Plateliai is the biggest lake in Samogitia and the ninth biggest in Lithuania. Despite the area of the lake, this natural pearl charms many people's hearts. Nature there is unique, and tourism in this area is widely prevalent. Also, during the summer, the lake attracts thousands of people and is one of the most popular weekend destinations. Plateliai Lake is positioned near the Plateliai town, which is a cozy place surrounded by Žemaitija National Park woods and full of open-hearted people who still speak their unique dialect. There are many ways to explore the surroundings of Plateliai Lake - by foot, by car or even by water renting small boats or kayaks. But if you want to explore all possible corners of this lake, there is one little secret - a bicycle path surrounding Plateliai Lake is the best possible way to do it. If you are ready for a 24 kilometers ride, let's go.
The bicycle path around Plateliai Lake starts at Žemaitija National Park Visitors Center, where you will get all the relevant information about the path, but also get some maps and spots in Plateliai where you can rent a bike. Plus, you will see some expositions about Žemaitija National Park and especially Plateliai Lake, notwithstanding that there you will find information about the Samogitian dialect. If you are a real linguist, you can ask the stuff to teach you some words, and they will be more than happy to do that. Just an interesting fact - the Samogitian dialect, especially the old version of it, sounds really different from the original Lithuanian.
With the better knowledge of the region and newly rented bikes, let's start our tour with some explorations in the Plateliai town. In the written sources, it was mentioned from the 15th century, while in the 18th century, this little town got the Magdeburg rights, and untill nowadays it keeps this privileged spirit. Even though a tiny town (just 1000 inhabitant), it has several things to see - the central square with the Sant Peters and Pauls Church, various statues, a yacht club, the Plateliai Manor homestead. Also, for an excellent start of the day, there are some restaurants that offer the Lithuanian and especially Samogiatian cuisine.
After exploring the Plateliai town, prepare yourself for a 24 kilometers long ride which can last around 4-5 hours. So, it is better to start the tour in the morning to have a whole day for that. One of the main places to visit during this tour is the Siberian observation tower, which stands near the Beržoras village. The observation tower is 15 kilometers high, and from it, all the majestic Plateliai Lake views will open. Moreover, the landscape of Beržoras Lake, Siberian swamp, and the Plateliai town is also visible. Going further, you will explore the most beautiful natural spots of Žematija National Park - the Plokščiai forest, various ponds, small villages, the Plateliai lake observation desk, and the Plateliai lake beach. With a map in your hands, it will be hard to miss something important.
Besides these hidden nature spots, it is also possible to explore something more. Some of these things are the Cold War Museum and the L. Černiauskas Art Gallery. The Cold War Museum shows the exposition of the Cold War that was there for about five decades. The Museum exposition presents a visual and graphic material telling about the principles of organization and operation of nuclear weaponry, which once was completely secret during the Soviet empire, as well as some examples of the Cold War weaponry. The L. Černiauskas Art Gallery is established at the old water mill in Babrungėnai, built in 1816. The art gallery shows the paintings and hand made woodcrafts made by the owner of the gallery.
The bicycle path around Plateliai Lake, for sure, has to be on your bucket list of Lithuania. This ride is a perfect opportunity to explore all the most valuable spots and hidden gems of Plateliai Lake surroundings. Moreover, there, you will see not only natural objects but also some human inputs - the observation tower architecture, the Plateliai town, and even the art gallery and the Cold War Museum, which is a perfect stop for all history lovers.
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