As Lithuania is nearly 40% forested, hiking off the beaten path is very possible, even close to Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city. National parks, regional parks, and botanical gardens provide excellent paths and trails for hiking across the country. This article highlights eight trails to be found around the country, from Vilnius’ city center to much more rural areas of the country.
Trails in Vingis Park
Vingis Park is a 160-hectare park along the Neris River in Vilnius. Within walking distance or a short cab ride from Vilnius’ old town, Vingis Park provides a green oasis with numerous hiking trails, a slightly unkempt botanical garden, and other outdoor entertainment including summertime concerts. This is a great park for a hike to squeeze in among sightseeing in Vilnius.
M. K. Čiurlionio g. 100, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 5 261 1037
Trail along the Neris River
The Neris River flows through the center of Vilnius, and the city has recently renovated the beautiful walking path, creating a wonderful place to sightsee while getting in some exercise. Because the paths are paved, this trail is a rather easy walk and is even accessible for those with strollers. Street art and sculptures are also to be found along this path, particularly near the bridges, making it also a culturally interesting walk.
Kulgrinda hiking trails, Telsiai County
Kulgrinda are historical, secret trails from the times of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th and 14th centuries. These hidden trails often pass through bogs or lakes, making them impossible to see and providing cover for locals as they passed from one place to another. A more difficult kulgrinda hiking trail can be found in the Varniu Regional Park near Lukstas Lake. Hikers should plan to get wet and perhaps save this hiking trail for a warm day!
The long, thin Curonian Spit is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park that provides numerous hiking opportunities. From the culturally interesting Hill of Witches to hiking along the beach and dunes, the Curonian Spit is a wonderful place for nature lovers. Visitors can plan to stay in Nida, Juodkrante, or one of the other smaller villages along the Curonian Spit.
Located right in the heart of the spa resort town of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania, Vijuneles Park features two lakes, monuments, memorials, a graveyard, and an abundance of hiking trails. The park has 4.5 kilometers of hiking/biking trails through dense pine and birch forests. The park also provides stunning views into Druskininkai.
Duksta River Cognitive Walkway
This 5 km hiking trail takes visitors along a pristine river, through 300 year old oak groves, and past old forts. The Duksta River Cognitive Walkway consists of a clearly marked series of loop trails and up a hill that provides stunning views of the river valley. This hiking trails is appropriate for children or adults and a downloadable park map can be found online.
Pajuris Regional Park
Along the coast near the popular summertime beach resort of Palanga, the Pajuris Regional Park features approximately four kilometers of hiking trails through forest and sandy shore. A botanical hiking trail with labeled species provides an educational hiking option. Along the shore, visitors can look for amber, which is known to wash in from the sea here.
Placio g. 54, Karklė, Lithuania, +370 46 412483
Kaunas Lagoon Regional Park
Kaunas Lagoon Regional Park comprises 9.9 hectares of forest, lagoon, and rocky outcrops outside of the Kaunas city center. The picturesque Pazaislis Monastery falls within the park, and another feature comes in the form of its extensive hiking trails. One of the hiking highlights includes the Juniper Valley in Arlaiskes meant to protect juniper bushes, which are rare in this part of Lithuania. Another hiking trail brings visitors up the Gastilonys, Ziegzdriai, and Mergakalnis rock faces in Dovainonys, providing stunning natural views for anyone taking the trouble to hike to the top.