- Telšiai-Plungė-Bukantė (Ethnographic Region of Samogitia I). From Samogitia’s Versailles to Samogitian caviar
The town of Telšiai, like the city of Rome, is situated on seven hills. On the banks of the town’s Lake Mastis, you will see not only pedestrian and bicycle paths, a dancing fountain, boat jetties and rotundas, but also small bridges with sculptures of young bears, which are the symbol of the town – the capital of Samogitia. Here, it is also mandatory to visit the Great Wall of Samogitia, the globe of Lithuania and a sculpture in memory of ...cheese.
The pride of the town of Plungė – the manor house of the family of dukes Ogiński which is called Samogitia’s Versailles. The park of the manor house is smart. You can take a walk in the park using thematic maps in your mobile phone or a tablet computer. By the way, the Ogiński family took care of the preservation of the Lithuanian horse breed Žemaitukas (a little Samogitian), therefore, it is obligatory to look for a stud farm around Plungė and try riding a Žemaitukas.
Bukantė homestead located in Kadaičiai village close to Plungė is a homestead of famous writer Žemaitė where she spent her childhood.
It is mandatory to taste the Samogitian delicacy kastinys (sour cream butter) which is jokingly called Samogitian caviar. It is said that Samogitians are probably the only ones who make kastinys using circular movements, because this requires a lot of patience and time, otherwise the dish fails. www.visitplunge.lt
- Plateliai-Beržoras (Ethnographic Region of Samogitia II). It was Samogitians who gave Shrove Tuesday as a gift to Lithuania
It is a real sin to be in Samogitia and not to visit the Samogitia’s National Park. The park’s centre of visitors in Plateliai can provide you with plenty of information and advice as to where to stay, what to do and what to see.
On the bank of the Plateliai Lake, you will see a manor house of Plateliai. In the barn of the manor house, a museum of ethnography is located, while the stable houses a museum of Shrove Tuesday masks.
Just a couple of kilometres away from Plateliai, an old village of Beržoras (which has one central street with all residential houses situated on either side of it) boasts one of the oldest wooden churches in Lithuania. There, there are a lot of exceptional country homesteads where you can celebrate hen-parties according to all traditions or take part in a traditional Samogitian dinner according to all customs.
It is mandatory to taste cibulynė (a cold soup with onions and herring) and šiupinys (a pork and vegetable stew with pearl-barley and a pig’s tail). www.pastevukus.lt; www.berzorosodyba.lt
- Dreverna-Kintai-Minija-Kniaupas Bay (Lithuania Minor). In the region of water
Dreverna is an old fishermen’s village close to the mouth of the Dreverna River. You can take a look around the entire village from the top of the 15-metre high panoramic viewing tower. The village also features an ethnographic fisherman’s homestead of boat-maker Jonas Gižas as well as a possibility to sail with an ancient boat of the Curonians.
From Dreverna, by boat, you can reach the village of Minija, which is called Venice of Lithuania, in a few hours. Here, there are more boats at the jetties than cars in the garages. There is also a fisheries museum named after Jurgis Gečas and thematic trips by boat are organised – named The ‘Pamario žuvėjų giliukai’ and The Path of the Fish (Žuvies kelias), during which it is possible to taste fish soup or smoked fish.
If you sail around the Ventė Cape by boat, you will see the Kniaupas Bay, a wonderful part of the Curonian Lagoon which has rare species of vegetation and birds, for instance, Eurasian Coots, which run on water. There is even a plantation of lilies here, which blossoms in July turning into a white field.
It is mandatory to taste: real fish soup and cottage cheese cake. http://siluteinfo.lt/
- Pamerkiai-Merkinė-Liškiava (Ethnographic Region of Dzūkija I). Like blossoming buckwheat
Every year in July, the old village of Pamerkiai (Varėna district) is “decorated” by blossoming buckwheat. In a homestead of the village of Mačionys, an educational programme The Path of Buckwheat; From Sowing to a Lunch Table is delivered, including the tasting of buckwheat dishes. The soil of Dzūkija is sandy, therefore, it is best suited for buckwheat.
Another highlight of Varėna district, about 10 km away from Marcinkonys – The Eye of Ūla. This is the name of a spring which, as stories have it, has the power to restore youth or health.
The town of Merkinė is considered one of the oldest settlements in Lithuania. Its panorama opens up from the Merkinė mound where a castle used to stand in ancient times, or from a 25-metre high viewing tower Pine Wood.
Liškiava, a village to the south-west from Merkinė, features a prominent late-Baroque Church of the Holy Trinity, wherein M. K. Čiurlionis used to play the organ.
It is mandatory to taste: buckwheat pancakes. www.grikucis.com
- Pivašiūnai-Zervynos-Marcinkonys (Ethnographic Region of Dzūkija II). Strange surprises: bees in hollows, dunes in the forest
Titular feast days of the Assumption of Pivašiūnai are well-known around Lithuania. The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary houses a painting of Virgin Mary with an infant Jesus, which is considered miraculous.
An hour away from Pivašiūnai, there is the village of Musteika (Varėna district) featuring an old apiary of stump beehives. There, you can see how bees are kept, how honey and wax are produced and how beehives are prepared.
Close by – Zervynos which became famous after being shown in the film by director V. Žalakevičius Nobody Wanted to Die (Niekas nenorėjo mirti).
In another village which has one central street with all residential houses situated on either side of it, Marcinkonys, there is the Visitors’ Centre of the Dzūkija National Park. The Centre is the starting point of an attractive educational route of Zackagiris, which leads to a shooting-range hill, to beavers’ houses and to …Dzūkija’s dunes.
It is mandatory to taste: honey and mushroom dishes. www.cepkeliai-dzukija.lt
- Marijampolė-Lukšiai-Lekėčiai-Lukšiai (Ethnographic Region of Suvalkija I). Where cherries ripen and tree cakes are baked
Do you know that the Poetry Park of Marijampolė features a sculpture in the memory of V. Kernagis When Cherries Ripen in Suvalkija? The museum of the blessed Jurgis Matulaitis houses not only religious stories, but also culinary ones, for instance, about tree cakes baked by clergy!
The educational programme of baking a tree cake is offered by the community of the village of Lekėčiai.
Šakiai district features the manor house of Zypliai, wherein you can try out smithery, wood-carving, stone-tooling and other educational programmes as well as take part in cultural events.
It is mandatory to taste: tree cake. www.sakiaitic.lt
- Jonava-Kėdainiai-Sirutiškis-Ruosčiai (Ethnographic Region of Aukštaitija I). In the middle of Lithuania – a paradise of dumplings
The official geographical centre of Lithuania is situated in the village of Ruosčiai.
We may say that the town of Kėdainiai, which is located 10 km away, also finds itself in the middle of Lithuania. The Church of St George is the oldest building of Kėdainiai. Interestingly enough, the town has a minaret, a Russian Orthodox church and a synagogue.
The Radziwiłł family contributed, in particular, to the popularity of dumplings in the town. In the coffee-shop located in Sirutiškis you can taste as many as 17 kinds of dumplings!
The pride of the town of Jonava, situated half-an-hour away, is the old 35-metre high water tower, which has been converted into a mountaineering track. The town also features a skiing centre.
- Anykščiai-Kučiai-Rokiškis (Ethnographic Region of Aukštaitija II). Both along the tree-tops and carriage tracks
The tree-top walking path of Anykščiai at the height of 21 metres is the only of its kind in the Baltic countries. It is especially recommended to view the Anykščiai woods from the path not in summer, but in winter.
14 km away from Panevėžys, in the village of Kučiai – an impressive manor house of Bistrampolis. In the manor house, you can ride a horse or a carriage, or attend a concert.
The manor house of the count Tyzenhaus family in Rokiškis now houses Rokiškis Regional Museum. It is well-known for its unique tradition of exhibitions of nativity scenes. During the Christmas season, the manor house becomes the residence of Santa Claus. The manor house also features the tasting of the dishes of Christmas Eve of the ethnographic region of Aukštaitija.
- Joniškis-Gasčiūnai-Pakruojis-Žagarė (Ethnographic Region of Aukštaitija III). Where is the moustache of Tadas Blinda kept?
The manor house of Pakruojis is the largest complex of buildings of a manor house which has remained in Lithuania to date. It comprises as many as 43 buildings. The manor house not only re-creates the life of noblemen, but also offers educational and cultural events with the participation of brewer Žaldokas, a miller, a perfumer or a bee-keeper, while, in the tavern, even the moustache of Tadas Blinda, the leveller of the world, is kept!
You can become familiar with Žagarė Regional Park while walking along the educational path of Mūša marsh. This is the longest wooden path in the marshes in Lithuania.
Joniškis is famous for its synagogue complex which has remained to date. It consists of two stone buildings: the White and the Red Synagogues.
The community of the village of Gasčiūnai has founded a theatre, a choir and the Centre of Crafts as well as invites you to bread-baking and other educational programmes.
It is mandatory to taste: barley malt pancakes. www.facebook.com/JoniskioTVIC
- Mindūnai-Kulionys (Ethnographic Region of Aukštaitija IV). About lakes and outer space
The ethno-cosmology museum of Lithuania in the village of Kulionys, which reminds of a spaceship, is the only one of such kind in the world. You can watch the galaxies and the Moon here both in summer and in winter.
The village of Mindūnai features a 36-metre high panoramic survey tower with an impressive view around one of the regions of Lithuania which has the largest number of lakes. In the same village, you will also find the Lake Fishing Museum with numerous fishing attributes and a possibility to catch a fish and smoke it.
It is mandatory to taste: vendace. www.infomoletai.lt
The information has been prepared according to the TV programme Travel and Taste. Lithuania (Keliauk ir ragauk. Lietuva), which was created together with the State Department of Tourism.