Welcome to the Lithuanian pilot area!
Žemaitija National Park
ŽNP is the European Tourist Destination of Excellence in Intangible Heritage, 2008 (EDEN of the European Commission).
The wavy landscape of Žemaitija was molded 10 000 - 12 000 years ago by the glaciers. Typical are the moraine hills and ridges around Plateliai Lake and a great number of deeper or shallower lakes, bogs and meandering streams. The highest point is 191,8 m above sea level. The lowest point is the ~ 50 m deep depression in the lake of Plateliai.
Žemaitija is also famous for its rich cultural heritage from the Stone Age. There are more than 200 items of cultural value including castle hills, sacrifice hills, burial mounds and ancient settlements. The people of this area, the žemaičiai, have preserved their dialect, customs, characteristic traits, original buildings and vernacular architecture. The most significant architectural sights are the churches in Plateliai, Beržoras and Žemaičių Kalvarija, the Water Mill in Babrungėnai and some ancient farmsteads. More than 90 ancient artworks are preserved, mostly crosses, chapels, and poles with statuettes of a saint that have been built alongside roads or fixed on trees.
Local artists carry on the old traditions of wood carving and painting. Museums in Žemaitija are unique and worth seeing: the Shrove Tuesday Museum, the Cold War Museum and the regional Museum of Žemaitė in Plateliai.
Different touristic activities are possible: hiking, cycling, angling, diving, canoeing, yachting, boating, windsurfing, camping and taking part in traditional festivals such as St. Johns night, Shrove Tuesday or church processions. There is a well developed network of farmsteads which offer countryside tourist accomodations (bed & breakfast). Development of bicycle infrastructure is ongoing.
Žemaitija National Park (ŽNP) was established in 1991 with the aim of preserving, managing and sustainably developing the area. It also encourages traditional farming methods and environmentally sensitive tourism. Its total area is 21 720 ha. With its rich biodiversity, including more than 200 protected species such as black stork, honey-buzzard, lynx and otter, Žemaitija National Park is also protected by both Natura 2000 directives.