To say that Palanga is the most popular resort on the Lithuanian Baltic seacoast is to say nothing! Known as a resort as early as the second half of the XIX century and gaining wide popularity in the Soviet period, nowadays, Palanga is literally a ‘summer capital’ of Lithuania. In high season, in the resort town there is no room to swing a cat in, since its population nearly triples!
It is a small wonder indeed, since Palanga is a splendid location for those who fancy passive rest or outdoors activities, for children and their parents alike. By day, it offers scenic nature, various excursions, cultural and social activities, sporting events, souvenir shops, and treats in the cafés. By evening and night, tourists can enjoy watching the magnificent sunset on the 470 m long pier, listening to magic night serenades on the terrace of the Amber Museum, or have a blast at local night clubs and casinos. Palanga provides all conditions for engaging in sports – tennis courts, swimming pools, mini golf, bike and Jet Ski rentals, horseback riding among a few. There is plenty of entertainment for the children – swimming pool with water slides, horse- and pony-drawn carriage rides, rollerblading, cycling, Mini Zoo.
Yet, the special uniqueness of Palanga lies in its reputation of climatic and balneotherapeutic health resort. Sea, air filled with iodine, 8 mineral water wells, thermal and mud baths, system of sanatoriums and rehabilitation centres facilitate treatment of numerous diseases.
The town authorities work diligently towards development of Palanga. The pier, the symbol of the resort, was renovated, wireless internet access network was expanded, and 2 km wide beach was enlarged. Network of hotels and cafés is ever growing. Moreover, in 2013, Palanga will become a Lithuanian capital of Culture.
Also, business tourism sector is poised for further growth – the number of conference halls has increased, corporate trips become more frequent have. In future Palanga is set on the way to become the international conference centre in the Baltics.
Local residents – 15 000 (2011)
In high season – up to 35 000
According to 2008 data, the town economy is primarily based on trade – 34%, construction – 23%, and accommodation and catering service sector – 11% (Lithuanian Department of Statistics).
There are over 170 hotels and guesthouses and more than 100 cafés.
On average, one tourist spends 5 days in Palanga.
Recently, the impact of private sector in accommodation services has increased – from 0% in 2004 to 10% in 2009.
A growth in foreign tourist arrivals is noticeable – from 16% in 2004 to 2% in 2009, primarily from Russia, Poland, Estonia, and Germany.
Types of Real Estate
Real estate intended “for recreational use” is prevalent in Palanga (which provides no visa relaxation).
Ethnic Composition, Spoken Languages
Although the population is over 90% Lithuanian, majority speaks Russian well.
Arriving in Palanga
Highway Klaipeda-Liepaja passes through the town.
Airport is 7 km from Palanga (10 min journey by car).
The passenger flow grows steadily (2007 – 93.4 thousand, 2008 – 101.6 thousand, and 2009 – 104.6 thousand).
Palanga can be reached mainly in two ways:
By bus from:
– Latvia (Liepaja – 1 hour; Riga – 4,5 hours);
– Belarus (Minsk – 11 hours);
– Lithuanian towns (Klaipeda – 30 min; Vilnius – 4.5 hours; Kaunas – 3.5 hours; Šiauliai – 2 hours; Šventoji – 20 min; Kretinga – 30 min)
By plane from:
– Denmark (Copenhagen – in 1 hour);
– Russia (Moscow – 2 hours);
– Norway (Oslo – 1.5 hours);
– Latvia (Riga – 45 min).
Pine forests dominate the region.
Clean beaches and dunes of fine white sand.
Beach is 25 km long.
In 2011, Palanga Botanical park beach was awarded Blue Flag status for excellence and cleanliness (international certification based on 32 stringent criteria).
Palanga Botanical Park (86 ha; pools with swans and ducks). www.pgm.lt/Parkas/titulinis_en.htm
Neo-Gothic Catholic church, 1 Russian Orthodox church.
Palanga Botanical Park, Birute Hill (a relict dune), 470 m long pier, amber workshops, Linas swimming pool (www.linas.visiems.lt/), 1 cinema.
Museums: Palanga Amber Museum, House-Museum of Artist-Sculptor Antanas Mončys, Dr. Jonas Šliūpas Memorial Estate.
Town Holidays /Annual Events
Palanga Smelt Festival (each year, in mid-February).
Palanga Summer Season Opening (each year, in mid-May).
Omnitel 1000 km Rally (in mid-July).
A cycle of concerts Night Serenades of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (August).
History and Important Dates
1161 – mentioned for the first time.
For a great while it was just a small fishing village.
From 15th to 17th century Palanga operated as the main port in Lithuania.
1824 – the entire Palanga area was purchased by the Polish Count Tyszkiewicz. His lucrative financial investments (botanical park, Palanga manor-estate, theatre, the first pier, the first hotel, and restaurant) made Palanga a well-known resort.
In Soviet times, an airport, vacation houses, and sanatoriums were built. In 1963 the Amber Museum was opened.
Since 1990 the resort has expanded. Tourism sector has steadily grown.