Welcome to Lithuania, land of many forests, fresh and salty waters, sand dunes, fairy-tale towns and digital nomads flocking to its super-fast and super-awesome internet. (Seriously, you could be in the middle of nowhere and getting a great reception). To help you plan your trip, we’ve broken down the best places to see in Lithuania into four itineraries.
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Know Before You Go: The Lithuanian government has announced that travelers from the UK can visit without needing to isolate themselves during their trip. Find out how to safely explore Lithuania with the latest tips.
But before you start, it’s worth getting to know Lithuania a bit. For a time he co-ruled one of the most powerful empires in Europe. Hence the pretty old buildings. But the roots of this Baltic nation go back a long way. In fact, the unique language of Lithuania itself is an archaeological treasure and one of the oldest languages in the world. This feeling of standing out has made Lithuania the cool and quirky place it is today.
Now, in the spirit of the Lithuanian internet, let our whirlwind tour of Lithuania begin!
Vilnius and its surroundings
The capital of Lithuania is also its tourist center and is home to many of its famous attractions. But it is also a gateway for day trips into nature.
Vilnius Old Town and the “Independent Republic” of Užupis
Cobbled streets tailor-made for strolling. Panoramic views from Gediminas Castle and the Hill of the Three Crosses. There are many reasons why Vilnius Old Town is a UNESCO Heritage Site. But to experience the ‘real’ side of Vilnius, Užupis is the place to be. This neighborhood – a 15-minute walk from the old town – is a bit rebellious. In fact, it is technically a separate country run by artists, with its own hymn and constitution and all. As a result, it’s full of cool art, cafes, people, and stuff that will make you look twice.
Advice: Want to see a different side of the city? Take a hot air balloon ride for an aerial view of Vilnius.
Trakai Castle and Island
Trakai is famous for its fairytale castle. However, its lush lakeside landscape – dotted with small islands – is equally stunning. It only takes half an hour to get here from Vilnius, but you’ll likely stay for hours, especially if you decide to cruise around Castle Island. And while you’re here, you might as well stay for the sunset.
Advice: Trakai is also famous for Kibinai, a rich pastry which is one of the best dishes in Lithuania.
At first glance, you might think that the green hills of Kernavė come from a scene from The Lord of the Rings. It is only later that you find out that you are at the medieval birthplace of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the site of ancient pagan legends. Then, observing the surroundings from the forts on the hill, you feel a bit like a ruler. It feels good.
Dzūkija National Park
Dzūkija National Park and its marshes are teeming with life. Rare eagles hover above its thick cover of pines. Below, moose and hares munch on first-class forest food. And we really mean it when we say first class – the berries and mushrooms here feed Lithuania’s award-winning restaurants.
Need a recharge? You can rejuvenate yourself in the rejuvenating waters of Druskininkai spas. Don’t forget to take in the forest views from the cable car while you’re there – or try a therapeutic mud bath. Visiting with children? You will be happy to know that there is a water park. You could even go on a waterslide… or ten.
Kaunas and nearby attractions
The second largest city in the country alone is worth a visit to Lithuania. Why? Because its surroundings combine historical wonder and modern culture, picturesque villages and calm lake landscapes.
Lithuanian monuments in Kaunas
Some of the best places to visit in Lithuania can be found in its second largest city. Kaunas Castle is one of them. Another is the Courtyard Gallery, home to local lo-fi street art. There is the monastery of Pazaislis for Christian art of painful beauty. There is the Devils Museum if you want to go in the opposite direction. If basketball is your religion, you will be in Kaunas. And speaking of Lithuanian landmarks – human tower and NBA legend Arvydas Sabonis is also from here.
Rumšiškės Open Air Museum
At most historic attractions, you only get to see the rich and powerful. Not here. In Rumšiškės village you can see how the 99% lived. Take your time to visit this miniature of old lithuania, its mills and wooden houses with thatched roofs. But don’t miss activities like amber making, horseback riding and folk music. Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to sing along. Probably.
Here we are in another spa town in Lithuania. Tourism in the country is best known for forests, coasts, culture and history, but there is also a rich tradition of well-being. Birštonas, in particular, is dedicated to it. With a park of tall trees separating it from the outside world, you can find inner calm and immerse yourself in treatments like mud baths. A lazy riverboat ride is also recommended.
The best places to see on the Baltic coast of Lithuania
Holidays in Lithuania would not be complete without visiting the Baltic coast. Sand dunes, blue flag beaches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; this region has it all.
How about a beach vacation in the north? You’ll enjoy the smaller crowds, cooler waters, and gentle breezes. And you would always have that summer tan on a Blue Flag beach. While you’re not tanning or swimming, you can visit the Amber Museum (no dinosaurs, sorry) and Birute Park, or search for amber on the beach yourself.
Classic sailboats, epic sunsets, powder beaches, bustling streets and lush parks. In short, this is the port city of Klaipėda. Explore its old town and you will notice German influences on its wooden and red brick buildings. Visit in late July and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the Klaipėda Sea Festival – let the tide carry you from activity to activity, from markets to parades to sailing races.
The Curonian Spit and the Nida dunes
The main attraction of the Curonian Spit is the sand dunes. But there is so much more to do here. You can watch the sun rise over the lagoon and set in the sea. You can witness sculptures of wild witches in Juodkrante. And in the evening, you can follow the peaty scent to the best smoked fish you are likely to have.
Advice: Walking and swimming are not only ways to get around here, there are also many amazing biking trails.
Find out how far in advance to book the best flight deals to the Baltic Sea:
The best places to visit in Northern Lithuania
Lithuanians take great pride in their nature. You can see why this is the case if you venture into its northern green sea. You might even come across a rare cultural phenomenon.
Hill of Crosses
There is no better way to describe this place than awe-inspiring. At this pilgrimage site near Šiauliai, you will see more than 200,000 crosses, crucifixes, statues and effigies. Some are big, some are small. Simple works of art, elaborate works of art. Together, they create a haunting forest of memories. It’s a 3 hour drive from Vilnius, but definitely worth a visit.
Anykščiai knows how to make visitors feel on top of the world. Not only does it offer long treetop trails that come close to coniferous trees, but it is also Lithuania’s premier ski resort. Although just a warning, don’t expect alpine giants. It is also home to the Church of the Evangelical Apostle St. Matthew, whose silver-topped arrows make it the tallest in Lithuania.
Plokštinė missile base
Now, up to a more haunting location that takes you deeper underground, into a Soviet nuclear missile silo. It’s hard not to get goosebumps walking through the tunnels of this military base, now home to a Cold War museum, as well as reminders of an icy episode in history. It’s hard to imagine that something like this could be nestled in a peaceful forest, just an hour from Palanga.
Aukštaitija and Ignalina National Park
Here are some reasons why the Aukštaitija Highlands are one of the best places to visit in Lithuania. It has the deepest lake in the country. It has the longest lake in the country. This is where you will find the oldest oak (probably) in Lithuania. And if you’re a TV buff, you might know that Ignalina was one of the filming locations for the hit HBO series. Chernobyl.
Now that you know its best spots, you can start planning your trip to Lithuania for real:
Cheap flights to Lithuania from € 18
Whether you want to visit a wonderful winter or a balmy summer, find great flight deals to Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga.
The best dishes to try in Lithuania
TO cepelinai and beyond – find out how to eat in Lithuania, from pork and potato dumplings to beet soups born for Instagram.
The most instagrammable spots in Lithuania
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