Every single town in Lithuania has something interesting to offer. It can be a church built by the Grand Dukes or a legend about a girl who saved the village or a story about the violinist and his heartwarming melody. Zarasai is proud of its seven lakes and an island, its hills, rivers, and a forest. Zarasai town is surrounded by more than 300 lakes, with some of them being the biggest in whole Lithuania - Drūkšiai, Sartai and Luodis. Some people are also calling this town Lithuania's little Switzerland because of its lakes and Lithuanian hills. Thus, here is a short story about this Lithuanian Switzerland and its attractions.
Zarasai - little Switzerland in Lithuania
Zarasai town was known from the end of 14th century. Originally, it was the place where an ancient Baltic tribe Sėliai used to live. Nowadays, Zarasai is a resort town located in the north-eastern part of Lithuania. This town is very well-known for aquatic tourism, which is no surprise when you have more than three hundred lakes around.
Picture © Credits to volcjoks
Zarasai town and its surroundings have a lot of things to offer. Here, you can find the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows in Salakas, entirely built of rough-hewn stone and the Antazavė neoclassical manor house, where you can try some crafts typical for this region. Also, near Zarasai is the Cultural center Dusetos Art Gallery with many exhibitions, plein air paintings, symposiums, etc.
As the Punia pinewood, the town of Zarasai is also proud of its incredibly old tree - the Stelmužė oak, which is 1500 years old. This oak is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Zarasai. Also, it is the oldest oak in Lithuania and one of the oldest in whole Europe. The oak tree is declared the natural monument of Lithuania, and it is included into the list of protected objects. The oak by itself is stunning. Some scientists even believe that it is older than 2000 years. Also, while looking at the tree, you really can see and feel that this oak is really, really old.
Picture © Credits to Birute
Near the Stelmužė oak, the Church of the Holy Cross is standing from the middle of 17th century. The church is completely wooden and was constructed using only the axes as tools, no other tool nor saws nor iron nails were used. Later on, the church was a little bit decorated, and now it has some baroque style elements - sculptures, old religious paintings and high reliefs.
Zarasai observation bridge is the highlight of this resort town. The architecture of this bridge is unique and has no analogs in Lithuania. The construction looks modern and perfectly fits into the surroundings. From the 17 meters high bridge, all the most beautiful views of the town are in front of the eyes - Zarasai lake surroundings and the Great Island of Zarasai, where the celebrations and summers festivals are held. There are many islands near Zarasai. The biggest - the Great Island is also sometimes called little Switzerland of Lithuania. Also, there is one more island called England. Actually, nobody knows from where these names came from.
The stairway down the observation bridge leads to the path of Zarasai Lake, which is about one kilometer long. It is a perfect place for swimming and picnicking in summer, and in winter, it perfectly suits to the long and slow walks, with a tea and hot chocolate in the hands.
Zarasai town, since the observation bridge was opened in 2011, every year attracts more and more people - locals and tourists. The town is beautiful in both - winter and summer seasons. The lakes, old trees, hills and quote streets make this town special - real Lithuania's little Switzerland.
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