Kaliningrad region is the unique place in Russia: it has boundaries with European Lithuania and Poland and no boundaries with any Russian regions. Russians love small cities of Kaliningrad regions for its closeness to the Baltic sea; towns Svetlogorsk, Zelenograd and others are the popular sea resorts.
Kaliningrad city is a beautiful medieval city with European spirit and rich history. Before, it used to be German city called Konigsberg and now it keeps the heritage of Poland, Prussia and Germany behind it walls.
Remains of the Konigsberg Castle
Teutonic Knights built Konigsberg Castle in 1255; this was the birth of Konigsberg city. The castle then became a property of Prussian kings, and then was used for the needs of Germany. It was a coronation place of kings, it was visited by Russian emperors and distinguished German people.
During the World War II, the castle was ruined; almost nothing left after bombings and in 1993, when Kaliningrad was already a Russian city, the Russian Academy of Sciences initiated excavations in search of the famous Amber room, as they believed that it was hidden in the castle. They did not find the Amber room, but instead they discovered multiple valuable items of Prussian époque.
Today, the remains of the Konigsberg Castle are the observation deck with a historical exhibition. It is worth visiting during the open-air historical festivals with jousting contests, crafts fairs, archery contests and role-play games.
Island of Kant and Konigsberg Cathedral
Kant’s island is located on the banks of the river Pregolya; its further name is Kneiphof. It is the best place for the walking routes as this is a great combination of architecture and virgin nature. Locals love picnics, weekend walks and photoshoots on the Kant’s island; tourists start their route from the Konigsberg Cathedral. The cathedral was built in year 1333 and went through a major reconstruction after World War II. The place is partly dedicated to Immanuel Kant, whose grave is located in the cathedral’s yard.
When walking on the Island of Kant, do not miss the sculpture park with 23 works of art of famous Moscow sculptors. After the park, the road will lead you to the pedestrian Honey Bridge, the youngest bridge of the city. It connects the Island of Kant to the Fishing village, the historical and ethnographical complex.
Museum of the World Ocean
Kaliningrad is the port city and this port does not freeze. This is why sea means so much for this region and no wonder why the Museum of the World Ocean is located here. The museum is dedicated to Russian development and achievements in the field of the ocean exploration; among the showpieces are the genuine vessel cabins, ancient sea maps and archaeological items.
There is an aquarium with a rich collection of sea life, including rare corals and shells. Outside, there is the Embankment of The Historical Fleet with the famous historical ships and submarines with a museum inside of each vessel. The Museum of the World Ocean is not only about the sea, it is about history, exploration, research, ethnography and natural science.
Museum of Amber
Kaliningrad region is famous for its amber reserve, the biggest one in the world. In Kaliningrad, there is 95 percent of the world resourses of amber. The museum of Amber is dedicated to the history of this mineral and how people developed its mining and researches; the second part of the exhibition is about how amber is used in the world culture.
The museum is located in a Gothic tower, built in the middle of nineteenth century. The tower and its surroundings are also worth seeing and walking around.
Curonian Spit is a national park, located in Kaliningrad Region in approximately 90 kilometerers from Kaliningrad center. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its unique nature. The tourists routes of the spit are created for full immersion into the wild nature and will become a real retreat. Do not miss the Dancing Forest, a small piece of land with strangely twisted trees.
Swan Lake is a clear water reserve, sand dunes and rare birds and animals. The Curonian Spit has several observation platforms with magnificent views on the Baltic shores.
More than 2 000 animals found their home in the Kaliningrad Zoo, the one of the three Russian historical zoos. It is also a dendrological park with some unique examples of flora and a great place for walking and spending a weekend with a family.
What to buy
Shopping in Kaliningrad is fun! You can take multiple unique things as a memory or a gift from this Russian city with European spirit.
The first thing that comes to mind when talking of the shopping in Kaliningrad is, of course, amber. You can purchase it almost everywhere — from a street market to a posh jewelry shop. There is a great choice of gifts made of amber: bracelets, rings, jewel-cases, mosaic paintings, souvenir figures and many other things. Be careful and check if the minerals are genuine!
Kaliningrad is a land of fishing and the most popular fish is the conger-eel. If you do not want to take it with you, at least try it while you are there! To continue the food topic, local beer is also highly valued by the citizens and guests of Kaliningrad. For a more serious gift, you can purchase a famous cognac called “Old Konigsberg”.
Finally, Kaliningrad has a great range of antique, including unique items from the war times. Such souvenirs can be found in the shops and flea markets.
Where to eat
Traditionally, Kaliningrad has three most popular cuisine types: Russian, German and seafood. If you are staying for several days, you should try them all!
This is a place with an average check of 700-1 300 RUB per person and cosy atmosphere. You can order dishes of Russian cuisine, including venison and Russian traditional fish broth. There also a choice of vegan and vegetarian dishes. They also have their own beautiful safari park for walking and picnics.
People come here for two things: great choice of seafood and the beautiful view. It is located on a river bank near the Kant Island and has an open terrace. Oysters, crabs, snails, fish and other dishes — it all can be found in the Fish Club.
German cuisine in the atmosphere of a medieval castle — it can be found in the Sunny Stone restaurant on Marshala Vasilevskogo square, not far from the Amber Museum. The signature dish is the smoked eel made by the traditional Kaliningrad recipe.
Another combination of Russian and German cuisine with a wide range of meat and fish dishes from plain starters to exquisite delicacies. They brew their own beer in the restaurant and it has many great reviews from the visitors.