Things to see and do
University of Vilnius
Don’t miss the historic University of Vilnius (website: www.vu.lt), which was granted its charter in 1579.
Visit Trakai, an ancient capital of Lithuania. Situated on the shore of the picturesque Lake Galve, the city has a castle dating from the 14th century.
Have some old-fashioned fun in popular seaside resorts. Palanga and Kursiu Nerija (with the settlements of Nida and Juodkrante) are famous for their clean white-sand beaches, natural sand dunes and pine forests.
Hike in the Curonian Spit National Park (another UNESCO World Heritage site) (www.nerija.lt), on the peninsula separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea, where visitors can explore a range of large sand dunes and several pine forests. Rare flora and fauna are to be found here.
Partake in some action sports – Nida, a village on the spit surrounded by endless stretches of white sand, makes a true paradise for sailing, windsurfing, paragliding and kiting.
Try out more extreme sports, such as hot-air ballooning and gliding. There is also the opportunity to leap off Vilnius’ TV Tower, the tallest bungee jump of its kind in Europe.
International Folklore Festival (Skamba Skamba Kankliai)
Visit craft fairs, taste traditional dishes, join song and glee parties and listen to psalms during the International Folklore Festival (Skamba Skamba Kankliai), held in Vilnius’ Old Town in May.
Days of the Capital festival
Visit during the Days of the Capital festival in September and be spoilt with carnivals, fairs, concerts and fireworks, taking place in all streets and squares of the capital (www.vilniusfestivals.lt).
Enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities held in various Lithuanian cities and small towns. The procession in Vilnius Old Town at the beginning of February remains the most renowned.
St Ann's Church
See the many interesting churches in Vilnius, including the gothic St Ann’s Church and St Peter and St Paul’s Church, which houses the body of St Casimieras, one of Lithuania’s most revered dukes.
Enjoy a view over Vilnius after climbing the Gediminas Tower, high on a hill in the centre of the city.
Look around Kaunas, Lithuania’s ‘city of museums’, which boasts the Devil Museum, a memorial to those who suffered during the Nazi occupation and a museum dedicated to the works of the Lithuanian painter, Ciurlionis. There are also three theatres, some 11th-century castle ruins and the old City Hall.
View the five strange grassy mounds marking Lithuania’s ancient capital at Kernave (www.kernave.org), one of Lithuania’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
See Palanga’s Amber Museum-Gallery (www.ambergallery.lt) and botanical park. To the south, lies the city of Klaipeda, an important seaport as well as the main centre for ferry connections.
Witness the forests that cover a quarter of Lithuania, a predominantly flat country. There are five national parks and numerous other conservation areas.
See the many lakes in the Trakai National Park and the hills, lakes and uplands in the Aukstaitija and Zemaitija National Parks.
Behold the lighthouse in Nida that was built in 1874. The Thomas Mann Cultural Centre (www.mann.lt), situated in the house where the German writer spent his holidays between 1930 and 1932, is also close by. There is also the award-winning Park of Soviet Sculptures at Gruto Parkas, which reflects some of Lithuania’s grim past.
Explore the historic capital city of Vilnius, founded in 1323. Its Old Town is the biggest in Europe and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The capital’s heart is the beautiful and spacious Gediminas Square, which is dominated by the classical Cathedral.