Combine adventure and comfort on a kayak tour through one of Lithuania's most scenic regions
Love the idea of a self-guided multi-day tour but also enjoy the luxury of a roof over your head and a comfortable bed at night? Self-guided Kayaking in Aukštaitija National Park may be the perfect option for you!
Suitable for both adults and families (min. age 13), this experience features 4 days of kayaking through the beautiful waterways of Aukštaitija, just a couple of hours by included transfer from Lithuania's historic capital, Vilnius.
Your kayak tour takes through a landscape of lakes and slow-flowing rivers. Photo: BNT.
The tour is active but easy-going, taking you through a network of lakes and slow-flowing rivers in the National Park rich in both natural and cultural heritage. No previous kayaking experience is required. Double kayaks (the most stable option) are used as standard, with single kayaks available on request.
Highlights of the tour include the lovely island lake in the middle of Lake Baluošas, a spectacular view over six lakes from Ladakalnis hill, the wooden church at Paluše and the remains of the Manor at Kaltenėnai, as well as Lithuania's beautiful capital, Vilnius, where you will spend a night at the start and end of the week.
Both natural beauty and cultural highlights are a feature of the tour. Photo: BNT.
Comfortable accommodation and local hospitality
Unlike our other canoe and kayak tours, which are based on camping, Self-guided Kayaking in Aukštaitija National Park features accommodation in local guest houses and homesteads along the route.
The accommodation is normally located close to the water, allowing you to kayak right up to your home for the night! Each accommodation has its own atmosphere and charm, and all have kitchenette facilities for self-catering meals during your stay.
Accommodation is in 2-person rooms as standard with possibly apartment-style accommodation at some locations depending on availability and group size.
Enjoy the sights of Vilnius and optional additional activities before and after your kayak tour
Your experience begins with a night in the capital, Vilnius, before transfer to the National Park on Day 2 to begin kayaking on Day 3. At the end of your tour, you will return to Vilnius for your final night before departure.
A guided tour of Vilnius Old Town and also a guided half-day kayak tour in the nearby Trakai Historical National Park can be added as optional extras, either on arrival day if time allows, in the morning of Day 2 before transfer to the National Park, or if spending if spending additional days in Vilnius after your tour.
Nights in historic Vilnius are included at the start and end of your tour. Photo: BNT.
You can also choose to add extra night(s) in the capital at the start of end of the week, giving additional time to explore the city's attractions.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in Vilnius. Travel to your accommodation by public transport or optional private transfer.
If time allows this day, you can choose optional extra activities - a guided tour of Vilnius old town or a guided kayak tour in the scenic and historic nearby lake system of Trakai. You can also add an extra day in Vilnius at the start or end of your tour to have time for these extra activities.
Accommodation: Double rooms at Vilnius Downtown Forest Hostel and Camping or similar; Kayaking distance: 0km (unless choosing optional Takai kayak tour).
Day 2: Transfer from Vilnius to Ginučiai
The optional guided tour of Vilnius or Trakai kayak tour can also be added as morning activity for this day before transfer to the National Park.
Today you will be transferred from accommodation in Vilnius north-east to your accommodation at guest house in Ginučiai in the heart of Aukštaitija National Park.
Transfer time can be flexible by arrangement but usually leaves Vilnius at 15.00 to allow time to explore the city during the day before travelling to the National Park. Earliest check-in to your accommodation is 13.00-14.00.
There is no kayaking this day.
Accommodation: Double rooms at Guideliu Guesthouse or similar; Transfer distance: approx. 120km; Kayaking distance: 0km.
Day 3: Kayak day tour on River Būka to Lake Baluošas
Starting from the guest house, you paddle along one of the National Park's most scenic rivers, the River Būka, passing traditional villages and tranquil forests.
When you reach Lake Baluošas, there is a lovely inland lake on one of the islands to explore, before paddling back towards Ginučiai to end at the watermill for accommodation at the guesthouse for a second night.
Accommodation: Double rooms at Guideliu Guesthouse or similar; Kayaking distance: approx. 20km.
Day 4: Kayak from Ginučiai to Paluše
Today's route takes you through a series of lakes in the heart of the National Park. Stop for the hike up to Ginučiai hillfort to take in a spectacular view of six lakes from Ladakalnis hill.
Towards the end of the afternoon, you arrive at the guest house in Paluše. Take time to explore the village and its beautiful 18th century wooden church.
Accommodation: Karolio Guesthouse or similar; Kayaking distance: approx. 18km.
Day 5: Kayak from Paluše to Kaltenėnai
Starting from Paluše, paddle through the beautiful lakes of Lušiai, Šakarvai and Žeimenys into the Žeimen river. From here you see the lovely peninsula where Kaltenėnai is located.
The guesthouse is right next to the river. Visit the village and the site of the Manor, where only the granary building remains.
Accommodation: Žeimenos Vingis country house or similar; Kayaking distance: approx. 16km.
Day 6: Kayak from Kaltenėnai to Švencioneliai for return transfer to Vilnius
Your last day of kayaking takes you down one of Lithuania's most popular tivers, the Žeimena, to end at the beach next to the bridge in Švencioneliai.
Here you will be met for return transfer to Vilnius.
Accommodation: Double rooms at Vilnius Downtown Forest Hostel and Camping or similar; Transfer distance: approx. 100km; Kayaking distance: approx. 18km.
Day 7: Departure
Check out from your accommodation for independent travel or optional private transfer for departure.
Alternatively, you may wish to add an extra day to explore the capital and choose one of more of the optional activities - a guided tour of Vilnius old town or a guided kayak tour in the scenic and historic nearby lake system of Trakai.
Dates & Prices»
Start any day by arrangement between 20th April and 15th September* (latest end date 21st September).
*When kayaking April-mid May or in September, you should be prepared for cooler conditions.
|As 2 persons (per person in shared room using double kayak)
|As 4 persons (per person in shared room using double kayak)
|As 4 persons (per person in shared room using double kayak)
|Supplement to use single kayak (per person)
|Single occupancy supplement (per person for nights in Vilnius Day 1/Day 6, total for 2 nights)
|Extra night in Vilnius at start/end (per person, sharing room)
|Guided tour of Vilnius Old Town (per group)
|Guided kayak tour in Trakai (per person)
|Private transfer from/to Vilnius airport (one-way, per group 1-3 persons)
|Private transfer from/to Vilnius airport (one-way, per group 4-7 persons)
The activities below can be added on arrival day if you are arriving early, on Day 2 before transfer to the National Park, or before departure if staying extra night in Vilnius at the end of your tour.
- Guided tour of Vilnius Old Town: Explore the historic city of Vilnius with a guided tour.
- Guided kayak tour in Trakai: Half-day guided kayak tour located 25km to the east of Vilnius, Trakai Historical National Park is a beautiful scenic lake area. Includes return transfer between Vilnius and the location of the tour.
What's Included »
Accommodation is in 2-person rooms at the guest houses, normally with en-suite WC/shower facilities. The guest houses for Day 4 and Day 5 also have options for apartment-style accommodation, which may be used depending on group size/availability.
- Day 1/Day 6: Vilnius Downtown Forest Hostel and Camping (or similar subject to availability).
- Day 2/Day 3: Guideliu Guesthouse, Ginučiai (or similar subject to availability).
- Day 4: Karolio Guesthouse, Palūše (or similar subject to availability).
- Day 5: Žeimenos Vingis country house, Kaltanėnai (or similar subject to availability).
Example accommodation during the tour (exact locations used may differ depending on availability). Photos: BNT.
- Double sea kayak (or single kayaks if requested) and all necessary equipment including paddles, buoyancy aid and splash skirt.
- Map and route information.
- Drybags: One 30-40L drybag per person for packing your personal clothing during the tour.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Food: Kitchenette facilities are available at the accommodation for self-catering.
- Ginučiai has a restaurant and some fast-food stands, but no grocery store, so we recommend purchasing provisions for these first days in Vilnius before transfer to the National Park.
- In Palūše and Kaltanėnai there are small grocery stores within 10-15 mins' walk of the accommodation.
Good To Know »
Min. 2 adults required. Min. age 13 years when sharing double kayak with adult or min. 17 years to paddle single kayak. All participants must be proficient swimmers.
Previous kayak experience will be helpful but is not essential - guests with limited previous experience are recommended to choose double kayaks, which are the most stable option.
You should be used to the outdoors and comfortable travelling on the water independently and using map and description for navigation.
What makes this "Easy-Medium"?
The tour is fully self-guided with tour information provided. The tour takes place on lakes and slow-flowing rivers. In windy conditions, lakes may be choppy. Daily distances are intended to provide a full day of kayaking but are easily manageable in the time available.
Accommodation each night is in comfortable guest houses or apartments. You will carry all luggage with you in the kayaks, but unlike the majority of our canoe and kayak tours, the tour does not have the added challenge of camping.
Conditions may be cold if kayaking early or late in the season and the water will be very cold in April/mid-May and in the later part of September.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
Ticks and TBE:
Note: Ticks occur mostly in grassy areas.
As in the UK and other areas, there are ticks in the Nordic forests which can carry diseases such as Borrelia. You should check for ticks at the end of a day in the outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible by pulling the tick out straight, carefully and slowly, with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Ensure that you do not leave any of the insect's mouth parts attached to your skin. Wash the bite area with soap and water. In the unlikely event that you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around the area of the bite in the coming days, consult your doctor.
As in large areas of mainland Europe, in some small, localised areas of the Nordic countries (mostly in the Stockholm Archipelago), the ticks are known to carry TBE, or Tick-borne encephalitis, and locals spending extended periods in affected areas often choose to vaccinate themselves. For more information and latest updates, please see Zecken. For current advice on TBE and inoculations for the area you are visiting, please consult your doctor or see Travel Health Pro.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
This experience is ideal for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a written environmental policy.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Vilnius for public transport or optional private transfer to the city centre.
Train to Vilnius via Brussels and Warsaw or train + ferry via Germany.