The village of Nida is located almost in the very middle of the Curonian Spit, a few kilometers from the border with the Kaliningrad region. This is a beautiful and sunny place, distinguished from other Baltic resorts by its aristocracy: holidays here are quite expensive due to the limited number of hotels. But neat wooden houses, clean sidewalks, smooth roads and, of course, resinous pine air mixed with sea, are worth every cent spent. As well as silence, only periodically diluted with trills of bicycle bells and loud conversations in local restaurants.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Lithuania is 2.795 million (2021).
How to get to Nida
Most people come to Nida from Kaliningrad or Klaipeda. Every day, three buses depart from Kaliningrad – at 7:00, 8:00 and 16:30 – and arrive respectively at 10:10 (bus station), 10:30 (demand stop) and 19:28 (bus station). Travel: from 400 RUB.
If you go from the side of “big” Lithuania (by the way, historically this region is called Lithuania Minor), then you can get to Nida in two ways: either buy a ticket for a direct bus from Klaipeda at 6:30 and 11:15 for 4-6 EUR, or take a ferry across the bay to the village of Smiltyne, and from there continue the trip to Nida. Buses run every 2 hours from 7:15 to 21:15. Travel time 50 minutes, fare: 4 EUR.
Although Nida has all the attributes of a typical European city: a bank, a supermarket, a post office, a police station, the distances here are quite small – accordingly, there is no public transport. Fans of pedaling can rent a bicycle (3 EUR per hour or 10 EUR per day) and go for a walk along the path that runs along the entire Curonian Spit.
Dunes and beaches of Nida
The main attraction of Nida is the Curonian Spit National Park with its highest (up to 70 m) dunes in Europe. Indeed, leaving the city in the southern part, a sandy hulk suddenly grows before your eyes. The beach begins right behind its top.
The cleanest (this is confirmed by the Blue Flag award) sandy beaches of Nida are significantly different from their Curonian counterparts. There are very few people here: the waters of the Baltic are cold even in summer, and a strong wind carrying grains of sand does not cause the most pleasant sensations. You also need to keep in mind that there are no sunbeds, umbrellas, showers and other beach attributes in the vicinity – all this is nearby, in other villages of the spit, for example, Juodkrante. However, some people even like such conditions. The main thing is to arm yourself with a mat and a towel.
Nida is not optimal, but in general a good option for families with children. Despite the lack of any infrastructure, the beaches of the village are famous for their fine sand and gentle slope into the sea.
Nida is part of the national park – economic activities and construction are prohibited here. New houses can only be built on the site of old ones. And since the city is very popular, almost all the houses here have been converted into simple, but very cozy and clean hotels. It is better to book accommodation in advance, at least six months in advance: then it is possible to get a suitable option at a relatively low price. A small double room in a family hotel costs from 30 EUR, a self-catering studio in an old house will cost 60 EUR, the price of renting an apartment for 4 people starts from 70 EUR per day.
Cafes and restaurants in Nida
You can refresh yourself in one of the many restaurants. Almost all of them are literally for several tables, but the food is always fresh and home-made delicious. Dinner with zeppelins and beer will cost 6-8 EUR per person. Locals actively smoke fish, so do not miss the opportunity to try, for example, smoked eel: 100 g of tender fatty meat costs around 3-4 EUR. Fast food is represented by soft waffles and traditional Lithuanian pies with meat filling “kibinai” for 1-1.50 EUR.
Attractions and infrastructure
The first thing that catches your eye in Nida is its absolutely original architecture: the original Curonian style cannot be confused with any other. The dark red houses are decorated with white architraves, and the pediments are carved. The architecture is so cute and simple that similar buildings are now found all over Lithuania.
There are several museums in the city, the most important of which is the Historical Museum. The exposition presents finds from the Neolithic period, telling about the life of people of that period, primarily tools. There are also boats with fishing nets, and even devices for catching crows – until the beginning of the 20th century, salting the meat of these birds was the traditional craft of the Kursenieks. The Amber Museum, located in an old fisherman’s house, also deserves attention. It is easy to find by 5 unusual wooden sculptures. The museum exhibits many stones, among them a giant cobblestone weighing 3820 g. Some smaller artifacts can be touched, feeling the breath of antiquity with your fingers: amber began to form 50 million years ago. Here you can also buy products from it: pendants, earrings, bracelets and much more.
Not the most cheerful, but very interesting object to visit: the local cemetery. On the graves there are unusual monuments carved from wood in the form of figures of plants and animals. On women’s tombstones there are images of the heart. All monuments were erected in the 18-20 centuries by local residents, Kursenieki. Near the cemetery at the end of the 19th century, a Lutheran church was built of red brick. Now organ concerts are often held in it, and music can be heard even on the pier.
Another place that deserves a visit is the dune of Parnidis. At its top there is an observation platform from where you can watch sunrises and sunsets.
In August 1929, German writer Thomas Mann visited Nida for the first time. The local nature impressed him so much that the Nobel Prize winner decided to build a dacha here. He rested on it for several years, writing during this time part of his famous trilogy “Joseph and his brothers.” Unfortunately, Hitler’s coming to power forced Mann to leave his country – after 1933 he no longer came to Nida. And in his house in 1967 a memorial exposition was opened with photographs, manuscripts and book editions in different languages. Today, the Thomas Mann Museum hosts evenings of classical music and poetry.