Summer in Lithuania – Nature Trails Abound

Meškos šikna

As summer approaches, many are planning vacations at home and abroad. Other than the usual iconic sites, Lithuania has many beautiful places for visitors to enjoy in its national and regional parks. Diana Rakauskaitė, public relations specialist for the State Service for Protected Areas notes that all the nature reserves have well-maintained nature trails, many with lookout towers and viewing platforms, visitor centres and tours.

A new program invites visitors to obtain a “passport” to record their explorations. Those who visit a total of five national parks and 30 regional parks will receive a gift – a book about Lithuania’s protected areas. There are nature schools for high school students in nine different parks, with hikes, overnight camping and organized night-time excursions.

All the parks are unique and have interesting features to see. A lesser-known one is the Sirvėta Regional Park in eastern Lithuania, where the Švenčioniai highlands begin, marking 14,000 year old glacier activity. Among the hills lies the 22-metre-high hill-fort of Kačėniškės by Lake Mergežeris, quiet and far from roads and villages, with spectacular views of the countryside. Showing little of their former glory, the hill-forts are now merely grassy mounds but hold a rich history.


The Kaunas Lagoon Regional Park offers a  short (1.3 km) trail rated the best in Lithuania, called Arlaviškiai or the Juniper Valley Trail, with beautiful panoramic views. The largest biosphere reserve in Lithuania is at Žuvintas Lake – a  marsh that is unique for its 240 varieties of birds, including the rare aquatic warbler, known to nest in only 4 countries in Europe. 


Near the village of Marcinkonys there is an upland bog (popular mostly for its name –  “Meškos šikna” – a rude version of “Bear’s Butt”) with a beautiful, well-marked trail in Dzūkija National Park offering a lookout over a river bend, pine forests, peat swamps, and an ethnographic village.

One of the loveliest in Žemaitija (western Lithuania) is the hill-fort at Sprūdė, at 216 metres above sea-level, from which visitors can see two others – Šatrija and Medvėgalis. Acccording to legend, Grand Duke Sprūdeika had a huge castle here with vast underground chambers.


The impressive Aukštaitija (Highlands) National Park contains the deepest lake in Lithuania (Tauragnas) and the remnants of its most ancient forests. It is noted for its 4,500 varieties of plants, mushrooms and wildlife.

A former sacred pagan site, Girnikų Hill in Kurtuvėnai Regional Park is the highest (183.4 m) in the Šiauliai region, and provides a vast panorama that includes the city of Šiauliai and Šatrija Hill. Legends abound here as well, with stories of Kurtuovė, mother of giants, and the rock at the top of the hill where a sacred flame burned in ancient times.

More information about Lithuanian parks is available at