Kaliningrad is the city with special identity and it has gone through many changes during its history. It was thought to be the most beautiful city of Europe: with its castle, opening bridges, low houses from red bricks and with dozens of medieval churches. During the war the city had been almost razed to the ground and Soviet architects later built it on their taste. Now the city is gradually involving into the new rhythm of life as the main European city of Russia and is searching for its new identity. This route will take you through young Kaliningrad, that is full of fresh ideas and projects.
Take the bus from the airport
The cheapest way to get from the Khrabrovo airport to the city is to take the bus 244Э. The ride costs 40 Russian rubles and takes less than an hour. The bus leaves from the airport building every 40 minutes, from 7 am till 8 pm.
Kaliningrad seems to be turned inside out: in the center of the city you will find inconspicuous houses of Khrushev times, and in the suburbs you will see original German buildings. Among these German buildings there is Akteon Lindros hostel. A night in a room for 6 will cost 600 Russian rubles. In addition to common services like free WiFi, storage boxes and shared kitchen, a breakfast can be served here for extra 50 rubles.
The purpose of visiting Central market in Kaliningrad is not only buying fur coats and bags made from pleather. Here you will also find a vast variety of suspicious cafes where you can eat tasty and cheap dishes. The majority of places are hidden beneath the trade streets and don’t have any bright signs, so finding a place to eat can become an interesting quest among underwear and Chinese shoes. It’s better to come here in the first part of the day – when pita bread is fresh, lagman is just cooked, and samosa is still being in stock. The worth visiting places are café “Khalal” at Baranov street side and café “Stariy rynok” (“The Old Market”).
House of Soviets
There is no observation deck as it is in Kaliningrad. For this reason, to have a look on the city from the above, all the tourists go the highest building – the House of Soviets. The locals tenderly call this building “robot’s head”. When the city was German, there was a beautiful medieval castle situated on this place. The castle was seriously injured during the war and was destroyed in the 70s according to the Soviet power order. Nowadays the building of the House of Soviets is abandoned. To reach the roof you have to climb up the stairs with no railing in absolute darkness. To get inside the building – give 200 rubles to the security, they will show the stairs, tell where to go and provide you with a flashlight.
It is the first coffee house to bring alternative ways of coffee making to Kaliningrad. Here they know and are professional with aeropress, pourover, chemex and siphon; and for traditional coffee lovers they offer perfect espresso from fresh-roast coffee beans. Besides GS coffee, the same owners have the second place in the city – coffee house “Prachechnaya” (“laundry” in Russian). In this place in addition to coffee you can also buy fresh desserts.
In this salon of authors’ works you can but original presents and things for home. The salon owners actively promote artists and region craftsmen and constantly expand the collection by new objects of decorative and applied arts. The majority of objects are made in single copy. Also here you can buy herbal tea of Kaliningrad region – now there are nine variants of mixes. On each pack of tea you will find legends, myths and interesting facts about old Konigsberg and modern Kaliningrad.
Kvartira (“flat” in Russian) - is an art place, library, meeting point for those who are “in”, and now also a café. On week days they offer a simple menu that mostly consists of snacks; and at weekends they make a special event with cooking big dinner for all guests. All this fun is usually accompanied by a presentation of a young Kaliningrad artist’s new book or a film show.