Echoes of an old Prussian seacoast

Kaliningrad On the Beach

Wooden steps lead down from central Becker Park to reach Yantarny's pretty public beach. Photo by Mark Baker.
Pristine sand along Yantarny's isolated beach. Photo by Mark Baker.
The water temps are slightly warmer at inland Yantarny lake. On my trip in June, several people were swimming. Photo by Mark Baker.
A view over the northern end of Yantarny's beach. Photo by Mark Baker.
A walk through beautiful Becker Park, a large seaside grove of trees, leads down to the beach. Photo by Mark Baker.
A still nicely tended Soviet war memorial stands near the center of Yantarny's small town. Photo by Mark Baker.
Sunset over Yantarny beach on the evening of June 21, the longest day of the year. This was well after 10pm. Photo by Mark Baker.
The best part of Svetlogorsk is walking through the woods on the edge of town and looking at all the old houses. Photo by Mark Baker.
Svetlogorsk is an immensely appealing town, though not necessarily for the beach, smaller and narrower than the other resorts. Photo by Mark Baker.
Svetlogorsk's Organ Hall is built into what was once a Prussian church. Photo by Mark Baker.
An abandoned old Soviet club or restaurant in the spa town of Svetlogorsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
I fell in love with some of this old Prussian spa-town architecture in Svetlogorsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
Many visitors to Svetlogorsk make the promenade to the sea down these big stairs to the sundial in the distance. Photo by Mark Baker.
The clear influence of Art Nouveau can be seen at Svetlogorsk's main central sight: the old fin de siècle Water Tower. Photo by Mark Baker.
Sunset in Zelenogradsk. The angle was just right for producing those last golden rays of day. Photo by Mark Baker.
Some old surviving Prussian buildings in the town of Zelenogradsk. Photo by Mark Baker.

Scroll down below the map for more photos. Pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s recently updated travel guide to Russia to read more of my adventures in Kaliningrad and for tips on what to see around the country.

Another one from that same sunset in Zelenogradsk. I was obviously transfixed. Photo by Mark Baker.
A little vacation time in Zelenogradsk's small municipal park, over a sand dune beside the water. Photo by Mark Baker.
It wouldn't be a photo essay from me if there wasn't a picture of a fish dinner. This was a restaurant along Svetlogorsk's shoreline. Photo by Mark Baker.
Another pretty old house on the outskirts of Svetlogorsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
I loved my hotel in Zelenogradsk -- Butik Hotel 12. It was stylish, comfortable and welcoming. This is a shot from the lobby. Photo by Mark Baker.
A small park for kids on the outskirts of Svetlogorsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
Russians appear to love all of this finery ... this from a restaurant/hotel complex on Svetlogorsk's seashore. Photo by Mark Baker.
I loved this miniature model of Kaliningrad's medieval town center in a small park outside the center of Svetlogorsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
A trip north through Kaliningrad's share of the narrow Curonian Spit, which leads eventually to Lithuania. It's mostly unspoiled pine forests and white sand. Photo by Mark Baker.
A view along a lonely beach on Kaliningrad's Curonian Spit. Photo by Mark Baker.
An old surviving German sign on the side of a building in the inland city of Chernyakhovsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
A sleepy old museum of Soviet and Russian history in the center of city of Chernyakhovsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
The old Prussian St Michael's Church is one of the last standing pre-World War II remnants in Chernyakhovsk. Photo by Mark Baker.
My comfy, colorful bed at the Butik Hotel 12 in Zelenogradsk. Photo by Mark Baker.

Comments

  1. Stunning photos, practically 4D – feeling the white sand, tasting the salty air and smelling the herbed fish! Will send the link to a friend of Prussian origin. I’ve always wanted to visit the Baltic coastline and maybe she’ll join me after seeing these. Thank you.

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About the author

Mark Baker

I’m an independent journalist and travel writer who’s lived in Central Europe for more than two decades. I love the history, literature, culture, and mystery of this often-overlooked corner of Europe, and I make my living writing articles and guidebooks about the region. Much of what I write eventually finds its way into commercial print or digital outlets, but a lot of it does not.

That's my aim with this travel website: to find a space for stories and experiences that fall outside the publishing mainstream.

You’ll find a mix of stories here. Some will be familiar “what to see and do” travel articles on particular destinations. Others will be tales of “adventure” (usually with a comic twist) from life on the road. I'll also share tips about living in my adopted hometown of Prague and stories from a more-distant (but seemingly ever-present) past, when Central Europe was the “Eastern bloc” and I was a full-time journalist trying my best to cover it. I hope you enjoy.

Tales of Travel & Adventure in Central Europe
Mark Baker