The landscape of Lithuania is characterized by unspoilt nature in many places, deep forests and lonely lake and swamp landscapes. Culturally rich cities like Vilnius or Kaunas, places steeped in history like the Hill of Crosses near Siaulilai (Schaulen) and last but not least the Curonian Spit are places to be explored in Lithuania.
In the following we present our TOP 10 for Lithuania. These are not necessarily the most famous places or the most visited attractions. As one of the 9 countries starting with L listed on Countryaah, Lithuania is absolutely worth seeing beyond these highlights – this applies above all to the nature of this beautiful country.
10TH PLACE: DZUKIJA NATIONAL PARK
The Dzukija National Park is located in southern Lithuania, on the border with Belarus. It is the largest national park in Lithuania in terms of area and was founded in 1991.
About 90 percent of the reserve is forested. Rivers, lakes, streams and moors are characteristic. The Cepkeliai wetland is the largest contiguous bog in Lithuania. Cranes, eagles, wolves, moose and snakes can be found here. On wooden plank paths, accompanied by a guide, you can explore the protected area and take in the incomparable silence of the moorland.
The area is also interesting from a cultural and historical perspective. People settled here 10,000 years ago. At the confluence of the Nemunas and Merkis, in Merkyne, there is a local museum. There is also the Museum of Freedom Struggles, housed in an old KGB headquarters.
The information center of the Dzukija National Park is located in Marcinkonys. Here you can also book canoe trips and guided tours.
9TH PLACE: LITHUANIA: THE CENTER OF EUROPE
According to calculations by French geographers, a point in southeast Lithuania, near the village of Purnuskes, is the center of Europe. This is where Europa-Park is located with extraordinary works of art and installations. It was founded in 1991 and now has more than 100 exhibits – artists from 33 nations were involved.
The calculation of the center of Europe is based on the outermost European points: the Urals in the east, the Azores in the west, Svalbard in the north and the Canary Islands in the south.
8TH PLACE: DEVIL MUSEUM IN KAUNAS
A scary place: around 3,000 exhibits from all over the world are on display in the Devil’s Museum in Kaunas. Also there: Hitler and Stalin in the form of the devil. The museum is affiliated with the Mikalojus-Konstantinas-Čiurlionis National Museum, which was founded in 1921 and has different focuses.
7TH PLACE: RELIGIOUS LITHUANIA: HILL OF CROSSES
Near Siauliai (formerly Schaulen) in the north of Lithuania lies the Hill of Crosses, a religious site steeped in history. Countless crosses have been placed on the hill since the suppression of the Lithuanian uprising in 1831. Everywhere you look you can see crosses: small, large, unadorned, ornate …
During the Soviet era, the collection was repeatedly destroyed, but this could not damage the inventory. The place exudes a mysterious atmosphere. It is an important place for the Lithuanian Catholics and also makes a lasting impression on less religious people.
6TH PLACE: ORIGINAL AUKSTAITIJA NATIONAL PARK
The Aukstaitija National Park in eastern Lithuania offers wonderful nature experiences and is therefore definitely one of the top 10. Pure wilderness. Nature lovers and active people do not miss out here.
The almost untouched Azvinkia jungle is unique. Oak and pine trees that are up to 200 years old can be found here. Lakes, moors, forests, heather and meadows shape the area. Wolves, elk and lynx live in the forests. 200 bird species delight those interested in ornithology.
Stone age settlements, barrows and the old villages of Salos, Vaisnoriskiai, Strazdai or Suminai are also very interesting. There is a local museum in Reskutenai.
126 lakes make the area a mecca for water sports enthusiasts. Taken together, you get about 70 km of waterways. The offer is supplemented by hiking trails and nature trails.
The information center of the national park is located in Paluse, a good starting point for exploring the reserve. Boats can also be rented here.
5TH PLACE: THE MEMEL DELTA
The Memel Delta is an important ecosystem and is of great importance for bird migration. It is not for nothing that an area of around 30,000 hectares is under protection. But not only those interested in ornithology appreciate the region. The landscape is determined by river arms, lagoons, bog areas, meadows and of course the Curonian Lagoon, into which the Memel (Lithuanian Nemunas) flows. Small towns, hardly changed over the decades, are scattered in the area. The Memel Delta comes across as contemplative. No grandiose sights, no world-famous cultural assets … but that is precisely what defines the atmosphere.
The river island Rusne (Russ) and the Windenburger Eck (Ventes ragas) with the lighthouse and the ornithological station are well-known attractions in the Memel Delta.
The Memel Delta is especially popular with cyclists. The flat landscape, the little-traveled roads and the untouched nature create excellent terrain.
4TH PLACE: BEACH LIFE IN PALANGA
The seaside resort par excellence: Palanga. Palanga is the largest health resort in Lithuania. The signs here have been pointing to relaxation since the 19th century. Initially, the sanatoriums mainly attracted the Russian nobility, today vacationers and spa guests come from Lithuania and abroad.
Palanga is also a lively place in the summer months. Cafés, restaurants and bars offer diversion in the evenings. Palanga is the place for pure beach life.
The amber museum in the castle of the Tiskeviciai family shows countless exhibits: jewelery and stones with interesting inclusions can be admired here. The castle (1897) was designed by the German architect Franz Schwechten.
3RD PLACE: CASTLE ON THE WATER: TRAKAI
Not far from Vilnius is Trakai, the “city on water”. Trakai was temporarily the capital in the Middle Ages until it ceded the rank to Vilnius. But Trakai is famous above all for the castle built on an island. The lakes Galvesee, Lukasee and Totoriskessee separate you from the land, the castle can be reached via a wooden walkway.
The historical museum is housed in the castle. It deals with the history of Lithuania, the castle and its lengthy restoration.
A visit to Trakai in the late afternoon is especially nice. The low-lying light creates a magical picture.
2ND PLACE: CURONIAN SPIT: DUNES AND FISHING VILLAGES
The Curonian Spit is a scenic feature in Lithuania. Dreamy fishing villages line the banks of the lagoon, mighty sand dunes and airy pine forests define the picture. A contemplative atmosphere. The Curonian Spit is something for those who want to take a deep breath, let the unique landscape work their way and have a sense of the history of the Spit.
The almost 100 km long peninsula, which belongs partly to Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) and partly to Lithuania, separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The headland is protected as a national park and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its widest point it measures not even 4 km, the narrowest point only about 400 meters.
The dune landscape, whose masses of sand were constantly moving after the deforestation measures, buried entire villages under them in the past. Plantings were able to contain the migration.
The Parnidden dune is the second largest dune in Europe. Unfortunately, it loses its considerable size piece by piece, the wind blows the sand into the lagoon. It has lost almost 15 meters in height in the past 20 years.
Worth seeing for visitors interested in ornithology: At Juodkrante there is the largest breeding ground for cormorants and gray herons in Lithuania.
1ST PLACE: VILNIUS: UŽUPIS BOHEMIAN QUARTER
The Užupis district, which used to be the home of the poor population groups and did not enjoy a good reputation during the Soviet era, has woken from its slumber and is now very popular.
Užupis is a little bit cranky, a little bit crazy. According to the residents, Užupis is a republic of its own. An artists’ republic – with its own constitution, its own anthem and its own president. This is where creativity is at home, tolerance and openness are what they are all about. A walk through the alleys, across the cemetery and past the Engels monument shows you a very special side of Vilnius. And take a look at the details worth living in, the paintings, the creative corners. Even if it is no longer an insider tip, Užupis is still an indispensable part of our top 10.