Nida in Lithuania is a quaint fishing village that boasts a spectacular strip of moving dunes between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea.
Though often overlooked by visitors due to its distance from the capital city, this coastal resort offers a unique and beautiful experience to those who make an effort to visit.
Known for its unspoiled Nida Beach, dune trails, pine forests, vibrant wooden houses, and traditional fishing boats, Nida has an irresistible charm that draws locals and visitors alike.
As someone who frequently visits Nida in Lithuania during my trips home, I can highly recommend this stunning location at any season.
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Why visit Nida on the Curonian Spit?
There are several reasons why Nida is worth visiting, starting with its location. Nida is the fifth and final settlement on the Curonian Spit, a narrow strip of land that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea.
The cape is a constantly changing landform shaped by the sea, wind, and human activity. However, these same natural forces and artificial factors pose a constant risk of destruction to the beautiful sand dunes.
Fortunately, in 2000, the Curonian Spit, including Nida, was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its authentic features and the need for protection. Interestingly, two countries, Lithuania and Russia, share the honour, which is quite unusual.
This is because the Curonian Spit is located in the Curonian Spit National Park in Lithuania and the Kurshskaya National Park in the Russian Federation.
The distance between Nida and Kaliningrad in Russia is only 46 hm, so trey not cross the border when exploring the dunes.
Originally founded by the Baltic tribe called Curonians, hence the name Curonian Spit, Nida and has a complex history. The settlement was first mentioned in 1385 by the Teutonic Knights (the German Order) who ruled the area during the 14th Century.
In the 15th century, the region was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland and became a fishing village. After the Thirteen Years' War, the village was held by the Teutonic Knights until 1525 and by Ducal Prussia afterwards.
In the 18th century, Nida became a part of the Kingdom of Prussia and suffered a major bubonic plague epidemic. To escape sand drifts, the village was moved to its current location in the 1730s.
By the late 19th century, Nida was a fishing village with a population of 655. It was the largest village on the Curonian Spit and had Lithuanian and German-language church services.
Nida is well-known for its stunning desert-like sand dunes, which are the highest collection of drifting dunes in Europe, with some reaching up to 60 metres in height.
When visiting, please respect the 'no climbing' signs around certain areas of the dunes. Any careless movement can significantly impact the natural state of the sand ridge.
Nida is the starting point of an exciting long-distance hiking trail along the Baltic coast, spanning 1,200 kilometres (746 miles) to Tallinn.
Is Nida in Lithuania worth visiting?
I may be biased, but yes, Nida is absolutely worth visiting when in Lithuania.
Despite being a small resort, Nida offers many things to do. You can stroll along the stunning promenade and explore the spectacular Nida dunes, take cycling tours, or relax on Nida Beach for an amazing experience. It is a hidden coastal gem of Lithuania.
The surrounding villages on the Curonian Spit also offer equally exciting experiences such as visiting the famous Hill of Witches or shopping for local delicacies like smoked fish.
Let's start exploring!
What's on the Curonian Spit?
The Curonian Spit is a sandy strip of land that spans 98 km and separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. It is divided between Lithuania and Kaliningrad in Russia.
The spit has five settlements, with Nida being the last one in Lithuania. These are the two most popular places to visit on the way to Nida:
Smiltynė is located at the northern tip of the Curonian Spit and is the closest settlement to the mainland. It has a broad sandy beach with clean, shallow waters that are good for swimming but can be chilly.
Juodkrantė is the second largest settlement after Nida and is famous for its Hill of Witches, a fun sculpture park in the woods. Additionally, Juodkrantė has stunning 19th-century French Riviera-inspired villas, with Monbijou now serving as the local council.
Preila is a peaceful fishing village situated on the Curonian Spit, between the Baltic Sea and the lagoon. It’s famous among locals and visitors alike for its spacious sandy beach.
If you choose to travel there by bike, you can use the cycling lane. Otherwise, the parking lot is free of charge.
When in Preila, check out two of my favorite restaurants, Bo House and Fisheria. Both offer lovely views and fabulous food.
As you pass through the village, make sure to stop by one of the houses with a "Žuvis" (fish) sign to stock up on freshly smoked catch of the day.
Map of the best things to do in Nida
Use this Google map to find the best things to see and do in Nida (Lithuania) and its surroundings:
Fun things to do in Nida and around
In my opinion, Nida is the most charming and attractive town among all the settlements on the Curonian Spit.
You can easily identify it by its traditional wooden houses adorned with colourful ethnographic motifs, golden dunes, lovely beach, lagoon, and flying Curonian pennants. It's like paradise on Earth.
Take a full-day tour around Nida
If you want to truly experience Nida in Lithuania and learn about its rich history and legends, we recommend taking a tour with a local guide.
You can opt for an all-day organised trip from Klaipeda or a private day trip with a knowledgeable and multilingual guide. These tours take care of ferry tickets and transportation, so you can sit back and enjoy the day without any worries. It's a fun-filled day that you won't forget.
Discover the Thomas Mann Memorial Museum
For a delightful cultural experience, visit the Thomas Mann Memorial Museum and Culture Centre. The museum is housed in an enchanting wooden building.
Thomas Mann (1875-1955), who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929, visited Nida in the 1930s and loved it so much that he decided to build a summer house there for himself and his family.
The museum now houses old photos, memoirs, books, and documents that reflect the poet's work.
Stroll the Nida Promenade
One of my favourite things to do in Nida is a stroll along the picturesque Nida Promenade. This lovely path runs along the Curonian Lagoon and leads to the famous Parnidis Dune, providing stunning views of the water and the surrounding scenery.
Dotted with cafes and restaurants, this is the perfect spot to grab a bite or sip a coffee while enjoying the picturesque views.
But Nida Promenade is not just about the views. It's also a great place to learn about the history and culture of this lovely coastal town.
As you stroll along the walkway, you'll come across several informational plaques and monuments that provide fascinating insights into the area's past.
As you stroll, watch out for the Vytautas Kernagis statue seated on one of the benches by the waterfront. Kernagis was a renowned Lithuanian singer, songwriter, and TV personality loved by many.
The memorial bench is a great place to take some memorable photos or rest from exploring the town.
Visit the Fishermen's Museum
Visit the Fishermen's Museum, also called the Ethnographic Homestead, to learn about the life and trade of fishermen in the area. You'll find the restored building of a traditional 19th-century fisherman's home filled with relics and artefacts.
Explore Nida by bike
Nida, with its charming walkways, is a quaint gem in itself, but exploring it on a bike adds an extra layer of fun to your day. The leisurely cycle along the Nida promenade, a personal favourite, offers an idyllic experience.
Alternatively, the pine tree forests along the entire Curonian Spit National Park offer a more adventurous journey.
The availability of cycling paths may be limited in some areas, but Nida and other villages are generally safe for cycling. The terrain is mostly flat, with just a few bumps along the way - nothing a bike couldn't handle.
Renting a bike is especially convenient if you want to reach beaches in Nida or Preila but prefer not to walk or drive the entire way.
You can rent a bike in Klaipeda before crossing the Lagoon or in Nida, where many rental spots are available. Most bikes cost just €5 per hour and provide a comfortable ride, but still test the bikes before renting.
Also, don't forget to ask for a lock in case you wish to stop at locations inaccessible to bikes, such as the Parnidis Dune observation deck.
Visit interactive amber galleries
Lithuanian amber is revered as the "gold of the North" and it's not hard to see why. Throughout Lithuania, you'll find an abundance of amber jewellery for sale, each piece more captivating than the last.
But if you're looking to take your appreciation of this stunning gemstone to the next level, then you must visit the Mazgiris Amber Museum.
This interactive museum is a treasure trove of knowledge, showcasing the history and beauty of amber through the works of Lithuanian and foreign artists.
The Amber Gallery-Museum is another must-visit destination. Housed in a traditional fisherman's house, this museum boasts a collection of unique Baltic amber pieces, including 434 original-sized amulets.
But it's not just about admiring the beauty of amber. You can also purchase exquisite jewellery and art made from natural Baltic amber at both locations.
And with certificates guaranteeing the authenticity of every piece, you can be sure that you're taking home a genuine piece of Lithuanian heritage.
Climb to the Parnidis Dune observation deck
If possible, climb the great Parnidis Dune, which is Nida's most impressive seven-kilometre-long golden dune. To reach the top, you'll have to climb a few steep steps, but the view is definitely worth it.
Besides, the steps and the walkway have recently been refurbished, with many panoramic rest stops added to make the trip even more enjoyable.
Once at the top, make sure to follow the wooden paths and avoid straying into the sand. The dunes are already affected by natural elements, so it's crucial to preserve this landmark.
Check out the Sundial
As you climb up the dune, you will soon come across the Sundial. This is a calendar and a stunning monument built in 1995. The steps on the monument signify one hour, while the light stone steps represent months.
Move in closer to see the crack in the middle of the 12-meter-high stele, which was caused by the Anatoliy hurricane in 1999.
Catch the sunrise and the sunset
For both a spectacular sunrise and soulful sunset, head to the viewing platform atop Parnidis Dune in Nida. This is one of the only places in Lithuania where you can see the sun rising from and setting back into the water, thanks to the panoramic vistas.
Relax at Nida Marina
For a livelier atmosphere in Nida, head to the marina. Built in 1991, it is home to boats from around the world and hosts the famous Curonian Lagoon Regatta festival. If you time it well, you can watch the event from the shore and experience the thrills of the boat race.
For many years, the backstreets of the port were deserted with not much happening. Now, they are a bustling chill-out area packed with a cool vibe. You can enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the outdoor bars or cafes while taking in the scenic views of the marina.
There are plans to replace some of the dilapidated buildings in the area with a brand new hotel, shops, cafes, and restaurants. However, it remains to be seen whether this project will ruin the cool vibe in this part of town.
Slurp fresh oysters
Regardless of upcoming building plans, if you enjoy seafood, keep an eye out for the mound of oyster shells outside the white-painted bar called “Purvynė”.
Every summer, the guys from austres.lt bring the best quality oysters for everyone to try. This summer visitors and locals are treated to French Gillardeau and Roberto.
Explore Nida's Walk of Fame
As you explore the funky marina area, look out for the Nida Walk of Fame commemorating Lithuanian popular music stars.
The original Hollywood-like alley of fame was created in 1998 and is connected to the iconic Nida music festival that represented the start of the season for a quarter of a century.
The handprints of prominent Lithuanian artists have been moved to a more central location near the marina. They are now joined by new-generation artists like Monika Liu, who represented Lithuania in Eurovision 2023.
Have a seafaring adventure
For the ultimate nautical adventure in Nida, rent a yacht from the Yacht Club in Nida and explore the breathtaking vistas of the Dead Dunes and the stunning Curonian Lagoon with an experienced captain.
Or, to explore the surrounding villages and taste fish soup made right on the boat, join one of the boat tours leaving from the marina.
Get active in Nida
There are numerous outdoor activities available, aside from water sports in Nida. These include Nordic walks in the national park, orienteering, cycling, sunrise hiking tours, and canoeing.
You can find more information on the official Nerija website or by visiting the Nida Culture & Tourism Information Centre, which is located across from the bus station in the town centre.
Alternatively, you can check out Nida activities at our partners, GetYourGuide:
Shop till you drop
While you won't find shopping malls in Nida, the town has recently expanded its high-quality shopping options. You can find everything from high-quality clothing and amber to souvenirs and spirits. Here are some of the shops worth checking out:
OpaKopa Shop: Lithuanian Designers' Summer Houses in Nida.
5 Summer Stories: A pop-up shop for clothing, accessories and jewellery.
Port Shop: A port shop with a terrace overlooking the Curonian Lagoon.
M’amber: Hand-made amber jewelly and souvenirs.
Relax at Nida Beach
Finally, don't miss out on Nida Beach, which is easily accessible through a beautiful forest. You can drive there on the main road, cycle, or walk through the woods.
We, Lithuanians, love and respect our nearly 100 km stretch of golden sandy coast, so the wide beaches are kept clean at all times by the locals.
Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to collect some sparkly amber pieces on a rougher day as the waves chuck them out onto the beach. And when the sun sets, get ready to be amazed by the spectacular views.
Places to visit near Nida
There are several cool things to do before you arrive in Nida, so be sure to save these attractions to your Google Maps before boarding the ferry for the Curonian Spit.
The spooky Dead Woods
If you're a nature lover and enjoy bird watching, be sure to make a stop at Herons' Hill (Garnių Kalnas) on your way from Juodkrantė to Nida.
You'll be amazed by the large colony of Cormorants nesting in the trees, but do keep in mind that their faeces can be deadly to the trees.
Unfortunately, this has caused the once-green pine forest to become spooky dead woods. The colony is the biggest one in Europe, and it's quite a wonder why they chose this area.
The Hill of Witches
If you're looking for an outdoor adventure, you'll love the Hill of Witches in Juodkrante. A large sign by the main road will lead you into a world of witches and devils hiding in the woods.
There are around 80 wooden sculptures in the park, some of which date back to 1979. The carvings are based on pagan traditions and Midsummer Night's Eve festivities, which are still widely celebrated in Lithuania.
If you're planning a picnic at the beach or in a beautiful pine tree forest, add some local flavour to your meal with some delicious smoked fish!
You can get your hands on some fresh and locally caught fish at the local houses marked with a "rūkyta žuvis" (smoked fish) or simply "žuvis" sign as you pass through Preila on your way to Nida.
Be sure to clean up all leftovers, especially glass and plastic. We want to keep the environment as beautiful as we found it.
The spectacular Dead Dunes trail
Explore the spectacular Dead Dunes by taking the Grey Dunes Educational Trail (Nagliai Nature Reserve), which will lead you on a peaceful journey through impressive sand dunes. The dunes serve as a memorial to the villages buried by the sand for eternity.
The natural landscape of the dunes is one of the biggest attractions on the spit. The wind constantly moves the sand, creating a golden ridge across the dunes. Be sure to stick to the marked trail to avoid disrupting the natural landscape.
Unfortunately, a new fee has been introduced recently to help maintain the path. The fee is €5 per adult and €2 per child.
While I understand the need for maintenance, it seems somewhat unfair to visitors, especially considering the €30 ecological fee already required upon arrival.
Seasonal events in Nida and around
During the summer, Nida in Lithuania hosts a range of cultural events, regattas, and aviation festivals. To witness the International Curonian Lagoon Regatta, plan your visit for July through August.
Alternatively, attend the two-day Žolinė festival in August to experience the arts and handicrafts of old Lithuania, try archery or boat gouging, and shop for pretty clay crockery or woolly socks to keep you warm in winter.
Best places to eat in Nida
You'll find plenty of cafes and restaurants for a meal or just coffee in Nida and nearby, but the below options are my favourite:
Bo House Preila: This is my top recommendation for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food here is fabulous and reasonably priced, and the service is friendly and efficient, but the absolute winner for me is the location (picture above).
Perched right on the shore of the Curonian Lagoon, it offers stunning views of the water.
Whether you're enjoying a leisurely meal or just stopping in for a quick coffee, this is the perfect spot to soak up the natural beauty of the region. They also have a sister restaurant in Nida - you can check out their Facebook page here.
Fisheria Preila: Located next door to Bo House Preila, Fisheria is a fantastic restaurant for fish lovers. It offers a daily selection of fresh catches so the menu is constantly changing to provide the best possible experience. With lovely views, all-day service, and a relaxed atmosphere, it's a must-visit in Nida. They also have a sister restaurant in Nida.
Sofa de Pancho: Voted the third-best restaurant in Lithuania, Sofa De Pancho offers a spicy Mexican affair if you're looking for more adventurous food options in Nida.
Nidos Prieplauka: This restaurant offers reasonably priced, good food, a stylish interior, and lovely views - perfect for an evening out in Nida.
Where to stay in Nida?
Nida offers a variety of lovely accommodations, including those with a Scandinavian style. If you prefer B&B or hotel stays, there are many options available.
One great B&B is Prie Mariu located at Purvynes 9-1, Nida. It’s an excellent choice if you want to be away from the town centre and close to the Curonian Lagoon.
If you prefer a more central location, check out the fabulous Egidijaus Vila, which offers fully equipped, spacious, and cosy apartments.
Another great place to stay in Nida is Lapute Nida, which provides a fabulous view overlooking the Curonian Lagoon.
Alternatively, use the search box below to find your ideal accommodation:
When is the best time to visit Nida in Lithuania?
Summer is the peak time to visit Nida, with slightly higher costs for food, accommodation, and entrance fees. This helps to filter out troublesome visitors, making it a peaceful and enjoyable experience.
Although some restaurants close after the summer season, you can still visit during the winter months when the peninsula is equally beautiful, covered in snow. Just be sure to wrap up warm and take care on the roads.
If you're looking for a peaceful yet active getaway, Nida is the perfect place to escape city life. The unique and breathtaking landscape of the strip between the Baltic Sea and Curonian Spit offers tranquillity and a chance to appreciate nature's beauty.
How much time do you need in Nida?
Nida in Lithuania is a small resort town, and most sights can be explored in one day. However, if you're seeking relaxation, I would recommend staying for two to three days.
This way, you can take your time to explore the surrounding areas such as Preila, Juodkrante, and Pervalka. You could even go on a sailing trip and enjoy a full day on the pristine sandy beaches.
Getting around Nida
Nida in Lithuania is easily walkable and there's no need to rush. Everyone is relaxed, so you can join the visitors and locals on foot. Otherwise, cycling or renting a scooter is a great alternative. You can bring your own bike or rent one in town.
Driving is not a great idea since parking is limited. Once you find a spot, it's best to leave your car there and go walking or cycling, whichever you prefer.
One new transport mode that caught my eye recently is the tuk-tuk style taxi in Nida. You can rent one for up to six passengers.
The Big Tuk Tuk Nida Taksi or Tuk Tuk Taxi Nida Neringa operates 24/7 during the season (June-August).
Getting to Nida and the Curonian Spit
If you're planning to visit Nida in Lithuania, the first step is to get to Klaipeda, the third-largest city in the country. It has an ice-free port and is the closest location to Nida. From here, you'll need to take a ferry to cross the lagoon.
Depending on your travel style, you can board the ferry in a car, on a bike, or by coach. Alternatively, you can take a boat called "Benas". Here's how it works:
Klaipeda - Nida: how to get to Nida in Lithuania from Klaipeda by ferry
To reach Nida from Klaipeda, you need to catch a ferry from one of the ferry terminals in Klaipeda city.
Klaipeda has two ferry terminals. The Old Ferry Terminal is limited to pedestrians and cyclists, while the New Ferry Terminal serves pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.
Old Ferry Terminal, North Horn
The Old Ferry Terminal at Northern Horn is located at Danės St. 1, Klaipeda. It's a short 10-minute walk from the Old Town.
The ferry departs every 30 minutes, starting from 7.30 am. Once you cross the lagoon over to Smiltyne, you can catch a bus to Nida.
Buses to Nida operate hourly, from 7.10 am on weekdays to 9.10 am on weekends. The bus stops at Smiltynė, Juodkrantė, Pervalka, Preila, and Nida.
Top Tip: Most buses in Lithuania only accept cash payments, so be sure to have some change with you before boarding the bus.
Alternatively, you can cycle all the way to Nida through the Curonian Spit National Park. The route is flat and has rest stations along the way, but it's a 50 km ride so be prepared for a long journey.
New Ferry Terminal
If you're driving, head to the New Ferry Terminal located at Nemuno St. 8, Klaipeda.
The New Ferry Terminal accommodates pedestrians, cyclists and all vehicles, including cars, campervans, and motorbikes.
Ferry tickets and ecological fees:
Travelling to Nida can be expensive due to two fees: the ferry fee and the ecological fee. I will explain both below.
The ferry cost per car is €20.50 (return trip as of 2023), and there is an additional seasonal ecological fee to enter the national park.
You can purchase your ferry tickets upon arrival. Simply join any of the queues and pay when you reach the ticket booth. Both card and cash payments are accepted.
The ecological fee is €30 per car or campervan in the peak season (20th June - 20th August) and €5 per car or €15 per campervan in the off-peak season (21st August - 19th June).
After leaving the ferry, you will quickly come across a ticket booth. Here, you must pay an ecological fee before you can continue your journey. The booth accepts both card and cash payments.
Once you've paid your fees, you can enjoy a pleasant drive through a picturesque road framed by pine trees. The Curonian Lagoon sparkles on your left, and the Baltic Sea is on your right.
You can stop at any car park along the way to explore the national park and other settlements.
The ferry cost per person for a return trip is €1.50, and you can easily purchase your ticket at the terminal. There's no ecological fee for pedestrians and cyclists.
For more information, to check the time table or purchase tickets, check out the official keltas.lt website
Klaipeda - Nida by coach
If you don't want to drive, cycle, or take the local bus, you can take the Vilnius-Klaipeda-Nida coach from Klaipeda central station.
The round trip ticket costs around €18 (€9 one way), depending on the time of day you travel. This way, you don't need to worry about the ferry, as the bus will take you all the way to Nida.
Vilnius - Nida: how to get to Nida from Vilnius
To travel directly to Nida from Vilnius, look for the Vilnius - Klaipeda - Nida coach, as per above. But note that this is a long journey of around six hours, so bring some snacks and plenty of water.
Alternatively, for ultimate comfort and to remove the hassle from your trip, you can book an all-day tour to Nida for two from Vilnius. You can use the search box below to check availability.
Getting to Nida from Klaipeda aboard the "Benas" boat
The "Benas" boat is a super comfortable alternative to taking the ferry, as it sails all the way to Nida with a stop in Juodkrante.
If you're not driving or taking the coach, this is the perfect way to get to Nida. The boat is bike and pet-friendly.
“Benas” operates from Monday to Sunday starting at 10:30 am (times may vary due to weather conditions). A one-way ticket costs €18 per passenger.
For more information and to book tickets, visit their official website.
How to get to Klaipeda
If you plan to travel from Vilnius to Klaipeda, you can take a direct bus from the central bus station in the city. The 300 km journey usually takes around four hours. Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Riga, which is approximately the same distance.
There are several airlines like Baltic Air, Norwegian Airlines, SAS, UIA, and LOT that operate direct flights to Palanga International Airport, which is located near Klaipeda.
Once you arrive, you can take bus Nr.100 outside the airport for a small fee, and it will take you to the central Klaipeda bus station.
Taxis are also available outside the airport if you prefer to travel by car, which takes around 30 minutes.
Express Minibus (from the Airports)
Alternatively, you can use Ollex. This express minibus service operates from airports in Lithuania and Latvia and is a convenient option if you want to go straight to Klaipeda from the airport.
But be sure to book your trip in advance through their website.