Lithuania travel guide
Lithuania is a spellbinding land of castles, lakes and forests. Though relatively few knew of its charms until recently, Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities, owing especially to its Baroque old town. Then there is the Baltic shore, which may not have the sun-soaked appeal of other coasts, but is idyllic and largely unspoilt. The southernmost country in the Baltics, Lithuania is also home to vast plains parted by hills and sand dunes.
Lithuanian independence came soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. By 1995, the transition to a full market economy had been completed. The long-running border dispute with Poland was settled with the signing of a friendship and co-operation treaty in January 1992 and negotiations with Russia led to the withdrawal of the remaining Russian troops in Lithuania in August 1993. The Russian connection remains, however, with Russians being the second largest ethnic minority in the country. The largest of the three Baltic states, Lithuania gaining EU membership in 2004, since which time the country has been thrust on to the global stage, encouraging more visitors than ever.
Most of the attraction for Lithuania lies with its natural treasures. Much of the country is verdant, with several national parks that are perfect for hikers and explorers. All around the country there are countless sprawling forests ripe for wandering, as well as numerous lakes sprinkled across the landscape.
Perhaps the country’s trump card is the Baltic coastline, where beguiling wetlands brim with wildlife, most notably the thousands of bird species. There’s also the Curonian Spit, a stunning 100km strip of land that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea, which is covered in white sands.
65,300 sq km (25,212 sq miles).
2,850,030 (UN estimate 2016).
44.2 per sq km.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė since 2009.
Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 10 October 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Lithuania, attacks can’t be ruled out.
Most visits to Lithuania are trouble free.
Petty crime is common.
Call 112 if you need to contact the emergency services.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Safety and security
There have been reports of petty theft and robbery. Beware of pickpockets, avoid unlit streets and parks at night, and be extra vigilant if you’re walking alone. Take extra care of your belongings in busy locations and on public transport. Don’t leave coats and handbags unattended in bars, pubs and clubs.
A small number of tourists have reported incidents on public transport and around the train station area of Vilnius where they have been approached by small groups of people asking for money or help. Be vigilant in these areas.
Don’t leave drinks unattended and be wary of accepting food and drink from strangers in bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Car theft is a problem in certain areas. Lock unattended vehicles and hide contents. Use guarded car parks in cities, especially overnight.
There have been a number of thefts of bicycles in Vilnius.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of crime, call the police on 112.
On local buses and trolley-buses, remember to activate your ticket (whether it’s pre-purchased or bought from the driver) on the machine on board or you may be fined by undercover inspectors.
Taxis are reasonably priced. Make sure the meter is used. It is cheaper and safer to phone for a taxi from a recognised company than to hail one in the street. Ask your hotel reception to call one. Do not use unregistered taxis
You can drive using a UK photo card driving licence. You must have suitable insurance and carry the original vehicle registration documents (copies are not acceptable).
Take care when driving, particularly at night. Equip your car for severe conditions in winter. Winter tyres are a legal requirement in Lithuania between 10 November and 1 April. Dipped headlights are compulsory all year round. Speed limits, unless otherwise indicated, are 50km/h in towns, 90km/h on country roads and 110km/h on highways.
Don’t drink and drive. The legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.04%. Those found over the limit face a fine and possible imprisonment.
In 2016 there were 188 road deaths in Lithuania (source: Department of Transport), equating to 6.5 road deaths per 100,000 of population. This compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2016.
When arriving in Lithuania with a car, border officials will ask for:
a passport which is valid for the duration of your stay
original vehicle registration documents (copies are not acceptable)
international vehicle insurance (Green Card)
Be prepared for extremely cold and possibly hazardous weather if you intend to travel to Lithuania in the winter (October to March). There’s likely to be snow or ice on the ground and temperatures may drop to -25 degrees Celsius or below.
Local travel – Klaipeda, Nida and Palanga
If you intend to walk along the Curonian Spit be aware that after a short distance the Spit forms part of Kaliningrad, which is a territory of the Russian Federation.
Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Lithuania, attacks can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Don’t become involved with drugs. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment or heavy fines.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Holders of British Citizen passports don’t need a visa to enter Lithuania. Holders of other categories of British passports should contact the Lithuanian Embassy in London.
Staying for 3 months or longer
If you intend to live and work in Lithuania for a period longer than 3 months in any calendar half-year from the first day of your entry into Lithuania, you should apply for a residence permit from the Migration Department under the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Lithuania.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
If you’re visiting Lithuania you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Lithuanian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. The EHIC won’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment, so you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
The currency of Lithuania is the Euro.
All major credit cards are accepted and there are plenty of ATM machines for withdrawing local currency.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.