Klaipėda, Lithuania’s third-biggest city (population 201,800), is not just any ordinary port; it is the northernmost ice-free port in the Baltic states. With a distinctive architecture that is quite unique in Lithuania, influenced by the styles of its northern neighbours, it offers its visitors a delightful chance to explore a small but very cozy Old Town with quaint, reconstructed merchants’ houses and converted warehouses that have kept their original exterior timber beams.
Klaipėda cherishes its marine traditions and on the last weekend of July it holds its annual Sea Fiesta, a tradition that began in 1934 and which has gained huge popularity in recent years.
The most popular tourist attraction for adults and children alike is the Sea Museum with its amazing dolphinarium and fantastic aquariums filled with exotic fish. It stands on the cape of the Curonian peninsula inside the restored 19th century Kopgalis Fortress. Dolphins and Californian sealions, penguins and seals swim, jump, dance, sing and even paint for visitors during shows. Anyone who’s not afraid of getting splashed is welcome to take the first row.
The Clock Museum, housed in a neoclassical building that once belonged to an English merchant, boasts clocks and watches of every type imaginable. The Post Office Tower nearby turns into a stage for a charming melody of bells every weekend at noon. The Smithery Museum, meanwhile, displays a beautiful collection of pagan and Catholic metal crosses and gates that date back to the 19th century.
Klaipėda is a great place for a holiday. It can offer endless beaches of white sand and dunes for gazing into sea and sky, pine forests for enjoyable walks out of the city and plenty of entertaining clubs, cafes and pubs in the centre. It is full of energy 24 hours a day and you can reach it by ferry or cruise ship as well as by car or bus.