Tripadvisor has ranked Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad as the No. 1 emerging tourism destination in the world for 2020.
Sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, the Kaliningrad region’s German heritage and influence make it unique from Russia’s mainland and its Baltic coastline draws surfers, swimmers and sunbathers in the summer.
The region’s capital, also named Kaliningrad, was known as the Prussian city of Königsberg from its founding by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century until it was transferred to the Soviet Union after the end of World War II. The city was renamed in honor of Soviet politician Mikhail Kalinin in 1946. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it remained part of Russia.
The top three must-see attractions in Kaliningrad are the Curonian Spit National Park, Königsberg Cathedral and the Museum of the World Ocean, Tripadvisor said. The region is also known for its amber products.
The home of Russia's Baltic Fleet was followed by Saranda, Albania and Beirut in Tripadvisor’s ranking.
The Kaliningrad region sees tourism as an important source of cash flow and is dedicating several projects to attract even more tourists to the region, the region’s culture and tourism minister Andrei Yarmak told the Lenta.ru news website Thursday. Planned infrastructure projects include the construction of a Ferris wheel as well as development of the city’s river embankment and public recreation areas.