Palanga is found in western Lithuania on the Baltic coast and while it was originally a fisherman’s village, today it moonlights as Lithuania’s most popular beach resort.
Easily reached by a direct four-lane highway link to Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda, be prepared for traffic jams during the summer season when the main A13 (E272) highway from Klaipėda is packed with cars escaping to the coastal resort.
We recommend driving to Kretinga and taking one of the regular mini buses that travel between the town and Palanga.
The main attraction of Palanga is the beach. With over 15 kilometers of sandy beach, you can be certain of finding your own patch of sand to plant a sun umbrella. The beach is fringed by dunes that are a nice place for sunbathing without the wind, and you won’t be put off by beachside hotels towering over you as you sunbathe – there aren’t any, just pine trees.
Head to the Neo-Renaissance Tiškevičiai Palace that was built for an influential family. Here you should make time to browse the displays inside at the Palanga Amber Museum, then stroll around the beautiful botanical gardens that surround the Palace complete with rose garden, greenhouse, ponds and fountains. You may even be lucky to hear an orchestral concert in the band stand.
If you need some respite from the bustle on the beach, take a break at the Skulptūrų Parkas (Sculpture Park). This small park is dotted with 28 contemporary statues from some Lithuanian sculptors and other Eastern European artists.
Go for a stroll along the Jūros Tiltas (Sea Bridge) at the western end of Basanavičiaus. The name may be misleading as it’s not a bridge at all, however this 400 meter-long wooden pier is the best place to watch the sunset at Palanga.
Join the crowds and mingle on Basanavičiaus pedestrian street with pavement caféterias competing with loud outdoor concerts every evening during summer. It is particularly throbbing during the Palanga Summer Festival that occurs between June and August when the street come alive with lights, fountains, funfairs, and a street carnival.
Palanga may be a bustling seaside destination during warmer months, but there are plenty of nearby destinations to discover if the crowds get too busy for you.
Situated 12 kilometers east of the Palanga resort is the township of Kretinga which is the location of a lovely church and a Franciscan monastery where you may be fortunate to receive a tour of the church crypts by one of the brothers.
Šventoji is a smaller resort town that is located 14 kilometers away from Palanga. Admire the Roman Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of the Seas, then cross the swinging bridge (Monkey Bridge) to find the Žemaičių alkas (the Samogitian pagan shrine). This unique neo-pagan shrine found on a northern hilltop is the only one in Lithuania and consists of a group of wooden poles, each representing a different god or goddess.
Drive to Klaipėda that is just 30 kilometers south of Palanga. The most popular sight near here is the Curonian Spit with spectacular sand dunes. If you prefer city sights, Klaipėda Old Town is speckled with buildings influenced by the German fachwerk style that have been repurposed as art galleries or caféterias, and you should pay a visit to the Theater Square.