From Witches’ Hill, we drove to Nida. Nida is the biggest village on Neringa Spit and its administrative center. It was also a short 4 km/2.5 miles away from the Russian settlement of Kaliningrad. Since this is where, supposedly, all the Amber comes from, beach combing in this area could be rewarding and fun. Nida has quite a bit to offer tourists besides the sand dunes above the village. A beach that is one of the cleanest in Europe, miles and miles of bike trails and bike rentals. The trails range from 9-52 kms with complete descriptions available at the excellent Neringa Tourist Information Office. Many hotels, guest houses and apartments to choose from in this very small town with approximately 1,500 permanent residents. However, 50,000 people do visit Nida each summer so it would be wise to make reservations.
It’s not a difficult walk from Nida up to the top of the shifting sand dunes but we drove to the top and walked back down the 159-step boardwalk path with Nida dead ahead…View image. The “towering dunes” were quite scenic. I wouldn’t say “impressive” if you’ve ever seen sand dunes before but they are some of the highest shifting sand dunes in Europe and I guess that counts for something. What was more interesting to me was the fact that these shifting sands have engulfed small settlements on Neringa Spit over the years. There was a sign asking people not to walk on the dunes but since every other tourist was out there, I confess, we took a teeny walk on one…View image. Sand dunes are such fun to walk on that it’s difficult to resist…View image.
There are several nature walks to choose from on the walk back into Nida that give a chance to see a variety of mushrooms, trees and birds. A short amount of time left before leaving at 1:30 p.m. for those who wanted to visit the Amber Gallery (a museum, shop and gallery), Ethnographic Fishermans’ Museum, Neringa History Museum or the Thomas Mann House. Thomas Mann spent several summers in Nida and his cottage is now a museum. (Now how could anyone get even a portion of that in?) Little Nida was jumping today with a half marathon race in progress.
We found a stroll down by the sea more rewarding than racing from spot-to-spot. Quite a few old and colorful Weathercocks along the route along with detailed information about them…View image. These weathercocks date from 1844, were unique to the sailing boat and colored according to the different villages..View image.
Time for our daily sweet roll fix and a short walk around town to look at a few of the local wooden houses with unique architecture…View image…before leaving for Kaunas.