Lithuania's Topography, Nature & Climate

Like →Estonia and →Latvia, Lithuania's landscape was mainly created by the last ice ages. There aren't any high mountains. In the west, Lithuania has it's share of the Baltic Sea coast. The Lithuanian coast is only some 100 km long and contains a part of the Curonian Spit - an almost 100 km long, very narrow strip of land separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. This rather unique dune landscape has been declared world nature heritage by the UNESCO in the year 2000. The spit is divided into a Lithuanian and a Russian part.

Mainly the east of the country is covered with hills and known as the Baltic Highlands and Ašmena Highlands, but none of the hills is higher then 300 m. Some other areas are rather hilly as well. One of the main characteristics however is the abundance of lakes which is typical for glacial landscapes. Lithuania counts some 3,000 lakes, but there's no real large lake. The only bigger river crossing the country is the 932 km long Nemunas (aka Memel). This river has its source south of →Minsk in neighbouring →Belarus. The Lithuanian share of the river is around 500 km long. The Nemunas finally empties into the above mentioned Curonian Lagoon.

The northeast of the country features one of the five Lithuanian national parks, called Aukštaitijos Nacionalinis Parkas (Lithuanian Highlands National Park). This protected area covers around 40 km² and is characterized by its pristine forests and lakes. However - close to the national park lies the town of Ignalina which was mainly famous for its rather old nuclear power station. One of the units is still in use - at least until 2009.

Lithuania's climate is characterized by the submaritime-subcontinental climatic divide separating the rather maritime area close to the coastline in the west from the rather continental east of the country. Most of the rain falls in summer. The summer is rather cool and the winter quite cold, but by far not as cold as some hundred kilometres to the east or north. From November to March, temperatures are mostly below freezing point. Temperatures are more moderate along the coast.




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