The peaceful spa resort of Birštonas was founded in 1846, but its salty, mineral-filled spring water was actually well-reputed back in the Middle Ages. Crusaders attacking the castle here tasted it and mentioned it in written sources. At the end of the 19th century, the local mineral water and mud treatments began to attract ailing and healthy visitors alike from all over tsarist Russia and Europe.
Today the sanatoriums of Birštonas treat respiratory, digestive and other disorders using the latest technologies. The rich local muds and clays are part of the treatments. Anyone can taste the local mineral water free of charge from a special pump-room in the centre of town.
This cosy, restful resort, drowning in the green of its trees and grassy hills, is transformed once a year into a bustling stage for a jazz festival. Sports and outdoor activities are also a part of life in Birštonas and an Olympic rowing centre is based on the banks of the wide River Nemunas. Often you can watch famous rowers practicing here from around the world.
Like Druskininkai, this resort is situated in one of many bends in the snaking, forest-lined River Nemunas, at a point where the river curves in four pictorial turns. This is a very scenic part of Lithuania. You can wander along paved paths that stretch alongside the picturesque river, explore the nearby Nemunas Regional Park, watch rare birds nesting on islands in the Nemunas, or go cycling or horse riding. But the best view of the twists and turns of the river can be had from a hot-air balloon or a glider.