The city of Klaipeda is a cozy port and gateway to the Curonian Spit. In the summer months cruise ships dock here and tourists fill the quaint old town. Formerly an important trading post with Germany, the town is dotted with beautiful half-timbered houses that are relics from the past. Klaipeda is a great stop over for a relaxing weekend or a short stay before or after an active trip to the Curonian Spit.
Located in downtown Klaipeda, Friedrich Passage was first created in 1692 and was given its own coat of arms. Visitors to Friedrich Passage will find courtyards housing restaurants, little shops, and cafes. Visiting Friedrich Passage is a nice way to spend a few hours, particularly when the weather is dreary as visitors can pop into the shops and cafes or duck under overhangs to wait out the rain.
Tiltų g. 26A, Klaipėda 91246, Lithuania, +370 46 411076
While Klaipeda doesn’t have nearly as much street art as Vilnius, it still boasts a few interesting works here and there. Though ever-changing, interesting pieces can be found in Klaipeda’s old town, particularly near the small park along Aukstoji g.
Winding streets of old town
Klaipeda has a unique old town that feels very different to Vilnius’ or Kaunas‘. Its architecture has numerous German influences due to its past (and present) as a seaport, connecting Lithuania to the world. The best place in the old town to admire the beautiful architecture is Klaipeda’s old town square.
Walk along the river in Dane Park
Klaipeda has a lovely river park along the Dane River. Visitors who opt to stroll along the paths in Dane Park will be able to sit and watch fishermen from the numerous benches along the river. This long, narrow park also features a few permanent sculptures and a playground suitable for little children.
Black Ghost Statue (Juodasis Vaiduoklis)
The Black Ghost is a statue is a rather creepy sculpture that looks rather like a Dementor from Harry Potter. The Black Ghost statue is located near the picturesque Memel Hotel and the figure appears to be climbing out of the Dane River. This statue was sculpted by two Lithuanian artists, Svajunas Jurkus and Sergejus Plotnikovas, and the 2.4 meter (7.8 ft) tall statue is entirely made of bronze. The Black Ghost sculpture commemorates a legend from 1595 that described a black ghost lurking in this location.
Right next to the Black Ghost Statue is the Swinging Bridge across the former Memel Castle moat, that connects Klaipeda to the historic Memel Hotel and the cruise ship terminal. The Swinging Bridge is opened each hour to allow boats to pass, and is closed the remainder of the day for visitors to cross. To open this bridge, two workers must turn a wheel, which swings the bridge opened and closed.
Docked in the Danes River, visitors will easily spot the grand Meridinas Ship. This ship was built in the 1940s and was originally used as an educational ship for the Klaipeda Navigation School. Recently, it has been rejuvenated and now shows marine expositions and is home to a delicious seafood restaurant, Meridinas.
Kurpių g., Klaipėda 91249, Lithuania, +370 46 411660
Memel Castle ruins
Formerly Memelburg, The Memel Castle (or Klaipeda Castle) was built in the 13th century by the Teutonic knights. The ruins were severely destroyed during Soviet occupation, although what remains has been turned into a small museum.
Žvejų g. 27T, Klaipėda 91241, Lithuania, +370 46 410527
The Sculpture Park in Klaipeda is built on the former site of a cemetery from the 1800s, that was destroyed during Soviet occupation. To commemorate the former cemetery, more than 100 sculptures and memorials were installed. Additionally, the park houses a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church that was a former chapel. It is free to visit the Sculpture Park.
Between K. Donelaiciu, Liepu, Trilapio, and S. Daukanto Streets, Klaipėda 92145, Lithuania, +37046410524
Though on the Curonian Spit, Smiltyne is technically part of Klaipeda, but can only be reached by ferry. In Smiltyne, visitors will find stunning nature trails, perfect for hikers and bikers. Visitors interested in swimming in the Baltic Sea can also walk to the sea facing side of the Curonian Spit. Additionally, in Smiltyne there is the Lithuanian Sea Museum, which is a popular museum with sea animals and shipping displays.