The Curonian Spit is a 98km (61mi) long sand peninsula that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. This thin and curved piece of land has its southern half in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and its northern half in southwestern Lithuania.
Formed about 5,000 years ago from a glacier, winds and sea currents generate enough sand to keep the Curonian Spit above sea level. In fact, the spit is home to the highest moving sand dunes in Europe. With dunes as high as 60m (196ft) in some places, the width of the spit varies greatly - from a minimum of 400m (1,312ft) in Russia to a maximum of 3,800m (12,467ft) in Lithuania (just north of Nida).
Nida is the largest town on the spit and a popular holiday spot for Lithuanian and German tourists. The spit’s best beaches are around here, along its northern shoreline.
Kuršių Nerija National Park was established in 1991 to protect the unique ecosystems of the Curonian Spit and Curonian Lagoon. Several ecological communities can be found here, from the spits outer beaches to dune ridges, wetlands, meadows, and forests.
The spit and lagoon are a popular feeding and resting ground for a large number of migratory waterfowl, and it is estimated that up to as many as 10 million birds may stop here during their spring and fall migrations.
The Curonian Spit & Kursiu Nerija National Park are UNESCO World Heritage protected and efforts to combat wind and tide erosion through reforestation of the area are ongoing.
The Curonian Spit & Kursiu Nerija National Park is about 200km (124mi) from Kaunas by road and 240km (150mi) by boat (to Nida).