Lithuania has a beautiful countryside that is largely unspoiled and is becoming more popular amongst travellers. Homesteading is one the most popular ways to see it too. Typically set in more remote areas, the draw is usually a lake, river, or some natural landscape that provides the perfect relaxing holiday. Plus many of the craftsmen living in them year round will share their knowledge and skills. Of course, the best craftsmen to know usually have saunas!
If you only have a few days to spend, hit one of the more youthful cities, such as Vilnius, the capital and one of the oldest cities in the country; Kaunas the second largest and known for its architectural gems, or venture over to Panevezys, located on the Nevezis River – known for being the city of theatres. If you are travelling during the summer months you’ll want to hit the beach towns too, especially Klaipeda which known for its perfect white sands but also its role in history as a major port city.
Places to Visit in Lithuania
- Vilnius Old Town
- Curonian Spit
- Trakai Island Castle
Unique Things to See and Do in Lithuania
- Ride the funicular up to the Gediminas Tower
- Visit the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
- Walk through the Hill of Crosses
- Pay homage by visiting the Museum of Genocide Victims
- Stroll through the Baroque churches in Vilnius
- Learn about the old fortification system in Kaunas
- Explore Lithuanian heritage in Klaipeda
The cultural heritage in Lithuania varies from region to region despite the fact that the country is pretty small. Over the centuries, Lithuania has had many cultures influencing the way of life, particularly German, Russian, and Polish. From 1569 to 1795 Lithuania and Poland formed the Commonwealth of Poland which was ruled by a common monarch, who represented as both the king of Poland and the grand duke of Lithuania. During this time, the agricultural system of serfs (plantations) brought in the most economically and was the precursor to some of the existing homesteads that dot the countryside.
As one of the three states that comprise the Baltic states, Lithuania has its own distinct language (Lithuanian) which has been protected throughout centuries regardless of being occupied by other nations, most notably the Soviet Union and Germany. It is a difficult to learn, which was perhaps one reason why it was banned under Russian rule. Many younger Lithuanians speak English, but a few Lithuanian words spoken by foreigners are always welcome. Don’t be surprised if you hear Russian being spoken though. During the years of Russian occupation learning the Russian language was mandatory.
If history dictates your travelling itinerary, make your way to Kernave, which was the first capital in Lithuania, and visit the Kernave archeological site or the Five Fort Hills which is listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. The second capital of Lithuania is Trakai which is home to the Trakai Island Castle. The castle is completely surrounded by the waters of Lake Galve! To see some heritage type crafts visit the Musteika Village in Dzūkija too. A great spot for souvenirs.
Getting Around Lithuania
Travelling around Lithuania is similar to other European countries. You have the typical options of travelling by train, bus, and cars between cities. Within cities you can add walking, bicycles, and even hitchhiking which you see quite often in the outskirts (but of course, we don’t recommend it for safety reasons). Lithuania is one of the few countries where the train can be more convenient than car or bus. The Litrail offers ticket purchases for some destinations online too.
When travelling around by bus, make note that the bus system is divided between two regions, intercity and suburban. The red lines are for intercity and the blue lines are for the outlying areas. Sometimes stops will overlap but not often, which can seem frustrating when a bus whizzes past you.
Did you know…?
In Lithuanian it is the Easter grannies who distribute the colourful easter eggs and not the bunny!
Did you ALSO know…?
The white stork is the national bird of Lithuanian, which if you’re travelling in the countryside you can see their massive nests perched on electrical posts.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Lithuania
Being so far north you’d expect Lithuania to be colder, but it’s not. Lithuania experiences all four seasons distinctively, so if there’s a climate range you prefer to travel in you can do it here. January is the coldest month, with crisp cool winds and temperatures that reach as low as -2˚C. The summer months experience a temperature range of 20˚C to just over 30˚C, which is great if you’re travelling to the seaside for sunbathing. Summer months are the most popular, with July being the warmest month of them all.
Ready to plan your visit to Lithuania? Check out these popular guides and trips.