Nida is Lithuania’s favorite resort town on the Curonian Spit. This town, with its cozy, colorful cottages is located near the high white dunes that help to make it famous. If you visit the Curonian Spit, Klaipeda
, or the Lithuanian seaside in general, Lithuanians will ask you if you made it to Nida. You won’t understand why until you’ve been there.
The town of Nida itself is occupied by only a small local population, but the tourists who visit it, mainly in the summer, number in the hundreds of thousands. To rent a house here is expensive, so many tourists who visit choose to stay in nearby Klaipeda, on the mainland, and see Nida during the day.
The main attraction in Nida is the impressive white sand dunes that create one of the most memorable spectacles, next to the Hill of Crosses, that Lithuania has to offer. Piled high next to the ocean, they offer excellent hiking opportunities, splendid views, and an appreciation of nature’s strength and mystery. An interesting landmark on the dunes is the sundial with its Lithuanian symbols and mathematical precision.
With its location near the sea, Nida’s seafood restaurants serve up tempting portions of fish and shellfish cooked in traditional ways or smoked into savory snacks. In the summer, eat outside and watch the waves of the Baltic Sea lap against the shore.
Most people go to Nida for the sand and sea, but if you’re looking for other points of interest, consider:
- Thomas Mann Museum: The house in which this museum is located was used by Thomas Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning German author in the 30s. Unfortunately, information about the exhibits is in German and Lithuanian languages only.
- Ethnographic Fishermen’s Museum: Nida’s history as a fisherman’s village is encapsulated in this small museum, which tells about the town’s relationship with the sea.
- Neringa History Museum: Archeological artifacts and historical photographs of the area fill three rooms of this small but interesting museum.
Staying in Nida
If you hope to overnight in Nida, advanced planning is recommended for the summer season. If you want to rent a cabin for a length of time, you will need to prepare about a year in advance. Otherwise, any of the variety of hotels or guesthouses can accommodate you depending upon what you seek in cost and location. Locals also rent rooms for visitors to the town.
Food in Nida
Lithuanian food and fish are excellent cuisine options if you’re dining in Nida. Smoked fish is a delicacy of the coastal region of Lithuania that shouldn’t be missed when you can get it straight from the source. Also look forward to tempting potato dishes and Lithuania’s favorite soup, šaltibarščiai, which is a cold beetroot soup eaten throughout the year. If you’re looking for something else, try one of the Vilnius
imports such as Kitchen or the wine and tapas bar In Vino—both are popular spots in the capital and bring a taste of the city to the small town.
Getting to Nida
To get to Nida by bus, it’s possible to take a ferry from Klaipeda directly to Nida from the Old Port Crossing. A ferry taking pedestrians and cyclists leaves from the same location. By car (or if you’re feeling like a lengthy bike ride, by bicycle) cross the water via the New Port ferry and drive approximately 50 km south down the Curonian spit. You’ll see small towns selling smoked fish along the way, gorgeous wildlife, and perfect picnic spots.