Baltic Coastal Hiking trail - Nemunas delta

Nemunas delta

Birdwatching in the flood-meadows of the Nemunas Delta

Rusnė – Šilutė – Kintai – Ventė: 59 km, 3 or 4 days.

Rusnė Island in the Nemunas Delta Regional Park is surrounded by the waters of the Nemunas River and its distributaries. Migrating birds stop to rest here, and it is home to a colony of great cormorants. The area of the island is 45 km2, it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Rusnė Island is famous in Lithuania for being located below sea level. The historical centre of Rusnė features authentic wooden architecture, brightly coloured buildings with multi-coloured window shutters and decorations. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads through the village of Šilutė, which features the architectural style characteristic of East Prussia. From Šilutė to Kintai the trail follows a low flatland, which is protected from the floodwaters of the Nemunas Delta by polders — a system of dams and canals. Not far from Kintai, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route crosses the Minija River, the banks of which are home to an ethnographic village (Mingės). Here, a seaside lowland landscape expands before the eye with vast wetlands and ponds.


MSection 69. Rusnė Island.

Rusnė Island — excellent location for wildlife observation

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route starts in the village of Rusnė on Rusnė Island. The trail leads through Neringos Street and K. Jukštaičio Street out into Rusnė Village beachside walkway extending along the Pakalnė River — one of the biggest distributaries of the Nemunas Delta. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route further leads through the small port of Rusnė snaking through the polder dikes of Rusnė over to the village of Pakalnė, providing wonderful views along the way of the colourful architecture of the island and the willow trees overhanging the Pakalnė waters. After the Village of Pakalnė, up until Uostadvaris Lighthouse, the route mostly follows the Rusnė polder dikes, which enclose and interweave the low island (there is a spot on the island that is below sea level) to protect it from flooding. From the lighthouse to the village of Rusnė, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes along the side of a paved road (except in the village of Uostadvaris, where the trail follows the polder dike on the bank of the Atmata River). In the village of Rusnė, the trail follows Kuršmarių Street and Taikos Street back to its starting point. Rusnė Island is located inside the Nemunas Delta Regional Park. The polder dikes are excellent for observing wildlife in the low flatlands — roe deer, elk and birds during spring and autumn migration can be seen here.


ESection 70. Rusnė – Šilutė.

Šilutė – a charming authentic town

In the Village of Rusnė, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route follows Taikos Street and Kuršmarių Street, crossing the Atmata River, a distributary of the Nemunas Delta, over the Rusnė Bridge. Then the trail follows the side of the road as a separate lane, continuing on to Šilutė. Shortly before reaching Šilutė, hikers will have to walk on the side of the road. In Šilutė, you will cross the historical bridge over the Šyša River. Rusnė Street, which connects Rusnė Island and Šilutė, brings you right into the center of the town. Up until Šilutė, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads through the Nemunas Delta Regional Park where vast areas of the lower reaches of the Nemunas River flood in springtime — today these areas are agricultural land and swamp forests (Žalgiriai Forest).


HSection 71. Šilutė – Ventė.

Through Nemunas Delta Regional Park

Along Klaipėdos Street and Aukštumalės Street, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leaves the town of Šilutė in the direction of Kintai (Road No. 4217), briefly following the top of the polder dike (offering a good view of the Nemunas Delta lowland which floods in springtime), it then snakes along a rural road and returns back on to Aukštmalės Street (Road No. 4217). After less than 6 km, at the intersection in the Village of Rūgailiai the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route loops leftward towards Minija, and after 1.5 km it bears right, returning back on to the Šilutė–Kintai road. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route crosses the Minija River and the Kintai Carp Lakes over a high and long bridge. From here, you will have one of the most spectacular views of the Lithuanian coastline with an expansive panorama of lowlands and waters. Before reaching the Village of Povilai, the trail turns left, leading through agricultural land for about 5 km where birds can be observed during migration season. Then the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route turns on to a beachside road (Marių Street, Road No. 2201) which leads to the Ventė Cape 5 km away. This scenic section of the route offers expansive views of the Curonian Spit across the Curonian Lagoon (the width of the gulf here is 8–9 km). Hikers can also enjoy the former fishing villages with their colourful, decorated buildings. This section of the trail is part of the Nemunas Delta Regional Park.