This will probably be met with no response whatsoever because it's not a very popular destination, but has anybody been to Kaliningrad? The place has always fascinated me for various reasons - it's sort of non-country status, the beautiful scenery (from pictures at least), the fact that Kant lived there, the history and perhaps the ugliest building in the entire world the house of the Soviets - and I'm going to be travelling to Switzerland/Germany/Poland in the summer and I was wondering how one actually gets there. I know you can get a train from Berlin or Warsaw, but I'm not sure what the situation with visa's is, so I was just wondering if anyone could help and maybe shed some light on whether it's worth the trip too.
I'm pretty sure you need a Russian visa, that's why I skipped it in 2000 when I was close driving from Lithuania into and then through Poland. Getting a Russian visa can be a little bit of a pain (it may be easier now than when I went there). If you go to Poland or Lithuania I can give you a few tips on what I thought was worth seeing.
I hope you get to Kaliningrad...you'd probably be the only one on this site to have visited there.
Many thanks, I was thinking about getting a Russian Visa to maybe take in a trip to St Petersburg as this is another place that I've always wanted to visit. It is a lot of hassle though - £75 for a tourist visa. Maybe you should just recommend a nice place in Poland I could visit instead!
One of my favorite cities in all of Europe is Krakow! It's a beautiful and fun city. You can't go wrong visiting there. The nearby salt mines (with an entire cathedral way down undergroud in the mines, etc.) are also amazing.
However, it would be a shame to miss St. Petersburg which is also very, very nice. But then again the hassel and cost of getting the visa and its a lot fruther from Germany and the rest of your trip.
I'm definitely planning on visiting Krakow! I've only heard good things about it, I had originally planned to go to Warsaw, but I'll probably go to Krakow instead or both. I didn't know about the salt mines though, so I'll be sure to investigate that. I just think that part of Europe is beautiful, I've only been there once (in Riga) and I loved it. It's incredibly cheap too, which is always nice.
Yea like I said the salt mines are really amazing (don't miss them). You can take a local bus there for less than a euro and then just join a tour. I was too impatient to wait for the English tour so I just went with the next one which was in Polish. Also near to Krakow is Auschwitz (a good but sobbering side trip).
I skipped Warsaw mainly because I knew everything was destoyed during the war. The other places I did visit that I thought were cool was the "Wolf's Liar" where Hitler spent A LOT of the war hiding out (what a wimp). The bunkers are like 25 feet thick. Gdansk was also a very nice city up North on the coast (but again nothing that I saw is as nice as Krakow).
Like you I really like this area of the world. As you said Riga is really nice and Tallian is Great (it still has a walled old town with cafes, etc...really picturesque)!
In Lithuania the Hill of Crosses is pretty cool.
That should keep you busy for a while . Let me know if you manage Kalingrad.