Lithuania, my home country, is an incredibly rich country with innumerable historical and cultural attractions.
The country is situated in the geographical center of Europe and is covered with dense forests, sand dunes, rivers, and lakes. Travelers visiting Lithuania for the first time are likely to fall in love with its beauty and grandeur.
Lithuanians are fun-loving people who happily interact with travelers and help them out when needed. There are several events held in the various cities of Lithuania, which showcase old traditions to travelers through songs, dances, and processions.
These Are the Top Places to Visit in Lithuania on Your First Trip
1. VilniusIf you are visiting Lithuania for the first time you‘ll most likely start in Vilnius.
Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, has several museums, historical sites, and archeological treasures.
Some of the highlights of this amazing city include world-class hotels and restaurants, gorgeous cathedrals, gardens, fountains and beautiful bridges across the river Neris.
If you enjoy exploring the medieval areas of Eastern Europe, then head straight to the Vilnius Old Town, which has earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site status because of its unique architecture. And make sure to add the beautiful churches of Vilnius, that highlight various architectural styles, to your ‘must-visit’ list.
Dining in the city is inexpensive and the restaurants offer amazing ambiances and delicious food. You should try out their traditional food – bulviniai blynai (potato pancakes) and cepelinai (potato dumplings that are stuffed with cheese, minced meat, or mushrooms).
Travelers on a budget love visiting Vilnius as it ranks as one of the cheapest cities in Europe!
Insider Tips for What Not to Miss in Vilnius
1. Climb the Bell Tower of St. John’s Church
This Belltower offers what I would say is the best view of the city. Better than the view from the castle or the Hill of Three Crosses (although those are also worth visiting!).
It costs 3 Euros to go up and there is an elevator in case you don’t feel like climbing the stairs.
2. Go on a Food Tour!
I learned so much about Lithuanian food and the best places to eat in Vilnius on the food tour I did. I would highly recommend it. And it’s a great way to meet a local (the tour guide) and other travelers.
Alternatively, any city walking tour is also a great way to find out more about Vilnius. I especially liked the Alternative Vilnius Walking Tour, because it showed us a lot of the less touristy sites.
3. Go on a Sunset Kayaking Tour Around Trakai Castle
It’s a bit outside of Vilnius, but especially if you are visiting Lithuania in summer, a kayaking tour is something I highly recommend!
Trakai Island Castle, which dates back to the 14th century is located in Lake Galvė. It’s a beautiful castle and seeing it from the water, as the sun starts setting, is just beautiful!
Plus, after a few days in the city, it’s great to be out in nature.
Alternatively, you can also go for a hot air balloon flight over Trakai Castle.
Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania, which should be added to your itinerary for viewing its great museums and archaeology.
Once you reach this amazing city, rent a bicycle and ride off to explore the streets of Kaunas. There are more than 30 miles (50km) of bicycle tracks in the area, which makes it extremely easy to get around by bike.
Alternatively, you can rent a car or use the local buses or minibusses for convenience.
Some of the attractions that you shouldn’t miss in Kaunas are The Kaunas Castle, Kaunas City Hall, Wax Melting Furnace, Kaunas Reservoir Beach, Napoleon’s House and the Church of Holy Trinity.
Spend your nights enjoying Kaunas’ nightlife by visiting the city’s cafés, bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
Šiauliai is a city in northern Lithuania. It is popular with tourists as there are many places of interest, which are worth seeing.
Museums, churches, and historical sites will keep you busy for several days.
The Hill of Crosses is the place that is visited by every tourist traveling to Šiauliai. It is a unique, sacred place that has approximately 100,000 crosses from all over the world. There are beautifully carved wooden crosses as well as sculptured metal crosses with varying heights and sizes. You can spend time wandering between these amazing crosses while reading the messages and prayers that have been left by the pilgrims.
If you have some time left in the city then I highly recommend visiting some of the thematic museums that focus on railroads, photography, cat memorabilia, chocolates, bicycles, and more.
4. Curonian Spit
Once you are done with the Hill of Crosses, you can visit the Hill of Witches, which is a stone’s throw away from the Curonian Spit.
The Curonian Spit is a 5000 years old narrow peninsula that is 98km (61 miles) in length. The Great Dune Ridge here separates the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, and is currently taken over by forests and sands.
The peninsula is situated inside the Curonian Spit National Park and has earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site title in the year 2000.
The area is heaving with museums, reserves, and national parks, which makes it a popular tourist spot for boating, fishing (with permit), and bird watching. The area is rich in flora and fauna, and 15 to 20 million birds migrate to the Curonian Spit annually.
Klaipeda is the third-largest city of Lithuania. It is famous for its mesmerizing white sand beaches and beautiful landscapes.
One of Klaipeda’s most popular attractions for tourists is the Lithuania Sea Museum that covers shipping and sea animals. If you are traveling with kids, I recommend getting tickets for the Dolphin and Sea Lions show that is held in one of the arenas.
Since the year 1934, Klaipeda has been hosting the popular Sea Festival on the last weekend of the month of July. In this event, local people participate in several artistic performances and fairs. The Sea Festival attracts thousands of tourists from across the world.
Some more attractions that you shouldn’t miss in Klaipeda are the Clock Museum, Klaipeda Castle Museum, Mary Queen of Peace Church, and the Blacksmith’s Museum.
Palanga is a seaside resort that is about 29kms (18 miles) from Klaipeda.
It is famous for spacious beaches, clean and clear waters, and wonderful events that are held on a regular basis. There are more than 2,000 cafés and restaurants in the area so you are sure to get spoilt for choice!
You can visit Palanga as a solo traveler or with your family as there is something special for all age groups. The countless amusement parks and beautiful beaches can keep kids as well as their parents entertained.
On the first weekend of June, Summer Holiday; a popular Palanga event, is held. Several concerts, shows, dances, trade fairs, and sports activities are organized during the event, which showcases the tradition and culture of Lithuania.
Palanga is also the perfect destination to enjoy water sports such as surfing and scuba diving. And this seaside resort even provides amenities like golf courses, tennis courts, bicycling, and horseback riding.
When to Visit Lithuania
I hope this list of places to visit in Lithuania helped paint a picture of how beautiful my home country is. And if you do plan to visit Lithuania for the first time, make sure you have enough time to visit the different areas.
Fun Fact: Forests cover about 1/3 of the country. This includes many protected regions, nature reserves, and national parks. So if you have enough time, do explore Lithuania’s nature!
The best time to visit Lithuania is during the summer months of June, July, and August. As this is the peak tourist season, there are innumerable open-air concerts and street activities taking place in numerous cities.
The weather is warm and sunny this time of year, perfect for enjoying long walks through the historic cities or along the beaches.
If you can only visit Lithuania during one of the rainy seasons (fall or spring), I recommend bringing an umbrella!
Also Read: 10 Tips for Finding the Cheapest Flights
Enjoy your trip to Lithuania!
Map of the Top Places to See When Visiting Lithuania For the First Time
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