Lithuania is a Northern European country of green flatlands, situated on the Baltic Sea. To the north is our Baltic sister, Latvia; to the east, Belarus; to the south, Poland; to the south-east is the Russian territory of Kaliningrad; and to the west, across the Baltic, the countries of Scandinavia. There is a lot of green here – we are a country of forests, including old-growth woodlands and remote areas populated by rare birds and animals. Forests make up one third of the country’s territory.
Flying over Lithuania, you can see that it is dotted with bluish lakes connected by winding rivers whose waters flow into the Baltic Sea. With its white sand beaches, fragrant pine forests, and quaint towns and villages, the coastal region draws crowds of local and international visitors every summer. Those looking for real peace and untouched nature choose the Neringa region’s Curonian Spit – a unique strip of sand separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea.
Legend has it that the giantess Neringa, who lived in the region, carried white sand in her apron and poured it into its current formation to protect fishermen from a sea monster that was tearing their nets and sinking their ships. In their gratitude to Neringa, the fishermen named the peninsula after her.
But whatever the legends say, the 98 km Curonian Lagoon is a unique dune formation in Europe. The northern section of it belongs to Lithuania, while the southern portion is Russian territory. In 2000 the Curonian Lagoon, which has national park status and government protection, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Neringa’s unique nature and ethno-cultural heritage are unquestionably valuable elements of Lithuania’s coastal region.
Another national treasure that we Lithuanians value immensely is our fresh water. We can confidently call ourselves a fresh water country – Lithuania’s water reserves are seven times the amount that we consume ourselves. Countless underground springs generously provide us with mineral waters that we enjoy both with meals and when restoring ourselves at the country’s numerous spa centres.
Lithuanian winters are cold and our summers are hot. Summer temperatures can rise up to 30° C or more, while in winter they can fall as low as −25° C. Fall here is enchanting with its rich colours, while spring is magical for its increasingly long days and fragrant blossoms.