Birstonas Lithuania

Riverside

Europeans aren’t alone in loving their spas, but they do seem to take very seriously the positive rejuvenative aspects of wallowing in a spa, taking the waters and following a generally healthy regime during their stay.

There are spa towns in many parts of Europe, and in the northern country of Lithuania, one of the most popular of the spa towns is Birstonas, a smallish town located about 30 kilometres from Lithuania’s second largest city, Kaunas.

Birstonas is a balneological resort town, which means that the waters there are used for a large number of purposes rather than just soaking in. Often, balneotherapy involves drinking the mineral waters as well as full immersion and massages in hot and cold waters, and is considered to be particularly therapeutic for those suffering from arthritis and various skin conditions.

The city is located on the banks of the Nemunas River and there are two main sanatoriums in the town being Tulpe and Versme, both of each offers a large range of treatments. Although people have used the mineral waters for many centuries, certainly since medieval times, the first sp was opened in 1846, and it has become a popular rejuvenative tourist town since then.

One reason for the resort’s popularity is because of the belief that the air here, the resort is surrounded by forests and the loops of the Nemunas River, is especially mild and said to be saturated with phytoncides and light negative ions, which purists say has the effect of a huge inhalator on a human body.

Birstonas has a great cultural aspect as well, and a couple of festivals are held in the city each year.

Each March they hold a Jazz Festival, which has grown in popularity over the years so that now parts of the festival are broadcast to the rest of the nation, and in June each year they hold a festival which is partly cultural and partly sporting in nature. During the annual Birstonas Festival as well as concerts, poetry readings and art exhibits being held, they also feature speedboat races and a Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Canoeing and rowing are also popular on the Nemunas River in the warmer months, as is cycling. During winter skiers also descend on the city. The town itself has some interesting architecture, particularly some ancient churches and a restaurant which occupies an unusual building called a kurhaus which is considered to be one of the oldest restaurants in Lithuania.

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