In summer, thousands of visitors flock to the Baltic seaside resort of Palanga to bask on its idyllic 18km-long stretch of sandy beach backed by dunes and pine forest. Travel here from Glasgow Airport to party all night long – as well as a strip of late-night beach bars, a pedestrian-only street leading from the beach to the centre of town is lined with restaurants, bars, outdoor concerts and funfairs.
Fishermen and noblemen
Originally a fishing village, Palanga became a popular summer resort for the wealthy in the late 19th century, and many large wooden villas from this time still stand. A particularly fine example is a neoclassical manor house dating from 1897, now the Amber Museum (Vytauto gatvė 17), which has over 20,000 items of “Baltic gold” and is surrounded by a botanical garden. The modernist sculptor Antanas Mončys (1921-1999) fled Lithuania for Paris during the Soviet Occupation, but after independence he donated his intricate wooden works to what is now Antanas Mončys’ House and Museum (S. Daukanto 16).
Lay down your head
Accommodation options range from swanky hotels, such as Palanga SPA (Birutės 60) and Vila Ramybe (Vytauto 54), a stylish boutique property with a café and art gallery. It’s best to book ahead between July and September, but if you haven’t, plenty of locals congregate at the entrance of town to offer rooms in their houses. Most nightlife, bars and restaurants are found on the pedestrianised J. Basanavičiaus street.
Get your fill
Typical Lithuanian fare is hearty and tasty, and isn’t dissimilar to what you’ll find in the rest of Eastern Europe – such as beetroot soup, potato pancakes (blynai) and pickled herrings. Look out for local specialities like beer ice-cream and cepelinai (a kind of dumpling), and fest on delicious, fresh-caught fish.