The town of Palanga, 25 km from Klaipeda, is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The sandy coast extends for over 24 km and is backed by a pine forest and dunes. Palanga is a beach resort known for its thermal and mineral baths.
The first inhabitants settled on the present territory of Palanga as early as the3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. Palanga was first mentioned in 1161. The town functioned as Lithuania's main port from the 15th to 17th centuries. By the 19th century Palanga was already a popular resort town that attracted the Lithuanian, Polish, and Jewish intelligentsia and upper classes.
The resort particularly grew and became prettier after World War II. Several decades saw construction of the principal part of the town and now-functioning 150 rest houses, as well as 11 large sanatoria, and rehabilitation centres. The Palanga Botanical Gardens, designed for Count Tiskevicius by the French architect Eduard Andre‚ and the Belgian gardener Buyssen de Coulon, boast over 300 plant species and are considered to be Lithuania's most beautiful and richest botanical gardens. Another attraction of the park is the Tiskevicius Manor House which now houses the Amber Museum. Amber, popularly known as Lithuanian gold, can still be found on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The Amber Museum has a unique collection that illustrates amber's 40-million year-old story.
Count Tiskevicius culturally enhanced the town by establishing a preparatory school, where a number of Samogitian youth and young people from other regions of Lithuania were educated. The inter-war president Antanas Smetona is one of the most famous pupils of the school.
The first Lithuanian theater performance took place in Palanga in 1899, when actors staged America in the Bathhouse by Keturakis.
Each year almost half a million visitors enjoy Palanga's whispering pine forests along the sea coast, the natural sand dunes, the invigorating cold sea, and the sanatoriums and resorts that operate year-round.