Holidays in Lithuania
Lithuania is a perfect vacation for the romantic travellers. Nothing can spoil their pleasure – neither the unbearable heat, nor noise and teeming throngs of people typical of the Mediterranean coast. They are searching for something more idyllic and Lithuania’s seaside resorts offer just that, attracting visitors with their laid-back atmosphere, endless white dunes, pine groves and clear air.
Palanga, a popular seaside resort in western Lithuania, gets exceptionally busy during the summer season, which lasts to the end of September. This resort offers different kinds of entertainment such as cycling or walking along sandy beaches and pine woods. You are sure to be charmed by the art-shops, jazz concerts on the numerous terraces at night. The Tyszkiewicz Palace, founded in 1897 by magnate Feliks Tyszkiewicz is a veritable gem of Palanga. It is surrounded by a magnificent botanical garden. The Neo-Renaissance style palace now houses the Palanga Amber Museum, which comprises about 28 000 pieces of “Lithuanian gold”. The museum hosts Europe’s third largest amber specimen, the Sun Stone, that dates back to more than 35 million years ago.
Neringa is another renowned resort in Lithuania. It is located in the Curonian Spit National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Thanks to its pristine nature, excellent ecological conditions, the area has been a major tourist destination since the late 19th century. Back then, it attracted many artists and ‘’men of letters’’, including famous German writer Thomas Mann. In the 1930s, the Nobel Prize laureate spent several months a year in his summerhouse in the town of Nida, and it is there that he wrote his novel Joseph and his Brothers. Another famous visitor to Neringa was the “Father of Psychotherapy” Sigmund Freud. Many beaches on the Curonian Spit, primarily around Nida, have been awarded a Blue Flag, marking their highest ecological standards. Beaches of the quiet resort – village of Juodkrante – are excellent for kitesurfing, windsurfing, paragliding and sailing on ‘’kurenai”- old wooden vessels, built by local fishermen according to old blueprints.
On the western Lithuanian coast, where the Baltic Sea flows into the Curonian Lagoon, is the resort of Klaipeda. Through to 1525, the city was called Memel and belonged to the Teutonic Knights, and until 1923 – to Germany, the fact that is reflected in the architecture of this Baltic gem. Now, it is the third largest city in Lithuania with clean sandy beaches, the most popular being those in Smiltyne, Giruliai and Melnrage. One of the most important reasons to visit Klaipeda, in addition to its rich architectural heritage and resort charms, is the local beer, produced at the country’s oldest brewery, Svyturys, which was established in 1784. You can try unfiltered Baltas, strong, dark, amber-coloured Baltijos or Svyturio pale lager – all of them are exceptional.
The romantic and rugged Baltic Sea coast is an ideal destination for those who want to escape the August heat and sun, and to relax at less searing temperatures. Awaiting you on the coastlines of Lithuania are vast sandy beaches, resorts, pine groves and pieces of amber, generously cast around on the shore by the emerald water.
16 REASONS WHY LITHUANIA SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY DESTINATION
According to The Telegraph internet-source
Lithuania is celebrating 100 years of independence. Sort of. While it shook off more than a century of Tsarist rule on February 16, 1918, it was reoccupied at the end of the Second World War and only regained its freedom in 1990. Nevertheless, the country is marking the centenary, as is sure to be hoping the next 100 years is rather less fraught.
It seems an opportune time, therefore, to examine what this Baltic nation has to offer travellers.
1. IT’S THE DEAD CENTRE OF EUROPE
Admittedly several nations have laid claim to being bang in the middle of the continent – Belarus and Hungary to name two – but the spot near the village of Purnuškės has the backing of the scientific community. A monument marks the spot, while the nearby Europos Parkas hosts the world’s largest sculpture made of TV sets. What are you waiting for?
2. IT’S AS CHEAP AS CHIPS
Not convinced yet? Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, regularly ranks as one of the cheapest city breaks in Europe, with a pint likely to cost below €2.50. “Spend time wandering along the wonderfully atmospheric cobbled streets of the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe,” says Telegraph Travel's Adrian Bridge. “Take in an architectural heritage that blends elements of baroque, gothic, renaissance and Russian, and join young locals in all-night party mode.” Don't mind if we do.
3. IT’S ONE BIG FILM SET
The BBC filmed much of its recent War and Peace drama in Lithuania and neighbouring Latvia. “Lithuania has been making films for years,” wrote John Gimlette, who travelled on a War and Peace tour for Telegraph Travel. “Usually it plays the role of Russia, although it has also been Tudor England (Elizabeth I) and even Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood).”
4. THIS HILL OF CROSSES IS THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES
Just north of the city of Siauliai, the Hill of Crosses is believed to have come into being after a battle in 1831 at the site. Since, crosses and crucifixes large and small, as well statues of the Virgin Mary and Lithuanian patriots, have been left by Catholic pilgrims. The hill is now home to some 100,000 crosses.
5. NOT CONTENT WITH A HILL OF CROSSES?
There’s a hill of witches, too. A stone’s throw from the Curonian Spit (more on that later), this outdoor sculpture gallery near Juodkrante features about 80 wooden characters linked to Lithuanian folklore and pagan traditions.
6. LITHUANIA IS MATES WITH ICELAND
And everyone loves Iceland. The country was the first to recognise Lithuania as an independent state in 1991. Islandijos Street (Iceland Street) near Vilnius city centre is a testament to a fraternity still held.
7. IT BOASTS TREMENDOUS SAND DUNES
Lithuania shares half of the Curonian Spit, a 61-mile strip of sand dunes that keeps the Curonian from the Baltic Sea. A Unesco World Heritage Site, it is home to the highest moving sand dunes in Europe, with an average height of 35 metres and some stretching to 60 metres. Matthias Lüfkens visited for Telegraph Travel: “Pine trees carpet this slither of a sand dune – a rare natural wonder, preserved in an almost perfect state by the region's former Soviet rulers, who forbade any foreigner to set foot on it.”
8. THERE ARE THREE OTHER WORLD HERITAGE SITES, TOO
The other sites protected by Unesco are charming historic centre of Vilnius; the Kernavė Archaeological Site, which boasts a testimony to some 10,000 years of human settlement; and the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of markers linking 10 countries across Europe.
9. IT HAS ALMIGHTY INTERNET
Believe it or not, the Baltic state enjoys one of the fastest internet upload speeds in the world, owing to having the most fibre-optic broadband capacity in Europe.
10. VILNIUS BOASTS THIS GORGEOUS CATHEDRAL
The neoclassical church was completed in 1783.
11. ITS UNIVERSITY IS EQUALLI IMPRESSIVE
It is one of the oldest such institutions in northern Europe, founded in 1579.
12. IT WAS ONCE THE LARGEST COUNTRY IN EUROPE
Another surprising fact given its modern day size, but Lithuania, as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was the largest nation in Europe, taking in parts of present-day Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
13. IT HAS MONUMENTS TO ITS TUMULTUOUS PAST
Occupied by both Nazis and Soviets in the 20th century, the remarkably family-friendly Grutas Park, near Druskininkai, is the final resting place of an array of USSR-era status and relics removed from around the country after it regained its independence in 1991. There is also an exhibition on life in Lithuania under the Soviet Union.
14. AND IF YOU’RE INTO THAT KIND OF THING…
You'll love the decommissioned Soviet nuclear missile base at Žemaitija National Park.
15. ITS NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART IS RATHER SPECIAL
It's a blocky complex of striking modern architecture, filled with similarly up-to-the-minute works by Lithuanian artists. It's in Vilnius, of course – and you can find more about it at ndg.lt.
16. VILNIUS HAS ONE OF EUROPE'S MOST UNLIKELY STATUES
A figure of the legendary guitarist and Seventies musician, Frank Zappa, to be precise. This self-taught and deeply flamboyant American was born in Baltimore and died in Los Angeles. But he became viewed in Lithuania as a figure of freedom – and a bust of him was inaugurated in 1995 as “a symbol that would mark the end of communism, but at the same time express that it wasn't always doom and gloom.” Fair enough. You can find it on the random residential street of K. Kalinausko Gatve.