The Curonian Spit Travel Guide

The Curonian Spit

Extending from Klaipėda to the Sambian Peninsula in Russia, the spit is a series of forested barrier islands across the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon. Ninety-eight meters long and very narrow—4 kilometers at its widest point, and only 400 meters at its thinnest—the spit contains Europe's highest moving sand dunes, protected by national park status. Some of the dunes reach heights of 60 meters, and they can be a force to be reckoned with; over the last 150 years, 10 villages have been wiped away by the dunes. The small towns along the spit make up the Neringa municipality. Having once been the site of a large amber mine (north of present-day Jodokrantė), it is now mostly a protected national park with several seaside resorts.

Juodkorantė is a small seaside resort town that turned to tourism after nearby amber mines were gradually closed in the late 19th century. In addition to nearby nesting sites for grey herons and great cormorants, the town has one noteworthy sight. Built in 1979, Witches Hill has 70-some wooden sculptures by a variety of artists, most of various witches, goblins, and other creatures from Lithuanian folk tales. The sculptures are connected by a walking trail.

Nida, the most popular beach resort on the Curonian Spit has, nevertheless, managed to maintain some of its original character from the time when it was a simple fishing village. German novelist Thomas Mann had his summerhouse built here in 1930 and today it's a modest museum. Some of the largest dunes on the Curonian Spit can be found just on the outskirts of Nida. From the viewpoint atop the Hill of Urbas, you can get a sense of the landscape.

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