Monday, 22 May 2017

Lithuania, The Baltics - One of the gems of Europe

Island castle of Trakai

By Brett Goulston

You’ll need at least a week to see the best of what this country has to offer. Here are some of the best places to visit in Lithuania.

Without doubt, the capital city Vilnius, is a treasure.  The old town was listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, back in 1994. It had a strong Jewish influence up until the 20th Century. Napoleon is said to have called it “the Jerusalem of the north”! The city has many museums but if you are not a traditional “museum goer”, then at least head to the Museum of the Genocide Victims. It’s fascinating – all the more so given what happened was not that long ago! 

Vilnius is a great place to eat or just stop for coffee. Not just because there are some good restaurants in the old town, but because it must be one of the best people watching places in the Baltics. There are numerous squares with locals and tourists going about their day, all in a setting of beautiful architecture in every direction.  

The most popular tourist destination in Lithuania is the township of Trakai with its castle and other medieval buildings, about 30 minutes from the capital. It’s a good 3 hour visit and do not forget your camera. A reflection of the orange towers on the lake, with a boat or two in the foreground is pretty special. 

The former capital city - Kaunas – is another city definitely worth exploring. Ensure you make time to see the medieval castle and wander through the old town’s streets. There are numerous cafes (good coffee) and places to eat where you can sit and people watch.

For a fix of “quirkiness”, head to the Hill of Crosses in the north of the country. There are an estimated 100,000 plus crosses – of all sizes - placed on a small hill which origins are not properly known. It’s thought that the original crosses may have been placed there by family of the deceased, around 1830 after civil unrest.  

Visit Lithuania with Blue Dot Travel. Click here for our Baltic small group tour itinerary… 

Map of Lithuania
The capital city Vilnius

Hill of crosses

Port of Klaipeda

Egle - Queens of the Serpents - Palanga Botanical Sculpture Garden

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