We reached Ventes Ragas (Ventes Cape), one hour before sunset, after driving the whole day, with lots of stops now and then to admire the lost little villages on the way, a couple of old red brick castles and a few churches that despite their massive walls one could easily see how merciless time can be.
For a mid-June day we’ve got a shy sunlight and a few drops of rain that I must admit added a lot of charm to the landscape. Just like one of those vivid postcards, “Little Lithuania” appeared incredibly green and refreshing.
Known as a rest place for many migrating birds, Ventes Ragas is a headland in Nemunas Delta that belonged to Germany until 1919, as part of the former Memel Territory. The Teutonic Knights settled in this remote area and even built a castle here, called Windeburg, but unfortunately it no longer exists. Today we can climb instead the 11-metre-high lighthouse, built in 1863, during the Prussian period.
There are multiple choices in terms of accommodation in Ventes Ragas, as many tourists approach this lost corner especially during summer time, but we didn’t hesitate a second when we had to choose a place to spend the only night we had there: Šturmų Švyturys . In very few words, Šturmų Švyturys (Švyturys = lighthouse) is a setting that creates emotions. Isolated from all possible modern noises and distractions, the little hotel (11 rooms only) is situated on the shore of the Curonian Lagoon, near the small village of Šturmai. The spirit of the XIXth century “Little Lithuania” has been brought to life by its architecture and helped by the unspoiled nature around, one can close their eyes and travel back in time. If not for the bird songs and the frog calls you could hear your thoughts while walking in its spacious green garden.
The pearl-white and blue interior adds even more glam to this wonderful place. Every room is unique with a beautiful wooden floor and decorated with an exquisite taste, inspired by the fishermen’s life: fishing hooks that serve as furniture hooks, fishing ropes with thin silky curtains hanging on, old gas lamps transformed into bedside lamps, boat wooden oars serving as clothes racks etc. A mini library has been provided for each room, with fancy books in order for you to find out more about the region’s nature and history and, of course, about the fishes that populate the lagoon. And, as a curiosity, unlike typical hotels, the rooms in here have no number, but they bear the name and the wood painted image of different fish species to be found in the Curonian Lagoon.
The hotel also features a restaurant located in the little harbor in front that enchants the visitors with its originality and simplicity. A multitude of fishing tools and utensils, together with a white piano, complete the cozy furnishing, and the big fireplace is ready to break the silence with its sweet crackling sound. They say this is the only fresh fish restaurant in Lithuania where you won’t find a menu, as the daily courses depend on the catch of the day, based on every fisherman’s luck. The hosts are warm and polite and ready to please you with different sorts of delicacies, among which you should not miss the delicious fish soup. They speak English well and they are ready to hear your story and ask you questions about the country you come from. I was even spoiled with the Romanian translation of the fish I had for dinner.
After a tiring, but amazing day we found ourselves far away, in the middle of the whispering nature, in a cozy little room, brought back to that simplicity that makes life so perfectly beautiful. Through our wide windows facing the Curonian Spit, we saw the sun descending into the sand dunes, painting the horizon in a bright orange color and preparing the sky to light its stars over the lonely Šturmų Švyturys and the water immensity.
Budget: Accommodation:75EUR/night/DBL room, breakfast included
Dinner: approx. 40 EUR/2 pax
How to reach it from capital city Vilnius: