Birstonas is a popular resort in the south of Lithuania, surrounded by endless pine forests and the Neman River that crosses the city three times. The area of the city is only 13 km2, and the population is about 2,500 inhabitants. The popularity of Birstonas as a spa town was brought by muddy baths, peat mud and 13 springs of therapeutic mineral water, the complex application of which helps to effectively fight diseases of the musculoskeletal apparatus, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, oncological and gynecological diseases.
History of Birstonas
The city of Birstonas is first mentioned in the military chronicle, authored by Vygandas Marburgietis. According to his records, in 1382 year, as part of the attack on Lithuania, a part of Marshal Kun von Hatenstein's army was sent to Birstonas. Later in the Konigsberg archives historians found almost two dozen reports of crusader scouts from 1384-1402, who mentioned a manor near the "salt water" called Birsten or Birstan. The Battle of Grunwald in 1411 year ended the Crusader raids and for some time Birstonas fell out of the sight of historians. There are reports that monarchs of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, especially Vytautas and Casimir IV with children, loved to hunt in the vicinity of Birstonas.
The comprehensive development and prosperity of the resort began in 1846 year, when the mineral water was used to treat the stomach and nerves. Dr. Benediktas Bilinskis was the first to discover the curative properties of water, research and contribute to the official designation of Birstonas as a resort town. This remarkable event dates back to 1854 year, in 1855 the first hospital was already opened, and by the beginning - middle of the 60s of the XIX century the fame of the resort had spread to all corners of the vast Russian Empire. By 1914, there were 3 health resorts with 72 baths, and more than 200 people could be treated at the same time.
World War I caused huge damage to the resort, destroying almost all hotels and buildings, but with the efforts of the Lithuanian Red Cross in 1924 year the resort was re-equipped and modernized: plumbing, sewerage, electricity, street lighting were installed, muddy baths were installed, healing mud was delivered from Velniabliudis peat bog, the park area was improved, a fountain and mineral water tanks were installed. Thanks to great luck, World War II passed by Birstonas, leaving the entire infrastructure intact. After the war, the resort continued to be built and developed, becoming one of the best resorts in Lithuania.
Birstonas sights and attractions
The main attraction of the small and cozy Birstonas remains the river Neman and the forests surrounding the city. It is very pleasant that hiking and cycling trails are available everywhere in the city and even in the forests. We especially recommend walking along the Skevionys (1.6 km) and Velniabliudis (1.5 km) educational trails and cycling along Zverincius Forest Trail (15 km). A special pleasure is given to balloon and glider flights, which allow you to look at the picturesque valley of the Neman River from a bird's eye view. Active recreation enthusiasts can also visit the ski slopes on Mount Vytautas: two slopes with lengths of 160 and 300 meters respectively, illuminated at night and equipped with a lift.
Sports and cultural events are held at Birstonas almost every month:
- Spring. Jazz Festival, International Rowing Championship, Race Walking Competition and Creative Evenings "Spring of Poetry".
- Summer. City Day, celebration of St. John's Day, "Neman Bogatyr" strongman contest, festival of organ music, festival of rural theaters, "August with trumpets" music festival.
- Autumn. Musical and dance festival "Summer Mosaic", youth festival of ethnic dances "Yevar Bridges", art exhibition "Gloria Deo", dance competition "Birston Autumn".
- Winter. In December, a number of entertainment events are held as part of the "Holiday Entertainment Month".
We will describe the most popular sights of Birstonas in more detail, but here is just a list of tourist places worth your attention: Skevonsky outcrop, "Ozhku Pyacius" rock, Mount Vytautas, church of St. Anthony of Padua, church of St. Peter and St. Paul, museum of culinary heritage.
Nemunas Loops Regional Park
The Nemunas River (aka Neman) is the largest river in Lithuania and a unique natural phenomenon. In its middle reaches, the Neman is of the greatest interest for unusual landscapes and curves, and for many years it has been a matter of giving these lands the status of a nature reserve. It was not until 1992 that the Nemunas Loop Regional Park was opened with a total area of 25,000 ha. More than 2/3 of the park is occupied by thick pine forests, there are 17 sanctuaries, dozens of natural, historical and cultural heritage sites. A walk in the park will bring great aesthetic pleasure, calm your nerves and give you the opportunity to forget about the bustling city for at least a few hours.
Birstonas Sacral Museum
If you are in the vicinity of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, do not be lazy to visit the nearby Birstonas Sacral Museum, opened in 2000 year. A small, neat, national-style house houses an impressive collection of sacred art, with an emphasis on religious art. You will be shown traditional textiles, antique paintings, liturgical dishes, works of Czech sculptors, memorial expositions. We will not reveal all the secrets, but even if you are not interested in history and religion, be sure: some exhibits will surprise and impress you!
Birstonas Historical Museum
The museum was opened in 1967 year by the efforts of local high school students. It was they who collected documents, photographs and various objects related to the history of Birstonas. So far, more than 8 thousand exhibits have been collected, divided into three semantic groups. The first tells about the first settlements on the territory of modern Birstonas, medieval wars and heroes, the development of the resort until the mid-19th century. The second exposition covers the period from the middle of the 19th century to 1959 and gives an idea of the years of the First and Second World Wars, illustrates the major flooding of 1958 and other important historical events. And the third and last part of the collection will tell guests about the modern history of Birstonas, its becoming the leading balneological resort in Lithuania.
How to get to Birstonas
The closest cities to Birstonas with an airport are Kaunas (40 km) and Vilnius (100 km). There are many ways to get to the hotel from there: by taxi, rented car, public transport or by ordering transfer on our website. With a taxi everything is clear: left the terminal, saw a taxi, sat down and went. It's very fast and comfortable, but it will hit your pocket pretty good.
In case your company has drivers and you plan to travel around the area, it makes sense to rent a car for the rest period. The road from Vilnius to Birstonas will take about one and a half hours. The most convenient way to drive on the A1 highway is to take the left junction after Triliskes onto 1806 highway, which in turn will take you to the A16 highway and it will already take you to the final destination. The alternative is to go straight to the A16, that's how buses go. It takes about 40 minutes to get out of Kaunas: first take highway 130, then take the A16.
Public transport is represented in this region by bus service. From Vilnius, the bus runs for almost 2 hours, you will find routes 274 and 366, which depart from the railway station. The ticket price is 6-8 euros. From Kaunas you can travel 40 minutes by bus, approximately the same as by car, the ticket price is 3-4 euros. Buses depart from Kaunas bus station, route No. 366 will suit you. The route numbers match, as they are served by the same company - Kautra - and this is done for ease of remembering.