Once called Rauschen, Svetlogorsk is a pleasant, slow-placed spa town, 35km northwest of Kaliningrad. The narrow beach backed by steep sandy slopes is nothing to speak of, but the pretty old German houses, revamped sanatoriums, top-class hotels and dappled forest setting make it worth a visit.
Tall, windswept dunes, pristine beaches and dense pine forests teeming with wildlife lie along the 98km-long Curonian Spit (Kurshskaya Kosa), a Unesco World Heritage Site that divides the tranquil Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The 50km of the spit within Russian territory (the rest is in Lithuania) constitutes Kurshskaya Kosa National Park.
The long beach that gave Zelenogradsk (formerly Kranz) the status of royal bathing resort for the Kingdom of Prussia is still the town’s prime attraction. It’s a low-key place with a nostalgic atmosphere: crumbling Soviet eyesores, lovely German buildings and modern villas stand side by side.