Palanga is a seaside resort town in western Lithuania, on the shore of the Baltic Sea. It is the busiest summer resort in Lithuania and has beaches of sand (18 km long and up to 300 m wide) and sand dunes. Officially Palanga has the status of a city municipality and includes Šventoji, Nemirseta, Būtingė and other settlements, which are considered as part of the city of Palanga.
In the summer, a multitude of tourists stay on Palanga, both for its beaches and to enjoy the maritime atmosphere. There is a carnival centered on Jonas Basanavičius Street, which is a pedestrian only thoroughfare during the high season. There are dozens of restaurants, bars, rides, and other forms of entertainment. The aforementioned Amber Museum is open to the public, as are as the museum's extensive botanical gardens. Anaičiai Ethnographic Cemetery holds a collection of 19th- and early 20th-century graves. In the Sculptures Garden, one can find 28 contemporary Art statues by artists from Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Also found in Palanga is one of the oldest operating pharmacies in Lithuania. It was established in the mid-19th century.
The city is also home to a regional radio station, FM Palanga.
Not far from Šventoji, archaeologists discovered an encampment which indicates that the area was inhabited some 5,000 years ago. Between the 10th and 13th centuries Palanga had been one of the main settlements of Mēguva Land, inhabited by the Curonians. Situated upon the trail of the ancient Amber Road, it became a center of trade and crafts.
In historical documents the name of Palanga was first mentioned in 1161 when the King Valdemar I of Denmark disembarked there with his army and captured the castle of the Curonians.
Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the inhabitants of Palanga had to confront the Teutonic Knights in the south and the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the north. Their adversaries were unable to achieve their goal of capturing the Lithuanian sea-coast from Klaipėda to Šventoji. Although Klaipėda (Memel) passed into the hands of the German feudal lords under the Treaty of Melno, in 1422, Palanga and Šventoji remained under Lithuanian control. The two towns gradually developed into harbours and even greater centers of trade. British merchants established enterprises in Šventoji in 1685. During the Great Northern War, the Swedish Army ravaged Palanga, destroyed the harbour at Šventoji, and blocked up the entrance with rocks in 1701.
Palanga was purchased in 1824 by Count Michał Tyszkiewicz. His grandson Józef Tyszkiewicz built a pier and engaged ships to transport passengers and bricks to nearby Liepāja. Palanga began to develop as a resort in the early 19th century. The pier has been a favourite spot for taking a stroll and other recreation since 1892. Józef Tyszkiewicz's son, Feliks Tyszkiewicz, commissioned the construction of the neo-renaissance Tiškevičiai Palace, built by the famous German architect Franz Schwechten in 1897. The French landscape architect Édouard André designed a large park around the palace, between 1897 and 1907. The palace became a favourite gathering place for concert performances. Amongst the good friends and associates of Feliks Tyszkiewicz was the notary, Jonas Kentra.
Following the Lithuanian press ban of 1864, Palanga became an important location for the smuggling of Lithuanian publications from the west. The Rev. Marcijonas Jurgaitis, physician Liudas Vaineikis, and notary Jonas Kentra, played significant roles in this activity. After Kentra obtained official permission, a public performance featuring the comedy, Amerika pirtyje (America in the Bath), was performed in the Lithuanian language. This had previously not been permitted. However, later the Tsarist authorities deported Vaineikis and twenty-five other people to Siberia in 1901.
In June and August 1941, hundreds of local Jews were executed in the Forest of Palanga.
The Tiškevičiai Palace's park was converted into a botanical garden in 1960. Today it contains two hundred different types of trees and shrubs, including an oak tree planted by President Antanas Smetona. The palace, now the Palanga Amber Museum, has an extensive collection of amber jewelry and other artifacts. Symphonic concerts as well as other musical festivals and events take place in the summer, usually in the evening.
Palanga is a resort town through which the Šventoji and Rąžė (Samogitian: Ronžē) Rivers flow into the Baltic Sea. Rąžė was formerly known as Alanga and gave Palanga its name: Palanga which literally means on the Alanga River. The Palanga municipality extends 24 kilometers from Nemirseta in the south to the Latvian border in the north. Palanga is subdivided to Nemirseta, Vanagupė, Kunigiškiai, Manciškiai, and Šventoji – five neighboring fishermen villages which were united into one city following administrative changes to the area. During the time when the Klaipėda Region was part of Germany, Nemirseta was the northernmost village of East Prussia; conversely Palanga was a border checkpoint between Russian Lithuania and Germany.
Transportation - Get In
Palanga Airport offers regular scheduled flights operated by foreign airlines from Riga, Oslo, Copenhagen and seasonally from Moscow.
When you come to Palanga Airport by a rented car, you can park it at the airport and leave the keys with car documents in Airport Cafe on the first floor. For more information please contact Airport Cafe tel./fax (+370 460) 51392.
Passengers coming by own car, can park auto in a paid place for long parking. For more information contact Airport Cafe on the first floor (+370 460) 51392.
The buses on the Airport - Palanga - Airport route run approximately every hour every day (even in the late hours). For more information phone (+370 460) 52020. They cost 2 LTL one way. The bus stop is not the one in front of the terminal but on the roadside 20m further.
For bus schedule on route Klaipeda - Palanga - Klaipeda contact the Klaipeda bus station (+370 46) 411547 or Palanga bus station tel.: (+370 460) 53333.
For bus schedule on route Liepaja (Latvia) - Airport - Palanga - Airport - Liepaja contact Liepaja bus station tel.: (+371 34) 27552 or Palanga bus station tel.: (+370 460) 53333.
Palanga is one of the stops on the Klaipeda - Riga bus route. This bus also calls at Liepaja. (Note that the buses from Klaipeda to Riga Airport via Siauliai do not call at Palanga or Liepaja.)
Taxi is available in front of the airport terminal. A trip to Palanga city takes 10 min and costs about 20 to 40 Lt (€6-12) or to Klaipėda takes about 30 min. Price about 40 Lt (€12). A trip from/to Liepaja (Latvia) takes about 1 hour 20 min. and costs about 200 Lt (€60). Taxi tel.: (+370 46) 345 345 (Klaipėda), (+371 34) 22222 (Liepaja).
There is a 310 km motorway connecting the western part of Lithuania — Klaipeda and Palanga on the shore of the Baltic sea — to Kaunas, as well as Vilnius in the eastern part of the country.
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Items made from amber are one of the town's specialities, and range from inexpensive jewelry and small pictures with pieces of amber (or imitation amber) stuck on, up to very high quality items made of the real thing and costing thousands of Litas. There are good opportunities to buy souvenirs on your way to the beach, where tents with souvenirs are set up.
At the beach, you can enjoy a cheap cheburek and cold beer (sold by young peddlers). A bit of a warning though, the chebureks are not made in a local restaurant, and are deemed "illegal" for unsanitary conditions in which they are thought to be made. So buy from the peddlers at your own discretion.
Sights & Landmarks
- Palanga Pier. It is a tradition to visit the pier around sunset. This can easily be included as part of a visit to Basanavicius street (see below).
- The focal point of Palanga, and the highlight of any visit to Palanga, is J.Basanavicius street, running between Vytauto street and the pier. Along this street can be found most of the town's bars, restaurants, nightclubs, funfairs and souvenir shops. People-watching is a fashionable, and fascinating pastime here..
- Botanical Garden. To the south of the city center is Palangas Botanical Garden, which is more like a forest and boosts the Amber Museum. Its a more a quiet place, especially in winter, but is nice to stroll around. A bit further into it, there is Birute Hill a forested sand dune, where excavations showed settlements from far back in time and now has a little chapel. From there you can take a nice walk back into town via the beach.
- Amber museum. The amber museum is also interesting.
- I love Palanga, Vytauto g 39A (South of Basanavicius str.). 4pm - late night. Creative and entertainment space. A contemporary alternative for mainstream Basanavicius area. A square for concerts, workshops, gatherings, discussions. There's a lounge built out of various recycled materials too - beer/wine/snacks. Summertime only.
Things to do
- The beach. The beach extends in several kilometres either direction from the pier. Given that Palanga is Lithuania's main tourist resort, expect the beach to be very crowded in the summer. The busiest areas are either side of the pier. Though the beach is less crowded further from the pier.