If you are looking for a location for your fit holiday this summer, Nida might be the place for you. Although most people know where Lithuania is, the country’s coast remains primarily a holiday destination for the locals. Nida is a small coastal town on the Curonian Split (lit. Kuršių Nerija), a 98 km long sand dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon (lit. Kuršių Marios) and the Baltic Sea. It truly is an exceptional location, so whether you are up for a fit holiday or interested in quiet beach time Nida is worth your consideration.
Step 1. Hike the Sand Dunes
One of the must-do things in Nida is exploring all of the sand dunes that Nida has to offer. One of the main attractions is the Parnidis Sand dune (lit. Parnidžio kopa). Unsurprisingly, this sand dune is included in Patricia Schultz’s book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (see below).
Parnidžio kopa sand dune is 52 metres above sea level and offers a fantastic view from the observation deck that sits right at the top of the sand dune. Although it is possible to reach this observation deck by car, those interested in a fit holiday can take the wooden stairs that lead up the sand dune. Although most of the dune is now a restricted area where tourists are not permitted to walk on, there are still several areas which you can freely explore and enjoy.
Besides Parnidžio kopa, you should also make an effort to visit the Dead Dunes. These sand dunes which are a short drive away from Nida (in between Pervalka and Juodkrante). These sand dunes received their name from its sad history: between 1675 and 1854 they have swallowed four villages and two cemeteries due to the shifting sands. Regardless of this, it is a unique place to visit as it has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site and, from a fitness perspective, the dunes make you work for their beauty as it takes a little while to walk through all the sand to reach the top.
Step 2. Rent a bike
You can’t have a proper fit holiday without a bike ride, right? Well, Nida is great for that. Besides having a lot of bike rental places, it also has several excellent tracks for those interested in short or long-distance trips. A lot of people tend to use bikes all the time in Nida – going to the seaside (which is approximately 2 km away from the city centre), cycling by the Curonian Lagoon or around the town. For those interested in longer distance cycling, there is a 53 km cycling track between Smiltyne (the entry point to the Curonian Split) and Nida (the last location in the Split).
I personally like the 10 km cycling track between Nida and Preila (another town in the Curonian Split). This track runs through the forest and is new, so it’s smooth surface makes it a particular pleasure to cycle. If you are looking for some additional challenges for your fit holiday there are several off-road tracks stemming from the main cycle track.
Step 3. Enjoy outdoor workouts
If you have read my blog on Calisthenics, you will find Nida a great place to practice bodyweight training. Although you do not need any equipment for calisthenics training, Nida has a few outdoor training areas with some workout equipment to get you started. Two outdoor areas are located on the opposite side of the track which runs by the lagoon, so you can enjoy a quick 3-4 km run before doing some exercising in the outdoor gym area.
Besides running and exercising outside, beach yoga is something else to try. The municipality of Nida organises free yoga classes on Nida’s main beach each summer and these classes run twice a day (a morning session at 8 am and an evening one at 7pm) from 22nd June until 26th August. There’s no need to book – just rock up with your towel and enjoy a lovely view of the sea throughout your yoga flow. You can find the timetable of this year’s yoga classes on Visit Neringa.
Step 4: Extreme sports
What counts as ‘extreme’ differs for each person (see my blog on Unconventional fitness experiences). However, the normally quiet Nida does have few adrenaline inducing activities to offer. For example, kitesurfing is increasing in popularity at Lithuania’s seaside, so if watersports are your thing you are in luck. There are a few kitesurfing schools (such as Kaitavimas) which organise kitesurfing classes in Nida and the surrounding towns (Palanga, Juodkrante).
If you rather stay dry, you can try wind sailing on the beach.
This little car with a sail can reach speeds of up to 90 km/h (if the wind is good), however if driven safely it is an activity suitable for people of any age. If interested, have a look at Irklakojis for the wild beach Blokart safari experience 😊
Step 5: Rest
Although the ultimate goal of a fit holiday is to stay fit on your trip, do not forget the importance of rest. Taking a few days off from your busy lifestyle and enjoying quiet walks in the fresh air, good seafood and a calming environment can be as powerful in achieving your fitness goals as doing the training itself.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of rest and recharge periods. Relax, read, reflect and recalibrate your inner clock to get ready for another round of business in your life. Carpe diem!