningrad region, Russia), Klaipėda (Lithuania), Nida (Lithuania). Bus schedule, station address, ticket price, online tickets – see on the Kaliningrad Station Bus website.

Please check the rules for crossing the State Border if you go from Lithuania.

3. By taxi service

Links

The Curonian Spit website in the Russian language

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