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National parks

There are 5 national parks in Lithuania. They were established in 1991 after Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. Now they cover about 2.3 percent of Lithuania's territory.

Aukštaitija National Park

Aukštaitija National Park is located in northeastern Lithuania, about 100 km north of Vilnius. It is the oldest of the five national parks in Lithuania. Park territory occupies 405.7 km². Strictly protected areas occupy 2.1%. One can enter this territory only with accompanying employee of the park. Over 70 percent of its territory is covered by woods. 80 percent of woods are pine stands, some reaching 200 years old.

Sixty-four species of plants and 48 species of birds that are found in the park are included in the Red book of Lithuania. The park is famous for its biodiversity - 59% of all plant species in Lithuania can be found in the park which covers less than 1% of Lithuania's territory.

One hundred twenty-six lakes are scattered among the woods and hills. They are often interconnected by rivulets and streams and are a popular site for water tourism with kayaks and boats. There are many sites to camp and rest overnight.

One of the most famous sights in the Park is Ladakalnis Hill, from top of which six lakes can be seen. It is a geomorphological monument.

Kuršių Nerija National Park

Kuršių Nerija National Park was established to protect the unique ecosystems of the Curonian Spit and Curonian Lagoon. Kuršių Nerija National Park is protected by the state, under the Lithuanian law of Protected Areas.

In 2000, the Curonian Spit cultural landscape was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Curonian Spit is also part of “Natura 2000”, a network of protected territories in Europe, connecting its most valuable natural habitats.

The area of the park is 26 464 hectares: 9 764 ha are covered by land, and 16700 ha by water.

The dunes are an exclusive element of the Curonian Spit landscape. Here you can explore all stages of dune formation.

Eleven types of protected habitats of European importance occur in the Curonian Spit. The different habitats are home to rare species of insects, birds, and plants specific and typical for the place. Some of them are endangered and included in the Red Book of Lithuania. There are 37 species of mammals living in Curonian Spit. Alo, every year millions of birds fly through the area as the migration route from the Baltic Sea to the White Sea runs through the Curonian Spit. In addition, there are large concentrations of migrating passerines and birds of prey, and the Curonian Spit is famous for the largest breeding colony of Great Cormorants in Lithuania. This is a true paradise for bird watchers!

Trakai Historical National Park

Trakai Historical National Park was designated in 1992 to embrace the historic city of Trakai, some 25 kilometers west of Vilnius, and the forests, lakes, and villages in its environs. It is the only historical national park in Europe.

Its cultural heritage is of utmost importance. The environs of Trakai contain entire layers of history and archaeology. The history of Trakai and the whole Lithuania is intertwined here. The kernel of the historical national park consists of the complex of Trakai island and peninsular castles as well as the oldtown of Trakai, stretching on a narrow peninsula between the lakes of Galvė, Totoriškės and Bernardinai. The system of defensive and living constructions in the city is influenced by the peculiarities of the natural environment.

Dzūkija National Park

The area encompasses approximately 550 square kilometers on the banks of the Nemunas River.

The park is the largest protected area in Lithuania. It belongs to both the Association of Baltic National Parks and the Federation of European National Parks.

The territory of the park is on the collision of two big geological structures. The crystal foundation, formed by the oldest rocks (granite, gabro, amphibolite, etc.), is closest to the earth surface in South-eastern Lithuania. It lies in the depth of only 251.3 meters.

Žemaitija National Park

Žemaitija National Park is situated 45 km from the Baltic Sea. Lakes cover more than 7% of its territory.

It is a real discovery for travellers who wish to explore wild nature and original traditions of the region. It is recommended to naturalists, cycling tourists, yachtsmen and scuba-divers since the Park offers a number of opportunities for active and interesting leisure time. The lake compound of Plateliai, vast woodlands, the architecture and traditional archaic feast of Žemaičiai Calvary as well as articles of wood craftsmen, a traditional Pancake Tuesday festival, the possibility to hear, touch and feel all that legendary character of Žemaičiai – all of that attracts visitors to Žemaitija National Park.

The Lake Plateliai (1205 ha), the biggest and cleanest lake in Žemaitija, along with another 25 lakes, provides opportunities to water sport and tourism, scuba diving, fishing and bird observation fans as well as professional scientists.

 

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