Situated near the top of the Western coast of Lithuania north of the river Niemen, Klaipeda is an ideal point from which to explore the undisturbed Curonian Spit. The city is the oldest in Lithuania and was founded in 1252 by the Teutonic Knights, later becoming a lynchpin in the route along the coast toward Latvia. Typical of this region, Lithuania has been subjected to numerous occupations.

Klaipeda enjoys one of the few benefits that these brought in the form of Germanic architecture having belonged to Prussia and Germany for the majority of its history and was known as Memel. The river runs west through the city to the lagoon and port, where 40 million tonnes of cargo are handled each year. The atmosphere is vibrant and people are friendly, often keen to direct you in the direction of their beloved aquarium.


Lithuanian Minor History Museum - Located in a quaint 18th century building in the port region, the view from outside really sets the tone for the museum's content. There is an in-depth account of the city's history detailing the development of the city's own ethnicity, dubbed "lietuvninkai" which was neither German nor Lithuanian. The majority of the content are every day items and pictures from the city giving a good impression of how every day life changed with the city's development.

Maritime Museum and Aquarium – Built on the site of an old fort and surrounded by water, this is probably Klaipeda’s proudest attraction. The museum contains mainly natural history artefacts and samples of biological interest. The aquarium has both freshwater and tropical samples as well as penguins and larger aquatic mammals. There is a 1000 person capacity display arena which hosts dolphin and sea lion displays.

Bell Tower - One of the most famous pieces of architecture here is the bell tower which combines a post office, art gallery and Lithuania's largest musical instrument. Having taken in the stained-glass windows and art work, those with a taste for bells and alarms can take the short walk up the road to the Clock and Watch Museum which has some truly unique pieces.


Not unlike the rest of Lithuania, most tourist products are amber based. Quality items are available from jewellery and ornament stores where you can buy with confidence. Head to the markets to deal with less scrupulous, but more personable vendors who'll offer a better price (and probably some pirated cds and vegetables).

Nightlife and Eating Out

The busiest street after dark is "Manto gatve" and has a decent amount of choice for both traditional Lithuanian and less adventurous pallets. Pizza and American themed places seem popular, some of which also play music later on. The establishments along the river tend to be more upmarket, some employing a dress code. The bars usually serve an extensive range of snacks ranging from nuts to pig's ears. There's a good range of bars from cosy pub types in the Old Town, to cocktail bars and jazz bars along Manto Gatve. The clubs can be quite sophisticated, such as El Calor which plays Latin pop and house music and the first drink is free. The Maridianas is a converted ship on the river which is also worth a look. Some places, usually specialising in cigars and cocktails can tend to have seedier things taking place beneath the surface which it's worth being aware of.

Tourist Information

Klaipeda Tourist Information CentreAddress: Turgaus 7, KlaipedaTel: +370 41 21 86Fax: +370 41 21 85Email: tic@one.ltWebsite: Lithuania Tourism


The country’s main airport located at the capital Vilnius where flights to Europe and Russia operate daily. Ryanair now flies from London Stanstead to Kaunas Aiport which is slightly closer to Klaipeda. Several buses and trains run daily to each of these destinations but a good half a day should be allowed for travel and it would be sensible to travel to either of these the night before a flight to be safe.