Birštonas municipality

  Administrative centre – Birštonas
  Area – 124 km² (1.5 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 5261 (0.8 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Birštonas

Birštonas is located in the southern part of Kaunas county, at the Great Nemunas Loops. 82 % of the area is situated within the territory of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park. The Nemunas Loops Regional Park is one of the largest regional parks in the country; it occupies the area of 25 thousand ha. The purpose of the park is to preserve the unique landscape formed by the Nemunas River. Forests make up 46.6 %, agricultural land – 36.5 %, water bodies – 6.8 %, roads – 2.1 %, built-up area – 4.3 %, other land – 3.6 % of the municipality.

The administrative centre of the municipality – one of the most beautiful towns in Lithuania, Birštonas, located in the Nemunas Loop, fringed by forests. It was for the first time mentioned in 1382, in the New Prussian Chronicle. A defensive castle of the 15th century became a dukes’ hunting estate. Birštonas is a well-known balneological and mud therapy resort. The real revival of Birštonas started in 1846, when abundant mineral springs had been discovered and started to be used for medical purposes. The first convalescent homes were built in 1855. There are two sanatoriums – Versmė and Tulpė, which have indoor swimming-pools, mineral water and mud baths, as well as offer many other services. The oldest mineral water company in Lithuania, which was established as far back as in 1924, still functions in Birštonas. In the local factory, mineral water taken from deep wells (Vytautas, Birutė, BMV) is bottled. An important event – the starting of mud therapy traditions in Birštonas. Mud therapy resorts, decorated with the Red Cross emblem, were built in 1927.

Not only the unique natural resources but also the exceptional landscape attract holidaymakers to Birštonas and its environs. Birštonas is easily accessible; it offers recreational, medical, sports services. Holidaymakers may enjoy many pedestrian and bicycle routes, winding along riverbanks and forests surrounding the town. In the wintertime, these routes attract many skiers. Birštonas is a mecca for racewalking competitions and exercise. There are downhill ski tracks with a funicular and artificial snow covering near the Vytautas castle mound. Many guests from Lithuania and foreign countries come to Birštonas for medical or recreational purposes all year round.

The Birštonas Museum with a branch – the Sacral Museum – and a local public library engage in regional studies, cultural and educational activities. In the Culinary Heritage Museum, located in the Royal Residence, demonstrations of the cooking, tasting of, lectures on the dishes of the Lithuanian culinary heritage, various educational programmes are organised. The museum exhibits kitchen utensils and tableware, cooking books of the 16th–20th centuries, antique furniture, paintings and other cooking-related exhibits from Lithuania, Holland, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, America, and Australia.

In the environs of Birštonas, one may marvel at natural monuments – Škėvoniai, Siponiai, Kernuviai outcrops, as well as at archaeological historical monuments – Birštonas, Babronys, Paverkniai, Nemajūnai, Šaltinėnai, Šilėnai castle mounds. The cultural heritage objects of Birštonas are mud therapy resorts, Jundeliškės manor, Kurhauzas, the churches of St Anthony of Padua in Birštonas and Sts. Peter and Paul in Nemajūnai. Many cultural events – concerts, exhibitions – take place in Birštonas; among them – the traditional town festival, sports dance competition, famous biennial International Jazz Festival. On the last Saturday of May of each year, marvellous nature of Birštonas gathers together poets and critics to a spiritual performance, where the authors recite their works to the sound of music.

Useful links
Birštonas municipality
Birštonas tourism information centre