Zarasai District with Children - Kelionės su vaikais Traveling
Zarasai District with Children
Zarasų rajone su vaikais

Zarasai District with Children

Aleksandra and her son Domantas have been travelers since Domantas was born. As soon as the little one turned 3 months old, he had to get used to sleeping in the car, he had his own bed in the trunk and to this day the trunk is the family’s favorite snack spot. Aleksandra is active in activities and as soon as her son started walking, she organized the first excursion for mothers with babies to Anykščiai. “We were 5 mothers and 6 babies in strollers. People’s reactions to watching our stroller train traveling around Anykščiai were amazing. Since then, I have been eager to travel with my child and show him as much of Lithuania and the world as possible.”

Aleksandra shares that she always has a blanket in the car, a set of outdoor dishes, all kinds of outdoor games and entertainment, a travel pillow, in other words, the entire travel arsenal. “We are enthusiasts of traveling around Lithuania and explorers of the Zarasai region. We prepare for trips quickly, throw on backpacks, binoculars, hiking boots and we run! And if you want to visit Zarasai and see it not as a tourist, but through the eyes of a local person with children, we will be your best advisors.”

Small Towns are Far Away

If you are traveling to Salakas from the direction of Utena-Vilnius-Kaunas, then after turning right at Degučiai, you will find a picturesque paved road all the way to the town. And if you intend to visit Salakas on a warm summer day by driving from Zarasai, go around a wider circle and return on an impressive gravel road through the heart of the Gražutė Regional Park, where 80-90% of the rain falls. chances are you’ll meet deer, hares, foxes or some impressive forest birds along the way. Now we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Holy Lake

This route is most suitable if you plan to swim with the little ones. Then you need to travel from Zarasai in the direction of Ignalina and do not miss the turn at Šventoji lake. The coast of the holy lake is the most perfect place for swimming with the smallest ones. In good weather, you run the risk of ending up on a crowded coast, but for those coming from big cities, it might not seem like there are so many people, here we locals are more spoiled because of that… There are no toilets here, there are no places to buy snacks or drinks, there are no changing booths, but believe me – the shore will become your favorite in this area if you love nature and the forest! A long stretch of shallow shore with golden sand. Fantastic. Access is good, on a forest road. If you are not interested in swimming in Lake Šventoji, you can also drive from Zarasai to Salakai via Degučiai.

More information with exact coordinates of this location in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Fascinating Guide and Education in the Gražutė Regional Park

In the very center of Salakas, you will find the visitor center of Gražutė Regional Park. There, a great guide opens magic boxes for children that contain huge puzzles, there is a drawing corner for children, and if you have more time, the whole family can play educational games with local maps, sorting themes, etc. As Aleksandra herself says, “Very nice guide!” When asked if there is a changing table in the center, she thought about it and said – “hmm, there isn’t, but we will definitely come up with something if necessary!”

In good weather, you can book 2-5 km hikes on the most interesting trails (Degučiai, Antalieptė) by prior arrangement.

Maritime Museum Not by The Sea

The V. Žilinskienė Maritime Museum is also located in the visitor center, which, as the locals say, is the farthest maritime museum from the sea in Lithuania. Children and parents of any age will have fun here. The exhibition is extensive, and if you could meet the owner of the exhibition (currently her health does not allow her to communicate with visitors, she is over 90 years old), you would get hundreds of the most interesting stories about each exhibit and the history of its origin. Be sure to pat the mask – that’s how all wishes come true. And if the weather outside is not pleasant, you can turn on the television in the visitor center and watch a film about the Maritime Museum exposition while sitting.

There are no cafes or eateries in Salakas, but there are two local shops right next to the visitor center where you can find something to eat and drink. The visitor center is accessible by wheelchair.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Exploring Salakas Both by Bike and on Foot

After the visitor center, if you like to walk or your child is in a stroller, with a bicycle, a scooter, it is possible without a car, or if you don’t really want to walk ~2 km back and forth to the lake, you get in the car and travel closer to the impressive church of Salakas. It might not leave a big impression on the little ones, but I still suggest you visit it, because if you are lucky enough to meet a pastor next to it or inside it, then if you ask nicely, he will let you go up to the high tower of the church. A fantastic panorama opens up from that mighty tower. Once we were lucky enough to get into a church when a wedding ceremony was going on and the organ was playing inside… Indescribable!

Bathing and the Educational Trail of Salakas

After the church, we travel to Luodis lakeside (by car or on foot). There is again a swimming pool with a beautiful shore, a children’s playground, places for grilling, tents, a basketball court and a great, not very long Salakas sightseeing trail. A mini version of it is to walk only along the wooden path back and forth along the lake past the observation tower, or you can also walk the entire path around, past the town, but here it will be boring for children and too far, unless you are already with children of an age that likes hiking. Make sure to take fun wooden sculptures with which children really like to take pictures with you. The path is suitable for carriages and other children’s vehicles. A WC can be found outside, but it’s tidy. You can also find a white herons nest on the coast of Luodis – they are spectacular birds. If you have binoculars, take them with you too.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Secret Tips and Discoveries when Things Go Wrong

Aleksandra reveals a secret to all readers, that if you make a very nice, very advanced arrangement, you can get bicycles and waterboards for 1 EUR/hour at the visitor center of Gražutė Regional Park, but not everyone is lucky, especially when there are many tourists at the same time…

When leaving Salakas, you have a choice – return to Zarasai on the same asphalted road through Degučiai, or on the way turn onto a gravel road at the sign “Zarasai 18 km” and drive through the Gražutė Regional Park on an excellent forest road. Fantastic forests, small lakes, and if it’s winter outside, you just have to go there, because the views of the snow-covered road are like from a fairy tale.

Nearby Educational Farm

One more object that should be mentioned when choosing gravel is the Nearby Educational Farm, whose owner is Aušra Mačiulytė, an artist, art therapist, herbalist and a bit of a witch, very charismatic and gets along well with children. It can be visited by prior arrangement by calling the phone number 865801175.

The farm is located in Tiltiškės (although some places on the internet still say “Lupenko km”, don’t get confused), and you can do all kinds of interesting things at its educational farm – ceramics, art, traditional cosmetics and beauty treatments.

My son would like the animals of Dawn the most, and here mothers and daughters can get a real ethnographic spa in a haven of all-natural nature. Romance…

There aren’t a lot of articles written about the Aušra Educational Farm, but don’t let that fool you and make you doubt the value of visiting it! For me and my son, travel is often not only about the places we visit, but also about the people we meet who greet us when we arrive. A nearby educational farm is the perfect example of this!

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Ferris Wheel

Another unique object of the city of Zarasai is the observation wheel. It’s where you start, because it’s where everyone often starts their cycling route or comes to watch the sunsets. The only downside is that there are a lot of wooden steps from the Ferris wheel to the Zarasai lake shore path that starts at the bottom. It is not very convenient to take bikes. If you are with strollers, bicycles, heavy scooters, it is best to visit the coastal path starting from the island to the observation wheel and back on the same road, so that you do not have to carry anything anywhere. If your goal is only the Ferris wheel, then you can easily go around it with carts, bicycles or other transport, and then you can travel to the island by car.

This year, an outdoor cafe opened near the observation wheel, where you can find sushi and seafood, and cheese donuts for children. There is another fast food restaurant on the other side of the street near the Zarasai region museum/library building.

There are a number of stone sculptures on the lawns next to the Ferris wheel. Since Aleksandra’s son Domantas is a stone lover, he takes pictures next to those sculptures at all times of the year. “He also has his favorite tree there, which he must climb…” says the charming mother.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

The Magic of Book Houses

If you are caught in bad weather at the Ferris wheel, stop by the public library of Zarasai district municipality (on the other side of the street, entrance through the new glass building.) There is a free children’s playroom on the second floor, a coffee gallery on the third floor where the kids really like to drink coffee from the machine, and overall a very nice building with lots of activities – various games, a telescope, a mini cinema, a smart bike with virtual tours, etc… The library is closed on Sundays, and on other days until 19:00 you can definitely have a great time here. There is a great observation deck on top of the building that can be accessed just by asking the librarians. There is an elevator, comfortable toilets.

On the first floor of the old part of the building, directly across the street from the observation wheel, there is the Zarasai Region Museum. If anyone is interested in history, ancient exhibits and rakands, stop by and take a look. The museum is closed on Mondays, but ticket prices can always be found on the website.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

The Island of Zarasai

According to Aleksandra, the island of Lake Zarasai is the pearl of the city of Zarasai. It is not only a place for walking, but also a place for work (many events of the summer season take place here, and she is an event organizer), for Domantas it is a place for ice cream, entertainment and swimming, and for both of them it is almost a second home in the warm season (and not only.)

The Lake Zarasai Island can be traveled along the coastal path from the Ferris wheel (on the way look for tree swings at the Maxima building), you can travel on foot if you like a lot of walking or cycling, you can drive all the way to the island, as there is a large free parking lot right next to it. It is true that when the weather is good, and especially on weekends, there is sometimes no space in that large parking lot. You can leave your car in the center (on weekends there are free spaces around Sēliau aixte), and rent bicycles or e-bikes. scooters or mopeds and go “green” to the island. Bicycles are rented by the Zarasai Tourism and Business Information Center (Sēlių a. 22.) There are also places to eat around Sēliau aixte.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Mind the Wind

Whichever tour option you choose, keep in mind that the entrance to the island is windy and even on a very hot day, part of the island resembles a beach. Currently (until the second part of summer, that’s for sure) more than half of the island is closed to visitors. The Great and Small Valleys of the island are undergoing reconstruction, infrastructure is being adapted for events, a large walking path around the entire island is being completed and another amazing, huge beach is being built too. The Wood Sculpture Park also falls within that enclosed area.

This year, in the approaches to St. John’s Island, you can see huge straw sculptures in the lake. After St. John’s Day, based on those sculptures, an orientation game will be created for a trip around the island by searching and scanning QR codes (look for of the game “Code – St. John’s Day.”)

At the beginning of the island there is a wide beach and a great beach for children. The only inconvenience is that both the beach and the shore are stony and not suitable for all legs. And if your favorite activity, like Aleksandra’s son Domantas, is digging holes – this place is ideal for you.

There are decent toilets near the beach in wooden buildings, near the cafe, where you can get snacks, drinks, and also ice cream.

For us, the island is an amusement park all year round. Here is also a place for summer picnics, on the island you can meet deer and beaver – but here only if you are very lucky, not during the tourist season. Here it is fun to watch birds nesting, swans warming themselves on the coast with their babies.

We hope that the island of Lake Zarasai will leave an indelible impression on you too, because the locals still continue to admire it when they live here and visit the island every week.

Barefoot Paths

The barefoot trail belongs to the rural tourism homestead complex. However, it can also be visited without staying at the homestead for a symbolic “donation”, which you can give to the owner on the spot or put in the “donation box.” He is usually somewhere nearby and greets visitors. If you come in the off-season, you can walk for free, but the place, the views and the culmination of the walk – the picnic in the tree – will always be unique.

“We sat with Domantas and sipped tea above the beautiful lake, and the friendly dog ​​of the owners – our guide – accompanied us the whole time of the walk,” shared Aleksandra with her son. On the trail you will find charming wooden sculptures with descriptions, climbing frames, spaces for various active activities. And a unique foot massage is guaranteed!

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

Šiaudinės skulptūros saloje

Shavasha Educational Trail

Another great object for nature lovers is the Šavaša educational trail. Šavaša is the only mountain river in Lithuania – it is very romantic, stony, flowing, cool. In the warm season, walking along the path feels like traveling through a green corridor.

Aleksandra and her son Domantas like to visit this place in early spring or already in autumn – fewer mosquitoes, fewer people, nature awake or soaked in colors. This trail should be chosen with children already used to hiking. It is not long, but very mountainous. Children, of course, will not miss a single stone that can be climbed on, and there are such stones in the river as well, they are slippery. At the end of the trail there is a large meadow with a “Bunny School” – gazebos and a fireplace, and on the way one of the trail’s “stops” is called the “Island of Love” – ​​a great place for dad and mom to remember and confess how much they love each other. However, we do not recommend walking on this trail after rain – the trail is slippery and sticky.

After visiting the Šavaša Trail, visit the Antalieptė resort near the hydroelectric power plant – it is another great place for a picnic and also for bird watching.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

The Ruins of Marimont and the Beauties of the Forests

Finally, about the beauties of the forests in the Zarasai district – Marimontas, the partisan mound and the Pakačinė mound in Antazavė.

Marimontas is said to be the “mountain of the dead”, a mystical place surrounded by legends. Well, it’s really strange to find a stone-paved road in the middle of the forest, which was once used by horse-drawn carriages. There are stories that say that more than one person could not stand on the hill and slipped into the water underneath when drunk instead.

Nowadays, the ruins of Marimontas are accessible by car along a good forest road, and if you like to hike, you can leave the car on the main road and follow the forest paths on foot. You can spend a good half-day in this part of the Sartai Regional Park, because there are many forest paths, everywhere there are signs with pointers to places of interest.

Unfortunately, the very interesting lands used by partisans near Marimontas are currently surrounded by a “stop lane.” Apparently, the wooden walls that have been hiding underground for several years have rotted, it is no longer safe to enter the underground, but it is still interesting to walk around, explore the trenches, the nearby swamp. The forest paths can also be passed by vehicles and bicycles. When you get to Pakacinė mound, you will have to roll up your sleeves and climb up the many wooden steps (then you will have to go back down the same stairs.) Be careful when climbing – some stairs there are quite old.

More information with exact coordinates of this location can be found in the “Travelling with Children ®” attractions map.

This article is author’s work and was prepared by “Travelling with Children ®”. Copying and using without the permission of the author or “Travelling with Children ®” is strictly prohibited.
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