Municipality of the region of Varena
2021 October 17

National and regional parks

 Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai State Nature Reserve 
Reservations are small islands of undisturbed nature, which people have deliberately chosen to preserve in a wild, natural, "unimproved" condition, as much as that is still possible. It was decided that absolutely no economic (commercial) activity would be carried out in these areas, and that the human presence there would be strictly limited. At present, only scientists and researchers walk the paths of the reservation, carrying out research and performing various observations, and inspectors monitor the area. For other visitors, nature trails have been made. Accompanied by Reservation staff, visitors may see for themselves and feel the rhythm of a natural area almost undisturbed by humans. Without permission from the Reservation headquarters, it is forbidden to visit the Reservation.
Activity in this protected area is administered by the Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai state nature reservation headquarters. It is a budgetary organisation, established and overseen by the State Service for Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment. The staff of the headquarters protects the reservation's territory, researches the natural environment, gathers information about its condition, and monitors changes in its condition. In addition, the staff welcomes and accompanies visitors, provides information, and educates the public about environmental protection.
Ethno-cultural villages deserve special attention. Four of them - Dubininkas, Lynežeris, Musteika and Zervynos - have been declared architectural monuments. A visitor will also find over 40 monuments of art: people living in the surroundings of Merkinė are specialists in black ceramics, other villagers still know how to weave, knit or make wickerwork in the traditional way.
Travelling in the Park is possible all year round; canoeing or cycling is the most popular way of travelling in summer. Those who love water tourism can take a canoe down the Ūla River, choosing among routes of different complexity and duration. However, the number of canoeist is limited there - a permit must be obtained in advance.


Marcinkonys Visitor Centre and Čepkeliai Visitor Centre
One of the largest Lithuanian villages, Marcinkonys boasts two visitor centres, both dedicated promoters of natural as well as cultural sights of the region. In addition to the exhibitions on the history and the flora and fauna, the Centres provide visitors with useful information regarding the sights of the National Park, as well as accommodation, and tourist activities in the area. 
Šilagėlių str. 11, Marcinkonys, LT-65303 Varėna dist.
Fax: +370 310 44 428
Phone: +370 310 44 466
Mobile phone +370 672 46 388


Merkinė Visitor Centre
Located in Merkinė, a small town with a long and rich history, the Centre provides visitors with information about the National Park, local accommodation and fun activities in the area. When visiting, do not miss the breathtaking view from the Merkinė castle hill out onto the confluence of the Nemunas and the Merkys rivers. The valley of the Merkys river is not only one of the most picturesque landscapes in South Lithuania but also harbours some very special flora and unique insects worth finding while roaming the land.
Vilniaus str. 2, Merkinė, LT-65334 Varėna dist.
Fax and phone: +370 310 57 245
Mobile phone +370 672 46 275
Opening hours:
Monday-Friday - 8am-5pm
Saturday - 8am-3.45pm
Lunch-hour: 12pm-12:45pm
Closed on Sundays

National Reserves


The following national reserves are established in Varėna district:


Akmuo Geological Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and was established in 1988. It covers an area of 66 hectares. The escarpments which uncover the clods of the layers of marine origin of the late Jurassic, early Cretaceous, and late Cretaceous periods are protected. Ammonites, thunderbolts and other fossils are found here, too.


Glėbas Hydrographic Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and was established on 29 February 1988. It covers an area of 252.84 hectares. The aim is to preserve Glėbas lake and lakeside.


Diržameniai Telmological Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and covers an area of 74.78 hectares. Moist forests, active raised bogs, transitional bogs, marshes, and natural dystrophic lakes are protected here.


Geidukoniai Telmological Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and covers an area of 68 hectares. Degraded raised bogs, natural dystrophic lakes, transitional bogs, and moist forests are protected here.


Ilgininkai Telmological Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and was established on 18 December 2002. It covers an area of 112.47 hectares. The aim is to preserve the transitional bog of Ilgininkai, fertile mixed forest stands, site-specific plant and animal communities, and the habitats of rare animal and plants which are included in The Red List of Lithuania. Some rare species of butterflies can be found in the reserve. Black storks, spotted eagles, grey-headed woodpeckers, cranes, and other birds breed in this territory.


Merkys Ichthyological Reserve


Merkys Ichthyological Reserve was established in 1974. It is composed of the stretch of the river Merkys from the Cirvija to the Nemunas (112.1 km), the river Verseka from the hydroelectric power stations of the Verseka to the river mouth (21 km), the river Pasgrinda (2.5 km from the river mouth), and the river Beržupis (6.2 km), the river Derežna (13.4 km). The reserve covers an area of 1,593 hectares.

The reserve was established to protect the spawning areas of trouts (Salmo trutta) and graylings (Thymallus thymallus), to preserve the protected animal and plant species found in this territory (the asp (Aspius aspius), the amur bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus), the bullhead (Cottus gobio), the spined loach (Cobitis taenia), the brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri), the otter (Lutra lutra), the large copper (Lycaena dispar), and to ensure a favorable conservation status of the protected species.

The following natural habitats of the European Community interest are protected in the reserve: river rapids with the communities of European mole crickets, steppe meadows, species-rich matt-grass grasslands, bentgrass meadows, purple moor grass meadows, eutrophic high grasslands, alluvial meadows, mesophile hay meadows, and alkaline fens.


Pelesa Botanical Zoological Reserve


The reserve was established in 2002 to preserve the natural bed and the hydrological regime of the stream Pelesa as well as large areas of transitional bogs, fens, site-specific plant and animal communities, and species of animals and plants which are included in The Red List of Lithuania. The reserve covers an area of 192 hectares.


Spengla Hydrographic Reserve


The reserve is located in Varėna district and covers an area of 274 hectares. It was established on 29 February 1988. The aim is to preserve the strongly winding lower reaches of the Spengla alluvial valley.


Taurupis Landscape reserve


Located in the eastern part of Varėna district, the reserve covers an area of 377.51 hectares. It was established on 19 February 1988. The aim is to preserve the landscape of the erosion valley of the stream Taurupis.


Ūla Landscape Reserve


Ūla Landscape Reserve was established in 1960 and covers an area of 4,200 hectares. Old villages Rudnia, Kašėtai, and Kriokšlys are located in this reserve. Its surface is composed of plateau dunes, which are rich in small thermokarst lakes: Lynas, Malinis, Ūla, Titnas, Dumblelis, Bieliukas, Bliūdelis, Linukas. Some of these lakes (Marčiula) disappeared; streams (Mažupis) also disappear in sands before reaching the Ūla. The river Ūla with its tributaries Uosupis, Lynupis, Sienyčia flows in the territory of the reserve. The eastern side of the reserve is covered by a sandy plain; the western side is covered by plateau dunes. Almost all territory of the reserve is covered by pine forests. 27 plant species growing here are quite rare; 26 plant species are rare. The common rivergrass (Scolochloa festucacea) grows only here.



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Vytauto g. 12, LT-65184 Varėna, Lithuania, tel.: +370 310 31 500, +370 310 32 010, faks.: +370 310 51 200,,, institution code: 188773873


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