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A week-long route through the Kaliningrad region

Ancient European cities, the raging Baltic Sea, ancient monuments of German heritage and protected corners of nature. All this is waiting for you, you only have to drive the route that our team has compiled and tested.

Our route is circular and starts from Kaliningrad. But contrary to expectations, after the regional center does not rush to the coast. Instead of resorts, the route will first pass through ancient German cities, and we will finish with sunsets on the Baltic Sea coast. Let's get started!

1 day. Kaliningrad

Regardless of what you arrived in the region by plane, train, or car, you should start from Kaliningrad. The former city of Konigsberg, the center of the entire edge of East Prussia, has practically sunk into oblivion and today only some places remind of its past. Take at least one full day to fully experience this city. There are very few old buildings left here: the Konigsberg Cathedral, where Kant is buried, a system of beautiful gates around the city and individual buildings scattered over a large area of the city. In order to preserve and complement the historical surroundings, a few years ago a Fish village was built in the style of the 19th century and the facades of ordinary Soviet five-story buildings in the Dutch style are gradually being updated. Every year the city is being transformed more and more. We should also mention the Kaliningrad Zoo. One of the oldest zoos in Russia has been receiving visitors for more than a hundred years and has still preserved a rich exposition of animals. Only in it you can already spend half a day and look at elephants, seals and even hippos. And the hallmark of the zoo is the local bears, which appear before the audience without the usual fences.
Kaliningrad has a fairly rich selection of hotels and inns for every taste and budget, but a large tourist flow forces you to book accommodation in advance, we recommend that you take care of this in advance of your trip.

Day 2. Gvardeysk

Until 1946 it was called Tapiau. The city, surprisingly, has preserved its historical buildings, now the center has been completely restored. Also here you can see the Teutonic castle preserved to this day, which now houses a prison, so with proper observance of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, you will only be able to see it from afar.
Optionally, after walking around Gvardeysk, you can also get to Pravdinsk (formerly Friedland). The town has a population of only 4,000 people, but with its cozy atmosphere and a legendary local landmark - the Church of St. George the Victorious (former church).
Separately, if you have free time, we recommend that you visit a village with a completely unremarkable name of Zheleznodorozhny. In German times, the village was called Gerdauen, and now it is a cozy quiet fragment of history, which has preserved streets and buildings that carry over a hundred years ago, such as the central street recreated in the original key, the former orphanage, as well as the church and the castle of Gerdauen.
It is worth returning to Gvardeysk for the night, as the only city in the district where you can find a hotel.

Day 3. Chernyakhovsk

At a distance of 50 km from Gvardeysk, our next point on the map is located, the third most populous city in the region, Chernyakhovsk. Before the Second World War, the city was called Insterburg. It has preserved not just the historical center of the city, but entire blocks of urban development of the 19th century, mandatory for travelers to visit. Here you will find a half-preserved Teutonic castle, the majestic Church of the Archangel Michael, the second temple after the Konigsberg Cathedral. It also has its own industrial historic district with a characteristic brick building.
The city is big enough to spend a full day exploring it. For indefatigable travelers, we can offer to go to the small border town of Ozersk, get acquainted with the church of Darkemen and the ruins of the Klein Baynunen Palace.
We recommend finishing the day in Chernyakhovsk, as there are no hotels and inns in the cities closest to it.

Day 4. Sovetsk

On the fourth day of our trip, we can move towards Sovetsk. To begin with, you should get to the neighboring city of Gusev, a local science city, an analogue of Moscow's Skolkovo. But of course we will not study science there, but an exemplary restored city center. In Gusev, the former Gumbinnen, you can feel no worse than in modern Europe. A special approach lies in the little things, such as neat pedestrian paths, equipped parks, cleanliness and order, maintained by both local residents and the city administration.
After spending a couple of hours in the lovely city of Gusev, you can go to the Neman. In just an hour you will find yourself at the very border with Lithuania, in a city that got its modern name from the river that divides the region with Lithuania. Before the war, the city was called Ragnit, now this name has been preserved only by a majestic castle resembling a very large house and skillfully hiding among ordinary residential buildings.
The city itself is small, and only with the increase in the flow of travelers in recent years has gradually become ennobled as part of the tourist route in the region. Your way will lie to neighboring Sovetsk, where it is worth spending the night. From our experience, we can recommend the Hercules Hotel: a very decent level of accommodation and a restaurant at the hotel.

What is so remarkable about Sovetsk?

The second largest, unremarkable name and rich history. It's all about Sovetsk. Its whole point is that before the war the city was called Tilsit and had fame far beyond the borders of its country. One has only to remember about the Tilsit peace between France, Russia and Prussia and the famous Tilsiter cheese, which is sold in every store. But for any traveler, the quarters of the historical development of the city, the size of which is not inferior to Chernyakhovsk, will also be a discovery.
It is likely that at the end of 4 days you will be able to walk through the streets of Tilsit and meet the sunset. Then you will definitely have time in the morning of the 5th day to visit the embankment with a delightful view of the Queen Louise Bridge, or take a walk around the city lake, or look into the city park. In any case, it is the city with the unremarkable name Sovetsk that is worthy of your stop on the 4th and 5th day.

Day 5. Zelenogradsk

In the morning we leave for a 2-hour drive to the sea. Now the route goes to the coastal zone so that you have time to enjoy the sea breeze and the unique nature of these places. On the way you can pass through several castles: Schaaken, Labiau, Lauken. The degree of preservation they have is different, as is the history. The main event of the day is waiting for you ahead.
And now, after the longest move on our route, the resort city of Zelenogradsk will open in front of you. In general, according to the scale of Russia, a 2-hour journey does not seem long at all, but the Kaliningrad region has its own specific concepts about time on the road, dictated by the modest size of the Amber Region, to which you quickly get used.
The first thing to say about the city is its main stylistic element, on which absolutely the entire decor and partially even the infrastructure is based. In the last 10 years, the city authorities have decided to attract tourists in an unusual way and have made cats a symbol of Zelenograd, with silhouettes of which even ordinary courtyards in residential areas are decorated. On the central streets of the city, not a single shop can do without the presence of tailed ones, and in some places special pedestrian crossings and vending machines with food have been created for them, so that everyone can treat animals with suitable food.
But the city does not live by cats alone. The resort in this place was formed back in the 19th century, when the city was called Kranz. Today you can see the old Krantz on a very popular central street of the city, completely restored and stylized in the European manner.
Take a walk along the wonderful promenade, take a look at the sea from the top of the Ferris wheel, and a little later visit small local museums such as the Museum of cats, the Museum of owls, the Museum of skeletons and skulls, as well as the famous Zelenograd Doll Museum.
Zelenogradsk traditionally provides travelers with a wide selection of various housing for rent, as well as hotels and hotels for a pleasant vacation by the sea.

Day 6. Curonian Spit

Our next points on the map will increasingly be connected with the Baltic Sea. The theme of the whole 6th day will be the famous Curonian Spit, a natural monument of world significance. In 2000, this reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The entire reserve is a thin sand spit with a width of 400 meters to 4 kilometers, which stretches along the Baltic Sea. A variety of hiking trails along the dunes of the Curonian Spit are especially attractive for tourists. The climate and fauna here are special, different from the rest of the region. In the summer season, tourists often come to the region only to visit the Kursk Spit. We recommend that you spend almost the whole day here, go through a couple of ecological routes on your own, and stay overnight in one of the resort hotels on the territory of the reserve, or return to Zelenogradsk.

Day 7. Svetlogorsk

At the end of the route, the main resort city of the entire region remains - Svetlogorsk. Before the war, it had the romantic name Rauschen and was famous for its resorts throughout Europe. The planning and development of the city took place under the control of the Prussian kings, many trees were specially planted for landscaping this area. As a result, today it is a very luxurious resort city, where vacationers walk slowly, both in the city and along the embankment.
On the last day of the route, you can explore the beauty of the city, enjoy nature and the whisper of the waves of the Baltic Sea. But if this is not enough for you, you want to explore and discover new things, then you can go to the small town of Yantarny and personally observe the best beaches of the entire North-West of Russia.