Known as Rauschen until 1947, Svetlogorsk (Светлогорск) is a peaceful, slow-paced spa town, 40km 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.
Formerly known as Palmniken, the peaceful resort of Yantarny (Янтарный), 42km northwest of Kaliningrad and 24km southwest of Svetlogorsk, boasts arguably the nicest sandy beach in Kaliningrad. It's got a lovely seaside park and promenade and feels worlds away from the bustle of Kaliningrad city.
Tall, windswept dunes, pristine beaches and dense pine forests teeming with wildlife lie along the 98km-long Curonian Spit (Kurshskaya Kosa; Куршская Коса), a Unesco World Heritage Site that divides the Baltic Sea (to the west) from the tranquil Curonian Lagoon (on the eastern side).
The long beach that gave Zelenogradsk (Зеленоградск; formerly known as 'Kranz') the status of a 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.