Infamously known as the ‘most militarized zone in Europe’ and home to the formidable Russian Baltic Sea Fleet, the exclave of Kaliningrad is shrouded in secrecy. Being a closed Soviet military region for decades and still laced with nuclear missiles, warships and tanks tends to have that effect.
Formerly the city German city of Konigsberg, in the dying embers of WW2 after days of violent urban warfare the city was captured by Soviet forces who annexed the region.
Konigsberg is one of the few places where you can see the remains of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union on top of each other. Post WW2, the territory was a strictly sealed off and forbidden military zone throughout the Soviet period.
On our inaugural tour to the region, we will bring you through the highlights of this fascinating Russian exclave. You’ll have the chance to explore Nazi command bunkers, Soviet nuclear submarines, the former frontline of the desperate German defense to hold the city, Prussian forts, natural wonders and forbidden military cities! As always, YPT’s extensive contacts in the region will allow us to gain access to areas most people can’t go!
Enclaves and exclaves, oh my! Confused about the difference? Check out our sister site’s blog on this very subject.
Check into hotel and at 6pm we’ll head out for an evening meal and get to know each other.
Isolated from Russia and surrounded by Lithuania and Poland, Kaliningrad inherited a distinct Teutonic culinary tradition that has always been different from that of the rest of Russia. You’ll have the chance to try some delicious local Zeppelins: giant balls of mashed potato stuffed with various fillings and drenched in cheese sauce or Zurek: a soup with eggs, sausage slices and spices, served in a bowl made of bread.
Overnight in Kaliningrad.
Tuesday 10th December – Kaliningrad
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we will meet our English speaking local guide and tour the city.
Our first stop will be the Nazi command bunker museum, technically called the Blindage Museum, it tells the harrowing history of the last days of the Second World War. These are the last days of Königsberg and inside you can see how the city fell to Soviet Forces on the rampage of vengeance towards Berlin. Built by slave labour, the bunker’s gate that is made of thick steel wire and is covered in runic symbols. Supposedly meant to give supernatural defense to the German forces inside it.
We will then visit fort 5, part of a series of Prussian forts that were a significant part of the unrelenting Soviet assault. Now museums and still littered with war damage, artillery pieces and Soviet monuments dedicated to WW2.
After lunch, we will then have the rare chance to roam around significant piece of Cold War history. An excellently maintained Foxtrot-class Soviet nuclear submarine.
See an original Nazi Kreigsmarine ship. Vityaz is a research vessel that was built in 1939 and served with the Kriegsmarine during World War II until she was seized by the British in 1945.
We’ll check out the House of Soviets and see why the locals often refer to as the “buried robot”.
See Victory Square with its hulking Soviet monument and The Brandenburg Gate which is one of seven surviving city gates from the former German city of Königsberg.
Overnight in Kaliningrad
Wednesday 11th December – Baltiysk/Svetliy/Kaliningrad
After breakfast we journey to Mother Russia’s westernmost edge!
Today we’ll be visiting the Heart of the Baltic fleet in the city Baltiysk. It is a huge Russian navy base located on the Baltic sea and has only been opened to foreigners since 1995, you have to get the special permission beforehand but YPT’s contacts in Kaliningrad can arrange this no problem.
On the way, we’ll explore some destroyed and abandoned German era buildings and a typical soviet town called Svetliy.
On arrival in the city we’ll be taking in sights such as the pentagonal Pillau Citadel, founded by the Swedes in 1626, completed by the Prussians in 1670, renovated in 1870 and currently holding an impressive naval museum.
We’ll visit the ruins of the 13th-century Lochstadt Castle; a maze of 19th-century naval fortifications; the Naval Cathedral of St. George the 32-metre Expressionist observation tower the Gothic Revival building of the Baltic Fleet Museum, and an elegant Lighthouse, dating from 1813. A stone cross, erected in 1830 to commemorate the supposed spot of St. Adalbert of Prague’s martyrdom, was destroyed by the Soviets and restored a millennium after the event, in 1997.
Return to Kaliningrad for an evening meal
Overnight in Kaliningrad
Thursday 12th December – Curonian spit/ Kaliningrad
After breakfast, we’ll travel to the Curonian spit.
It took several thousand years for the spit to shape out from the sands blown by the wind and dragged by the sea waves and to finally form a narrow sandy neck of land that separates the Curonian Gulf from the Baltic Sea and connects the Kaliningrad region with Lithuania. Its widest part is 3.8 km and the narrowest point is 400 m.
This place has no rivals in the world. Try to cross the spit from gulf to sea and you will notice how the landscape changes from a bare desert to a pine forest. The size of the Curonian spit is astonishing, it has no analogies in the world; its majestic scenery and the lavishness of the flora and fauna is simply amazing, varying from the taiga-like plants, mountain pines, and alder-trees to the tumbleweeds rolling in the deserts of the sand dunes rising up to 70 m high.
After a day of exploring we will return to Kaliningrad city for a final meal and beers to round off the trip.
Overnight in Kaliningrad.
Friday 13th December
End of tour
For those continuing on our Budget Baltics adventure we’ll leave for Vilnius by bus for the others, YPT is able to arrange transportation and accommodation towards your next destination!
•Visa Fees – We can provide same day invitation letters to Russia
•Transportation to and from the beginning and end of tour
•Single Supplement (€210)
•Food and drinks
•Tips for the local guide and driver
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.