Day 1st: Kaliningrad
Independent arrival and check-in at the hotel in the historic city center. We recommend arriving in Kaliningrad early, so you will have more time to explore the main attractions of this extraordinary city.
Königsberg was founded in 1255 as the castle of the knights of the Teutonic Order and its original name, translated from German, meant «Royal Mountain». Königsberg remained a fortress city until the end of World War II, and its long history, when the city was at the epicenter of several European wars, allows us to call it a «Russian city with a German history». The city seamlessly blends Germanic and Russian heritage, ancient and modern architecture in its historical tradition.
Journey to Kant’s Island, formerly known as Kneiphof Island, to visit a park with numerous stone sculptures and a huge Cathedral, whose history begins in the 14th century. Then stroll through the «Rybnaya Derevnya» (Fish village) and «Amalienau» quarters, among the stylized German houses. It is necessary to «check in» against the backdrop of the Brandenburg, Zakheim and Friedland gates, Fort №5 and the building of the Königsberg Stock Exchange ...
In addition, Kaliningrad has several interesting museums, Botanical Gardens, and city parks. Be sure to visit the World Ocean Museum and the submarine museum «B-413». Then there are the Wrangel Tower and the Don Tower, where the Amber Museum is located. If there is time left, a real adventure awaits you in the endless corridors of the Grolman Bastion.
During the day, you will need to pick the bicycles up at the rental point, which is located within walking distance from hotels.
Overnight in a hotel in Kaliningrad.
* If tomorrow you decide to ride full track from Kaliningrad to Baltiysk, you will receive bicycles today, on the day of arrival.
Day 2nd: Kaliningrad – Svetly – Baltiysk / Transfer to Svetly + 35 km or 65 km.
After breakfast at the hotel and leaving your luggage (it will be brought by us to your next hotel), you will be transferred to the city of Svetly. If you are a strong and experienced cycling tourist, you can go to your first cycle track along the «Primorsky Ring» directly from Kaliningrad.
You will keep your way to the coast, to the small town of Svetly. Here you can take a short break and have a cup of coffee, go to the Varvara Orthodox Church. Zimmerbude was the name of one of the villages that became part of the city, and was first mentioned in historical documents in 1305.
Whether you use our transfer or will cycle from Kaliningrad, you will ride through the forest of «Zemlandsky» peninsula and its coastal line to Primorsk, which was called «Fischhausen» up to 1946.
And for good reason, because even since even before the arrival of the Teutonic Order on the site of the modern city there was a large Prussian fishing village. Today it is the smallest town of KO, cozy and pretty, with preserved architecture of the early 20th century, which is now being reconstructed. Here you can relax on the shores of the Kaliningrad Bay and regret that you cannot yet visit the «Villa Porr», which was mentioned back in 1905.
The final stage of today's bike trip will be a trip to the city of Baltiysk – the westernmost city in Russia. Baltiysk is located on the Pillau Peninsula and until 1946 was called Pillau and was part of Germany. Now this port city, quite small by Russian standards, will bring you a lot of emotions and impressions. Here are a variety of buildings of the past centuries, which have remained almost intact. One of these is the Pillau military fortress (citadel). The citadel was built in the first half of the 16th century by order of the King of Sweden. It is believed that it was here that Peter I acquired his knowledge of military affairs. Until our days, the citadel has been preserved in excellent condition. Now it is part of the Baltic Fleet Museum.
Overnight in a hotel in Baltiysk.
Day 3-rd: Сircular route along the Baltic spit or immediately Baltiysk – Primorsk – Yantarny / 45 or 30 km.
Today you have a short cycling track, which will allow, first of all, to get acquainted more deeply with the sights of Baltiysk and to have a rest. If you have taken your kids along on this bike trip, today will be one of the most impressive days for them. This is where the main base of the Baltic Fleet is located.
On the very seashore there is stone lighthouse, 30 meters high, which is considered the main attraction of Baltiysk. And also: Infantry barracks and Baltiysk embankment, which allows you to enjoy the sea breeze and architectural monuments of the city. One of them is the monument to Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, erected in honor of the victorious Seven Years' War, when Russia conquered East Prussia.
In the morning after breakfast (you can also see the sights in the afternoon), head to the pier. The ferry will take you to one of the most unusual peninsulas in the world - the Baltic Spit. Unlike its «tourist sister», the Kurshskaya Spit, the Baltic Spit has been a closed territory since the end of the Second World War, even for residents of the region.
The narrow part of the land along the coast really resembles a spit, and is about 65 kilometers of land with fine sand, long wild beaches, pine forests and mesmerizing beauty of primeval nature. Separating the Baltic Sea from the Kaliningrad Gulf (Frishe Gulf), most of the spit (almost thirty-five kilometers) belongs to the Russian Federation, the remaining thirty kilometers are the territory of Poland, and is called the Vistula Spit.
There is a short, but fascinating trek on the Baltic spit. You will have a chance to compare the seashore and the bay, to see the endemics of the spit, to swim and to have a rest. On the spit there are several landmarks of the war years: the German airfield Neutif, the fort «Western» and the antiaircraft battery «Lemberg». They are all in a dilapidated state now, but look very cinematic on the deserted shores – and you, and especially the kids, will find it extremely interesting!
In the afternoon you will set off for the village of Yantarny. This is a short trek, you will drive about 30 km.
Overnight in a hotel in Yantarny.
Day 4th: Yantarny village – Svetlogorsk / about 35 km.
Today you will go to the opposite, northern coast of the Kaliningrad region through small villages and landscapes of extraordinary beauty. More than half of the route will pass very close to the coast. And the highlight will be a visit to Yantarny.
Yantarny (Amber) village was called «Palmenicken» since the end of the 15th century. In the 19th century, amber was discovered here, and Maurice Becker and Wilhelm Stantien organized the firm «Stantien & Becker», engaged in industrial mining of amber. Two mines were soon opened, named Henrietta and Anna. They not only made Palmniken an industrial center, but also gave an impetus to the tourist development of the area. A major contribution to the development of industry and tourism was the railroad from Fischhausen (modern Primorsk, which you passed), laid to the coast at the end of the 19th century. During the Second World War, fortunately the village was not damaged and survived almost unchanged, with picturesque pre-war buildings, covered with red tiles, buried in verdure. You will see in Yantarny the ancient building, which is a reduced copy of the famous St. George's Chapel, located until 1944 (destroyed during the bombing) in the garden of the Castle of Montbignon in Berlin.
Yantarny is famous for its promenade and the longest sandy beach strip in the region, which runs along the entire village and goes beyond its borders. Take a break and enjoy the waters of the Baltic Sea. Be sure to look for pieces of amber together with children, these finds are common here.
Then you will drive between the seashore and the shore of the picturesque Lake Sinyavinskoye to take the direction to the extreme northwest point of the region. To the lighthouse at Cape Taran, unfortunately, it is impossible to get to, and without stopping, you will go to Primorye, and further to Svetlogorsk.
Svetlogorsk is the largest resort town on the Kaliningrad coast. In pre-war East Prussia it had a beautiful name, Rauschen, and was first mentioned in 1073 as «the land of the Prussians». The presence of a large number of underground medicinal springs was the decisive factor for the founding of the spa. By the beginning of the Second World War, the town was a well-developed European spa resort with a network of hotels and treatment buildings. The town stands on a high steep shore, so there are seven equipped descents to the sea and a rope road from Svetlaya mountain (about 60 meters high) to the beach. Every year Svetlogorsk is becoming cleaner and better maintained, keeping the appearance of the old German style, reminiscent of a fairy-tale town with toy houses.
Overnight in a hotel in Svetlogorsk.
Day 5th: Svetlogorsk – Zelenogradsk / about 35 km
A short cycle track does not mean «ugly» or «uninteresting»! Leaving Svetlogorsk, take a direction to the coast to enjoy the cleanest forest air, mixed with the smell of the sea breeze.
After a few kilometers you will arrive to a small town Pionersky (until 1946 - Neukuhren). At the end of the town promenade you will find an interesting pier with a small lighthouse. Large waves on the right and left will shine turquoise, and on the beach with fine, almost white sand, there will not be so many tourists, unlike other resorts on the coast. Walking here on a warm, fine day barefoot will be particularly pleasant.
Then you will drive along the coast on the one hand, and the pine forest on the other. The path will be unpaved and, at times, sandy. But it is always secluded and beautiful, full of small natural events - birds' chirps, noise of waves and silence of nature.
You will pass through several settlements with well-known names: Romanovo, Roschino, where, for example, it is a pity that the former manor Grunhof (Schloss Grunhof) is destroyed and not restored. Next, Kovrovo and Sokolniki, where the former manor «Langendorf» is located – a unique place on the shore of the main waterway of the Kaliningrad region – the Pregolya River, which connects the Kaliningrad and Curonian bays.
And again, along the coast, moving next to the pine forest, you will come to a small but very cozy town of Zelenogradsk. There are many parks and alleys, and a lot of old German buildings with red tiled roofs, which give the town a real charm. The settlement Cranz appeared at the end of the 13th century and served the road leading from Königsberg along the Curonian Spit to Klaipeda. A little later, the first Teutonic Knights came here and built in today's Zaton tract. And only in 1816 there was founded a sea resort, which in the same year received 35 guests. In 1844, Cranz received the status of a royal spa. Since 1947 the town was renamed Zelenogradsk.
When you come to Zelenogradsk, you will clearly feel its difference from Svetlogorsk in that there are no hills and hillocks, and the city’s landscape is almost flat.
Overnight in a hotekl in Zelenogradsk.
Day 6th: Zelenogradsk – Curonian Spit – Rybachiy – Dancing Forest – Zelenogradsk / about 45 km or more
Today's cycle track can be called the culmination! You will go on a bike trip along the unique natural sight and the national park – the Curonian Spit. More prepared cyclists can increase the distance, going for example, to village Morskoye or even to the Lithuanian border.
The Curonian Spit is an amazing and very ancient creation of wind and waves of the Baltic Sea. This sandy peninsula has an elongated saber shape and stretches from Russian Zelenogradsk to Lithuanian Klaipeda. With a modest width of 350 m to 3,8 km, the Curonian Spit is 98 km long (about 48 of which is the Russian territory), which makes it the largest sandbar on the planet! This is a kind of natural barrier between the salty Baltic Sea and the freshwater Curonian Lagoon. In 2000, the Curonian Spit was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
After breakfast, do not waste time, go to the Spit! The natural reserve will present you several natural zones at the same time: huge dunes are located next to high bogs, and majestic forests border with cozy sandy beaches. The enchanting «Dancing Forest», «Efa Dunes», «Royal Forest», «Muller's Heights», the Fringilla Bird Station – all will be worthy of your and the children's attention. And, of course, flora and fauna of the peninsula will impress you with its diversity. The spit is called the «bird bridge» because it serves as a bridge for migrating birds. Be prepared to meet forest inhabitants: foxes, wild boars, roe deer, deer, and even moose.
Returning to Zelenogradsk, have time to visit its beach with pleasant fine golden sand. City beaches and promenade stretch almost a single band along the coast. Zelenogradsky promenade was built after World War I, and originally was made of wood. Now it is a favorite place for recreation and walks, here is a picturesque view of the sea, going away in the distance.
Overnight in a hotel in Zelenogradsk.
* Having an early booking gives you the possibility to organize an additional night in Curonian Spit, Lesnoy or Rybachiy.
** Second option for cycling tourists who want to ride along all the natural spit's attractions, but without an extra night, we will organize a transfer (including bikes transportation) from Zelenogradsk to Rybachiy. Thus, your track will be about 45 km.
Day 7th: Zelenogradsk – Kaliningrad / about 42 km.
In the morning be sure to take another opportunity and swim in the waters of the Baltic Sea. The bike tracks today are short, and you will have a choice how to get back to Kaliningrad. A longer trek lies through the «Green Forest» and the Fuchsberg Manor Park.
Of course, the forts, ruins of Teutonic castles and orderly kirches of Kaliningrad region will meet you throughout the bike trip. But today you will have a chance to see a representative of the noble manor houses, of which there used to be several dozen in the region. The house in the Italian style was built in the 19th century and belonged to Baron von Wittich. The manor is located in Kholmogorovka (Fuchsberg until 1946), and previously there was a military history museum «Command Post of the 43rd Army...». It was the highest point in the suburbs of Königsberg, from where Marshal Vasilevsky commanded the troops that stormed the German-Fascist fortress.
For cyclists with children, we recommend a shorter route that will take you through rare villages, forests and along the shore of Lake Divnoe, where you can stop for a lunch break and rest among the dense vegetation.
Another bike track follows an old road with little traffic. This is the route of the annual cycling race «Tour de Cranz», which is traditionally held in early September and each year attracts an increasing number of participants, including foreign cyclists. Kholmogorovka and Fort №5 will also become the property of this cycle track. The fort is a monument of defensive architecture, one of the 12 strong forts, which were located along the perimeter of the ring road around Königsberg. The fort was built in 1878 and was named «King Friedrich-Wilhelm III», whose reign coincided with the tragic years of the war with Napoleon in Prussia.
When you return to your hotel in Kaliningrad, you can devote a few more hours to this extraordinary city. We have no doubt that a bike trip through the «Seaside Baltic Ring» of the Kaliningrad peninsula will leave you with unforgettable impressions, bring lots of pleasure and enjoyment from the history, culture, nature and sea charm.
Overnight in a hotel in Kaliningrad.
Day 8th: Kaliningrad
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, your bike tour through the westernmost region of Russia will come to an end. We are glad you were with us and thank you for it!
But if you still have a couple of days to spare, by all means use them to explore the Southwest part of the Kaliningrad region. Two extra days of cycling will enrich your impressions and memories even more!