Gražutė Regional Park is attributed to the group of regional parks rich in forests and lakes. It protects the forested and lake-covered landscape of the upper reaches of the river Šventoji. Antalieptė Reservoir, the water body of rare beauty with the most complicated configuration in Lithuania, a group of countless islands, peninsulas and lagoons, extends for as many as 16 km.
Even 26 lakes have merged together in the depression filled with the water from the Šventoji. The Šventoji, the most beautiful river in eastern Aukštaitija, has its source here. The park abounds in large and gently-sloping hills reaching a height of nearly 20 m. It is also rich in forests, of which the largest is Gražutė Forest that was an extensive wooded area in the past.
The main natural features include Antalieptė Reservoir and the self-containing Lake Šventas, a unique hydroclimatic barometer noted for the biggest fluctuations in the water level. Lakes Luodis, Samavas, Asavas, Šiurpis, Veprys, Ligaja, Ažukalnis, Zalvas and others, and the stream of Šavaša with its remarkable slope are no less picturesque.
The town of Salakas, a former hunting centre of Lithuanian rulers, boasts the impressive Church of the Hole Virgin Mary built from ashlar. In the valley of the river Šventoji in Antalieptė there is a church and convent built in the 18th century by the Carmelite monks. Other remarkable sites include the Antalieptė Hydroelectric Power Plant, an example of post-war engineering and mechanics, and the Lūžai stone with a hollow, a relic from the pagan temple that stood there until the 17th century.
The park has nine mounds, of which especially impressive are the mounds lying along the river Šventoji that in the past were settlements of the Sėliai tribe: the mound of Verslava protected by the marshy banks of the Šventoji, and the Zokoriai mound. The Sokiškiai mound in Old Dūkštas, dating even from the second and first millennia BC, is a witness of the distant past.
The manor in Old Dūkštas, built in the 18-19th centuries and frequented by the poet Adomas Mickevičius, is a cultural centre now. In the old village cemetery nearby, A. Hrebnickis, a well-known pomologist and founder of the arboretum in Rojus, and J. Rustemas, a Vilnius University art professor, are buried.
The water mill at Tiltiškiai houses Lithuania’s sole Energy Museum, and Salakas has the Sea Museum.
Visitors will find camping sites by Lake Asavas in the Zarasai district and by Lake Skaidris in the Ignalina district, each of which can accommodate up to 8-10 families or small groups. For short stays travellers are welcome at lakes Samanis and Luodis. Private companies offer conditions for recreation at Lake Luodis and the Bikėnai boating centre where the river Šventoji falls into Antalieptė Reservoir. Accommodation is available at rural tourism farmsteads and several guesthouses, the latter also offering conference facilities.
A trip down the Šventoji (246 km), one of the longest rivers flowing only in Lithuania, can acquaint tourists not only with this park but also with the neighbouring regional parks of Sartai and Anykščiai. In Gražutė Regional Park the trip on the Šventoji begins in lakes Dūkštas or Luodis from where it can continue through Antalieptė Reservoir and lakes Luodis, Samavas and Dūkštas, now also popular with yachtsmen. Boats and canoes can be rented at the boating centre in Bikėnai.
At Degučiai Landscape Reserve, by Lake Samanis a 2.5 km educational walking trail runs through a picturesque old pine forest, a raised bog and a marsh that is the habitat of rare orchidaceous plants, and the mound of Samanis portrayed in many tales and legends. Near the town of Antalieptė, on the 1.5 km walking trail in Šavaša Landscape Reserve visitors will be able to enjoy the Šavaša, a mountain-type river, and to understand the secrets of its beauty, as well as to see the Lūžiai stone, a relic from a pagan temple.
A trail for motorised travellers is Zarasai – Salakas – Kiemionys – Baibiai – Antalieptė – Baltriškės - Degučiai – Zarasai (110 km).
Visitors are attracted by a high slope in the village of Kiemonys from which they can enjoy a view of Antalieptė Reservoir with its many lagoons and peninsulas.
For years about 70 small and big lakes have been known for their large stock and variety of fish. Fishing is allowed in nearly all lakes in the summer and winter seasons with permits obtained from the Fishermen’s Societies in Zarasai or Ignalina.
The scenic and hilly landscape of the park with its countless lakes and forests is also extremely attractive in winter.
Your are welcome to visit Gražutė regional park!
Contacts Laisvoji aikste 14, Salakas,
LT-32007 Zarasai county
Tel./fax: 8 385 59425