The resort village of Nida—35 mi/55 km south of Klaipeda on the 60-mi/95-km strip of land known as the Curonian Spit, or Neringa Peninsula—is beautifully sited. It is surrounded by drifting sand dunes, lagoons and a long, white-sand beach. The peninsula is a national park. The spit is a brief ferry ride from Klaipeda's quaint old port, and a car is not necessary for a day trip. Buses run along the only road, part of the old postal route between then Prussian Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) and Russian St. Petersburg, but it's best to rent a bicycle.

Once a favorite vacation spot for Soviet officials and the KGB, Nida now caters mostly to wealthy Lithuanians and Germans. The open-air kavines (cafes) along the lagoon serve beer and smoked fish. Visitors should check out the Fishermen's Ethnographic Homestead, part of the Neringa History Museum and the home of German writer Thomas Mann, who lived in Nida in the 1930s. He loved the Mediterranean-like atmosphere there, which also attracted German Expressionists, such as Max Pechstein, Lovis Corinth, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff.

Visitors should scale the 60-ft-/20-m-tall dunes and try to catch a glimpse of the phenomenal sunsets—the sky seems to turn green. Fungi hunters should visit in the fall, when edible wild mushrooms grow in Neringa's forest.

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