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Road Trip in Lithuania, from Beach to Manors and the Hill of Crosses

The coastal airport is the third largest airport in the country, serving Baltic sea resorts, the nearby city of Klaipėda and Žemaitija region. The airport is located in between two well known holiday towns of Palanga and Šventoji. Plenty of car rental opportunities are available at the airport. Palanga is a buzzing tourist destination while Šventoji is more quiet. It is important to mention another famous resort – Nida and it’s Curonian Spit. The Curonian Spit is a 98 kilometre-long white sand dune, separating the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea coast. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must-visit once in the area.

After enjoying some beach days, let’s head off on our road trip. The first manor we are visiting is located in Palanga.

The Tiškevičius manor is well liked by tourists and locals – with beautiful botanical gardens and the most famous amber museum in the country. With around 30.000 of amber pieces, it is one of the largest amber exhibitions in the world. Lithuanian art, folklore, legends have a long history and associations with amber.

The Goddess Jūratė lived under the Baltic Sea, in her amber castle. One day, she saw a young handsome fisherman Kastytis and fell in love. She brought him to her castle and they were happy, up until the thunder God, Perkūnas, found out that she fell in love with a mortal man. He furiously struck the castle and it exploded into millions of pieces. And, as per the legend, this is why pieces of amber are washed ashore to this day.

Now we are leaving the coastal area and, after an hour drive, we arrive at Plungė manor. The history of the palace goes back to the late 16th century and it has been administered by various noblemen. It is most famous for the Duke Mykolas Oginskis, who bought the manor and the small town. Today you can enjoy a walk in the nature surrounding the manor and visit a regional museum. If staying at the seaside, a day trip to the manor, its museum or one of the organized concerts is also a great idea.

Heading off further North, we arrive at the Žagarė manor. Another my favorite – beautiful surroundings and an impressive museum. Hint – hunters are going to love it! The manor was first mentioned in historical documents in the 16th century and the most recent buildings are of 19th century. The small town of Žagarė is famous for it’s cherry festival, so if you’re there in mid-July, it is a must visit. For travelers with a camper van – there are plenty of scenic sites to park it, otherwise, beautiful and cozy hotels / bed and breakfast’s are available too.

Another manor, that is simply impossible to forget – Burbiškis. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful ones in the country. The manor was first mentioned in 17th century. As the manors mentioned above, it belonged to a noblemen family. The museum is wonderful – from old fancy dresses, jewels to transport and agricultural technology. The area is surrounded by small lakes and islands, connected with various bridges. The perfect place for romantic walks.

Let’s do a short break from manors and visit a wonderful religious site. It is well known by pilgrims – Tytuvėnai Bernardine monastery and the church. This impressive baroque wonder dates back to early 17th century.

Our next stop – Kurtuvėnai manor. It is one of the first manors in Lithuania, dating back to 15th century. The manor has been restored after tragic events. The area is surrounded by nature and plenty of activities are available – a museum, horse riding lessons, long walks around the manor and in a natural park, swimming in a nearby lake. There is a well established camping area, perfect for camper van travelers. It is also a great place to enjoy Lithuania’s traditional dishes. Did someone mention potatoes?

We have now visited a fraction of beautiful Lithuanian manors. The next one we are visiting is in the town of Šiauliai. It is different – it is a villa, and it was built in the late 19th century; the owner was a famous industrialist Chaim Frenkel. When visiting Šiauliai, it is an interesting museum to visit and a beautiful garden, famous for its roses collection.

Our final stop – The Hill of Crosses. It is a pilgrimage site known Worldwide - you can see crosses from many different countries. The exact date as to when the first crosses were being placed there is uncertain, however, it is believed that the site is at least few hundred years old. It is a truly serene, special and magical site. Many people go there to this day and ask for good health, protection for their families.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Justina Janeliunaite

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