What to see in Lithuania, if you have only a few days in the country? We’ll give you a few ideas. A couple of weeks ago we went on a short trip to Lithuania which was organized by the National Tourism Development Agency “Travel Lithuania”. During this trip we visited some carefully handpicked places — these locations are either the finalists or the winners of EDEN competition.
What is the EDEN competition?
EDEN, or European Destinations of Excellence, is an international project which is supported by the European Commission.
Each year one most attractive tourist destination is selected in every participating country. These awards are given to unique, less-famous European tourist destinations promoting social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Lithuania has been participating in the EDEN project since 2008.
We did it on a 2 days / 1 night trip. For the best experience, better plan 3 full days.
To have a more relaxing holiday and be able to spend more time in each place. Or, if you are interested in participating in their educational programs and activities, or just relaxing by the nature, you can spend even more days.
All of these places are located close to the Latvian border.
This means you can easily combine a trip to Lithuania with a short visit to Latvia.
What to See in Lithuania: Manors and Palaces
During our short trip to Lithuania in February 2020 we visited 6 places.
For some it may seem a lot, for some, on the other hand, not enough. But, believe me, if you are just like us who loves to take it slow and doesn’t rush just to tick off places, 6 places in 2 days is a lot, even too much. The two days we spent in Lithuania were very busy, and we often felt that we would love to spend more time in every place we visited.
The locations in this post are listed in the order we visited them.
1. Pakruojis Manor
The beautiful Pakruojis Manor is our favorite.
In 2017, it was awarded “The most attractive attraction of Lithuanian cultural tourism” award.
Pakruojis Manor is the largest manor in Lithuania.
The manor is located on the outskirts of the town of the same name — Pakruojis.
Pakruojis Manor is a beautiful place. It is very popular tourist attraction for families, as the massive area surrounding it is very beautiful — perfect for recreation and relaxing. As well as many concerts, exhibitions and cultural events are held there. Also you can participate in many workshops and learn different crafts.
The people who run this manor do a great job — the experience is absolutely authentic.
When we visited the manor, we felt like going back to the past — 200 years back.
On the photo above you can see the baron and his wife. They showed us around the manor and told about its history. If you want a similar experience, you can book it on the official webpage of the manor (see above).
Every winter the Great Lights of China festival is held at Pakruojis Manor. Why? At first we though that this is random — just a beautiful festival that will attract more tourists. But there is a connection between the Chinese lanterns and a former owner of the manor. One of the owners in 19th century has visited China, and he absolutely loved it. And organizing the Lantern Festival every year is a way to honour the former owner of the Pakruojis Manor.
If you plan to visit Pakruojis Manor in summer, you’ll see an abundance of flowers, as the Flower Festival is held every summer.
Check the website of Pakruojis Manor to see the event calendar.
It is best to visit the manor during weekdays, because it’s less crowded then. Excursions are in English, Russian and Lithuanian.
There is a good restaurant right next to the manor — Traktierius. There you can taste delicious dishes from Northern Lithuania.
Where to stay in Pakruojis?
Check out Pakruojis Manor’s Palace Boutique Hotel.
Another option: Pakruojis Manor Miller’s House Hotel.
2. The City of Zarasai
Just like any other destination on this list, Zarasai is a unique place.
In 2010 it was awarded “The most attractive sustainable water tourism” award.
The beauty of Zarasai city is in its location — it is surrounded by lakes, hills and pine forests.
There are almost three hundred lakes in the Zarasai region. Because of this fact, the region is called the Lithuanian Switzerland.
Zarasai is the perfect destination for outdoor lovers who don’t want to compromise on comfort and convenience. During the day travellers can explore the nature, but in the evening — return to the comforts of the city.
Zarasai city boasts a unique tourist attraction which has no equal in Lithuania — the Zarasai Observation Wheel.
It’s a 17-metre high structure, overlooking Lake Zaras.
Where to stay in Zarasai?
Check out Booking.com.
3. Paliesius Manor
What Paliesius Manor is known for? Medical tourism.
There is a physical therapy clinic in Paliesius Manor which attracts many visitors from all around Lithuania and abroad. There patients get treated for diabetes, obesity, stress and insomnia. The forest next to the manor have plenty of paths suitable for hiking, cycling, and skiing.
The clinic also offers healing and relaxing massages and spa.
In 2019, Paliesius Manor was a finalist in “The most attractive health tourism destination in Lithuania” category.
Even if you are perfectly healthy, do not hesitate and come to relax in Paliesius Manor. The peace and quiet, the starry skies and no noise pollution — is a rare occurrence in the cities these days. So, Paliesius Manor is the perfect place for a break from a busy city.
The old stables covered by a large glass roof have become a special concert venue, and musicians come here to record their albums in special designated recording studios.
Where to stay in Paliesius?
Book a room at Paliesius Dvaras!
4. Rokiskis Manor
Rokiškis Manor is the most attractive tourist attraction in Lithuania in 2011.
It is located in Rokiskis, a city which is popular for its cheese.
Inside the manor is Rokiškis Regional Museum, where you can learn about the culture and history of the manor.
The manor hosts art exhibitions, concerts and classes where travellers learn to weave bands, make brass jewellery and create pottery. In Rokiskis Manor you can also taste the famous Rokiskis cheese.
If you are travelling to Rokiskis Manor with your kids, we have great news — there is a on-site nanny service.
Rokiskis Manor is not the only building in the manor complex.
There are 16 authentic manor buildings and a huge park with ponds.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of time, we visited only the main building.
5. Ilzenberg Manor
Located just a few hundred meters from the Latvian border, Ilzenberg Manor boasts a large park, conference rooms, sauna, and a hotel. On top of that, the manor features a large agricultural farm — it produces healthy and natural food, grown and prepared with special care. You can taste the produce at the manor.
Unlike with the other manors on this list, people are living in the manor all year-round, just because the organic farm requires attention on a daily basis.
In 2017, Ilzenberg Manor was a finalist in “The most attractive cultural tourism attraction in Lithuania” category.
If you want to learn more about the history of Ilzenberg manor, you can book a tour of the manor with a private guide.
Staying at Ilzenberg Manor
Contact the management of the manor.
6. Birzai Castle
It was very late, and due to the lack of time, we visited the castle only briefly.
We only had a guided tour of the museum and a beer tasting.
It was the most fun we’ve ever had tasting beer. We were accompanied with a local band playing traditional Lithuanian songs. We sang, we danced, we drank… Quite a lot! We had so much fun!
But tasting beer is not the only thing you can do in Birzai Castle.
Yes, Birzai indeed is famous for its delicious beer, but there’s more to it that its beer.
One more thing Birzai is known for — it is its mysterious sinkholes. Some are dry where the structure of earth layers may be observed, others have turned into lakelets.
Birzai Castle museum boasts a rich exposition, and holds events for children and adults alike.
Try traditional Lithuanian cuisine and various beers at the renowned restaurant Alaus Kelias.
It is located a couple of minute-drive away from the castle.
Where to stay in Birzai?
Check out booking.com.
Have you been to any of these places? What other interesting places in Lithuania you could recommend to visit?
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.