The city of Palanga is a picturesque resort region of Lithuania, located on the Baltic Sea coast. Palanga resort offers year-round relaxation for the whole family in the lap of nature in spa hotels surrounded by a pine forest. At the disposal of holidaymakers equipped beach areas, clean coast, sea and developed infrastructure. Such recreation has a beneficial effect on the health of the organism, and the abundance of historical sights of Palanga will satisfy the needs of the most active tourists.
Palanga origin history
The first annalistic references to settlements on the territory of present Palanga date back to 1161 year. At the same time, archaeological research allowed scientists to establish that the first people at the foot of mount Birute appeared in the III century BC. During the Middle Ages it was already a large settlement with its own market and chapel, which made it an important trading and religious point on the map of Lithuania. At the beginning of the XIX century the village became a recognized seaside resort and people from all over the country came here to have a rest.
The heyday of the resort and the city of Palanga began with the influence of Count Tyszkiewicz, who had his own estate here. The Tyszkiewicz family became the owner of Palanga settlement in 1824 year and remained so for more than 100 years, and in 1997 Alfredas Tyszkiewicz, heir to the count's title, was awarded the title of honorary citizen of Palanga for the first time in the history of the city. After assessing the location and prospects of Palanga as a seaside resort, the Count began to invest in the expansion of the city. By his order, the first hotel was built, a restaurant and a theatre appeared. The coast was equipped with special cabins for separate bathing of men and women, and separate marble bathhouses with baths, which were supplied with warm water. Soon there was also a coastal pier with a pier, which became a favorite place for walks for all residents and guests of the city.
The Count's son continued his father's work and transformed the city by building a palace complex and a botanical garden in the English style. There were also guest villas, hospitals, new baths and landscaping of the streets. The modern Palanga has become an important cultural and spa centre of Lithuania, open all year round for visitors.
Attractions of Palanga resort
Palanga resort invites its guests not only to have a pleasant rest and recover, but also to see interesting sights.
The main park and garden of Palanga was laid out back in 1897 year by order of Count Tyszkiewicz by the French architect Edouard Francois Andre. Now it is a botanical garden with an area of about 860 thousand m2. This place is unique not only for its rare collection of representatives of local and exotic flora, including more than 600 species of plants, but also for the statues, grotto and rotunda that have survived since the XIX century. The garden is decorated with flower beds, manicured alleys and a pond with white swans and ducks. In the evenings and in good weather, classical music meetings and concerts are often held here, and fountains and alleys are lit by specially designed lighting to create a romantic atmosphere.
Tyszkiewicz Palace is not only an important historical and architectural attraction of the resort, but also a museum complex. The palace building, built in Renaissance style with baroque elements in XIX century according to the project of architect Franz Schwechten, belonged to the aristocratic family of counts Tyszkiewicz, who were the patrons of Palanga. After the Second World War, the building was taken over by the city authorities, reconstructed and turned into a museum. For example, within the walls of the palace there is a rich collection of amber items created by famous artists and jewelers, as well as a collection of uncut and untreated copies of this "solar stone". In total, the museum exhibits over 28 thousand items. Those who wish to buy amber products as a keepsake will be able to do so in the museum's shop.
Palanga has an unusual museum dedicated entirely to dogs. This museum began as a private collection of two passionate Palanga residents, but has long outgrown its size. Now in the museum visitors can see more than 3000 sculptures and products with dogs from different countries, made of bone, wood, silver, glass, plaster, amber, ceramics, porcelain, metal, plastic, straw, paper, wax and semi-precious stones. The variety of shapes, sizes and designs is amazing! The visitors of the museum are particularly interested in the mystery of the purpose of each exhibit, so it is necessary to guess whether the presented dog is a box, an inkpot or can be a handle from the door. You can find out the guess and country of manufacture of this exhibit on the plates or from the guide.
Antanas Moncys Museum
Antanas Moncys is a famous Lithuanian artist and sculptor. After his death, the works donated to his hometown were exhibited in a house-museum dedicated to the Palanga-born artist. Museum guests can see more than 200 sculptures of stone, wood, bone, clay and metal, as well as paintings with ethnic motifs. The highlight of the museum: all exhibited works, according to Moncys's will, can be touched and looked at from all sides to understand the message behind them.
Many ancient legends are connected with Birute mountain, which towers over the sea coast of Palanga. According to one version, there was a sacred fire and a pagan temple where the Lithuanians made sacrifices. It is said that at one time the wife of a Lithuanian prince followed the fire as a priestess. Archaeologists in the study of Birute mountain really found an ancient pagan temple at the top, so the legend may well be true. In 1869 year, an octagonal red brick chapel with colourful stained-glass windows was built on this place, which can still be admired today. While visiting Birute mountain, tourists not only have the opportunity to visit the ancient temple, but also enjoy the scenic view from here.
Church of St. Virgin Mary
The Catholic Church of St. Mary is the main religious landmark of Palanga resort and one of the tallest buildings in the city. The church is a 76-meter building erected in Neo-Gothic style by the Swedish architect Strandman. The construction began with the generous help of count Tyszkiewicz, who allocated more than 30 thousand gold, and was completed in 1906 year. The church attracts tourists with its monumental appearance, amazing acoustics and beautiful inner frame - colorful stained-glass windows, carved marble altar, bas-reliefs, ancient icons and majestic sculptures. In addition, symphonic music concerts are often held here, and in the evenings there are masses and church choir.
An interesting place to visit for tourists and all those who want to take care of their health is an old pharmacy with a wooden house. The uniqueness of this place is that the pharmacy was erected in 1827 year and has been operating since then! So now it's not only a place to find the cure you want, but also a way to move back in time to the century before last.
The pier is a favorite place for walks by the sea. The first Palanga pier was built back in XIX century. The present one, 470 meters long, was built in 1998 year on concrete piles.
Palanga children's street can be called one of the most original attractions, as it literally has all the facilities dedicated to children. Here you can visit an amusement park, stroll through toy stores, go to a cafe with a children's menu or buy designer clothes for children.
Festivals and events in Palanga
Palanga resort is one of the cultural centres of Lithuania, so various events and activities are held here all year round. The most festive months are, of course, winter months. On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the resort hosts music evenings, concerts, fairs, symphony orchestra performances, the lighting of the town's Christmas tree on the square and numerous colourful fireworks. In February, the city celebrates the Pancake Day with a permanent fair of craftsmen and artisans, followed by the "Palanga Smelt" Festival. The festival is named after the fish, which is popular in Lithuania and traditional for local dishes. Within its framework, everyone can not only try different fish dishes from famous chefs, but also take part in fishing competitions, as well as try themselves in fun contests, for example, who will eat more fried smelt, for those who love extreme swimming in the waters of the Baltic Sea.
Folk festivals for Easter follow, and in April the colourful spring festival "Jurgines" is held, which is ideal for spa guests wishing to get acquainted with Lithuanian traditions, culture and folklore. Followed by music festivals in Palanga: "Lygus Balsai" with folk music bands and "Baltijos Bangeles", which is mainly attended by children's music bands.
In the first days of June, the city hosts the opening event of the holiday season. It is a bright traditional holiday of summer, which for several days offers Palanga guests to take part in various entertainment: fairs, beach discos, sports competitions, pyrotechnic shows and music concerts. At the end of June comes the summer solstice holiday Jonines. In Lithuania it is celebrated by ancient pagan rituals with bonfires, folk dances, songs and festivities on the surrounding hills. Fisherman's Day is celebrated in July with competitions in fishing, boat management, knitting, and many others. Everyone can take part in the competitions and then enjoy tasting fresh, just cooked ears or eating fried fish.
In August, Tyszkiewicz Palace hosts a festival of classical music, where you can listen to performances of symphony orchestra and solo performers of both keyboard music and opera arias. In the same month, in the Botanical Garden, guests can enjoy wind music concerts almost every evening.
Popular among locals and holidaymakers International Dog Show held in Palanga in autumn. This is followed by the Autumn Festival dedicated to healthy food and the gifts of the gardens, where you can taste vegetarian dishes or buy sprouts for planting. In addition, the festival brings together experts on good nutrition, ready to answer questions from guests and help make a healthy diet.
What to bring from Palanga?
The most symbolic and popular souvenir that can be brought from Palanga resort is amber. Visiting the museum of amber in the palace of the counts Tyszkiewicz, you can buy stones of different shades and sizes in the shop. After that, you can go to the amber processing workshop, one of the largest in Lithuania. Here under a stone will be picked up a frame and will make an exclusive product that will be a perfect gift for either yourself or a relative. In addition, ready-made amber products can be found in local souvenir shops, for example, stones with frozen insects, figures and sculptures, paintings lined with amber chips, ashtrays, chess, cufflinks and jewelry are in great demand.
Also in Palanga you can buy ceramics, which have the glory of one of the highest quality and durability. So don't hesitate to take a painted set or a set of funny statuettes, nothing will happen to them on the way. Or prefer edible souvenirs, such as Lithuanian cheeses with an original taste and abundance of various additives, special attention should be paid to smoked cheese, cheese with caraway, sweet cheese "Jugas" or apple cheese, which stands out in its dark-bordeaux color. Of alcoholic souvenirs, balms, mead, herbal tinctures deserve attention. For example, the strength of balsam "Zalgiris" can reach 75%, and its rich flavor bouquet with juniper, lime, cranberry and thyme will even in winter remind of a summer vacation. A set of several small bottles with infusions of different tastes will also be a great option for your gift.
How to get to the resort
Palanga is conveniently located on the map of Lithuania - 360 km from Vilnius, 60 km from Kaunas and 26 km from Klaipeda. The easiest way to get to Vilnius from Moscow is by a comfortable train. From there you can take a bus to the bus station and get to Palanga quickly. Buses on the route "Vilnius-Palanga" run every 2 hours, travel time takes about 5 hours.
Another faster way to get to the Lithuanian resort of Palanga is to take a Moscow-Palanga flight or a flight with connections. Flight time may vary from 3 to 10 hours, depending on the flight selection. If you want to save on the cost of the way to Palanga, then from Moscow and other major cities go tourist buses to Vilnius. In this case the travel time will take about 20 hours.
Useful tips for tourists
To avoid getting into an awkward situation during a holiday in Palanga, there are a few important things to know:
- When visiting Palanga for the first time, tourists are encouraged to visit the tourist center on Vitauto street, where they can get free maps showing all the sights, sightseeing routes, emergency phone numbers, embassy and public service addresses. You can also get information about all the nearest events and concerts in the center in order to prepare your leisure program for the whole vacation.
- The city beaches in Palanga are free to visit and you only have to pay for a sunbed or umbrella. Therefore, if there are individuals at the entrance who require payment, you should not pay attention to them.
- Smoking in public places in Lithuania is strictly prohibited and punishable by fines, and may only be carried out in specially designated places.
- Before you go fishing in your free time from spa treatment or go to the forest for mushrooms, you should find out if this area is privately owned. Under Lithuanian law, harmless actions such as trespassing on private territory may result in fines or deportations. Fishing or picking berries should therefore only be done in the designated places. The same applies to visits to national parks, where rules of behaviour should be followed, do not litter or pluck flowers.