Introduction

The 200-sq-km Žemaitija National Park, a magical landscape of lake and forest, is as mysterious as it is beautiful. It’s easy to see why it spawns fables of devils, ghosts and buried treasure.

The draw here is two-fold. You can swim, boat and bike around at your leisure, as well as pay a visit to one of the country’s newest and most bizarre attractions: a museum to the Cold War, housed in what was once a Soviet nuclear missile base.

The best access point is the small town of Plateliai, on the western shore of the lake of the same name and home to the helpful Žemaitija National Park Visitor Centre.

About 20km northeast of the park is Samogitian Calvary (Žemaičių Kalvarija), built on the site of 9th- to 13th-century burial grounds. Pilgrims come here during the first two weeks of July to climb the seven hills where 20 chapels form a 7km ‘Stations of the Cross’ route in commemoration of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.