Territory: 65 300 km
Population: 3.39 million
Capital: Vilnius 553 400
Biggest lake: Druksciai
Nemunas 937km (475
Lithuania is located at the western end of the East European Plain. The last European pagan country (Christianity was only adopted in 1387!) boasts of many and varied sights and attractions. There are four main historical regions in Lithuania, commonly called ethnographical regions. Each region has a distinct character expressed through differences in the folk culture, topography, flora, fauna and each one has its own dialect version of the Lithuanian language.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is a town of special architecture and lively spirit, which is always in full swing, full of pleasant surprises and startling views. The legend of its founding rests on the following story: the Grand Duke Gediminas once came here after a hunt, settled down for a rest and had a dream in which a big iron wolf stood close by. This dream the Duke then took to mean that a city should be built where he had slept, a city whose glory and deeds would then resound over the world.…
The city is especially noted for its Old Town – one of the biggest in Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the largest Baroque cities north of the Alps, the Baltic variation of the combination of Parisian spirit and Roman architecture. The unrepeatable architecture styles – Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Classic – all reflected by different churches and “worship houses” has resulted in the Vilnius Old Town being included in the UNESCO World Monuments' List.
The town lies on a peninsula about 26 km from Vilnius, set between three picturesque lakes. The most remarkable spot in Trakai National Park is the fairytale castle on an island in the Galve Lake – the only surviving one of its kind. Trakai is also a former capital of Lithuania.
The historic old wooden houses of Karaimes and their Kinessa (house of prayer) are also of great interest to the many visitors to the region. The Karaimes are a Turkish people descended from the Krim, however their confession of faith is Judaism. It is possible to sample and enjoy the unique taste of the Karaime kitchen in Trakai.
The second largest city in Lithuania lies in the very heart of the country, 100 km west of Vilnius. Kaunas was the provisional capital of Lithuania in the 1920–1940 period of Polish occupation of Vilnius. Situated at the confluence of two largest rivers of the country, the Nemunas and the Neris, the town and surrounding landscapes are very picturesque. Of particular note are the hills around the town and the valley of the Old Town, the Gothic style buildings around the Town Hall Square, the central situated Vilnius Street and the Pazhaislis Monastery.
The New Town (built in 1871-1940) is also of interest. It is the centre of present-day Kaunas and contains such attractions as the main street, Laisves Av., the unique Devil's Museum and Freedom Square.
Kaunas is a distinguished city of culture and with its lively student population is a place where you can always find a warm welcome!
Klaipeda is Lithuania's gateway to the sea. For a long time the Klaipeda region was a province of Prussia and was even Prussia's capital for a while in 1807. The town was seriously damaged during fighting in the last World War. Klaipeda has recovered to become an important industrial and cultural centre. Among other attractions is the noted Maritime Museum, Aquarium and Dolphinarium, the largest in the Baltic. The Museum of Clocks contains many strange and wonderful examples of the clockmakers’ art and the Blacksmith’s Museum is also well worth a visit. On Old Market Place one can see the statue of Annchen von Tharau and listen to her sad story.
There is easy access from Klaipeda to the striking beauty and tranquillity of the Curonian Peninsula – Neringa - which offers such varied attractions as pure “singing” sand dunes, Witches Hill in Juodkrante, fragrant pine forests, a fascinating beach coastline and the Thomas Mann Museum in Nida. Nida is a peaceful and pretty village situated at the end of the Curonian Spit, with the Baltic Sea on one side and a lagoon on the other, it's a truly unique place to visit.
Palanga is Lithuania's most important seaside resort with long stretches of sandy beach dunes and a 110-hectare botanical garden.
First mentioned in 1161, Palanga became famous as a health resort during the 19th century. The town remains extremely popular and often accommodates over 100,000 holidaymakers at peak times in the season.
The Museum of Amber, which holds the largest collection of rare pieces of amber in the world, was established in the former estate of the noble family Tyshkevich on the Birute Hill and is well worth a visit.