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The Sailboat Meridianas in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Consider a cruise to the Baltic Sea for an incredible vacation you won't soon forget. Many Baltic cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line have a port of call in Klaipeda, Lithuania. This charming city boasts a rich history, making it a must-visit destination. To make the most of your cruise vacation, it's advisable to make a plan for your time in Klaipeda. Whether you visit before, during, or after your cruise, here are some ideas to help you get started.

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Curonian Split, between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea
Curonian Split, between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea

Cycle on the Curonian Spit

If you're looking for a unique landmark in Lithuania, consider taking a short ferry ride from Klaipeda to the Curonian Spit, a narrow sand dune peninsula shared between national parks in both Lithuania and Russia. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has named it a World Heritage site due to the preservation efforts that have allowed it to withstand erosion.

As you explore the Curonian Spit, you can venture to various peaks along the dune ridges, enjoying sweeping views of the Baltic Sea. While you can walk along the pedestrian routes, one of the best ways to explore the spit is by bike. As you cycle to the end of the dunes, the trail winds through ridges, picturesque bays, and lush forests, providing an up-close view of the natural diversity of the landscape. When you're ready for a break, you can relax with a refreshment in a beach cafe as you enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Hear the Legends on the Hill of Witches

In addition to its earthly beauty, the Curonian Spit offers something for those who prefer the mystic realm. Book an excursion to hear the legends of the Hill of Witches. You'll travel to Juodkrantė, the oldest fishing village on the spit, to visit the Hill of Witches. The walking path features over 80 wooden sculptures of witches, devils, and other carvings, telling tales and folklore of Lithuania. Amid the backdrop of sand-sloped dunes and ancient pines, the sculpture park embodies a mystic atmosphere centered on the long-surviving legends of the area.

Your trip to the Hill of Witches will also allow you to spend some time in Juodkrantė, where you can walk along a lagoon or view a gallery of weathervanes used in the 19th century to mark fishing boats. You'll also be treated to picturesque views as you stop along the beautiful beaches of the Baltic Sea.

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Street view of Old Town Klaipeda, Lithuania
Street view of Old Town Klaipeda, Lithuania

Explore Old Town

Klaipeda has an interesting past that makes the city different from others in the country. Until the end of World War I, it was under Prussian rule, and you'll find German-style architecture throughout Klaipeda's Old Town. You can also find Russian influences there since the city was under Soviet control following the end of World War II until the early 1990s. In Old Town, you can stroll along cobbled streets as you view stately architecture and learn more about the history of Klaipeda.

As you explore Old Town, you can view some of the city's landmarks, such as the Amber Antiques Museum. Pop into a cafe for coffee or amber tea, a nod to the city's presence along an ancient amber trade route. Make sure to stop at Theater Square in the heart of the town, where you can view the sculpture of Annchen von Tharau and learn about its romantic inspiration.

See a Soviet Weapons Site

Discover a chilling part of Lithuania's history with a visit to a Soviet nuclear weapons site in Žemaitija National Park in the Plokŝtinė Forest. This former nuclear weapons base contained R-12 ballistic missiles with a range of around 1,600 miles, designed to reach Western European cities such as Berlin, London, and Paris. Fortunately, no missiles were ever launched from the top-secret Soviet military base. Today, you can go below ground to explore the site and learn about the facility's history. You'll navigate the underground tunnels and even view one of the silos that housed the R-12 missiles.

When you return above ground, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the more pleasant features of the national park. You can witness an idyllic lake and three wondrous islands while enjoying the scenic views of the majestic Plokŝtinė Forest.

Cepelinai, traditional Lithuanian potato dumplings
Cepelinai, traditional Lithuanian potato dumplings

Walk Along the River

Located where the Baltic Sea meets the Danė River, Klaipeda offers the perfect location for a peaceful stroll along the water. Head to the riverfront, where you'll see fishing boats docked in the harbor and the large sailing ship Meridianas, a permanent river fixture that's now a restaurant. While walking, you can relish a local beer or a traditional Lithuanian meal in one of the numerous cafes and bars along the river. It's an entertaining way to explore the city before, during, or after your cruise.

Kayak on the Minija River

Prefer an activity that gets you on the water? Make plans to go kayaking on the Minija river. This unique excursion will take you through the remote countryside of Lithuania. When you arrive, you'll hop into a kayak and get on the water. It's usually calm and free of other visitors, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful trip down the river as you take in the lush scenery of the valley. Refuel with some delicious Lithuanian cake before you return to the cruise ship, ready to depart for your next adventure.

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