Why are Lithuanians obsessed with nature?

07 October, 2022
Merkinė Observation Tower - ©Andrius Aleksandravičius & Lithuania Travel

In a country this green, there’s no shortage of opportunities to escape to nature.

Lithuanians love nature. No matter the season, they’re always ready to head outdoors. Hiking in forests, kayaking in rivers, even foraging wild mushrooms and berries – nature is the place where Lithuanians spend a lot of their free time. 

But why is nature so important to the Lithuanian lifestyle? Here’s what’s behind this obsession.

Nature everywhere

Wherever you are in Lithuania, pristine nature is only a few steps away. Despite industrial development of the 19-20th centuries, the country has preserved large spaces of natural forest. In fact, over a third of Lithuania is covered by forest, so you’re surrounded by greenery more often than not. And with more than 6,000 lakes dotted across Lithuania, you’re also never far from an opportunity to cool off. 

Vilnius © Go Vilnius

The majority of Lithuanian cities and towns have a fair share of green spaces, too. The capital Vilnius is one of the greenest cities in Europe, while Kaunas and Klaipėda also boast multiple public parks and gardens. In a country this green, there’s no shortage of opportunities to escape to nature. It’s no surprise that Lithuanians often choose to do just that.

Ancient ties to the forest 

Famously the last pagan nation in Europe, Lithuanians have preserved the close connection their ancestors had with nature. Ancient Lithuanians didn’t have temples but glorified their gods in forests and groves. The forest also fed and warmed them with firewood, and provided material for crafts. This long-standing practical and spiritual bond between people and nature is still evident today. For modern Lithuanians, the forest is not a place of worship, but a space to rest from the rapid pace of modern life.

Kurtuvėnai Regional Park © A. Aleksandravičius & Lithuania Travel

Plenty of ways to enjoy nature

In Lithuania, there are multiple ways to get in sync with nature. Whether an active adventurer or a relaxed explorer, you always have options for an open-air outing. And as the seasons change so do the experiences of those who venture to the country’s great outdoors. That’s why many Lithuanians make time to enjoy nature all year round. 

We’ve already mentioned foraging for mushrooms and berries, a favoured traditional Lithuanian pastime. At the end of summer and in autumn, Lithuanian forests are full with people “armed” with knives and wicker baskets. And because the pickers often brag about the number and size of the mushrooms they found, foraging for mushrooms is sometimes jokingly called a Lithuanian national sport.

Ancient streambeds, winding rivers, and scenic valleys are not only part of Lithuania’s striking landscapes, but also the reason why canoeing and kayaking are so popular here. But if a Lithuanian isn’t in the mood for water sports, there’s also a wide network of campsites and forest trails, as well as 5 national and 30 regional parks that safeguard the most impressive scenery of every region in Lithuania. 

Kaunas Lagoon Beach © A. Aleksandravičius & Lithuania Travel

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many activities that Lithuanians enjoy outdoors. Connecting to nature is easy when it’s so accessible, and the simple pleasure of being outdoors is key for a healthy work-life balance (head to our post on slow living in Lithuania to learn more). Rest assured – while Lithuanians love nature, those who make Lithuania their home soon fall in love with it too.