Autumn discoveries in Neringa
2019 10 11

Leave the three-hour long car lines to the ferry with the memories of summer. The same goes for exhausting hunts for reasonably priced last-minute accommodation in Nida. In September the Curonian Spit, dubbed as the summer paradise, shakes off the bus caravans of cruise ship tourists and slowly inhales a breath of autumn. Thus, starts the secret season – flooded by bright sunlight and rich autumn fragrance. This season is secret, because for an unknown reason, as the first days of autumn draw in, all the hordes of holiday-makers who were trying to get to the seaside in summer put on wool socks and call it a winter.
Here are 8 reasons why the seaside is worth a weekend visit in autumn

• Weather.
October is an excellent month. There are enough sunny days, but with less people around you can truly understand why Neringa is considered an oasis of serenity. Spread your blanket on the sand and open a good book. Better yet – have a picnic on the beach with your family and/or friends. If the weather is rainy, you can visit one of the museums in Neringa (Tomas Mann museum in Nida, the ethnographic fisherman settlement in Nida and more). November is very different. This is the month for those with turmoil in their hearts. Protected by hot tea and waterproof clothes, you will be able to experience the surreal feeling of the sea belonging only to you and the wind.
• Accommodation. It is a game of luck to find a good accommodation in Nida during the heat of the season. In autumn, you will definitely have more choices for a better price. It doesn’t matter if you want to rent a flat in the town centre, stay in a minimalist wooden guesthouse, or spend a night in one of the historical houses along the shore of the lagoon – your chances are better in autumn. An idea for an interesting location – check out the Nida Art Colony.
• Forest bathing. The term was coined in 1982 by the then Director General of the Agency of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, Tomohide Akiyama. In Japan, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, took root as one of physical and mental health improvement methods. No matter what disturbs you – anxiety, stress, anger – several hours in the forest will help you to feel better. The trip to the Curonian Spit is a short one, but while crossing the lagoon in a ferry, you will definitely feel like getting to a different world. The Curonian Spit is a national park – when driving southwards you will feel the busy city life retreating and see more and more junipers, the indicators of clean and pure air. The Curonian Spit is an open-air SPA, only here you are not forced to constantly listen to meditational music soundtracks and you definitely do not have to suffer the smell of chlorinated water.
• Mushroom war. Foraging is a part of Lithuanian identity. Mushroom picking is ingrained into our national character. There even are several mushroom related sayings, which only prove that Lithuanians use mushrooms not only in sauces. In the Lithuanian context, the Japanese concept of forest bathing could be supplemented with a sturdy wicker basket and a sharp pocketknife. In the Curonian Spit National Park, you can freely pick a variety of mushrooms – porcinis, slimy jacks, birch boletes, etc. Also, have an extra basket for heaping wild rose hips – this plant is very widespread in the park territory, thus by picking its fruit you will help to reduce its spread. Feel free to pick mushrooms or berries in the national park’s territory but take care to not go foraging in strict nature reserve territories, which are clearly marked. Foraging in the Curonian Spit is fun and safe – you do not need to fear getting lost, as the spit is bracketed by the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon, and has two roads (a carriageway and a bicycle path) running lengthwise it all.
• Nature walks. The forest seems silent just to those who do not know how to listen. In the website of the Curonian Spit National Park you can inquire about a nature walk with one of the parks specialists. You can also choose what interests you the most - the forest, the dunes, or the seaside - and the duration of your walk. We promise that it will be very interesting, because you will be able to find out how the Curonian Spit differs from continental Lithuania and what impact this different environment has on local flora and fauna. You should enquire about the walk at least several days before your planned visit. In the website you will also find the price list for guided walks. By the way, did you know that in autumn the Curonian Spit becomes an avian highway for migrating birds? In Neringa you can find nature guides who will teach you to observe and recognize various birds. If you have not had such experience, you definitely should - it is a perfect form of meditation.
• Unique adventures. When you are by the seaside, the sea, the sand and the wind dictate the rules of the game. Neringa is not only the perfect place for a serene holiday. If you are an adrenaline addict – you can also get a fill of that here, too. Turn back again to Google and you will quickly find some excellent suggestions for active leisure – be it blow karting, mountainboarding, or paddle-boarding. Choose what is best for you.
• Rich history. Hire a local guide to lead you through Nida or Juodkrantė. We can guarantee that after the tour you will look at Neringa with new eyes. Get to know which famous European rulers and prominent figures of culture and science visited humble land, what sort of people were the local fishermen, why the Curonian Spit used to be an unsafe spot for crows, what tragedy was brought upon this land with the onset of World War II, and how it flourished after the war ended.
• The best smoked fish ever. Raise your hand if you have already visited Pervalka or Preila. On their way to Nida, holiday makers sometimes even do not notice these settlements. A pity. On autumn weekends in Pervalka and Preila you can find the world’s tastiest smoked fish. The mastery of smoking fish with alder has been passed from generation to generation. No artificial preservatives or taste boosters. Look for the bream tail and allow yourself to be convinced that the best place to eat smoked fish is the location where fishermen have lived for centuries and where even the wind is full of the sound of the lagoon waves splashing.
Kristina SADAUSKIENĖ