With intriguing cycling routes, winding across the entire country, Lithuania is an all-around destination for cycling enthusiasts of all skills. The authentic nature, open spaces and trouble-free biking roads can be a great choice for this year's summer holiday.
Cycling is a popular sport and leisure time activity in many Northern European countries, such as Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany—the leading cycling-prone countries on the continent. Cycling continues to be one of the most dynamically growing industries in the rest of Europe as well. A recent report found that Europeans are expected to buy additional 10 million bikes per year by 2030—a staggering 47% more than the annual number in 2019.
The Baltics are swiftly catching up, and Lithuania is striving to promote biking among its citizens. Therefore, the quiet time during the lockdown was used to renovate the old and introduce some new biking trails all over the country just in time for the oncoming summer.
As a cycling destination, Lithuania is appealing to many for its versatility: both novice and experienced cyclists can enjoy the sight-filled biking routes without getting tired. Another reason for the allure is the exquisite nature, vast spaces, easy-to-bike roads, and outdoor activities such as kiting, kayaking, hiking, camping, and much more.
Bike wise, it's not complicated to bring one along to Lithuania. Whether the cycling enthusiasts go road-tripping with the bikes secured on a car, travel over with them strapped to campers, or rent one at the spot, almost all travelling options are suitable for bringing a bicycle along.
To let the cyclists appreciate the prevalent concept surrounding the Lithuanian landscape called "Real is Beautiful," Lithuania Travel, the national tourism development agency, is presenting 7 short-distance biking trails for the most relaxing and charming ride during the summer vacation.
A cycling route of 52 km might sound like a serious challenge, but the trail stretching from the port town of Klaipėda to the westernmost point of Lithuania, Nida, is fitted for seasoned and beginner cyclists alike. The route takes the bikers throughout the Curonian Spit and into the Curonian Spit National Park recognised by UNESCO as one of the most spectacular natural and cultural heritage sites in the Baltic Region.
This bike path is accompanied by the constant lull of the Baltic Sea waves, a generous stretch of sandy beaches to relax on, authentic fishermen farmsteads, and unusual tourist attractions, such as the Hill of Witches with mysterious wooden sculptures of witches, devils, and other supernatural characters. The grey heron and the great cormorant colonies along the path provide a unique opportunity to slow down and enjoy birdwatching.
The route Klaipėda-Šventoji offers an eyeful during the 40 km stretch. The bike trail leads bikers to the so-called Lithuanian summer capital Palanga, full of attractions worthy of a detour. For instance, the Amber Museum, housed in a former palace of local counts Tiškevičiai, contains exceptional amber collections. Bikers will also discover amazing sights in the Curonian Cemetery in Karklė, the glacial Lake Plazė, and the Nemirseta Coastal Dunes—all located along the bike trail. Finally, the trail ends at the seaside town Šventoji, which is known for its swaying Monkey Bridge and quiet spots for a relaxing summer visit.
3. Cycling in Rusnė Island
Sometimes called the Lithuanian Venice, Rusnė Island is the only Lithuanian island-town with bike trails amounting to 40 km. The town has a lot to offer for cyclists—from overflowing meadows and canals, to plenty of spots to boat and fish. The island is also beckoning tourists with the remaining pieces of the 19th century architecture: Evangelical Lutheran Church, one of the oldest churches in Lithuania, and Uostadvaris Lighthouse, which offers gorgeous surroundings of the island and a panorama of the Curonian lagoon.
4. Around Lake Plateliai
This bike route of 24 km lays bare some of the most scenic Lithuanian lakes. Cyclists may take the trail to tour across Žemaitija National Park which has countless locations for a summer picnic. The route is suitable for those with an adventurous spirit since it offers a variety of picturesque views: Plateliai Manor, Siberija Technological Reserve, one of the most valuable marshes in the National Park, and Beržoras, an old-age village and a state-protected cultural object. And to introduce some goose bumps to the trip, bikers may stop by the Cold War Museum which is situated in an underground missile silo.
5. Cycling in the Capital Vilnius
As the capital town, Vilnius is sure to amaze travelers with plenty of tourist attractions. What's even better, the city may be explored on a bike just as easily as on foot. Since Vilnius is known for its charming old town with cobbled streets, tiny alleys, and old-age architecture, all bikers will find something unique in it. For instance, a bike trail that goes from the Cathedral Square to Europa Park—an open-air museum with strangely alluring sculptures—is a great way to get to know the city.
And for those without their own bike the city has a perfect solution—the Cyclocity bike sharing system where everyone can take a bike, cycle around the city, and leave it in one of 20 docks situated all over the city.
6. Along the Lakes and Islands of Trakai
Having explored the attractions of the capital, bikers can take their bikes for a spin in the historical capital Trakai near Vilnius. Although the shortest bike trail of all (18 km), this route will definitely leave the cyclist wanting for more. Trakai District actually has almost 200 lakes, and probably the most beautiful of them all is Lake Galvė—one of the largest in Trakai District and one of the deepest in Lithuania.
The enchanting atmosphere of the route is created by copious amounts of bays, tiny lake islands, and, of course, Trakai Island Castle—former residence of Lithuanian Grand Duke and a massive tourist attraction. The relatively short distance of the route makes it family friendly while water sport enthusiasts—divers, sailors, rowers—will positively find something to hang around for.
7. Cycling Routes in Kaunas
The cycling routes in the second largest city in Lithuania, Kaunas, were built to admire the interwar architecture of the city. The visitors of the city who have several hours at their disposal, can take a cycling route of 35 km to discover the scenic views of the Nemunas and the Neris Rivers, the baroque beauty of Pažaislis Monastery, and colourful street art decorations on buildings. Kaunas' never-ending love affair with Art Deco style makes cycling around the city a joy to be experienced over and over again.
Although the routes above are designed for a laid-back cycling around Lithuania, there are several long-distance bike routes for more seasoned bikers, covering distances from 185 to 342 km. Information on all cycling routes along with useful tips is available in "Lithuania on Two Wheels" publication here.