Out of all the places I’ve visited, Klaipėda is probably the least known of them all. Some may say that’s an overstatement, but really, do you know where it is? Well, Klaipėda is located in one of the Baltic countries – Lithuania to be specific, and is actually the third largest city and the oldest one in the country. While Lithuania is more popular for its capital – Vilnius, Klaipėda has continued to grow in the tourism industry thanks to the many cruise lines that include this port city in their Baltic routes.Let me get straight to the point, however, unlike many other cities I’ve featured on here, there’s not much to do in Klaipėda. Its lack in popularity is evident for a reason. For those who don’t keep an open mind to places they visit, you’ll most likely consider this city as straight-up boring, as many blogs have published when I first started researching on what to do in the city.
Many suggested cruise visitors do the excursion to the Curonian Split, but since we wanted free time to ourselves without being constricted with a tour guide telling us where to go and what to do, as well as having a time limit and more importantly, we wanted to save a bit on excursions, we cancelled our previously-booked tour with Royal Caribbean and decided to explore the city of Klaipėda on our own. I barely had any expectations with regards to this visit thanks to the many posts telling me that this was not a city with much to look forward to. I would like to say that they were wrong, but no, they weren’t. Unconventional as it may seem, this post will not be promoting Klaipėda as a must-visit, as in my honest opinion, it isn’t; but instead, let me focus on how we decided forego the initial notions of this cruise stop being the most boring one of them all, and decided to see with our hearts and not our eyes. Cliché as it may sound, this visit was not about pleasing the eyes, as you’ll see later in photos. Don’t get me wrong though – Klaipėda is a beautiful city, but after having visited Riga, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and Helsinki during the days before, you’d have to understand where my shortage in enthusiasm for this cruise stop was coming from. Nevertheless, I got off the ship and ventured into a new country with an open mind and a sound heart.
The Danė River Port of Klaipėda
My first glimpse as soon I stepped onto Lithuanian land was the Danė Port of Klaipėda, which included a boardwalk and the river’s passageway. I actually thought, “Hey, this isn’t bad at all!”Exhibiting German architecture at first glance, I realized that this city wasn’t going to be all that bad; I’d like to think this is why we appreciated this city more than others did, as we came in with high spirits before making any judgements beforehand. True enough, this strategic mindset worked, as we ventured into the day with positive mindsets.Finding our way into the the center of the city wasn’t too hard. Like I said, there isn’t much to do, so the very few main attractions are pretty easy to find and given that Klaipėda isn’t all too big in size, exploring it by foot wouldn’t be much of a difficult task.
Considered as the center of the city, as the Theatre Square hosts majority of the city’s events, concerts, and festivals, and is home to one of Klaipėda’s more popular local sculptures, the Tarawa Anike. Aside from this, there are several local stalls that set up during the weekends, where you could easily find affordable and local articles that you could take home as souvenirs like we did. If there is one thing that struck me in the Theatre Square, it would have to be this selection of paintings by this amazing local artist by the name of Rimantas Grigaliūnas. If I only had the luggage space and money, I would have taken the whole collection home, so if you ever end up in this part of the world, please do keep an eye out for these incredible works of art.
The little Old Town of Klaipėda is a refreshing area to take a stroll in, as you won’t pressured to visit any particular attractions, but instead, take your time in walking from one point to another like we did. Again, there isn’t much to see, but there are quite a few things to take interest in like pictured below, such as:
- Enjoy a paddle boat ride through the waterways around the city
- Dine in the historical sail ship turned restaurant – the Meridianas
- Simply take a stroll around the river; taking your time could easily fill-up an hour or two
The very few options for attractions to see that Klaipėda had to offer left us with lots of time relax, which is what exactly what was needed after several days of endlessly exploring big, highly-urbanized cities, making this a refreshing cruise stop – a break from our holiday, I would say… if there is such a thing. That aside, let me end this post with my main point: just because a city is unpopular or rather popular for not having much to offer, it’s all about keeping your mindset positive regardless of what truth a city’s reputation holds. We arrived, we saw, we appreciated – this is how I would best describe our cruise stop in Klaipėda. We didn’t come expecting much, which again, proved to be the right mindset for cities this small and not as touristy as its other more well-known counterparts. Nonetheless, this short day trip was much-appreciated, and felt like a refreshing breather in the midst of our continuous and endless exploring through the Baltics & Russia during the week or so before. Truly, this stop made us feel like we had hit the reset button on relax, as we were to end this cruise in the next two to three days.