Palanga is a seaside resort in the Samogitia region of Lithuania. It includes a string of smaller resorts from the edge of Klaipėda city to the border with Latvia and the regional airport; in 2023 it had a population of 18,132.
Lithuania as it emerged from the First World War was landlocked: Klaipėda on the Baltic was the German port of Memel, while points north belonged to Latvia. Lithuania then annexed Klaipėda and exchanged territory with Latvia to acquire a coastline. Palanga lacked a harbour - its unusual L-shaped pier was constructed to compensate, but there was no shelter from wind, waves and ice, and the town was altogether better suited to be a summer beach resort. Its visitors are almost all domestic tourists and few foreigners come here.
1 Palanga International Airport (PLQ IATA), Liepojos pl., ☏ . This has limited seasonal destinations, which include London Stansted and Dublin by Ryanair, Oslo by Norwegian, Riga by Air Baltic, and Copenhagen by Scandinavian. The airport has the usual facilities including car rental.
Palanga is the closest airport to Klaipėda 36 km south so many arrivals are heading there. Bus 31 runs from the airport to Palanga town and Klaipėda bus & railway station every 30 min.
Vlasava, Kautra and Toks buses run hourly from Vilnius and Kaunas to Klaipėda, where some continue north to Palanga town, the airport and Šventoji. Buses between Klaipėda and Riga rush past on A13 and don't stop at Palanga town or airport.
2 Palangos autobusų stotis the bus station is fairly clean and modern.
By car from Kaunas follow A1 west then take the coast highway A13.
- 1 Palanga Pier is L-shaped, built in 1882 to export bricks but soon becoming a leisure spot, especially towards sunset. It has repeatedly been wrecked by storms and ice floes. The last major reconstruction in 1998 extended it to the present length of 420 m. The pier is free to stroll 24 hours.
- Basanavicius gatvė is the spine of Palanga - many Lithuanian towns have a street named for Jonas Basanavičius (1851-1927), leader of the revival of national identity. This one stretches from the pier inland for almost 1 km to Vytauto gatvė. It's a pedestrian mall lined with bars, restaurants, nightclubs, funfairs and souvenir shops.
- Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (Švč Mergelės Marijos ėmimo į dangų bažnyčia) is a sturdy redbrick building at Vytauto g 51 opposite the tourist office
- 2 Resort Museum (Palangos kurorto muziejus), Birutės al 34A, ☏ . W-Su 10:00-19:00. This displays the town history in an attractive old villa.
- 3 A. Mončys House-Museum, S Daukanto g 16, ☏ . W-Su 11:00-17:00. Permanent collection of sculpture by Antanas Mončys (1921-1993), and changing exhibitions of other artists' work. Adult €3.
- 4 Amber Museum (Palangos gintaro muziejus), Vytauto g 17 (within Botanic Gardens), ☏ . Jul Aug Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-19:00; Sept-Jun Tu-Sa 11:00-17:00, Su 11:00-16:00. This is housed in Tiškevičiai Palace, an 1890s neoclassical mansion. The museum describes the formation of amber and has 15 rooms of exhibits, including the stonking great Sun Stone of 3.5 kg. Adult €8, conc or child €4.
- Botanical Garden is a woodland park surrounding the Amber Museum, open 10:00-dusk. Birute Hill is a forested sand dune, where excavations revealed prehistoric settlements, and now embellished by a little chapel. Dogs are allowed in the park.
- The beach is sandy and stretches either side of the pier for many km - south to the lagoon outlet at Klaipėda, north to the small resort of Šventoji. The central strip is congested at the height of summer; the further away you go, the quieter it gets.
- I love Palanga is a live music venue, where Jūratės g ends at the shore 500 m north of Basanavičius g.
- Palanga Concert Hall is at Vytauto g 43, 200 m south of Church of the Assumption.
- Palanga Seals (ruonių) is a mass swim in the icy Baltic in February, while those ashore gobble down fish. The next is probably 10 Feb 2024, tbc.
- Aurum 1006 km is an on-road motor race in several categories, with the next on 19-22 July 2023.
- Maxima is a big supermarket by the bus station, with another branch at Plytų g 9a. Rimi is by the concert hall.
- Amber is the local specialty, with pieces in all price brackets.
- Basanavičius g is lined with cheap and cheerful places.
- Dr Who, J Basanavičiaus g 9, ☏ . Sa-Th 11:00-17:00. Dance, disco, funk music. Very cramped and can get rough.
- Many householders in Palanga offer rooms at cheap rates, look for their signs "nuomojami kambariai".
- 1 7Sakalai, Sakalo g 14, ☏ . Simple guesthouse near the beach. B&B double €65.
- 2 Grand Baltic Dunes, Birutės al 26, ☏ . Clean friendly hotel, pity about the breakfasts. B&B double €65.
- 3 Vyturys, S Dariaus ir S Girėno g 20, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Basic old hotel. B&B double €50.
- Alka at S Daukanto g 21 is holiday apartments on the fourth floor of the former Alka Hotel, which has otherwise closed.
- P7 Hotel at Plytų g 7 is the former Gamata.
- Dailė, S Daukanto g 33 (50 m north of Vetra), ☏ , email@example.com. Basic but clean comfy place.
- 4 Baltic Inn, S Daukanto g 10A, ☏ . Efficient clean hotel near Botanic Garden. B&B double €85.
- 5 Palanga Spa, Birutės al 60, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Swish place in a bosky setting with spa and good dining. B&B double €350.
- 6 Vetra, Daukanto g 35 (off S Dariaus ir S Gireno g), ☏ , email@example.com. Pleasant hotel in a quiet location. B&B double €80.
- 7 Gabija, Vytauto g 40 (corner of S Dariaus ir S Gireno g), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Small spa hotel east of centre. B&B double €75.
- 8 Auska, Vytauto g 11, ☏ . Old Soviet pile in the woods south of town. This could be a heritage gem if they spent money on it. B&B double €90.
- 9 Vanagupė, Vanagupės g 31, ☏ , email@example.com. Good edge of town spa hotel, but the restaurant is disappointing. B&B double €140.
Palanga and its approach highways have 4G from all Lithuanian carriers. As of June 2023, 5G has not reached this area.
- Klaipėda is a modern city but has an old quarter around its 13th century castle.
- Curonian Spit, a short ferry ride from Klaipėda, is a remarkable 99 km line of sand dunes enclosing a lagoon.
- Liepaja is a large port north across the border in Lithuania.