Nestled between Poland, Latvia and Belarus with the Baltic sea on the west coast; Lithuania is the southernmost of the Baltic States and a nature lover’s paradise. Although relatively small, Lithuania boasts dense and vast woodland, a stunning and unique coastline and a vibrant and scenic capital city – Vilnius.
Vilnius lies near the Belarus border to the south-east and is famed for its medieval Old Town complete with cobbled streets, baroque architecture and a magnificent 18th-century cathedral.
Rural Lithuania consists of very thick forests, burnished lakes and small country villages. The coastline is another attraction thanks to its unique white sand (known as Curonian Spit) and the migrating birds.
Throughout Lithuania, there are constant visible reminders and remnants of the Soviet Union’s occupation of the country, but despite this dark past, it has a strong and unique character. Lithuania is also now one of the fastest growing economies in the EU and adopted the Euro in 2015.
What to Do
The majority of people who visit Lithuania make sure to tick Vilnius off their list, and many find it to be one of Europe’s hidden gems. The Old Town is a must visit, which combines beautiful architecture with a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The Vilnius Walking Tour will show you all of the attractions of the capital city and educate you on its fascinating history.
For a more off-the-beaten-track walking tour, go on a free tour with the locals!
Outside of Vilnius, the famous Hill of Crosses is a goosebump-inducing sight and a testament to the strong spirit of Lithuania. Located to the north, the Hill of Crosses is a pilgrimage site with tens of thousands of crosses, crucifixes and statues that have been placed on a hill. The origins are mysterious, but the site has come to represent the endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats the country has faced (the crosses were once bulldozed by the Soviets).
The other main attraction of Lithuania is the coastline. Curonian Spit National Park was put in place to protect the rare ecosystem and it is largely wild and undeveloped, which makes it a great area to explore. Here you will be able to enjoy the sand dunes, enchanting pine forests filled with wildlife and 4 Lithuanian villages. Palanga is a popular choice on the coast thanks to its late night parties and scenic beach.
Similar to most eastern European countries, the cuisine of Lithuania is mild and centres on potatoes, soups, dumplings and meat (particularly pork).Rye bread is a staple of Lithuania and usually accompanies soup as a starter. Closer to the sea, salted herring and traditional fish recipes are common.
Cepelinai is a popular local dish, which are potato dumplings often filled with meat and served with traditional spirguciai sauce.
Pancakes are another common staple and used as a savoury meal. Samogitian pancakes are filled with minced meat, whilst potato pancakes are another popular recipe.
Beer is the most common alcoholic drink, with Lithuania taking great pride in their local brands – Utenos, Kalnapilis and Volfas-Engelman.
The Baltic climate is unpredictable, apart from the harsh winters which sweep over Lithuania from mid-November through to March. In this time, the temperature plummets to as low as -20, but this does allow for a magical atmosphere and amazing photo opportunities. After the first snowfall, the rural areas of the country are very difficult to access without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Although the country may look fairytale-esque, this is not the best time to visit.
With the arrival of spring in April, the country bursts into life with the lush green forests injecting plenty of colour. The weather is usually pleasant from here till late August, which makes it possible to venture into Lithuania’s great outdoors, but equally, there is always a risk of showers and cold evenings so it is important to pack sensibly and be prepared. Late spring and summer are the best times to visit as they provide the best weather, which makes accessing the entire country much easier.
How to Get There
There are three main airports in Lithuania, but most fly to Vilnius (VNO) airport, located just outside the capital. The other airports are Kaunas International (KUN), which is slightly more central, and Palanga International (PLQ) on the western coast.
Lithuania also has a well-developed rail network which makes it popular with those inter-railing through Europe, with onward connections to Russia and Poland.
For both train travellers and flyers, Shuttle Direct can provide the solution for the last leg of the journey. Their shared or private airport transfers cater to all budgets and offer speedy, comfortable transport between train stations/airports and hotels/accommodation.
Travelling to Lithuania? Don’t Miss…
- Vilnius Old Town – An absolute must visit, the Old Town in the capital has a unique charm thanks to its stunning baroque architecture, vibrant atmosphere and network of alleyways. The exciting offer of shopping, eating and drinking opportunities make this the cultural hub of the capital. Go on a walking tour, or simply sit down and soak up the atmosphere in a local café or bar!
- Palanga – Situated on the coast, Palanga is where party seekers head for live music and parties that go on all night. This is the best beach resort in the country with inviting waters, white sand beaches and thick woodland as a gorgeous backdrop.
- Trakai Castle – Sitting on its own small island on Lake Galve is this enchanting medieval castle, which also has a rich and important history as a crucial political and military centre. The island is incredibly picturesque and yacht trips on the lake are a fantastic way to relax and take in the views. There is also plenty to explore on the island, allowing you to greater understand its importance and value.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct provides reliable, fast and affordable transfers all across Europe from airports, train stations, cruise ports, hotels and other areas of interest.
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