Plungė, Lithuania, is an off-the-beaten-path destination that every visitor should make a point of visiting. It’s beautiful, full of Lithuanian culture, but best of all, it has plenty of things to do!
Things to do in Plunge will enhance your understanding of Lithuania in general and the Zemaitija (Samogitia) region in particular. You’ll be able to see manor houses, folk art, and other important historical and cultural places in and around this Lithuanian city.
Discover the best things to do in Plunge, Lithuania.
1. Manor House Park
One of the most prominent landmarks of the town is the Oginski Manor, named for the family that owned it. It’s one of the main things to do in Plunge. A stroll in the park will introduce you to canal locks separating the ponds, the orangery building with its clock, and an oak tree associated with the Lithuanian pagan thunder god Perkunas, thought to be the oldest tree in the park.
The manor house is now the Samogitian Art Museum. The basement offers a view of archeological findings. You’ll also discover folk art exhibits and exhibits showcasing the art of local artists in various styles.
Don’t forget to check out the Ciurlionis monument in the park. Ciurlionis is Lithuania’s most beloved artist and musician. Ciurlionis studied at the Oginski music school and was supported by a member of the Oginski family in his musical pursuits. The Oginski Manor is on the Ciurlionis National Culture Route for this reason.
A stroll around this park and a visit to the museum are one of the best things to do in Plunge.
2 Laisves Aleja
Laisves aleja, or Liberty Boulevard, is an important street in Plunge. It was named in 1919 in honor of Lithuanian independence.
As a main street, public buildings and services, such as post offices, and pharmacies, were found here. In addition to the statue of St. Florian, visitors can also see a monument to the 10th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence at one end of the boulevard.
3. Litvak Memorial Garden
The Litvak Memorial Garden (Litvaks are Jewish Lithuanians) is a small area off the side of the road in Medsedziai shaped like Lithuania. Within its boundary are “planted” metal apple trees, each bearing apples bearing the names of Litvak families who lived in Lithuania.
Granite columns commemorate famous Lithuanians, and an information panel shows the Jewish population in various cities of Lithuania pre-WWII.
4. Holocaust Memorial
Behind the school in Plunge is a small Holocaust memorial made up of Jewish gravestones curved in an arch. The memorial returns the gravestones to their original site – they were returned there on the initiative of Jacob Bunka, one of Plunge’s last surviving Jewish residents, as a part of his efforts to secure the memory of the Jews of Plunge. Originally, the school wanted to erect a playground on the spot.
At one point, Plunge’s population was over 50% Jewish, and six synagogues provided places of worship.
5. Holocaust Memorial in Kausenai
The Holocaust Memorial in Kausenai is located in the forest at the site of mass graves. A wall made of stones from a synagogue bears the names of the 1,800 victims that were buried there. These people were murdered in the Plunge Massacre, which occurred in July 0f 1941.
A memorial also tells the story of schoolgirls who were lured into the forest and told they would be saved if they converted to Christianity, but who were executed anyway.
Wooden monuments by Jacob Bunka, who preserved the gravestones for the Holocaust memorial for the school in Plunge, are also found at the site.
6. Zemaitija (Samogitian) National Park
The Zemaitija National Park contains many sights within it, including exhibitions, a viewing tower, a manor park, the Cold War Museum, Plateliai Lake, and points of cultural heritage.
Of course, the park also has plenty of hiking and cycling trails as well as other activities visitors can partake in, such as fishing.
7. Expositions of Samogitian National Park and Uzgavenes
Found in Plateliai Manor, the exhibitions talk about the wildlife of the area, life at the manor, and folk culture.
A separate building contains masks from Uzgavenes, or Shrove Tuesday, celebrations as well as examples of the effigies burnt on this day to represent spring overcoming winter.
Nearby is the Witch’s Ash, an enormous ash tree growing in the manor park. This ash tree is connected with the legend of a witch who tried to steal a loaf of bread from a weary traveler. Thwarted by the rising sun, the witch grew angry and threw the loaf of bread at the tree, which became a knob on its trunk.
8. Siberija Observation Tower
From Plateliai Manor, you can follow the path too the Siberia viewing tower. At 15 meters in height, it will give you views over the park and the town of Plateliai.
It’s one of the most popular things to do in Plunge, but you’ll need an unflagging tolerance for heights!
9. Soviet Missile Base/Cold War Museum
The Cold War Museum is located in a former Soviet missile base. As one of the top Soviet sites in Lithuania, it’s an excellent way to gain a greater understanding of how the USSR prepared for war with the US.
After paying for your ticket at a building near the entrance of the base, you follow the signs and descend underground. After scanning your ticket, you’ll be greeted by a wax figure stationed at the front desk. These wax figures are positioned throughout the museum. Revealed by motion-sensor lights, they can certainly surprise you.
The museum is full of information about the base itself as well as the nuclear arms race. You’ll see rooms where various aspects of overseeing the base and its functions took place and can even see one of the missile silos.
10. Zemaite Memorial Museum
The Zemaite House Museum in the renovated and reconstructed Bukante Manor is the birthplace of one of Lithuania’s most famous writers.
Zemaite, born in the mid-19th century, was a member of the impoverished gentry who made her name as a writer by using the dialect of the Zemaitija region and taking on topics such as poverty and the situation of women.
The main building of the museum is devoted to Zemaite herself. It allows visitors to understand how the house may have looked when she was born there.
The other two buildings are dedicated to Lithuanian folk art by artists local to the Samogitian region.
Getting Around Plunge
Sights in Plunge are spread out, so it’s best to get around the area by car. However, if you do have your own vehicle, many attractions are close enough that you can see several in a short amount of time.
For example, from the center of Plunge, Zemaitija National Park is only about 20 minutes north by car.
Where to Stay in Plunge, Lithuania
Recommended is the Oginski Hotel, right across from the Oginski Manor park. Opened in 2021, it’s a small but modern hotel with tasteful interior décor.
Its Flow restaurant has terrace seating by the waterfall of the former power plant. It’s a pleasant place to have lunch or dinner on summer days.
Plunge makes an excellent option if you’re looking for things to do in Lithuania. You can make a weekend of it, exploring the sights in the area, or stop by on your way to the Baltic Sea coast from Vilnius.