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When we visited Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania) in early 2019, I really wasn’t too sure what to expect.
As a post-Soviet satellite state, Lithuania is one of the many countries in Eastern Europe that seems to get very little publicity in the UK.
But after spending a few days in Vilnius and discovering that there were so many awesome things to do there, we simply HAD to discover more of the country!
So we rented a car for 2 days and set about on our Lithuania itinerary that took us to many of the best cities and towns.
What we discovered was one of the most beautiful countries in Europe.
There are truly breathtaking views all across the country, and so much to see despite it being relatively small.
Well, to help you plan your own Lithuania itinerary, here are what I believe to be the 8 best places to visit in Lithuania this year.
First up, let’s start with the capital city!
In my opinion, Vilnius is a wonderful blend of old and new.
Here, you will find old castles, cobbled streets and gorgeous churches dating back hundreds of years.
But amidst it all is a hustling, bustling generation of young professionals, working for exciting new companies.
Of an evening time, when the weather is nice, you will find the streets lined with people sat outside of trendy bars and cafes.
They also have a few novels, modern transport initiatives that I haven’t discovered anywhere else in Europe.
Most notably, Citybee, which is an app you downloaded on your phone, and from here you can quickly and easily rent electric vehicles and scooters for however long you like.
Simply login and upload a few details, and then rock up and scan whichever vehicle it is you wish to take.
You can find out more and learn how it works on the Citybee website.
There are literally tonnes of awesome things to do in Vilnius, but here are our 5 favourite things to do there.
There’s great accommodation to suit all budgets in Vilnius.
In recent years, Siauliai has become an increasingly popular place to visit, and for one major reason …
The Hill Of Crosses.
This is literally what it says on the tin. A large hill that you can walk over, covered in thousands upon thousands of crosses.
Some big, some small, some wooden, some metal, it really is a unique and wonderful spot to discover.
It has become a very popular pilgrimage spot, and Pope John Paul II even visited back in 1993.
You don’t need to spend too long here, but you certainly can’t miss it if you are road tripping across Lithuania.
On the western coast of Lithuania, you will discover the large port city of Klaipeda.
As well as being a significant trading hub for the country, it has grown to become a popular place for tourists and local Lithuanians.
Here, you will find a long sandy beach stretching as far as you can see.
As you walk down it you come across old battery forts from WW2.
If the weather’s nice, and you’re feeling particularly daring, then you can even go for a swim!
Back in town, you will find a number of nice spots to visit.
This includes …
Nida is possibly my favourite place to visit in Lithuania.
Located on a spit of land just off the coast of Klaipeda, Nida is nestled away at the far end, offering stunning ocean views from both sides.
It is surprisingly built up and is a popular place for holiday goers and, I imagine, retirees.
You’ll find lots of nice beachside restaurants and even a small farmers market at the end of town.
To get to Nida, you will need to catch a ferry across from Klaipeda to Smiltyne.
These run very regularly and aren’t very expensive as they only take about 15 minutes each way.
But as a word of warning, the queues back over from Smiltyne to Klaipeda can get very long and congested.
As such, leave plenty of time if you have a deadline for getting back across to the mainland.
Kaunas once served as the nation’s capital in 1938 and has ever since been an important and well developed city.
We didn’t have the chance to discover too much of Kaunas, but did manage to stop off and see one of their most famous and humbling sites, the Ninth Fort.
This is a large memorial and sculpture built in dedication to the roughly 50,000 jews and other Lithuanians who were killed in WW2.
The burial site is located right beside the statue, a chilling reminder of Lithuania went through under Nazi rule.
Trakai ended up being one of my favourite places in Lithuania, located just a short 1 hour drive away from Vilnius.
Here, you will find perhaps the best castle anywhere in Lithuania.
The castle dates all the way back to the 14th century, and is still in incredibly good condition.
But what makes it so captivating is that it’s located on a small island in the middle of a giant lake.
You can spend hours walking around the town, the lake and even taking boat rides out and around the lake itself.
We didn’t have time for this, as the day was already drawing to an end when we reached Trakai, but it’s definitely something to do if you have more time!
It only cost a few Euros per person and they take you to many of the nicest spots.
Alternatively, you can rent a kayak and take yourself out and discover the castle from even more angles.
Seriously, don't you think this castle should have made an appearance in Game of Thrones?
If you are interested in discovering even more spectacular castles, then one of the best places to visit in Lithuania is Panemunes Pilis.
It was built in the early 1600s and is located just up from the banks of the Neman River.
It has been recently renovated and restored, and guests even have the choice to stay there for a night.
It is a few Euros to go into the castle, and you can climb to the top of one of the spires. On a clear day, you are blessed with astounding views for miles in all directions.
Then, just outside the castle you will find 2 small lakes and some peaceful wooded gardens to walk through.
There’s also the opportunity to ride a pony and to try out some archery if you wish.
When you leave, head over the main road and stop off at the small snack wagon located right by the river.
They serve a few basic options, but it’s such a nice spot to take a minute to relax and appreciate the scenery.
As you head back towards Kaunas or Vilnius, then you can simply follow the road that runs alongside the gorgeous Neman River.
It is by far one of the most spectacular things to see in Lithuania, and the drive alongside it is wonderful and you are blessed with some of Lithuania’s best views for hundreds of miles.
Also, as this would have once served as a key means of transporting goods throughout Lithuania, there are a number of towns and castles located not far from it’s banks.
With Raudone Castle being the next one, located just 10 minutes from Panemunes Pilis.
The castle itself isn’t quite as spectacular, but the grounds around it are.
You can take some time to walk around the grounds and then enter the castle and walk to the top of one of its towers.
As we only had 2 days to drive across Lithuania. We had to stick to the most popular Lithuania attractions.
However, if you have more time, then there is plenty more to see, despite Lithuania being such a small country.
Other spots to visit, of which we didn’t get chance to visit, but really wanted to include:
As mentioned throughout, we had 2 days to drive across Lithuania, which is plenty of time if you are happy to spend 4 or 5 hours driving each day.
In fact, here is the exact 2 day Lithuania route that we followed:
This is plenty to see and do in just 2 days, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to cram in any more.
But what I would recommend is allowing more time to spend traveling across Lithuania.
I imagine that 4 to 5 days would be plenty of time to see all of the places to visit discussed above and to do so at a slow and leisurely pace.
Now that you know which places you want to see in Lithuania, it’s time to decide how you plan to get around!
Based on our experience, I would 100% recommend having your own form of transport, be it a car or a campervan.
It gives you complete freedom over the route you take and which places you choose to stop off at across Lithuania.
So how do you go about hiring a car in Lithuania?
We did a lot of research before hiring our car and ended up booking through Rentalcars.com with Hertz.
Rentalcars is a good place to start your search as they are a price comparison site for all of the major car hire firms in Lithuania.
By booking through them, you also tend to get a few extra perks, such as a free secondary driver.
In total, we paid around 100 Euros for the two day booking. We picked it up Saturday morning and took it back Sunday night.
This included 2 drivers, and full insurance and cover for any damages we might incur.
Remember the company Citybee that I mentioned when discussing Vilnius?
Well, they allow people to hire out both cars and mopeds.
As such, you are perfectly able to hire a car directly through their app and then drive it to other parts of Vilnius.
We saw a number of Citybee cars when driving across Lithuania, so it’s certainly something that a number of people do.
I can’t comment on how easy it is, but I do know that you can find out everything you need to know directly on their app.
As a developed European nation, Lithuania has decent rail networks operating all across the country.
Aside from the 2 castles, you can use trains to visit all of Lithuania’s best cities and towns discussed above.
Similarly, you are more than able to get buses all across Lithuania.
This doesn’t give you quite as much freedom as having your own form of transport, but is certainly much cheaper.
If you want to look at bus routes and bus tickets then here are a few good sites to use:
If you want to get across to Nida from Klaipeda, then you will need to get the ferry to Smiltyne.
When you arrive in Klaipeda, simply follow the signs to the ferry terminal, and you then pull up and purchase a ticket from the barrier attendant before you get into the docks.
The ticket costs around 20 Euros and is for a return fare.
The trains run very regularly, and you can find out their full schedule here.
To help you with planning your perfect Lithuania itinerary, I’ve gone ahead and answered the most common questions people have when visiting.
All of which I had myself!
Lithuania is actually quite a cheap country (at least compared to other European countries).
As a rough idea …
We budgeted 40 Euros a day per person, which allowed us to see everything we wanted and to eat out once or twice a day.
The national language is Lithuanian, but In most cases, yes they speak English.
However, if you speak to many older people, then you will find that they either don’t know English or refuse to speak it.
Instead, they will speak Lithuanian or Russian.
If you are speaking to younger people, then you will typically find that they speak fluent English, especially if they are working in tourist-oriented jobs.
I will let you make up your own mind on this!
Based on our experience, I think Lithuanians are just naturally much more reserved than people from the UK and other parts of Europe.
When you speak to them, they rarely smile and many will seem quite short and possibly rude.
However, this is just a part of their culture and likely a throwback to the long time the country spent under Soviet rule.
You tend to find that the younger generations are much more open and friendly than older people who grew up and lived through much tougher times.
If you are looking for warmer weather, then you should visit in the Summer months from June till August.
With that being said, we visited in late April until early May, and found the weather to already be very hot, with temperatures in the day time exceeding 30 degrees Celsius.
Apparently, the autumn months of September and October can be very lovely in Lithuania, but it can start to get pretty cold.
If you are there in the heart of winter, then expect it to get very, VERY, cold!
From what we discovered, Lithuania is prone to extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter months.
If you are coming from Europe, then flights to Lithuania are pretty darn cheap.
Our tickets were £56.50 each, for return flights from London with Ryanair.
If you are flying within Europe, then you tend to find that Ryanair offer the cheapest flights.
Either way, the best way to find flights to Lithuania is by using Skyscanner.
You can also drive to Lithuania or get a coach.
Hopefully you can tell that I am a really big fan of Lithuania!
We really had no idea of what to expect when we arrived, but left having fully enjoyed and appreciated our time spent exploring there.
So thank you once again to the Tinggly team for helping to make our trip so memorable.
Hopefully, this rundown of the best places to visit in Lithuania has helped you in planning your own Lithuania itinerary.
As always, if you have any further questions, then just drop me a comment below and I will be happy to help wherever I can!