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We will be touring the Baltic countries in June/July 2018. We will have a car and plan to start in Vilnius then work our way north along the coast, finishing in Tallinn.

I've become increasingly intrigued by Kaliningrad, the very historic city on the Baltic coast of that odd piece of Russia sandwiched in between Poland and Lithuania. I figure we are going to be in Klaipeda (on the coast of Lithuania) which is within a short distance of Kaliningrad, and am tempted to add a little side trip.

I know that visiting Russia requires getting a visa and is a bureaucratic hassle (relative to the easy, visa-free travel elsewhere in Europe) but I figure this city has such an interesting history, it may be worth the hoop-jumping.

Ever been to Kaliningrad? Any tips/suggestions for a quick (maybe 2 day) visit? We could either drive (if the car rental place was OK with that, and the extra paperwork isn't prohibitive - both of which I know could be major challenges), or we could leave our rented car on the Latvian side of the border for a couple days (in a secure location) and take a bus (train?) in and out...

Any input welcomed. Thanks!

Posted by
7570 posts

This is perhaps obscure, but math majors (like me) would be familiar with the topological problem, "The Bridges of Konigsburg" - slightly related to the "Traveling Salesman" problem. I understand that not all of the bridges are still standing today. I have not yet been to Kaliningrad, but would like to go.

Having been on a river cruise in Russia, I can confirm that the paperwork is annoying. I forget if I did the visa myself (in person, in NYC), or if I paid for a visa service.

Posted by
123 posts


Hi David, I wish you good travel. I think Vilnius, Klaipeda and Tallinn are good ideas. I can add Kaunas, Riga, Parnu and Tartu to consider. If you want to see a part of Poland, you will have Augustów Canal in range.

Hi Tim! Travelling salesman problem is well known riddle and the scientific problem. That's one of issues that Kaliningrad is famous for. It's nice that you have mentioned that.

Posted by
27 posts

Greeting from Kaliningrad! That won`t be a short side trip for you. But it could be a nice one.

I recommend you to research a Vilnius - Kaunas - Kybartai - Kaliningrad - Nida - Klaipeda route. Also you can take buses from Nida, train from Vilnius or even walk across the border in Sovetsk or Kybartai.

P.S. And try do not confuse Latvia and Lithuania while traveling there. ;-)

Posted by
27 posts

By the way, Kaliningrad will host FIFA Football World Cup in 2018, and there is a chance to cross the border without tourist visa if you have a ticket for any match. I can give more details on that.

Posted by
27 posts

One more thing, David. I never heard of anyone who traveled here using a rental car from EU. I would recommend to contact Rental Company for details on that in the first place.