Lithuania – River and Lake Scenery
Lithuania is a country which allures thousands of tourists every year with both its nature and its customs. It is characterised by traditional costumes, dances and songs, which are worldwide unique and give visitors an understanding of the Baltic culture.
Geography - The greatest of the Baltic states
Lithuania is the greatest of the Baltic states and accommodates Europe's geographical centre north of the capital Vilnius. The country borders on Latvia in the north, on Poland and Kaliningrad in the south, and on the Baltic Sea in the west. The continental climate creates warm summers and often harsh winters for the 3 million inhabitants. In addition, the wind coming from the west caries moist weather into the heartland. The country can be divided into four regions (Aukštaitija, Žemaitija, Suvalkija, Dzukija) which have their own traditions, dialects and landscapes.
Nature - Unspoilt nature for relaxation
Lithuania's nature fascinates with its many waters. The numerous rivers and lakes, unspoiled forests, swamps as well as a flat hilly region characterise the landscape. With about 800 rivers, 3,000 lakes and the Baltic coast, the country offers countless bathing facilities. Forests, natural reserves as well as national and regional parks cover Lithuania's territory and invite visitors to unwind and relax. The Lithuanian forests are home to deer, foxes, martens and boars. Moreover, the country is populated by beavers, wolves, storks and many types of waterfowl.
Natural sights - The Lithuanian lake district and natural reserves
Lithuania's two longest rivers are the Memel (Lithuanian: Nemunas, length of 937 km), and the Neris (length of 510 km), which have their source in Belarus and issue into the Baltic Sea. The lake district in the north-east offers tourists an excellent insight into the beauty of Lithuania's landscapes. The many natural reserves are also a great experience for lovers of nature. In the country's oldest national park, the Aukštaitija, you can get to know the Baltic state's lakes and forests. Those who like hiking should visit the Aukštojas, the country's highest peak (293.84 m). In winter, Lithuania transforms into a magical snow and ice landscape. In the west of the country, for example, you find unique formations of the frozen Baltic Sea.
Culture - A nation fond of singing
Due to the long period of independence, the joint past with Poland, relations to the Hanseatic and Baltic Sea regions as well as the affiliation to the Russian Empire, Lithuania displays many cultural influences. In the west you find a Hanseatic, North European tradition with German, Danish and Swedish influences, while the east of the country is full cultural elements from Poland. The Lithuanian population can be described as very warm, hospitable, open and curious. They like singing traditional songs and melodies, which are worldwide unique. According to an idiom, the Lithuanian people sing more than they speak so that celebrations are often accompanied by singing. But the traditional costumes, dances and fairy tales also characterise the country's culture.
Cultural sights - The cities Vilnius and Kaunas
The capital Vilnius is one of the most popular cultural destinations with tourists. Vilnius' old town is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, just like the dunes on the peninsula Neringa and the site Kernavé. Hectic daily city life together with historical churches and palaces, cobbled roads and alleys as well as the the contrast between old and renovated buildings make a lasting impression on visitors. Vilnius has one of the greatest preserved old town centres in Europe. The university city Kaunas is the second biggest cultural centre after Vilnius. Here you find numerous architectural masterpieces such as the Town Hall, which is called "the white swan" in colloquial speech. But art does not go short in Kaunaus either. In the city's art gallery, one of the greatest in the country, you can marvel at works of Rubens, Raphael, Rembrandt, Goya or Velázquez. In addition, you can gain an insight into Lithuania's cultural history in the Ceramics or Literature Museum.
Experience - Traditional local beer and handicrafts
Those who spend their holidays in Lithuania cannot avoid tasting the traditional local beer. Several Lithuanian types of beer have been appointed as best beer of the world by experts. Besides the beer, mead (Lithuanian: midus) also has a long tradition in the country because it is one of Lithuania's oldest and most exquisite drinks. Furthermore, good and hearty but simple food is common. A Lithuanian folk wisdom says "Those who eat well, work well". The traditional Lithuanian snack people have with beer is pig's ears with garlic and croutons. In addition to the culinary products, traditional art handicraft made from wood, metal, ceramics or amber is a great souvenir for the relatives at home. For those who want to take part in special events away from the usual nightlife in the capital, there are lots of events, especially in summer, such as the Kaunas Jazz, hot air balloon competitions, the Thomas Mann Festival on the Curonian spit.
Activities - Activities in unspoiled nature
With its many lakes and rivers, Lithuania is a paradise for water sports. Sailing, windsurfing and swimming are very popular with tourists. Lovers of nature can also go hiking or cycling in the country's vast unspoiled forest and sand landscapes. In winter, Lithuania attracts with magical ice and snow formations.
Visitors often arrive by plane in Vilnius but the ferry or car are also common means of transport (especially from Europe). Travelling by train is rather complicated and therefore inadvisable. The Lithuanian currency litas is essential for tourists and the country's official language is Lithuanian. Since Lithuania is highly influenced by Europe, tourist from that continent do not have to adapt themselves too much. A little tip to avoid confusion: the M on toilet doors does not mean "men" but instead refers to "moterys", meaning "women".
Lithuania attracts visitors with its great number of rivers and lakes. The impressive nature of many nature reserves and national parks offers ideal conditions for unwinding and relaxing. The country's culinary, ethnic, architectural and cultural characteristics fascinate countless tourists.