Most travellers are now opting for outdoor experiences when travelling. They prefer to venture far from the crowds and pursue outdoor activities like hiking. When it comes to this, Lithuania has much to offer. Famous for its breathtaking landscapes, abundant forests, and majestic lakes, Lithuania is an ideal destination for travellers looking to hike and explore the wonders of nature. So, if you’re travelling to this gorgeous European country soon, and want to take up hiking, here are some of the top hiking destinations to try in Lithuania.
1. Aukstadvaris National Park
Lithuania is home to many beautiful parks where you can enjoy scenic hikes. One of these is the Aukštadvaris Regional Park. At 17,240 hectares, the massive park is home to eighty lakes, picturesque villages, burial grounds, and recreational areas.
There are many hiking trails within the Aukstadvaris National Park. The Skrebis Forest Hiking Trail is one of these, which lies in the eastern part of the Aukstadvaris. It’s a picturesque path leading you to the beautiful Skrebis lake. You’ll find many other hiking paths in the southern part of Aukstadvaris, leading to Nikronys, Rangava, and Šafarnė. These paths will take you past the beautiful lakes of Spindzius and Vilkoksnis.
Aside from hiking, there are many other outdoor activities to enjoy in Aukstadvaris National Park. You can take up boating in one of its many beautiful lakes. There are boat rentals available by the lakeshore. You can also enjoy a spot of fishing in the lake. Local fishermen know the fishing spots well and can tell you where to go fishing. Cycling is also a fun activity in Aukstadvaris. You can follow the Green Trail that leads to Aukstadvaris town and into the Sacred Springs and Devil’s Pit.
2. Dzukija National Park
Another picturesque place to hike in Lithuania is the Dzūkija National Park, which has lush pine forests, swamps, rivers, villages, and inland dunes. As Lithuania’s largest protected area, it enjoys a more continental climate than the other parts of the country. Dzūkija is also home to the Čepkeliai Marsh, one of Lithuania’s most preserved natural sites.
When hiking the Dzūkija National Park, you’ll come across countless rivers and lakes. Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting rare birds within the park, which have found shelter in the grasslands, flooded meadows, and shrubs. Some of the birds you’ll find in the park are gorgeous kingfishers, corn crake, and black storks. Your hike will also take you to the Dzūkija village, where you can witness Lithuania’s traditional lifestyles and culture.
The life of the local villagers in Dzukija has intertwined with the forest, with berry picking and mushroom foraging the source of income and food. The park is renowned for its pine trees that the beekeepers have used for centuries. Remains of the Bronze Age and Stone Age settlements have also been discovered in the area.
Almost 40% of Lithuania is forested, so it’s not surprising that even Vilnius, the capital city, has many hiking trails that will take you to lush forests, botanical gardens, and national parks. Vingis Park is one of those areas near Vilnius where you can enjoy a scenic hike. It’s a 160-hectare park straddling the Neris River and within walking distance from the centre of Vilnius.
A vast green oasis with several hiking trails, especially good for those booked onto small group walking tours around Lithuania, Vingis Park has a botanical garden you can discover on your hike. On some days, the park serves as an entertainment venue, hosting summertime concerts and other outdoor activities. Vingis Park is a great place to squeeze in a short hike when sightseeing in Vilnius.
You will find many other great hiking trails by the Neris River in Vilnius. The local government has built a nice walking path by the river, which makes for a great place to enjoy a relaxing stroll or do some exercise. Since the trails are well-paved, it’s an easy path to walk and may even be accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Aside from the scenic river views, you’ll see beautiful sculptures and street art along the path, especially near the bridge, which makes for an even more enjoyable hike.
4. Neris Regional Park
Home to nine mounds, each with its legends and story, the Neris Regional Park is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy hiking in Lithuania. During your hike, you’ll come across beautiful streams that lead to the Neri River, plunging through the hills and dropping into waterfalls.
When hiking the Neris Regional Park, keep your eyes peeled on the mythological stones, such as the Airėnai Stone, which sits between Dūkštai and Airėnai. There’s also the Valai stone, which the locals call the “Foot of Mary”, as it has an embossed foot. It is believed that these stones were left by God while walking on Earth.
Hiking around the Neris Regional Park is easy, as there are wooden stairs and footpaths installed, especially near the mounds of Buivydai and Bradeliškės. In some areas of the park, you’ll find a viewing area, where you can marvel at the park’s stunning views. Visitors to the park will be given a map with several hiking routes and attractions to visit within the park.
Kaunas is a lovely city in the south-central part of Lithuania, lying by the meeting point of the Neris and Nemunas rivers. It’s most famous for the Kaunas Castle, a medieval fortress that houses interesting historical exhibits.
There are many nature trails in and around Kaunas, where you can enjoy short walks and admire the impressive landscapes of the city. One of these is the Cognitive Trail of Pažaislis, which takes you to the gorgeous Pažaislis Monastery, one of Europe’s best preserved Baroque buildings. The trail will also take you to the Kaunas Lagoon, which lies on the Petrašiūnai peninsula.
Another walking trail in Kaunas is the Cognitive Trail of Jiesia, a 2 km trail that leads to the Jiesia State Landscape Reserve. Covering an area of 447.6 hectares, it has impressive outcrops and is home to rare species of animals and plants.