You may not instantly think of Lithuania as a beach destination, but its short coast (which measures just 98 kilometres) offers some tempting beaches to enjoy. The pretty golden sands of Melnrage beach can be easily reached from the port city of Klaipeda, while the stunning sand dunes of Nida – part of the spectacular Curonian Spit – have made it one of the top beaches in the country. Remember, the temperature of the Baltic can be a little chilly, but certainly invigorating.
A short train journey from Vilnius will transport you to Trakai Historical National Park, where you’ll be rewarded with views of the serene lakes and surrounding forests. Cross the footbridge to Trakai Castle, a restored fairy tale-like Gothic castle, which overlooks Lake Galve. You can while away the hours here, strolling along the shoreline and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.
Lithuania’s turbulent history has left its mark on its cities, and since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, they have grown into bustling hubs for visitors to enjoy during their holiday. The capital, Vilnius, is a modern city that boasts Gothic and Baroque architecture, while charming Klaipeda offers a quieter pace of life beside the Baltic sea and features a pretty harbour.
Believed to be the oldest alcoholic drink in the world, you can literally taste Lithuania’s history with some traditionally brewed mead. The recipe is mentioned in the 6,000-year old Indian text Rig Veda and has been poured in the glasses of both peasants and kings for centuries since. Fermented from honey mixed with water and sometimes grain mash, Mead’s alcoholic strength is usually 8 to 17%. It’s widely available throughout Lithuania, and a bottle makes a great souvenir.
Cosmopolitan and compact, part of Vilnius’ charm is how easy it is to explore. Simply strolling the city’s stone streets you can discover a fascinating range of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles. If you need to recharge after a morning exploring, you can people watch from the welcoming coffee shops here, before visiting a variety of the city’s historic sites – most noteworthy being the Cathedral and Old Town.
Lithuanian crafts have strong agricultural roots, and straw ornaments known as šiaudinukai are a delightful insight into the country’s cultural history. Made from wheat and rye straw, each ornament features both simple and intricate motifs from Lithuanian folk art. Usually hung around the home, they were a pretty alternative when fresh flowers weren’t available. Time your visit to Lithuania around Easter time, and you’ll see beautifully decorated eggs, with batik methods used to dye them.
Separating the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic coast, this small stretch of land was designated a National Park in 1991 and is a great example of Lithuania’s natural beauty. It’s also one of the many UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites for which the country is so proud. The sweeping sand dunes and neighbouring pine forests are home to a variety of species, including deer and elk, and you can easily spend an hour or two just enjoying the calm atmosphere and stunning scenery. The sunsets here are worth the wait if you don’t have to rush back to your hotel.
This national dish of boiled pork-filled potato dumplings smothered in bacon and sour cream sauce makes for a hearty dinner and is especially welcome during Lithuania winters. It features on most restaurant menus, with most locals opting to dine out for the dish rather than make the fiddly dumplings at home themselves. Originally called didzkukuliai, the dishes’ new name is a result of the dumpling’s Zeppelin airship-like shape.
Lithuania has a humid continental climate, but for the warmest weather, visit in late spring or summer from mid-June to late August. Winter in Lithuania features particularly frosty weeks with heavy snow and temperatures as low as -20ºC.
If you have a British Citizen passport you won’t need a visa to visit Lithuania. For the latest information on travel regulations visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/lithuania/entry-requirements.
The currency in Lithuania is the Euro (EUR).
In Lithuania, the main language spoken is Lithuanian.