Neringa – one of the most beautiful and most frequented Lithuanian resorts at the sea. It's amazing place for vacations.
Holidaymakers have enjoyed spending their holidays on its peninsular beaches since the beginning of the 20th century.
Neringa is situated on the Curonian Spit, a narrow peninsula separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Neringa can be reached by crossing the Curonian Lagoon on a ferry from the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda.
The town of Neringa was founded in 1961 when the main settlements on the Lithuanian section of the Curonia Peninsula, Juodkrante, Pervalka, Preila, and Nida were grouped together into a single administrative unit. The new town of Neringa is almost 50 kilometers in length. There are three thousand residents in Neringa.
Neringa's infrastructure has been created partially due to the prevailing natural conditions and partially due to human ingenuity and effort. Neringa's uniqueness has been cherished throughout the years and these days it is being redeveloped according to sustainable development standards. After careful assessment in 2000, the Curonian Spit was recorded on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique cultural landscape.
Experts and tourists value greatly this strip of seashore dunes, which has been kept pristine. The good ecological state of the resort, its clean and clear seawater, the white sands on its seashore and its fresh air – all these advantages confirm our belief that the beaches of the Curonian Spit are the best beaches along the Baltic Sea coastline. The Curonian Spit's natural environment must be its greatest advantage – a major attraction for visitors from all over the world.
At the end of the 19th century German expressionists formed Nida's artists' colony whose headquarters was one of the oldest hotels in Nida – the Herman Blode, which was built in 1867. The Herman Blode was the first to advertise the Curonian Spit. This famous hotel building has survived to the present day. During the next half a century, while the colony of artists flourished, not only did many artists but also men of letters such as Herman Zuderman, Ernst Wiechert, Agnes Miegel, Fritz Kudnig, and even the Father of Psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, frequented the Herman Blode hotel. The Nobel Prize winning German writer Thomas Mann, who visited Nida for the first time in 1929, was also among the honorable guests who spent their summers on the Curonian Spit.
Fascinated by the Curonian Spit's unique landscape Mann decided to build his summerhouse there. In this cottage he spent his summers between 1930 and 1932 and wrote the acclaimed Joseph and his Brothers. The elders of the community say that after the construction of the summer house had been completed, the place looked as if the house appeared out of nowhere – not a single tree was cut down and not a single dune was damaged.
The Curonian Spit became known as a resort in the first years of the 20th century. The resort business quickly replaced traditional fishing. This early form of tourism also affected the local architectural style: alongside old traditional blue fishermen's houses, which were decorated with horse head–shaped weather–cockerels, small brick villas and a large hotel, which were named according to local ethnic tradition, were built. The Kursiu kiemas (in German Kurischer Hof and in English the Curonian court) and the Kursiu elnias (in German Kurischer Elch and in English the Curonian Elk) have survived to this day.
In those days the resort business attracted up to 10 thousand holidaymakers during the summer season. In 1939 the Lithuanian section of the Curonian Spit, as part of the Klaipeda region, was again annexed to Germany. However, that event and even the Second World War that broke out, hardly disturbed everyday life at the resort. The summer of 1944, however, was a terrible blow for the Curonian Spit: with the battle front coming ever closer, the Curonian Spit residents withdrew into the German heartlands and many never came back.
Today Neringa is one of the oldest Lithuanian resorts and still a favorite among tourists. About 700 thousand guests visit the town annually. Accommodations in Neringa can house as many as 4–5 thousand holidaymakers at a time.
The greatest number of holidaymakers arrives in Neringa during the summer season. Tourists are attracted by the unique nature at the Curonian Spit, the sea, the original architecture and the events, which are organized during the summertime, which have become an annual tradition. Cultural and sporting events, art exhibitions, conferences, many of which have already become traditions on their own, are being held throughout Neringa.
After Lithuania had re–established its independence, old local residents or their descendants who had to leave it for Germany or other Western European countries due to the horrors of the war, returned to Neringa once again. More and more young families with children from different European countries visit Neringa.
Throughout the year, hotels and rest homes in Nida, Juodkrante, Preila and Pervalka welcome guests who come on their own or with their families. Guests can choose from various forms of entertainment and are given tips on how to spend their leisure in a unique and interesting way.
Sightseeing excursions on foot, on bicycles and on horseback are organized along the 30–kilometre long cycle track, which connects Juodkrante with Nida. Bicycle rental shops operate throughout Neringa.
Neringa is an ideal place for water sports enthusiasts. The Curonian Lagoon is the perfect place to windsurf and to sail on yachts, catamarans, cutters or on "kurenai" – old wooden sailing vessels, which were built by local Curonian fishermen according to authentic drawings.
During the cold season conferences, workshops, and other events are organized in Neringa. Neringa was also recognized as the safest resort in Lithuania – crimes here are rare.
Tourist and Cultural Information Centre Agila, as well as 4 info terminals, have been opened in Neringa last summer. These info–kiosks provide all the required information on leisure activities in Neringa. These terminals allow you to get an unlimited access to a special website on the Internet, which provides information about the Curonian Spit, places of interest, attractions, scenic areas, and services bal tic. The Neringa Municipality signed a contract with the Business Development Agency of Lithuania to install these information kiosks in Neringa at the end of 2004. The objective of the project was to create modern marketing tools in order to encourage tourism.
The idea to install such devices in the Lithuanian resort, which would provide tourists with round–the–clock information about Neringa's tourism infrastructure – its places of interest, business services, attractions, events, etc. – has been on local councilors' minds for quite some time. The council of the Neringa Municipality included this project in its development programs and filed an application for financing from the European Union funds. One of the novelties of this project is to give the provider of a service the opportunity to manage all the information related to the services being provided themselves.
The value of this information kiosks project totals EUR 66.546 thousand (LTL 229.58 thousand). The largest part, 79 per cent, is financed from the PHARE 2002 Programs funds. The remaining part, which pays for the salaries of the employees, is covered by the Neringa Municipality.
In 2001 the European Council of Supervising the Blue Flag system granted the Nida beach a Blue Flag certificate for its high environmental quality, which complies with the international requirements. In 2002 and 2003 the managers of the Neringa Municipality were officially awarded the Blue Flag certificates. The beaches of Nida and Juodkrante were presented with this high award in 2005 as well.
The Company "Neringos komunalininkas", which manages all the beaches in Neringa, in co–operation with Lithuanian and Polish partners, is implementing a two–year project to develop a general beach supervision systems in the Baltic Sea Region. The lifeguards do not only improve their professional knowledge and skills but, according to the program, within a two–year period they will receive new rescue facilities worth LTL 700 thousand.
Currently the project Trans–border Water Tourism in the Curonian Lagoon Russia and in Lithuania is being implemented. In this project a group of experts is investigating the possibilities for developing small harbors and piers in the Curonian Lagoon both in the Russian section and in the Neringa Municipality. Plans for floating piers to moor small ships are under preparation. One of them is for a port in Nida.
The Neringa Municipality takes an active part in different programs. Currently it is implementing several projects funded by the European Union.
The Neringa Municipality was the first in Lithuania to implement Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) within the range of 28 GHz in its administrative territory. The possibility has already been raised to provide multi–channel television, high–speed Internet, data transmission, telephone and other services in the Neringa Municipality territory.
"The Neringa Municipality was the only one in the country not to have multi–channel subscriber television", said Neringa Municipality member and Co–ordinator of the Project's Implementation Group. "The reason is simple: the territory is large, its length is 50 kilometers long, and the number of potential subscribers is small. A total of 3000 residents have declared Neringa Nida to be their place of residence. Today not only can we watch dozens of television programs but we can also enjoy high–speed Internet and telephone communication throughout the Municipality's residential areas – Nida, Preila, Pervalka and Juodkrante. We can even organize video conferences".
All the residents and businesses in Neringa who want to make use of these services can have special radio communication aerials and modems for cable TV and the Internet installed.
Tourists don't forget Neringa in winter – during this time of year many different concerts and other cultural events are organized, fun rides on ice on a motor sledge are arranged, and the doors of the local hotels and rest homes are always open.
However, the Curonian Spit really comes to life when the Curonian Lagoon becomes ice–bound and the yearly migration of smelt begins. Ice–fishing enthusiasts arrive from all over Lithuania and all the settlements of the resort smell of fresh cucumbers. The smelt catch is the reason for this odour.
During this cold time of year many conferences, seminars and other events are organized in Neringa. Heads of enterprises and organizations from Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian cities know and value the effort of Neringa's businesspeople to receive guests and create the most ideal conditions for work. Flexible prices out of season are also an advantage.
Source: "Made in Lithuania" magazine 2006.
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