Lithuania is the most southern of the Baltic nations, and its historic legacy distinguishes it from the other two. Few visitors would realize that this tiny but colorful country was once the biggest in Europe when they visit today. A few monuments remain as memories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s golden era, when it extended far into modern-day Russia, Poland, and Moldova, but even fewer remain inside Lithuania’s boundaries. Kernav, formerly a medieval metropolis, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with ancient hillfort mounds and a museum. The Trakai Island Castle is sometimes referred to as “Little Marinburg.” It is situated on an island and was formerly one of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s major fortresses. Despite being badly damaged during battles with Muscovy in the 17th century, the castle was magnificently rebuilt in the 19th century and is today a famous tourist attraction. Even though Kaunas Castle is older, barely a third of the original structure survives.
Vilnius, Lithuania’s beautiful capital, is a tiny, pleasant town with a UNESCO-listed historic center. It’s the ideal spot for admiring a variety of architectural styles, with a combination of medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical structures. Stroll through the tiny alleys and quaint courtyards of Pilies Street and relax with a cup of coffee at one of the numerous cafés. Then stroll along Gediminas Avenue, the town’s major thoroughfare dotted with government buildings and theaters, to the ancient vrynas neighborhood. You won’t run out of things to visit in Vilnius anytime soon, with 65 churches, the renowned Gediminas Tower, Cathedral Square, the Royal Palace, the Presidential Palace, and many more monuments and museums.
Palanga, a famous coastal town, is the place to go for a day at the beach. It boasts some excellent beaches and lovely sand dunes, despite the fact that it becomes busy in the summer. Sand dunes may also be seen on the Curonian Split, which spans over 100 kilometers and connects the Curonian Lagoon to the Baltic Sea coast. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Lithuania and Russia, and it is best visited from Klaipda, a major port city that also serves as a convenient gateway for other Baltic coast beach resorts. The hamlet of Juodkrante, not far from Klaipeda, is known for its Hill of Witches, which is adorned with sculptures from Lithuanian folklore and tales. Nida, a fishermen’s village, is known for its beaches and old ethnographic cemetery.
The magnificent Hill of Crosses, an unusual and popular pilgrimage destination, is only a few kilometers from the northern city of iauliai. Over 100,000 crosses have been put here by believers from all over the world – tiny, large, simple, and joyful. Druskininkai, a prominent and elegant spa resort town surrounded by lakes and rivers, is located on the opposite side of the nation, in the extreme south.
Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbors, has a lot to offer environment enthusiasts. The primary basis consists of dense woods, hills, stunning blue lakes, and rivers. The wooded Auktaitija National Park, which is home to elk, deer, and wild boar, is probably the most popular of the country’s national parks. The park provides a safe refuge for many flora and species that are endangered elsewhere in the nation, and some of the pines you’ll find here are up to 200 years old. The park’s 126 lakes and many streams make it a wonderful location for water sports, and the towns inside the park include some unique wooden churches. The Nemunas Delta is another popular destination. The extensive marshes around the Neman River’s confluence with the Baltic Sea are a popular eco-tourism destination as well as an important bird habitat.
Many religious sites, particularly those of the Catholic religion, may be found in Lithuania. They are all welcoming to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. The following are the most popular pilgrimage destinations to visit:
- Žemaičių Kalvarija in Samogitia
- Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai
- Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, Vilnius
- Šiluva, Samogitia.