Lithuania is a lowland country. Its highest point is merely 294 m above sea level (in fact Lithuania is the world's largest country without locations above 300 m). The lack of mountains on the horizon is compensated by lush forests and countless lakes.
Curonian spit national park is UNESCO-inscribed 98 km long narrow Baltic Sea peninsula, now spanned by two countries (Lithuania and Russia), is unique both naturally and culturally. The powerful dunes that used to bury entire fishermen villages were tamed by planting pine forests. Much of the both worlds remain, with endless possibilities for hiking, swimming, sailing and cycling as well as meeting some wild animals that roam the forests.
According to the legend, the spit was formed a long time ago by Neringa, a girl giant who poured the sandy peninsula into the Baltic Sea to protect the peaceful bay from the stormy sea and create an embankment for fishermen to live. Thus, today the eastern shores of the Curonian Spit are washed by the Curonian Lagoon, while the Baltic Sea washes the western ones.
NEMUNAS RIVER DELTA REGIONAL PARK
The park's history and unaltered landscapes really make the region standout. Many civilizations have battled for control over the Nemunas and there is an assortment of museums to visit that document these efforts.
The Nemunas is also home to 55 rare species of birds that use the wetlands for their breeding grounds. Over 40 types of mammals also live in the park, making it one of the few thriving ecosystems unharmed by man. With such unmatched beauty and plentiful wildlife, the rationale as to why countries have battled over the Nemunas is obvious.
DZUKIJA NATIONAL PARK
Dzukija National Park in the southeast is covered by a dense forest. Population density there is mere 2 people per square kilometer. It is the largest protected area in Lithuania (697 km2) and the country's most extensive forest (91% of the park area is forested, mainly with pines). Beneath seemingly monotonous veil of pine forests, a very distinctive and rich natural world is concealed. Flood-meadows and transitional meadows, raised bogs and fens, sand dunes and fast-flowing rivers and streams have become the habitat for a multitude of rare plants and animals.
30 rivers and streams flow there, well-enjoyed by kayakers and anglers (who also practice at 48 local lakes). 6 footpaths and 6 bicycle routes are for dry exploration of the nature. Key locations may be accessed by car (main roads are paved, side roads unpaved). There are 54 mammal species and 198 bird species.
It is a popular place to gather berries and mushrooms as well as kayaking in its streams. Nearby Cepkeliai swamp is a great representative of yet another typical feature of Lithuanian landscape.
Lithuania sometimes is called “the land of the lakes”. There are about 6,000 lakes in Lithuania, covering 950 km², or 1.5% of the territory of Lithuania. The largest lake is Druksciai, but a part of it is located in the territory of Belarus. Lake Plateliai in the Samogitian National park is the largest lake in Lithuania which is located completely in Lithuanian territory, and the deepest one is Tauragnas (62.5 m deep).
Lake Plateliai is one of the most interesting for underwater archeology. Scientist think that the water level was much lower years ago and some islands are now underwater. For example, in 2002 divers found a big stone with human-made markings, that resemble the letter L. The stone was surrounded by smaller stones and a hypothesis was raised that it was a sacred place for the pagans. In 2002, on the bottom of the lake archeologists found three boats, about 5.5 meters in length, dated to the times of Vytautas the Great.