Fly to Kaliningrad and:
- visit the Amber and Bunker Museums
- go for a leisurely stroll at the Central Park
- see a show at the Puppet Theatre.
A city that was once called Königsberg and founded as a Teutonic stronghold in 1255, Kaliningrad is today the central city and major seaport of the Russian territory of the Kaliningrad Oblast, located between Poland and Lithuania on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Due to the history of the region, the Oblast is entirely separate from Russia although travel remains no different for foreigners. Situated on the Pregolya River, the city has access to the Baltic Sea by way of the Vistula Lagoon and the canal built in 1901. Mostly Russian in population, the city boasts some 430,000 inhabitants.
airBaltic operates flights to Khrabrovo Airport, located a mere 24 kilometers north of the city and from which several airlines offer flights both to Russia and across Europe.
The official language of Kaliningrad is Russian and which the majority of people speak. There are however a few pockets of Polish, German and Lithuanian speakers found about. Although not as widespread, English is understood by the under 25 generation, so look to this group for assistance, or ask at your hotel.
See and Do
Amber, the Baltic Sea, the rich heritage of a bygone age where even the first king of Prussia was crowned in 1701, Kaliningrad has much to make for a rewarding city-break and there is sure to be a piece of its motley history to make you fall in love with at least one part of this city. Still, not all of it has successfully survived the twentieth century, and only a handful of its majestic architectural sights remain. Of these, of note is the Old Wall of the city, which dates to the 14th century, and several of the gates that may be found around the city. A few notable museums are also about and offer a decent variety to accompany your city-break. Do visit the Amber Museum which includes over 6000 pieces of amber art and is located in Dohna Tower. At the Bunker Museum, explore the last days of World War II fighting in this stronghold. The History & Art Museum provides a fairly expansive tour of the city’s history. In keeping with its port history as a Hanseatic city, Kaliningrad also offers the World Ocean Museum. Tickets give you access to a submarine, a pair of Soviet ships and an aquarium, making for an engaging afternoon and a pretty good sense of the sea.
While touring the city, it will be impossible to miss the gold domes of the massive Cathedral of Christ the Saviour at the heart of the city. While, close by, travellers should opt for a walk through the Central Park, a perfect place to enjoy a warm weather afternoon or stop by the amusement park within. And in the square of Dom Sovietov, stop and imagine the ancient castle which once stood there but was demolished to make way for this Soviet architectural monument. Also of note is the Kaliningrad Cathedral. Originally built in 1333 and nearly destroyed during the war, it has been under renovation, thanks to contributions from abroad and is a beautiful centrepiece to the city. Nightlife can be stirring and fairly cheap in Kaliningrad, with several trendy bars and a young crowd that likes to go out and have a good time.