Dune Efa (Curonian Spit)


Dune Efa is located on 42 km of the Curonian Spit, stretching from Zelenogradsk (Kaliningrad region) to Lithuanian Klaipeda. The sand ridge was named in honor of Wilhelm Franz Ef, a German scientist and engineer who was engaged in the strengthening and landscaping of the spit.

Oddly enough, but a couple of hundred years ago, today's attraction was a serious problem for the local population. Perennial deforestation and cattle grazing led to the fact that in the XVIII-XIX centuries. in this section of the dune landscape, a real ecological catastrophe erupted. The place turned into a lifeless desert, and the sands that came into motion began to fill up the houses of local residents. The German authorities (at that time the territory of modern Kaliningrad belonged to Prussia) decided to halt the advance of the dunes, entrusting the development of a project to strengthen especially dangerous sections of the spit to V.F. Efu. Thanks to the efforts of an engineer, today's visitors to the heights of Efa can admire its desert landscapes without fear of being buried under the thickness of sand.

Walk among the dunes

Regular excursions are organized to the Efa dune, at the same time, many travelers prefer to get acquainted with the natural beauty of the heights on their own. Since the site is small, it is easy to get around on foot. The tourist path passes through the southwestern slope of the Orekhova Dune. The highest point of this magnificent dune is the height of Ef (64 m above sea level).

Note: in order to avoid accidents, walking along the dune of Ef itself is prohibited. For walks and excursions, wooden floors are used, leading to the main viewing areas.

The sand ridge is located slightly away from the 42 kilometer highway, as evidenced by the road sign. If you travel on your own car, then leave it in a roadside parking and stroll along the wooden flooring passing through the pine forest. On the way, you can find a large number of information stands telling about the flora and fauna of the Curonian Spit, as well as the history of this amazing natural and man-made landscape.

Passing along the bridges winding among the snow-white hills, do not be too lazy to climb the Orekhovaya dune. It offers a wonderful view of the Curonian Lagoon, the Baltic Sea and the nearest village of Morskoye.

A curious fact: the history of the village of Morskoye began in the XIII century. The first settlement on this section of the spit was founded by the knights of the Teutonic Order, giving it the name Pilkoppen. Over the entire period of its existence, the village was periodically covered with sand, because of which it changed its location three times.

The height of Efa is equipped with 2 observation platforms from which you can not only admire the cosmic landscape of the ridge, but also see the remains of the fortification system of the dunes invented by German scientists. On some slopes, fragments of fences from dry reed stems are still preserved. Grasses with a powerful root system were planted in these impromptu cells, which helped to keep the sand mountains in place.

How to get there

Since the dune of Efa is located in close proximity to the highway, it is better to get here by car or bus. You can rent a car immediately upon arrival in Kaliningrad. Those who prefer to travel by public transport have two options: the 593 bus route from Kaliningrad to the village of Morskoye, or the 210 trip route that leaves from Zelenogradsk.

Photo and description

Dune Efa is the highest dune of the Baltic and the whole of Europe. The huge mountain of sand, about 64 m high, which was once just a wandering dune, bears the name of the dune inspector - Wilhelm Franz Ef, who devoted most of his life to the Curonian Spit.

Under the influence of the forces of sea winds, wandering dunes move from the Baltic Sea to the Curonian lagoon in order to end their journey in the water. The worst thing is when a village is on the path of the dune. Sand penetrates into any crevices of houses, through windows, doors, gradually occupying the whole house. Therefore, over the past five centuries, wandering sand dunes have been the main enemies for residents of coastal towns and villages of the Curonian Spit. People had no choice but to leave their home and move to a new place.

Once, the Curonian Spit was planted with trees whose roots held sand. However, by the XVII century. trees were cut down, as a result of which huge masses of sand, freed from captivity, absorbed a dozen villages and became a serious threat to the navigable strait, the Memel canal and the Curonian lagoon. Therefore, in 1768, a competition was announced in Danzig (now Polish Gdansk) to create the best project for saving the braid. The project of Professor I. Titius won in the competition, who proposed to restore the spit to its original appearance, namely to pour avandune on the coast and fix the dune sands with trees. Work continued for as long as 100 years.

In 1880, under the direction of Franz Ef, systematic forest planting was carried out, due to which the progress of the wandering dune to the village of Pillkoppen was stopped. Thus, the dune inspector managed to save the whole village. The dune, stopped by Wilhelm Franz Efah, has been maintaining its location, shape and height for over 100 years.

Started two centuries ago, work to strengthen sandy soils continues to this day. In total, about 85% of the Curonian Spit was consolidated.

Things to do near Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit is a narrow sandy strip of saber-shaped land, washed by the Baltic Sea on one side and freshwater Curonian Lagoon on the other. The spit stretches from Zelenogradsk (Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia) to the cities of Klaipeda and Nida (Lithuania, the EU) and is, in fact, a peninsula, since Klaipeda is separated from the mainland by a narrow strait through which vessels go to Lithuanian ports.

On this stretch on both sides of the border are national parks of both states. Here you can see incredible combinations of landscapes - from the tundra and swamps to the sea coast and sand dunes resembling a real desert, centuries-old forests, water meadows, lakes. Animals are not afraid of people and calmly go out to them from the forest. From the high dunes and observation platforms, magnificent panoramic views of the sea, the bay, panoramas of dunes, lakes and forests open.

The famous “Dancing Forest” surprises its visitors with bizarrely twisted, tilted and curved zigzags trunks of pine trees, which are a real anomalous phenomenon. In the villages that are former Prussian fishing villages, you can enjoy the Old German atmosphere among the traditional old Prussian stone houses, the Lutheran church.

You can visit the ornithological station that studies the routes of migratory birds, see the remains of a German glider school, in the museum of "Russian superstitions" you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Russian fairy tales. Fans of fishing are provided with colossal space in the form of the sea, bay and lakes. You can spend the night at numerous camp sites or in a tent.

The climate on the territory of the spit is quite mild, transitional from marine to continental, from April to November, tourists rest there, including with tents in the open air. In summer, beach lovers constantly swim on the beaches of the Curonian Spit. This is a beautiful and amazing place, full of attractions and almost real miracles.

Where is Dune Efa and what is it

“Dune of Eph” is the historically established unofficial name of this dune in honor of the height of Ef located on it. The real name of this dune is Orekhovaya dune (German: Petsch). It is one of the highest dunes in Europe and is located directly next to the village. Marine, not far from the Russian-Lithuanian border.

Interesting. Being at the top of this dune, it is possible to hear the famous “singing sands” - grains of sand roll down the slopes of the dune, producing incredibly strong sounds of various kinds that can be heard for many kilometers. At the same time, a variety of bizarre melodies are heard, in which several notes are played simultaneously.

The highest point of this dune - 55 meters - was named Efa in honor of the German inspector of dunes, the outstanding scientist and arborist Franz Ef, who lived on the territory of the spit in Rossiten, whose professional activity was devoted to the study and fixing of the moving sands of the Curonian Spit, who proposed a plan for its strengthening from the impending sands and who made a huge personal contribution in this direction.

Thanks to Efa, in the 20th century the sands were practically stopped, and earlier entire generations of fishing villages were practically buried under the sands. From the observation platforms of this height, a whole huge variety of landscapes of the spit opens: the sea, the bay, spaces covered with forests, cozy old German houses of the village of Morskoye, lakes, water meadows.

Dune Efa Curonian Spit

The length of the dune is 2.8 km, the route passing through it is equipped with two viewing platforms overlooking the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon, the forest and the village of Morskoye, right up to the state border of the Russian Federation. From sites it is sometimes possible to observe animal migrations, seagulls at sea, herons and pelicans on the bay, ships on the sea and the bay, species from these heights fascinate and fascinate.

The height of Efa on the map

The height is located at 42 km spit two kilometers from the village of Marine. The route of the same name, as mentioned above, runs along the southwestern slope of the Orekhova Dune (Petsh), one of the peaks of which is the highest point of the spit, called the height of Efa, along the border of two types of dunes - open, continuing to move towards the Curonian Lagoon, and green, secured by forest plantings.

The height of Efa on the map

Tips and tricks from experienced tourists and travelers

Experienced tourists and travelers who visited the dune of Efa and the Curonian Spit, advice is given first of all such:

  • dress appropriately - clothing should be comfortable, ideal - sports and tourist, in the cold it is recommended that extra warm clothes are recommended - at the height from the sea there can be cold and strong winds, in the warm weather take along an insect and tick mite - there are populations of ixodid ticks on the territory of the spit , closed shoes are recommended - there are vipers on the spit,

Attention! Watch out for ticks and snakes

  • when traveling by car, follow the road - animals in the national park often run across it, there is a danger of knocking down the animal,
  • you can stop both with a tent in a designated place, and rent a room in a hotel, camp site, guest house in the village of Morskoye. A full list of accommodations on the territory of the Curonian Spit can be found on the page of the official website of the national park. Among them, they recommend the guest house “Pillkopen”, the hotel “Two Sevens”, the guest house “Efa” and others,
  • strictly observe the rules of conduct on the territory of the national park - do not walk along the dunes - it can lead to landslides, do not make bonfires in the wrong places, do not drive off the road, and park on equipped parking lots, do not pick mushrooms, berries, plants, do not bust bird’s nests, burrow animals, do not hunt,
  • and tourists who have been here advise photography lovers must bring a camera with them - there are many objects for photographing. Picturesque landscapes, such as at the height of Efa, are not always found in many other places, but everyone else is advised to take with them just a good mood and go to the dune to admire beautiful views. According to everyone who has been here, such landscapes and panoramas can simply not be seen anywhere else.

Panorama from the dune

Dune Efa is one of the pearls of the Curonian Spit National Park. This is an amazing natural place with magnificent views, which, according to all who have been here, is definitely worth a visit. Anyone who decides to visit this beautiful place can only wish a pleasant journey, good mood, vivid impressions and fresh emotions like the Baltic wind.

What is the dune of Efa

In fact, this is a large mountain of sand, which is actually called Nut. However, more often it is called by the name of the highest point - the height of Ef, which, by the way, rises up to 64 meters. The dune begins at about 16 km of the Curonian Spit and stretches to the very border with Lithuania.

Hiking trails are laid throughout the spit. Desert landscapes are picturesque: the sky, the waves of the bay and vegetation - this is what is unique in the dune of Efa. The Curonian Spit is also a place of bird migration, for example, at the end of summer and autumn, you can find many gulls here. Nearby, by the way, there is also an ornithological station where birds ring. But besides the seagulls there is something to see.

The history of the strengthening of the "dancing" sand

Once the dune of Efa was surrounded by trees, but in the 18th century they were cut down. Why, why and who - the history has no answer to these questions. But everyone knows exactly what happened after - the sands, no longer restrained by the roots and trunks of trees, commanded by the force of the wind, began their free movement. Over the years, they destroyed 14 neighboring villages - the sand slowly penetrated into the houses, fell asleep in the cracks and gradually crushed everything under themselves. They say that local houses even had double doors - if the sand starts to support it, one narrow leaf can be opened.

In the year, the dune stood 20 meters ahead. People were not able to stop this natural phenomenon and simply threw home and moved away. Soon, the sands began to threaten not only villages, but also shipping, as well as rich fisheries. Therefore, in 1768 in Europe they decided to fight the elements. No one knew how, so they announced a competition for the best solution to the problem. Professor Titius won, who proposed to restore the spit to its original form and plant it again with trees. To do this, they built cells from dry reeds that trap the sands and allow the dune to grow up. When the desired height is reached, grasses that grow well in the sun and have long roots holding back the dune in one place are planted in similar cells. And then shrubs and pines are planted, which with their roots help the common cause.

The work stretched for as long as 100 years, 40 of which the process was supervised by the arborist and dune inspector Franz Ef, who named the highest point of the dune in his honor. He earned such gratitude from the residents of the local village of Pillkoppen (now it belongs to Russia and is called Morskoy). It was Ef's contribution that stopped the advance of sand on the village and saved its inhabitants and houses. On the dune there was even a memorial plaque dedicated to the arborist, but today it is no longer there.

To date, work on deforestation of the dunes is still ongoing, it remains to plant about 15 percent of all sand. Although, according to some reports, these 15 percent are the most mobile dune of Ef, which was left as a highlight of this place. Like the cells from the branches designed by Efa, modern technology would support the sands without them, but the uniqueness of the object encourages you to save everything as it was intended a century ago.

Hiking not on special decks is strictly prohibited and punishable by a fine.However, the reality is that tourist groups go to the dune directly under the prohibition signs and go down to the bay, at the risk of destroying a long two-century work.

What to see

The most important thing that the dune of Efa offers is natural attractions, namely breathtaking views. For viewing nature there are two viewing platforms. It offers amazing views of the Curonian lagoon, the Baltic Sea on the other hand, the village of Morskoy and the alien landscapes of the dune itself.

When the wind rises in fine sunny weather, millions of grains of sand in the air create the feeling of being in a real desert, as if caught in a sandstorm. This is an amazing experience for the Baltic region.

From the first observation deck, Staroselskaya Gora is visible. Here (according to legend), the local Curonian worshiped their pagan gods, and the crusaders built a fortress in the 18th century. But all this is buried and destroyed by nomadic sands. From the second site you can see Morskoye - a picturesque village with houses under a red tiled roof.

Hiking trails

Since it is strictly forbidden to walk along the dune, wooden platforms are installed along it, on which you can take a walking tour. The length of the path is about 2.8 kilometers, the entire road will take about 2 hours.

The entrance to the trail begins on the 42nd kilometer of the dune and is indicated by a sign, but it is difficult to drive past - there are always many tourists, cars and buses, souvenir tents. The route is called “Elevation of Efa” and it is laid along the southwestern slope of the dune.

So, the route begins in a forest clearing, after passing along which only 200 meters, you can climb to the first observation deck. A wooden staircase leads to it along a very picturesque pine forest. The second platform is set a little further, at the highest point of the dune. Keep in mind that the site is small and the staircase leading to it is narrow. In season, due to the large number of tourists it will be difficult to go down and up it.

Visit Features

Since the dune Efa is a national park, you need to get a pass to visit it by car. It is drawn up at the checkpoint of the park. Travel to the territory costs 250 rubles.

The weather in the Baltic is very changeable - the rains are replaced by the sun, and vice versa, so bring along an umbrella or raincoat, as well as a cap and sunglasses, in any weather to explore the local sands, which are unique to the dune of Efa. Reviews from tourists and locals say: if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. However, and if you like it, then in five minutes everything can change.

The hiking trail, laid on a wooden platform, is rather narrow, the flooring is old and rotten in places, so look under your feet. In addition, it can be slippery after rain or fog.

Dune Efa: how to get there

You can come to see the dune Efa by car. If you go from Kaliningrad, then in front of the Sea, to the right of the road, there will be a sign.

You can also come by bus from Kaliningrad. There is a route right to Morskoye, but it rarely runs, so you can get to Zelenograd and transfer to the Zelenograd-Morskoye bus there. By the way, large regular buses on this route travel longer than small minibuses.

Where to stay

You can stop for the night to explore the dune and the entire Curonian Spit in Kaliningrad or in the village of Morskoye. The city has many accommodation offers - from luxury hotels to affordable hostels and private apartments. Marine, as the reviews say, is an actively developing tourist village where it is nice to relax. There are many pensions and recreation centers that are open all year round.

Attractions Curonian Spit

The site contains the sights of the Curonian Spit - photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in the Curonian Spit, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places of the Curonian Spit.

Dancing forest

The dancing forest is a unique place that is located in the magnificent Curonian Spit National Park, Kaliningrad Region. This forest impresses tourists with the fact that almost all of its pine trees are curved, branched or even twisted in a bizarre manner. An interesting fact is that you will not find any other trees in this section of the forest. According to environmentalists, the Dancing Forest is a very fragile place, and tourists cause it significant damage. Therefore, a special ecological trail was laid here, following which you can enjoy magnificent landscapes without harming the environment.

The question of what served such a strange behavior of pine trees, which basically grow perfectly even, remains open to this day. Some experts believe that the reason for everything is the geomagnetic activity of these places, their other theory says about alien intervention. The dancing forest is located on the 38th kilometer of the road going towards Lithuania along the Curonian Spit. You can get here by bus, taxi or private transport.

What sights of the Curonian Spit did you like? Next to the photo area there are icons, by clicking on which you can evaluate this or that place.

Dune Efa is one of the highest movable dunes of the Curonian Spit. Many call it the only desert in Europe. Dune is located near the village of Morskoye - the most picturesque of all the villages in this area.

It starts from the 16th kilometer of the spit and stretches along the coast of the Curonian lagoon. The dune is named after Franz Ef, the arborist who studied and secured the moving sands. Thanks to his scientific work, the advance of the dune in the village of Morskoye was stopped forever.

The height of the dune above sea level is 64 meters. Having ascended to the observation deck of Efa, you find yourself in a real desert, from where a stunning view of the Curonian lagoon and sand dunes opens.

In photo mode, you can view the sights in the Curonian Spit only by photographs.

Fisherman's Village

Rybachy is a small village in the Kaliningrad region, located on the famous Curonian Spit, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The village was built in a very picturesque area, and on its territory there are several historical attractions that attract tourists.

The village of Rybachy was founded in 1372. For a long time it was called Rossitten and was renamed after the Second World War, when it became part of the USSR. Today, its population is only 839 people.

The main attraction of the village is an old Lutheran church of the 19th century, which today houses an Orthodox church. Also on the territory is an old medieval cemetery, on which are the graves of several prominent residents of the village. Also, tourists are attracted by the ancient ornithological station, founded back in 1901.

Village Forest

On the territory of the National Park, which is called the Curonian Spit, the village of Lesnoy is located. It is located in one of the narrowest places of the spit - only three hundred meters from the sea.

The surrounding nature is wonderful - the village is “sandwiched” between the bay and the sea, and at the same time it is buried in a pine forest. The beach is sandy and represents a wide strip that stretches for 50 km from Zelenogradsk to the Lithuanian border itself. The water is slightly salty, and therefore there is no need to rinse after bathing.

This place is recommended for a quiet family vacation. The village is intensively built up with mansions, but its area is small - you can go from border to border in fifteen minutes.

Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh

The Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh is a small Orthodox church and the main cult attraction of the Rybachy village of the Kaliningrad region. This ancient church is of considerable historical and architectural value, which attracts tourists.

Initially, the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh was a Lutheran church and was recently used for Orthodox services. The church was built in 1873 by the project of the German architect Tischler and is perfectly preserved in its original form to this day. The building is a massive red brick building crowned with a small Lutheran-style turret.

After World War II, the temple housed a workshop for the production of fishing nets, and only in 1999 the building was transferred to the Orthodox Church. The temple was re-consecrated and named in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh.

Dune muller

The height of Müller is a dune on the Curonian Spit, which has been preserved thanks to the green spaces that were made in the nineteenth century under the guidance of the forester Müller.

Here everywhere mountain pine grows, which is distinguished by relatively small dimensions and a well-developed root system. Mountain pine seeds were brought to Russia from Denmark, where this tree was used to strengthen creeping dunes. Planting work, the financing of which at one time was achieved by Müller, lasted for five whole years. The air in these places is unusually clean and full of coniferous aroma.

From the observation platform, located on the crest of the dune, a breathtaking view of Lake Chaika opens, where all the surrounding streams flow, as well as pastures and a small forest. In the meadow near the lake, wild boars and roe deer love to graze. The silence and excellent ecology make the local lakes very attractive for fishermen, and the bite here is good all year round.

The most popular attractions in the Curonian Spit with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit famous places of the Curonian Spit on our website.