May 12

LITHUANIA, A PICTURESQUE AND WARM COUNTRY ON THE BALTIC SHORE (LIETUVOS RESPUBLIKA)

Lithuania was the last country in Europe which adopted Christianity in 1387, and the first country of the former Soviet republics that declared independence in 1990.

blog.radissonblu.com

blog.radissonblu.com

A small country hidden in a corner of Europe, near the Baltic Sea, Lithuania is the largest of the Baltic States but has the smallest coastline. Many connaisseurs state that both the surface of almost 65,000 square kilometers and population of about 3.4 million are similar to Ireland.

Located at the confluence of rivers Neris and Vilnia, Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, it is one of the most visited cities in Eastern Europe. The Old Town, a Baroque masterpiece, was included on the list of protected UNESCO in 1994. A while ago, Vilnius was named “Little Rome”, “Northern Athens” or “northern Jerusalem.” Here you can see about 40 different churches and architectural styles, building authentic Gothic, Renaissance, with classic features that have survived very well over time.

alterra.cc

alterra.cc

Old Vilnius is small and cozy. Narrow streets and passages steps take you into the world of gardens decorated with flowers, churches and museums. It would be better to start your journey from “Dawn Gate”. The graceful painting of Holy Virgin Mary is the main attraction for believers worldwide. Going down the street Pilies and passing the town hall you have the opportunity to visit a variety of cafes and restaurants.

travel.nationalgeographic.com

travel.nationalgeographic.com

Ask for the Artists’ Wall, which displays more than 100 wood, ceramic or glass plates decorated with information about domestic and foreign writers who visited Vilnius and found it the perfect place to write. Then take a moment to stop and listen to songs of the street musicians wandering through the maze of streets.

Among many other interesting things to do in your visit, discover the unforgettable summer experience – rustling sea and hot sand – in the Lithuanian oasis named the Curonian Isthmus. It was included in UNESCO in 2000 as one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe.

cepelinas.eu

cepelinas.eu

The stretch of sand that enters gently into the sea contains some picturesque fishing villages such as Juodkrantė, Pervalka and Nida. The narrow and elongated peninsula, washed by the waters of the Baltic Sea and Lagoon Curoniene reminds us of a desert. The locals named it Kursiu Nerija. Im 2000. it was included on the list of UNESCO heritages as one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe. The stretch of sand that emerges gently into the sea contains some picturesque fishing villages such as Juodkrantė, Pervalka and Nida.

Juodkrantė is worth visiting for its keys and piers, old restored cottage-style villas and the fishermen\s houses surrounded by beautiful gardens. Herons Hill / Garnių Kalnas is the home of one of the largest colonies of gray herons in Europe.

newsbeast.gr

newsbeast.gr

Nida is blessed with a large number of sunny days per year. A unique feature of this place is the presence of wind vanes that were used to mark the membership of certain crafts to each village. The 2 km Pardinis route, starting from the Valley of Silence (Tylos Slenis) and passes by the lighthouse of Nida, is the largest Lithuanian coast.

The trail meanders to the point of observation from Pardinis, a popular attraction of the Curonian Isthmus; here you can admire the Baltic Sea and the lagoon together, while letting yourself mesmerized by the beauty of the sunsets and feel the unique chemistry of the two bodies of water.

The Naglai natural Reservation, an uncommon setting of moving dunes, stretches nine kilometers – from Juodkrantė to Pervalka.

Curonian Isthmus is a unique experience: rent a villa where you can find shelter against the desert wind coming from the dunes, swim in the Baltic waves and taste the fish caught by local fishermen: bream, bream and eel and you’ll realize why this place has become so popular among tourists.

Feb 28

Slowinski National Park (Parcul National Slowinski)

Slowinski National Park is located in the northern part of Poland and it is one of the touristic attractions that this country has to offer. The park situates itself between Leba and Rowy and the reason for which the park occupies such an important position among the Polish must-see sights is that it offers a unique combination of lanscapes which is not available extensively in other national parks. And I refer here to the moving sand dunes which are actually located in close vicinity of the Baltic Sea.

Slowinski National Park

This interesting picturesque scenery is what draws people to this specific location. The park came into being in the second half of the 20th century, more precisely in 1967, even if the idea to transform Slowinski into a protected area had emerged more than twenty years earlier (in 1946).

At present, the national park stretches over 186 square kilometers, the majority of which (more than 100 square kilometers) consists of waters, whereas the remaining area is made up of forests. The way in which the area has evolved in the course of time is easily explained if we are to take a look at the geographical changes which had occurred. Initially, what now we call the Slowinski National Park was in fact the bay formed at the Baltic Sea. But due to the constant movement of the sea, the bay was pushed inland further and further, and sand dunes were created in between.

Slowinsky Park – Sand Dunes

This process has evolved steadily, the sand taking possession of more land on a yearly basis due to the activity of the winds and waves. In fact, it is precisely due to this natural phenomenon that the area has become renowned. The so-called “moving dunes” are seen as some sort of natural oddity as this occurrence is not something which one can see every so often. The speed with which the sand is carried varies between 3 and 10 meters on an annual basis and the constant wind leads to these dunes growing higher and higher. At present, the maximum height is of 30 meters.

In order to get a general image of the park and especially of the picture offered by the sand dunes, it is advisable to find a high peak, preferably Rowokol (which is the highest) and use it in order to admire the national park in all its glory. What is worth mentioning here is that the constant shift of the sand uncovers the remnants of the past forests that used to spread on the bay. Thus, every now and then, one can see petrified tree trunks emerging from underneath the sand.

Moving Sand Dunes

Even if the sand dunes represent the point of interest in Slowinski National Park, you ought to pay attention to the other natural elements present here. For example, the park is abundant in lakes and rivers. Two of the lakes, Lebsko and Gardno, are known for the families of aquatic birds that seek shelter on their waters. The number of bird species which are located here reaches 257, which clearly pinpoints the fact that the national park is a natural biosphere which deserves to be protected and thus preserve its fauna and flora diversity.

Visiting the area does not resemble ‘going into the wild’ as there are specially arranged tracks for tourists which take those who venture on such a trip through the park to the most important locations in Slowinski. The trails stretch over 140 kilometers and even more so, they are ‘equipped’ with benches so that tourists can catch their breath when necessary.