Kaliningrad Oblast is the most western oblast in Russia, it does not have any land borders with other Russian regions and is surrounded by three foreign countries. Medieval castles, forts, the Gothic atmosphere of ancient churches, the Baltic coast, the Dancing Forest and sunstone amber are all waiting for visitors. Kaliningrad Oblast is a place where you can touch history, smell the sea, and have a very good holiday.
Kaliningrad, formerly known as Königsberg, the capital of East Prussia, is today one of the most popular tourist city destinations in European Russia. The birthplace of Kant and Hoffmann still inspires with new discoveries. Kaliningrad Oblast's connection with the sea, amber, the history of East Prussia, the First and Second World Wars is reflected in its rich collection of local museum complexes.
Oblast's coastline is truly beautiful. The resort of Zelenogradsk is twenty kilometers from Kaliningrad. The combination of sea air, old architecture, sandy beaches where you can find amber and the therapeutic mineral springs creates a particularly comfortable atmosphere. The town's symbol is the water tower built in 1905 that now houses the Murarium Cat Museum.
The neighbouring resort of Svetlogorsk is situated on a high sandy coast next to a coniferous forest. The town's health resorts attract visitors all year round. Water, mud, and unique amber therapy provide a long-term restorative and rejuvenating effect. Svetlogorsk is a resort for active tourists who want to combine recreation and culture. It is home to the Amber Hall theater that hosts a large number of festivals and concerts, including the famous Russian KVN comedy summer festival. The nights are never dark as you can always find stars of music and cinema walking the streets in summer.
The Baltic Sea has not only provided Kaliningrad Oblast with sea resorts but also with the unique Curonian Spit. This thin sandy strip stretches for 98 kilometers between the sea and the Curonian Lagoon. Photographers come here to shoot the wide white-sand beaches, the secret dancing forest, and high dunes. The Curonian Spit is justifiably one of Russia's most visited national parks.
Lake Vištytis, which is even older than the Baltic Sea, spreads its crystal clear waters in the far east of Oblast. The lake is surrounded by the Krasny Les (Red Forest) nature reserve as far as the eye can see. This forest used to be the favorite hunting ground of Prussian kings, while today visitors come to escape the stress of the city. After riding a horse, swimming in the lake, and taking a Russian sauna you will feel a real surge of energy.
The town of Bagrationovsk, known as Preußisch Eylau until 1945, is 40 kilometers from Kaliningrad. Here you can find the house where Napoleon stayed; however, visitors are not only attracted by events of the Napoleonic wars, but also by the ruins of a medieval castle.
History lovers can expect some fascinating tours thanks to the Teutonic Knights who built about 40 castles in the territory now covered by Kaliningrad Oblast. If you want to solve medieval secrets, listen to numerous horror stories and, if you are lucky, see ghosts, then you must visit the mysterious Schaaken Castle in the village of Nekrasovo in Guryevsky district. Another famous castle is the Brandenburg Castle in the village of Ushakovo on the coast of the Vistula Lagoon. This is the site of historical reenactments and lots of historical festivals are held in the castle grounds. If you are interested in Russian history, then you should visit the Waldau Castle where the Grand Embassy of Peter the Great led by Admiral Frantz Lefort stayed. The castle houses the historical museum of the village of Nizovye.
Kaliningrad Oblast offers lovers of food lots of pleasant surprises; after all the unique traditions of East Prussian cooking have been preserved here. The famous Königsberg marzipan, which is widely sold in the Kaliningrad market, is known for its delicious baked crust. Every year in April on the embankment, the Museum of the World Ocean holds the Day of Herring where visitors can enjoy an abundance of traditional East Prussian, Baltic, and Polish fish dishes.
Amber is obviously the best souvenir from Kaliningrad Oblast. You can see the modern sunstone mining process in the quarry in the village of Yantarny. During fascinating tours, visitors can take on the role of an amber miner and even decorate the stones they collect under the supervision of a craftsman.