There's a distinctly German flavour to Klaipėda (klai-pey-da). Lithuania's third-largest city, formerly known as Memel, was part of the Prussian Kingdom until the region wrestled to autonomy in 1923. Buildings in the compact, cobblestoned Old Town are constructed in the German fachwerk style – that is, with distinctive half-timbered facades. Beyond the orderly historic centre, the modern city sprawls into an industrial forest of cranes and shipyards, sliced in two by the Danė River as it meanders into the Baltic Sea.
Most people only catch a glimpse of Klaipėda as they rush headlong for the ferry to Curonian Spit, the birch-lined tendril of land across the lagoon. But spend a few hours – or even better, a day – and you’ll be rewarded by a town as rich in historic architecture as sculptures and street art, not to mention a bevy of bars in which to sip beers by the water.