Nemunas River Delta Regional Park (Lithuania)
In this vast region, covering nearly 2,000-square kilometers, water activities reign supreme. Guided canoe tours through the Curonian Lagoon are very popular amongst visitors. For anglers, the lagoon is the ultimate paradise. Many gather in the area in the summer seasons, but also in the winter, when the lagoon freezes over and ice-fishing takes precedent.
For history explorers, Rusne is the place to see. It is one of the oldest settlements in the delta and is marked by a church tower from 1419. Outside the delta in the surrounding towns, there are many old-fashioned homesteads that offer places to stay. There, tourists can visit many crafts shops and get a tasting of the fine local cuisine.
The Route of Lighthouses is another choice tourist destination. The 14-kilomter tour through the Atmata River and Curonian Lagoon is a great way to see the many old lighthouses known to the region.
What makes the Nemunas River Delta Regional Park Special?
The park's history and unaltered landscapes really make the region standout. Many civilizations have battled for control over the Nemunas and there is an assortment of museums to visit that document these efforts.
The Nemunas is also home to 55 rare species of birds that use the wetlands for their breeding grounds. Over 40 types of mammals also live in the park, making it one of the few thriving ecosystems unharmed by man. With such unmatched beauty and plentiful wildlife, the rationale as to why countries have battled over the Nemunas is obvious.
Environmental conservation is a major foresight amongst the local municipalities. In 2004, the entire territory in the regional park was included in the "Natura 2000" network of the European Union.
The wetland complex is shared by Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation. As of now, only the Lithuanian part of the delta is protected nationally. Efforts are under way to include the entire region. Recently, an establishment of cross-border cooperation to protect the region's rare species was a step in the right direction.
What to look for in:
- Spring: Flooding wetlands from melting snow
- Summer: Canoes cutting through blue waters
- Fall: Visitors flocking to see the Bird Watching Rally
- Winter: The Curonian Lagoon filled with fortuitous ice-fishers
Highlights of the Nemunas River Delta Regional Park:
- Sip wine made from organic berries
- Breath the fresh, lakeside air
- Have a family picnic beside a river