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Palanga

Palanga is Lithuania’s favorite beach resort and summertime playground, a self-contained empire of ice cream and candy floss visited by everyone from bucket-and-spade-wielding families’ drink-fuelled party animals and the Vilnius-based social and cultural elite. On summer evenings you can see all of them parading up and down the bar-lined central strip, Basanavičius.

This erstwhile fishing village was first developed as a resort by Polish-Lithuanian aristocrat Josef Tyszkiewicz (1835-1891), who invited the doyen of wooden architecture, Stanislaw Witkiewixz, to Palanga to build a Kurhaus, and though the building no longer stands, Witkiewicz trademark style, full of spindly balustrades, pointy gables and fanciful turrets, can still be seen in many of the town’s older villas.

Originally patronized by well-to-do Poles, Palanga became the resosrt of choice for Lithuanians after World War I – it was cheaper thank Juodkrantė and Nida, which tended to be monolized by Klaipėda Germans.

Aside from the beach and the fast-paced nightlife, ample reason to visit is provided by the lush and leafy Botanical Gardens, laid out by Josef Tyskiewicz’s son Felix, and an absorbing Amber Museum in the Tyskiewicz Palace. Tyskiewicz’s Winder Garden at nearby Kretinga is an easy half-day excursion from town.