Kaliningrad

Travel Guide Europe Russia Northwestern Russia Kaliningrad

edit

Introduction

Kaliningrad - walking around

Kaliningrad - walking around

© Derdia

Kaliningrad is a city and seaport in the Russian federal northwestern district of the country, though totally separated from the rest of the country by the Baltic countries. The city, formerly known as Königsberg, has about 450,000 inhabitants and unlike many other Russian cities the number is not declining.

Kaliningrad's history dates back to the 13th century, when it was under the rule of the Teutonic knights, an order of German knights, priests and lay men who sought to expand Christianity through missions and conquests. Known by its German name of Königsberg then, the city was the capital of Prussia.

Kaliningrad was a hub for science and culture whizzes from Germany, Poland and Lithuania. It was home to renowned philosopher Immanuel Kant and prominent German writer Ernst Theodor Amadeus (known by the abbreviated form ETA) Hoffmann. Kant had such pride in his hometown that he barely left the place in his lifetime, declaring that he did not need to venture abroad because ships came and brought people to tell him stories.

Destroyed in World War II and annexed to the USSR in 1946, the region was stripped of its German identity after the German population had been expelled and was named after Mikhail Kalinin, a Russian communist leader. A highly militarised zone during the Soviet era, the area only opened to visitors about 20 years ago.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • The old cathedral of Königsberg - Kanta 1 (Easily approachable by foot either from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend the stairs when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the direction of the Fish Village), ☎ +7 4012 63-17-05. 9:00am to 5:00pm. Founded in 1333, largely reconstructed after World War II, the cathedral on Kneiphof Island along the Pregolya River is a sight to see. The cathedral links Kaliningrad to its German past, as it is where the Prussian kings were once crowned. There are two rooms in the Cathedral Museum devoted to the life of Kant, whose tomb lies beside the cathedral walls. Up the stairs to the left of the main door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed). Kant's grave can be viewed outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building. 270 rubles.
  • The House of Soviets - Known to locals as 'The Monster,' this is sort of an anti-attraction, but useful for orientation in the city center. It was constructed on the ruins of the Königsberg Castle, but was deemed structurally unsound and therefore never occupied. Rumor has it that a mysterious owner prevents it from being demolished. An archaeological dig is active on the grounds, which is not open to tourists, but specialists may be able to arrange for a visit of the remains of the castle.
  • The old fortifications - From approx. 1860-70, they include 15 town gates - Sackheim, King's, Rossgarten, Attack, Railway, Brandenburg, Friedland, Friedrich Wilhelm III. One of the towers is home to the Amber Museum.
  • Fishing Village. Red-roofed buildings and colourful exteriors illustrate the charm of old Koenigsberg, what Kaliningrad used to be known as.
  • Victory Square - The central area where the administrative buildings, banks and shops are

Top

edit

Weather

The best time to visit is in summer between June and August, when the temperature is around 20 to 25 °C. Temperatures in autumn range from 10 to 15 °C and the season lasts from September to November. The Kaliningrad winter, which is from December to February, is much milder winter than Russia, with temperatures from 5 °C to minus 11 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-0.7 °C0.3 °C4.7 °C10.9 °C17.2 °C20.6 °C21.8 °C21.6 °C17.3 °C12 °C5.7 °C1.6 °C
Avg Min-5.8 °C-5.2 °C-2.1 °C2.2 °C7 °C10.9 °C12.8 °C12.3 °C9.1 °C5.3 °C1.2 °C-3.1 °C
Rainfall57 mm40 mm43 mm37 mm53 mm71 mm80 mm90 mm89 mm79 mm91 mm73 mm
Rain Days13910889111012111414

Top

edit

Red Tape

As Kaliningrad is an exclave of the Russian Federation, almost all visitors require a Russian visa to enter, except citizens of those countries that have signed bilateral agreements for visa-free entries, e.g. Israel, South Korea, South Africa, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latin American countries, etc. If you plan to travel overland between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia, you will need at least a double-entry visa in order to exit and re-enter Russia. Travelling by air on domestic flights between Kaliningrad and Moscow, St. Petersburg or other Russian regional centers can be done even with a single-entry visa.

Starting 1 July 2019, nationals of 53 countries including almost all EU countries, Japan, China and a few other Asian countries can get eVisa free of charge for visits of up to 8 days. You can apply for eVisa at Russia's MFA website. You should print off the eVisa confirmation (which comes as a pdf) for sake of ease. Border guards might want to see your visa on exit, so it's best to keep a copy on you, though having the pdf on your phone is perfectly acceptable. Note that the eVisa is not valid at some of the smaller border crossings.

US, UK, Canadian nationals will still have to apply for a regular visa.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Khrabrovo Airport ((Аэропорт Храброво) KGD IATA) (16 km (9.9 mi) away from Kaliningrad). A regular bus (144) is going every hour from the terminal to various stops in the city centre for 33 руб. Taxi service is also available; If you know the exact address, ordering a cab via mobile apps called Taxi Maxim or Rutaxi (that both have English language option and, by the way, work in a number of other Russian regional centers) can save you approx.10% in comparison with prices of airport cab services. The official airport taxi services that are represented in the arrival area with a couple of counters, charge a fixed price of 600-1000 руб to get from the airport to any point in the city; other cab companies might charge even more.

By Train

East-bound (towards Vilnius in Lithuania) long-distance trains still run regularly. Departures are daily from Moscow (22 h) via Minsk (11 h) and every two days from Saint Petersburg (26 h, also via Minsk). Some services are available from Chelyabinsk (69 h) in the Urals and Homel (via Minsk). There's also trains from the Black Sea resorts, such as Sochi (61 h), expect 1-2 trains a week during summer.

All cross-border services across the Polish border have unfortunately been cancelled in 2010, although there were approaches to restore the link and even some occasional rides. Also, a weekend connection to Klaipeda in Lithuania, with a change in Sovetsk, was cancelled.

Regional trains make it possible to arrive to the city from many towns in the oblast but, with the exception of coastal and suburban towns, the schedule is rather rare, often with one train per day. If you're after an adventure, you can try hitchhiking across the border at Mamonovo and taking a train from there to Kaliningrad (timetables can be found here).

Kaliningrad-Passazhirsky (Калининград-Пассажирский), sometimes called Kaliningrad South, is the main railway station and is located at ul. Zheleznodorozhnaya, 15.

By Car

The road system is extensive in the Kaliningrad region; however, they are not always well-maintained, and sometimes it is hard to get around because of absence of signage indicating directions/destinations (especially in the city). Driving rules are generally the same as in most European countries, but many do not follow the rules, especially during rush hour in the city. Beware of the traffic police because they like to stop foreigners and often expect bribes.

There are two ways to get to Kaliningrad by car - from Poland and from Lithuania, but you should expect delays on the borders (sometimes it can take a couple of hours)! The green card for insurance has been valid since beginning of 2009.

By Bus

Direct bus lines connect Kaliningrad with a number of cities in Belarus, Poland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine.

Bus from Tallinn via Riga.
Bus to/from Gdańsk (Zloty 28, from Kaliningrad to Gdańsk 700 руб) - leaves Gdańsk at 06:00, 06:30, 15:00, 15:30.
Bus to/from Warsaw - leaves Warszawa Zachodnia bus station at 8:00 Mon, Wed, Thu-Sat, tickets 1520 руб. On Tue and Sat there is another bus that leaves Warszawa Zachodnia at 13:00, the ticket costs 1200 руб. This bus also stops in Olsztyn (700 руб).
Bus to/from Vilnius - leaves Vilnius at 13:15.

By Boat

  • Russia - Sweden vv

Lisco Baltic Service has ferries between Karlshamn in Sweden and Baltysk (50 kilometres from Kaliningrad).
Lithuania

Top

edit

Getting Around

The city has bus, minibus, trolleybus, and tram networks. The best way to explore the city is by bus. The public transportation system is very good. Half of the population live in the city, hence it is very well-connected. Fares are kept low, at a flat rate of 15 rubles (US$0.50, GB £ 0.30) on the bus and the waiting time is short. Tickets on the buses are handed out by the conductors.

Taxis within the city may have meters, but most prefer to negotiate fares in advance. Minimum charge within the city is at least 100 Rubles, even for short distances.

Top

edit

Eat

Papasha Beppe Pizzaria, Leninsky Pr. 20/26 and Baltiiskaya Ul. 12. 11AM to 11PM. Many locals consider this to be the best thin crust and thick crust pizza in town, also a wide variety of salads, pastas, risottos, and desserts. 200-600 руб per pizza.
Karamel, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (On the top floor of the Plaza Center; note the separate elevator to the right of the main entrance to the shopping mall.), ☏ +7 4012 53-04-61. Some of the best views from the city from this cafe. Excellent food and fairly broad range of European cuisine, approximately 500 руб per entree.
Razgulyai, Ploshad' Pobedy 1, ☏ +7 4012 533-689. Cafeteria-style restaurant with rustic decor. Good for children.
Solyanka Cafe, 24 Prospect Mira, ☏ +7 4012-936-203. Try the solyanka, a thick, piquant soup that is either meat-based, fish-based or vegetable-based. It is cooked with preserved cucumbers, olives, capers and tomato puree that give a strong sour-salty taste to the soup. Solyanka is perhaps one of the most popular soups besides borscht (beetroot soup) in Russia, but remains unknown beyond the national boundaries. 500 руб.
Zarya, Prospekt Mira 41/43 (Just up the street from the Moscow Hotel), ☏ +7 4012 21-39-29. A trendy, upscale restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, wide selection on the menu, excellent desserts. In the same building as a movie theater.
Steindamm 99, Zhitomirskaya ulitsa, 22, ☏ +7 401 238-84-70. 11-23, Fri-Sun 12-23. Well-designed interior, good service, fairly priced lunch menu on weekdays. 600-800 руб.

Top

edit

Drink

Local beer brands that are available in stores include Ostmark and Königsberg.

Twelve Chairs (Dvenadstat' Stulyev). A very chic bohemian style cafe with a decent food menu.
In the Shadows of the Castle (V Teni Zamka) (In the strip mall across from the Kaliningrad Hotel). opens at 11AM. One of Kaliningrad's longest-lasting cafes.
Hmel Restaurant and Brewery, Pobedi Square, 10 ('Klover' Shopping Centre, 2nd Floor), ☏ +7 4012-593-377. Live music starts at 9PM every night. A gigantic brewery on the second floor churns out home-made beer. 95 руб/glass.
Kropotkin, Teatralnaya ulitsa 30 (next to the big McDonald's near Victory Square), ☏ +7 401 266 8060. Self-made beer (100 руб 0.5 liters (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 U.S. gal)), probably the best in town. Try the unfiltered one. Acceptable food, cosy beerhall atmosphere and business lunch. 400 руб.

Top

edit

Sleep

Komnata Otdyha (Комната Отдыха), Inside the main train station (follow the Комната Отдыха signs). The station offers rooms and small dorms. You do not need to show a rail ticket to stay. A good budget option, especially if arriving late. 500-1500 руб.
Ibis Kaliningrad Center, Moskovsky Prospekt 52, Kaliningrad, ☏ +7 401 259-64-30.
Kaliningrad Hotel, Leninsky Prospekt 81, ☏ +7 4012 536021, ✉ rezerv@hotel.kaliningrad.ru. A landmark hotel in the centre, clean and well renovated, within walking distance to most sights. Breakfast buffet is 250 руб extra. 2100-2500 руб per night.
Moscow Hotel, Prospekt Mira 19, ☏ +7 4012 352333, ✉ rezerv@hotel.kaliningrad.ru. Affiliated with the Kaliningrad Hotel, and quite similar although a little bit up the road, but still near the centre. 2100-2500 руб; Breakfast: RUB350.
Radisson Hotel Kaliningrad, Victory Square, 10, ☏ +7 401 259 3344, ✉ info.kaliningrad@radissonblu.com. On the historic main square. 178 rooms and suites created by Swedish designer Christian Lundveld.
Skipper Hotel, Oktyabrskaya Ulitsa 4A (In the Fish Village), ☏ +7 4012 592-000, ✉ info@skipperhotel.ru. A boutique hotel. 2500-2800 руб; Breakfast: 300 руб.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Russia is a huge country, and excess to the internet varies a lot. The main cities and tourist places have (free) wifi excess at lots of places, like restaurants and cafes (McDonald's is always a safe bet). Internet cafes are present in larger places as well. Rural areas and especially if you venture into remote and/or mountainous areas have little excess at all. Most travellers will find connections though when using their phone or tablet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The emergency number is 112. The country code for Russia is 7. Russian phone numbers have an area code with three, four or five digits (according to their province), followed by an individual number with, respectively, 7, 6 or 5 digits, always yielding 10 digits in total. The three digit code 800 is used for toll-free calls. Mobile phones always have three-digit "area" codes and seven-digit numbers. Calls within any one area code may omit the area code (except in Moscow). Inter-area code calls within Russia: 8 (wait for tone) full Russian number including area code. The international access code for dialling outwith Russia is the sequence of 8 (wait for secondary tone and then) 10. International calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international phone format with the local international access code for the country you're calling from, followed by Russia's country code of 7 followed by the individual Russian phone number including area code.

You will require a SIM-unlocked GSM 900 / 1800 compatible international cell phone when buying a Russian SIM card. If you do not have your own international cell phone, it's best to buy a cheap cell phone with some value on the card. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM card by showing your passport. BeeLine is considered to be the best in terms of reliability and connections quality. However Megafon's services can be a bit cheaper.

Post

Russian Post is the national postal service of Russia. It's English version is currently under construction, but mainly involves the track&trace system. The domestic post is reasonably reliable, and sending international mail is fairly reliable but slow, taking at least a few weeks to European countries, longer to the USA or Australia for example. The delivery of mail sent from abroad to Russia is highly unreliable, and people or companies tend to use foreign adresses, from where a private carrier sends it to Russia. Alternatives like poste restante are non-existent with Russian Post. Most cities and large towns in Russia have a Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), which also sells stamps and envelopes, and usually has fax services and Internet availability, though the latter mostly not in smaller places. Also, many hotels have postal services, including mail boxes. Post offices tend to keep long hours, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am until 8:00pm or 9:00pm Monday to Friday, and closing earlier during weekends. The main central post offices in the biggest cities keep even longer hours. For sending parcels, you can also try services by DHL Russia and FedEx Russia. For all mail you can use the regular alphabet, though maybe include the country's name in Cyrillic. For sending post to Russia (or trying to receive it) note that addresses should be in reverse order: Russia, postal code, city, street address, name.

Top

Accommodation in Kaliningrad

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Kaliningrad searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Kaliningrad Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Kaliningrad

This is version 11. Last edited at 15:41 on Nov 11, 19 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License