Lithuanians love nature. People were still worshipping ancient oak trees a mere six centuries ago, and these days in their free time they make regular pilgrimages to their country’s many luscious lakes and forests and its long, sandy coastline. Boating, berrying, mushrooming, birdwatching and ballooning are uplifting pursuits. Travellers can walk and cycle into the wilderness, sweat in traditional lakeside saunas and enjoy ice-fishing in winter.

Spas & Saunas

Lithuania has a less-developed spa and sauna scene than its Baltic brothers, but there are nonetheless a few places to indulge. The two most popular spa destinations are Birštonas and the fabled 19th-century spa town of Druskininkai, on the Nemunas River; of the two, Druskininkai is the destination of choice for serious spa-seekers. The town, which has been in the healing business for more than 200 years, boasts mineral spas for sipping (with a reputedly recuperative effect on everything from the stomach to the heart), mud baths, a relatively mild climate and miles and miles of surrounding forest that keep the air fresh and clean. Added to that are modern diversions, such as a huge water park, that make the town a perfect respite for the healthy as well as the ailing.

Birdwatching

Some 270 of the 330 bird species found in Lithuania frequent the Nemunas Delta Regional Park, making it a must-visit for serious birders. Park authorities can help organise birdwatching expeditions during the peak migratory seasons. The nearby Curonian Spit National Park offers opportunities for spotting up to 200 different species of birds amid dramatic coastal scenery.