Lithuania Travel Tips and Insider GuidesClick a city or region to browse our insider travel tips and guides about Lithuania.
Our Insider's Articles about Lithuania
In 1990, Lithuania became the first eastern European country to gain independence from Russia, and during the last decade it had one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Lithuania is known for stag parties and its nightlife scene, but stroll the tree-lined streets, enjoy the art galleries, then hit the countryside for a surprisingly clear-eyed experience. Lithuania’s lakes, coast, historical museums, and charming cities are all relaxing. Recently, Lithuania’s economy has slowed with the rest of the world economy, and now’s a great time to visit on a budget. Here are tips to guide you on your trip to the Baltic state of Lithuania.
Lithuania, which borders Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and Russia, is a mostly flat country. Its coastline is short but sweet. Take a ferry to the Curonian Spit, a thin piece of land composed of mountainous sand dunes. It protects Lithuania’s main coast from the winter winds off the Baltic Sea. Here you’ll find Nida, a popular coastal village, known for its smoked fish, traditional architecture, and nude beaches. The southern half of the spit is part of Russia. Lithuania’s larger coastal cities, such as Klaipeda, are primarily commercial ports.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has a huge old town filled with baroque architecture, churches, restaurants, and cafes. This is the best place to experience modern Lithuanian culture, which is very vibrant. Užupis is a district of Vilnius that declared its self its own county on April Fools day, 1997. Whether or not this country, which is ruled by artists, is jest or reality, it’s chock full of galleries, monuments, and bars. For the best views of the city, head to the Television Tower, which stands over 1,000 feet tall and a platform that rotates 360 degrees.
Lithuania’s lakes region, including the Aukstaitija National Park, is dotted with monasteries and medieval ruins. The town of Trakai is particularly serene, with views of an island-bound castle in Lake Galvé. You can make it a daytrip from Vilnius.
Lithuania’s important sights are limited, but include the Hill of Crosses, which is a extremely ornate. Some of the crosses stand 15 feet.
As of July 2011, U.S. travelers do not need a visa to visit Lithuania for 90 days or less. However, Lithuanian border control has been known to demand proof of medical insurance. If you don’t have proof, the worst case scenario is that you’ll have to purchase insurance on the spot for $1 a day. Lithuania is part of the European Union, and its currency is the Litas. The official language is Lithuanian and Russian is more commonly spoken than English, though tourist industry businesses and Lithuanian youth usually speak English. The best way to get around Lithuania is by train, bus, or rental car.