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Lithuania is a northern European nation with a rich history. It is known for its folk music, myriad museums, and its hearty cuisine. Lithuania has experienced a major upsurge in tourism in recent years. Although it spent much of the twentieth century under Soviet or Nazi domination, this now independent state has a burgeoning economy and a very high quality of life.
While it is the smallest of the Baltic states, there can be little doubt that the exquisite country of Lithuania is also one of the loveliest with some top hotels. The capital, Vilnius, and the cities of Kaunas and Klaipeda, offer an array of architectural wonders that will grab even the most untrained of eyes. Meanwhile, nature lovers will discover plenty of hiking and exploration activities in one of Lithuania’s five National Parks. Combine the beauty of Lithuania’s plains, with fabulous dining, a gentle pace of life and the gracious welcome unique to the Lithuanian people, and you are sure to fall in love with this underappreciated pearl of the Baltics.
Vilnius: The capital of Lithuania, Vilinus is renowned for its blend of Baroque, Gothic and Northern Renaissance styles. Undoubtedly Lithuania’s most cosmopolitan city, Vilnius’ heritage is delicately complemented by modern museums, cafe culture, fine restaurants and comfy hotels, which bring an intimate but vibrant buzz to the city’s cobbled streets and courtyards.
Kaunas: The compact city of Kaunas meets at the confluence of two rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris. Like Vilnius, it boasts historic gems, such as the Pazaislis Monastery in its old town, but it is far from a dusty old city. Its large student population brings with it a lively energy, along with plenty of trendy cafes, bars and urban arts scene. Book a hotel here and join in.
Palanga: Lithuania’s main seaside resort, Palanga is popular in the summer with locals who come to enjoy its many miles of sandy beaches and its seaside hotels. Palanga is also home to the Amber Museum, rich botanical gardens and a sculpture park with around 30 contemporary works, all from Eastern European artists.
Siauliai: The unofficial ‘northern capital’ of Lithuania, Siauliai was heavily damaged during the World Wars. While this means it lacks some of the old world charm of Vilnius, it nevertheless has a quirky energy of its own and its post war Soviet buildings are some of the more interesting in Lithuania.
The medieval Old Town in Vilnius will definitely keep your camera snapping. This UNESCO World Heritage Site promises a unique fusion of different architectural styles that blend with the cobbled streets and clanging bells of St Anne’s Church to create a truly distinguished atmosphere. Relax with a coffee and pastry in the sunshine, or head to the Baltic coast to inhale the fresh sea breeze and snap a photograph of the sun setting across the sandy Curonian Lagoon and peninsula, which extends for an impressive 60 miles.
Known for its unique Baltic cuisine, don’t miss the chance to set your taste buds alive in Lithuania. Head to Vilnius for a small group city food tour by Urban Adventures and discover the culinary delights unique to this region of the world. If you like sun, sea and music, the small upmarket resort town of Nida hosts an annual Jazz festival, which offers something a little gentler than some of the wilder music festivals popular elsewhere in Europe.