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General Visa information
Kaliningrad is an enclave; it is a part of Russia that has no common border with the rest of the Federation of Russia. To travel there one needs a Russian visa. To travel there from Russia, one needs to fly or to obtain a double or multi entry visa. The latter type of visa is more difficult to obtain now, but the former is relatively easy.
For a double entry visa, either business or tourist, one does need to indicate both sets of entry and departure dates. A 30 day tourist visa can be used if the time from the date of first entry to the date of last departure does not exceed 30 days. Otherwise, it is better to obtain a double entry 90 day business visa.
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Special Kaliningrad Visa Information
There is a special, short term tourist visa that can be obtained in order to visit Kaliningrad. There are some specific requirements for obtaining and using this visa.
Representative Office of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kaliningrad
- The visit must be limited to two to three days.
- The visa must be obtained from Representative Office of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kaliningrad
- It is not necessary to register the visa
- Only certain travel agencies within Kaliningrad can arrange these visa formalities, see below
- Booking and payment of accommodations must occur in advance
- Copies of your passport and medical insurance if required must be sent to the travel agency in advance
- Visas are issued only at the Russian-Polish border in "Mamonovo" and "Bagrationovsk" border check points
- The person traveling must be a citizen of one of the countries of the Schengen Treaty, the United Kingdom, or Japan.
Address: Kirova Str. 17, Kaliningrad, 236000, Russia
Tel: +7 4012 213 712
Fax: +7 4012 210 626
Border crossing points in Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation
"Mamonovo" phone.: +7 (40156) 4-04-88
"Bagrationovsk" phone.: +7 (40156) 3-34-02
Note that there is no entry using this type of visa between Lithuania and Kaliningrad, in particular on the Curonian spit. There is a border crossing on the spit, but one cannot enter using the short term visas described above.
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Kaliningrad Tourist agencies - listed alphabetically
Address: Leonova Str. 8, Kaliningrad, 236000, Russia
Tel: +7 4012 355 234
Address: av. Mira 94, Kaliningrad, 236000, Russia
Tel: +7 (4012) 931 931
Address: Dmitrija Donskogo Str. 7, Office 530 Kaliningrad, 236000, Russia
Tel/Fax.: +7 (4012) 578 937
Address:Leninsky Prospekt, 81 Kaliningrad, 236040, Russia
Tel: +7 (4012) 469 578, 538 071
Fax: +7 (4012) 453 216
Address: Ozjornaja Str. 25A Kaliningrad, 236029, Russia
Tel: +7 (4012) 954 399
Fax: +7 (4012) 279 450
Address: 36-B, Sovetsky prospekt, Kaliningrad, 236000, Russia
Tel: +7 (4012) 556 176, 516 653
Fax: +7 (4012) 551 932
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- There are several flights per day from Moscow to Kaliningrad and there is at least one or two flights per day from St. Petersburg. Flight costs are subsidized now that travel through Lithuania requires visas for Russian citizens not residing in Kaliningrad. Cost is not much more than traveling by train, especially if you factor in the cost of a Belarussian transit visa.
- There are several trains to Kaliningrad from Moscow that pass through Belarus and Lithuania. There is also one train per day from St. Petersburg which passes through Lithuania. See Your Train -: CIS railway timetable
- There is NO longer direct train from Gdansk, but a SLEEPER only comes from Berlin, gets shunted to another train at TCEW, just 30 mins south of Gdansk, where you should be able to board it. Check the Polish train website PKP for further details.
- Reminder: trains running within Kaliningrad operate on local time which is different from Moscow time (-1 hour). Trains departing for Moscow or elsewhere within the Russian Federation operate on Moscow time.
- There are buses; two daily (NOT Sundays), the Polish one leaves at 7.00 from Gdansk and 16.30 from Kaliningrad, MUST reserve. Bus arrives in Kaliningrad at 13.00. from the big bus station just behind PKP (Polish train station.) The RUS bus does the reverse; it leaves Kaliningrad at 6.30, arrives in Gdansk 10.00, leaves from there 15.30, to arrive back 21.00. You canNOT reserve in Gdansk. First the returning RUS passengers are boarded, then any empty seats are sold by driver. This bus also makes a stop in Elblag.Gdansk, Transport
- Eurolines offers bus service from Klaipeda, LT to Kaliningrad, RU once a day and there is additional local bus service offered twice a day by Klaipedos autobusu parkas (in Lithuanian only) between Klaipeda, Nida, Zelenogradsky and Kaliningrad.
- During summer there used to be boat service between Kaliningrad, and Frombork, Krynica Morska and Elblag, Poland, but regular service ceased in 2008. During the summer of 2011 the service offered by Zegluga Gdanska included only a 30 minute bus excursion to Baltiysk and duty-free shopping while on board ship. In September 2011, there were 4 cruises planned on Saturdays. Cost was 50 zloty.
- There was a ferry operating between Gdynia and Kaliningrad, but it appears to have ceased operation by 2011. See Bialaflota.
- In 2011 there was a auto ferry operating between Kaliningrad and the port of Ust Luga, about 150 km from St. Petersburg. A new highway is under construction between Ust Luga and St. Petersburg. In addition, there is special bus service for the convenience of passengers arriving and departing without a vehicle. At some point it is hoped that the service will run directly to St. Petersburg.
BaltFinn Kaliningrad Maritime Agency
Address: Ul. Suvorova, 45 (3rd floor)
236039 Kaliningrad, Russia
Tel.: +7 4012 660 401
Fax: +7 4012 660 402
Website: http://baltfinn.ru/ (in Russian only)
- BaltFinn Kaliningrad Maritime Agency can arrange for tickets on the ferries between Klaipeda and Karlshamn, 7 days a week, Klaipeda and Kiel, 6 times a week and Klaipeda and Sassnitz, 3 times a week.
- At one time the BaltFinn Kaliningrad Maritime Agency operated a ferry between Sassnitz, Germany and Baltiysk. Services have been suspended and their resumption is uncertain.
- There was reportedly a ferry operating from Karlshamn (Sweden) to Klaipeda (Lithuania) to Baltiysk (Kaliningrad, Russia) which was operated by Lisco Baltic Service, but their website: http://www.lisco.lt/ does not appear to be active as of June 2006.
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EU Border Crossing Points
From Poland: Mamonovo, Bagrationovsk and Gusev.
From Lithuania: Sovetsk and Morskoye (on the Curonian Spit).
Report of border crossings (September 2011):
"We crossed from Poland at Bagrationovsk driving my employer's vehicle. Very nice and helpful Russian custom's lady (spoke good German) assisted in filling out cyrillic customs forms. Nobody asked much about the ownership of the car, but we had to officially assess its worth for tax purposes and identify it in this customs paper."
"Were expressely told to avoid loosing this paper, as export of the car would then become a major headache. Fair enough."
"Kaliningrad Oblast is quite an experience, especially when compared with the Southern (now Polish) half of Eastern Prussia. Very Russian, very much lacking economic perspective, all surrounded by EU members now. Besides the bleak economic outlooks this is still a very rewarding insight. Landscape is gorgeous! People are somewhat standoffish, but not more so than in the rest of the Federation. Russia at its best."
"Exit to Lithuania on the Curonian spit is a dream to drive. Border formalities slow but straightforward."
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14th Century Cathedral before Reconstruction
General tourist information
Although there is nothing spectacular, must see, Kaliningrad is an interesting place for a few days. Most of the things worth visiting are old buildings from before communist times as Koenigsburg, as it was formerly known, was the capital of East Prussia from the 13th century until 1945. To get a sense of the old German days stroll the area between Prospekts Pobedy (Victory) and Mira (Peace) and check out the neighborhoods' old villas, tree lined streets and cobblestoned avenues.
The city was set on both sides of the Pregel River, and included two large islands which were connected to each other and the mainland by a total of seven bridges. A historically notable problem in mathematics derived from this arrangement. The problem was to find a path through the city that would cross each bridge once and only once. In 1735 Leonhard Euler, a Swiss born mathematician and physicist reported that there was no positive solution. His work became the first theorem of graph theory. Two of the seven original bridges were destroyed during the bombing of Koenigsberg in World War II. Two others were later demolished and replaced by a modern highway. The three other bridges remain, although only two of them are from Euler's time (one was rebuilt in 1935).
Worth seeing primarily because it is a spectacular example of the worst in Soviet era architecture is the House of Soviets. This building was constructed on the site of the city's 13th century castle which was destroyed during World War II and razed in 1968. The concrete House of Soviets was never completed, has never been occupied and is considered by many to be amongst the ugliest of Soviet buildings.
The old stock exchange, which became the Seamen's Palace of Culture, was built in the 1870s. The 14th century cathedral, which was completely destroyed in WWII, was rebuilt in the 1990s. At the cathedral is Immanual Kant's grave and nearby sits a large stone commemorating the opening of the university here on August 17, 1544.
The Germans built fifteen forts between 1872 and 1892, one of which is open and several of which are parks. Plus there are city walls and several gate towers. The Amber Museum is located in one of the town's towers and contains over 6000 pieces of amber. The Bunker Museum, location of the 1945 German command post, is another place worth visiting.
There are several museums in Kaliningrad including the Museum of World's Oceans, the only museum of its type in Russia. It is also possible to board the legendary research ship 'Vityaz' and see the underwater device 'Mir', with whose help the film 'Titanic' was made. The History and Art Museum occupies the site of the old concert hall and has some interesting exhibits and erratic hours. Also in the are are a botanical gardens and a zoo, which is over one hundred years old. Plus there are several parks that were the constructed on the sites of old Germanic forts.
The state university is the same school at which Immanuel Kant taught and was originally founded in the mid 16th century.
In additon to visiting the city, one should arrange a visit to Svetlogorsk, and/or Zelenogradsk to see one of these seaside towns and their sanatoria, perhaps even get a health treatment and collect some amber on the beach. Do not expect a beautiful white sandy beach or warm water though.
Also you can visit the Kurshkaya Kosh or 'Kurish or Curonian Spit', a Russian National Park, which is one of Russia's first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the smallest of Russia's national parks, its sand dunes and pines cover only part of the narrow strip. The spit is from 400 to 2000 meters wide and stretches almost 98 kilometers between the Baltic Sea and Kurish gulf. Part of the territory is Russian and the remainder is Lithuanian reached from Klaipeda.
Up until 2009 in order to visit the military port of Baltiysk, one needed to make prior arrangements, at least three to four days prior to the proposed visit. Now it is possible to marshrutka from Kaliningrad (1 hour, R60, February 2011), and there were no checkpoints. Tt has an interesting port, long sandy beach, plenty of old German architecture and you can see Russian Navy ships.
Take a drive through the northeastern part of Kaliningrad oblast to the ruins of the 15th century church in Gross Legitten, Sovetsk, Chernakhovsk, and Neman (the former cities of Tilsit, Insterburg and Ragnit) filled with old Teutonic castles and forts some of which have been restored.
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Chaika Hotel -
It's a 28 room inn built by a German architect in 1927 and situated in an old part of town surrounded by other mansions. It's a quiet and green easily accessed from any point of the city by bus or taxi. Service isn' great but it isn't awful either.
Address: Pugachova street 13.
Reservation +7 4012 352 262
Cherepakha (Turtle) Hotel - more of a guest house than a hotel with only 11 rooms; also a bit more expensive but you get what you pay - there is a sauna, billiards table, bar and restaurant. It's about 110 USD per night including breakfast.
Address: Zoologichesky tupik, 10
Tel.: +7 4012 957 500
Guesthouse Clavdia - a single with bath is R1400 per night. Located in a green area and offering a swimming pool, arrangements for horseback riding, boat rentals, fishing trips, bicycle rentals.
Address: Pavlova Ul., 21
Tel: +7 4012 584 351
Kaliningrad Hotel - the biggest hotel in the city center with over 200 rooms on the city's main street.
Address: Leninskiy prospekt, 81.
Tel.: +7 4012 350 531
Moskva (Moscow) Hotel - (March 2011) a 2 star hotel in a preWWII building, singles with shared bathroom R450 (listed on the Russian site only), otherwise relatively expensive for what you get. Rates might be lower on various internet sites. Located near the zoo.
Address: prospekt Mira, 19.
Tel.: +7 4012 937 701
Oberteich Hotel - a mini hotel, also a little more expensive but also a little nicer. Located on the bank of Lake Verkhnee, not far from center city.
Address: Verkhneozernaya Str., 11
Tel.: +7 4012 365 020
Zolotaya Bukhta (Golden Bay)
- 3 star hotel in historic center near South (Main) bus and railways stations. One of the buildings predates WWII. Cheapest room single R600 (2011)
Address: Ul. Khmelnitskovo, 53
Tel.: +7 4012 645 878
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Address: Mayskaya str.4, apt 115 (9th floor)
Opened in 2009 in new building on new street not really in center city, free wifi, two dorm rooms, laundry facilities
Address: Ul.Epronovskaya, 20'102, 13th Floor
Tel.: +7 911 485 21 57
Contact person: Valentina
shuttles to airport and bus/train station, breakfast on request. Shared kitchen and laundry, wifi.
Address: Ul. Nosova, 26
basically an apartment with 1 bedroom with a double bed, 1 drawing room with double sofa and single sofa, kitchen, bath, wifi. Located a three minute walk to the city center.
Address: pl. Kalinina
dorms R150, singles R280 (March 2011)
Gostivoy Dom Okhota
Address: Petrogo village (15km NE of Kaliningrad city centre)
Tel.:+7 8 22 226 994
singles R550 (March 2011)
"For those who don't mind staying out of the city, this wooden chalet is a small slice of paradise. Rooms are modern, bright and clean, and the surroundings peaceful. There's horse riding nearby and meals can be ordered. It's on the main road to Zelenogradsk, 15km north along Sovetsky pr."
Weather and Climate for Kaliningrad
Average Number of Days of Precipitation
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There is a small section about Kaliningrad in the LP Guide, but most guidebooks don't cover it at all.
There is an excellent Russian language school in Kaliningrad called, Privet. Its website has lots of useful information about getting to and from Kaliningrad as well as things to do in the city and the surrounding oblast.
If you need more help with housing or restaurants in Kaliningrad, check out:
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