The Kaliningrad region's eponymous capital was the medieval seat of Prussia and an important port that was fought over for centuries. Today, fewer than 500,000 people visit each year. Until WWII, the province was almost entirely German; bratwurst made way for borsch after the war as Stalin repopulated the region with Russians. Though Kaliningrad is separated from Russia by Lithuania and Poland, the exclave is intimately attached to the motherland.
Yet for all of its chaotic history and cultural foibles – or perhaps because of them – 'Little Russia' is a fascinating place to visit. The city of Kaliningrad teems with interesting sights and surprisingly sophisticated accommodation and dining options; seaside towns Svetlogorsk and Zelenogradsk dish up old-world charm by the spadeful; sparkling Yantarny is the world's amber capital; and the dunes, pine forests and tranquil villages of Kurshskaya Kosa National Park make for a serene sojourn.