The hidden gem of the Baltic countries, Lithuania is a heady cocktail of both stunning natural beauty and wonderful man-made architecture. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, the country has rapidly become a modern, buzzing tourist hotspot.
Overview, traditions & history
A lively and vibrant country with heaps of personality, Lithuania has plenty of stories to tell, and so will you after travelling to this country. Famous for its castles and stately homes, as well as its wonderful landscape and effervescent nightlife. Lithuania was under Soviet control until the 90s, and a few remnants of this time remain, although the country’s 17th and 18th century architecture generally remains intact.
Germany’s Moselle Valley region is one of the best-kept secrets of European wine culture, tragically ignored by all but connoisseurs, and is home to some fantastic varieties of grape such as Riesling, Bacchus and Müller-Thurgau. Wines from the region tend to be light, with a crisp, fruity taste.
As the southernmost of the Baltic states, Lithuania enjoys a slightly warmer climate than Estonia or Latvia.
The winters can be very cold, dropping down to 20 degrees below freezing, but summers are often warm and sunny, the perfect weather to enjoy Lithuania’s gorgeous national parks and beaches.
Why visit Lithuania?
Lithuania is a quirky country which is in the midst of establishing a new identity since gaining independence. It retains its old traditions and lifestyle, but also has remnants of Soviet rule, including brutalist and functionalist architecture set among its more beautiful baroque buildings.
There are a few UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lithuania, including Kernave, a collection of ancient forts and an archaeological site and the Vilnius Old Town, which is among the largest old town in Europe. The cities of Klaipeda and Vilnius are popular with tourists and attract most of the country’s visitors, while the beaches and national parks are also major parts of Lithuania’s appeal. Klaipeda is easily accessible via the Baltic Sea thanks to
ferry connections from Sweden and Germany.
Travellers who are interested in Lithuania’s recent history will find plenty to explore with the several Soviet Union remains, such as Fort Kaunas and the former nuclear launch site in Samogitia, which is now a museum to the Cold War. In Vilnius you can discover what life was like in the former Soviet Union at the 1984: A Survival Drama experience. Beware though, this is not for the faint-hearted! You’ll be ambushed and interrogated by former KGB officers and led down corridors in an underground bunker by trained actors. The nerve-shredding experience costs just £15 and you get a free coffee, shot of vodka and tinned beef ration at the end to calm your nerves. It’s the perfect way to watch history come alive in front of you.
Curonian Split is a long, thin sand-dune split that lies along the Baltic Sea coast in both Lithuania and Russia. It is a popular spot with tourists and has been for centuries. You can even visit artists and authors, such as Thomas Mann’s, old summer homes!
Lithuania also has plenty of national parks, so outdoor types are well catered for. You can hike, cycle, climb and kayak among gorgeous and verdant scenery, or just take a relaxing drive among the hills and valleys.
If you're interested in visiting Lithuania , why not spend a couple of days in bordering
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