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Lithuania (http://www.lietuva.lt/en/)
(Lietuva) is a Baltic country in Northern
Europe. It has a Baltic Sea coastline in the
west and is surrounded by Latvia to the
north, Belarus to the east, Poland to the
southwest, and Russia (Kaliningrad) to the
west.
Lithuania is an active member of the
European Union (since 1 May 2004) and
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (since
29 Mar 2004). Lithuania is the only Baltic
country with more than eight hundred
years of statehood tradition and its name
was first mentioned one thousand years
ago, in 1009. Wedged at the dividing line
of Western and Eastern civilizations,
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Quick Facts
Capital Vilnius
Government Parliamentary democracy
Currency Litas (LTL)
Area total: 65,200 km²
Population 3,585,906 (July 2006 est.)
Language Lithuanian (official),
English, Polish, Russian
Religion Roman Catholic (primarily),
Lutheran, Russian Orthodox,
Protestant, Evangelical
Christian Baptist, Pagan
Electricity 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code +370
Internet TLD .lt
Time Zone UTC+2
Lithuania battled dramatically for its
independence and survival. Once in the
Middle Ages (15th century), Lithuania was
the largest state in the entire continent of
Europe, where crafts and overseas trade
prospered.
In 1579, Vilnius University, an important
scientific and education centre of the
European scale, was opened. In the 16th
century, Lithuania adopted its First, Second
and Third Statutes. The Statutes were not
only the backbone of the legislative
system, they also had a major impact on
the legislation of other European states of
the time. Despite losing its independence,
Lithuania managed to retain its Third
Statute in force for as many as 250 years,
which was instrumental in the preservation
of national and civic self-awareness. The
Constitution of Poland-Lithuania together
with the French Constitution, both adopted
in 1791, were the first constitutions in Europe (The Polish-Lithuanian constitution
was adopted few months earlier than the French).
Climate
Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers.
Terrain
Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil. The fertile central plains are
separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits. The highest point is
Aukštojas Hill (http://www.virtualmountains.co.uk/esc/Lithuania/LI_Info.html)
294 m (967 ft), about 24 km southeast of Vilnius and lies just off the main highway to
Minsk and within sight of the Belarus border. 30% is covered in forest.
History
Lithuania, first formed in the middle of the 13th century, was a huge feudal country
stretching from the Baltic to the Black sea in the middle ages and in 1569 entered an
union with Poland to form a commonwealth.
Lithuania was part of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth until the Polish Partitions
in the 18th century when it became part of the Russian Empire.
Independence
Modern Lithuania gained its independence from Russia in 1918 following World War
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Medininkai Castle, a largest
enclosure type castle in
Lithuania (note a protective
sloping capping installed for
masonry preservation: the
upper construction of the walls
was wooden, it was badly
damaged by a major fire in the
late 15th century).
I and the dissolution of the Czarist monarchy.
However, in 1940 Lithuania was forcibly
incorporated into the Soviet Union. On 11 March
1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet
republics to declare its independence, but this
proclamation was not generally recognized until
September 1991, following the abortive coup in
Moscow. The Soviet Union recognized Lithuania's
independence on 6 September 1991. A constitution
was adopted on 25 October 1992. The last Russian
troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently
has restructured its economy for integration into
Western European institutions.
National Holidays
St. John's Day
24 Jun. Despite its Christian name, celebrated
mostly according to Pagan traditions (Midsummer's Day).
Statehood Day
6 Jul. Commemorates the coronation in 1253 of Mindaugas as the first and
only King of Lithuania. Later rulers of Lithuania were called Grand Dukes.
Independence Day
16 Feb. Independence from Russian Empire in 1918 following World War I.
Restitution of Independence
11 March : Restoration of independence from the Soviet Union.
Regional differences of Lithuanian culture reflect the complicated historical
development of the country. Since the thirteenth century five ethnographic areas, or
regions, have historically formed in the current territory of Lithuania:
Aukštaitija
Literally Highlands, northeastern and eastern region.
Žemaitija
Samogitia, literally Lowlands, north-western region.
Dzūkija (Dainava)
Southeastern region.
Suvalkija (Sūduva)
South-western region.
Lithuania Minor
Sea-coast region.
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Merkinė hill-fort. Lithuanians
are history-conscious people
and proud of their ancient
history. Hundreds of hill-forts
still stand, a reminder of the
struggle against the Teutonic
Order.
These
ethnographic
regions even
today differ by
dialects, ways of
life and behaviour
styles, while until
the turn of the last
century there
were pronounced
differences in
dress and
homestead styles
as well as village
planning.
Lithuania is justly
proud of its
unfailing treasures of folklore: colourful clothing, meandering songs, an abundance
of tales and stories, sonorous dialects and voluble language. This ethnographic
heritage is nourished by ethnographic and folklore companies and barn theatres.
Recent years have witnessed the revival of ethnographic crafts and culinary
traditions. Folk craft fairs and live craft days are organized during many events and
festivals.
Vilnius — the capital of Lithuania. Cultural,
educational, financial and political centre of
the country. Known for its spectacular Old
Town and its unique architecture.
Alytus — largest city of Dzūkija region, its
centre and unofficial capital
Kaunas — second-largest city, former citadel
of Russian Empire, temporary capital of
Lithuania during the interwar period, point of
intersection of all main roads
Klaipėda — third-largest city and a seaport,
stopover point for cruise ships, famous for
various summer events
Palanga — resort on a coast of the Baltic sea,
the most popular spot for Lithuanians or
tourists to visit in summer. City's population
in summer grows from 10,000 to 600,000 in July and August
Panevėžys — largest city of Aukšatitija region, its centre and unofficial capital
Šiauliai — fourth-largest city situated between two main regions of the country
Telšiai — centre and unofficial capital of Žemaitija (Samogitia) region
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Much of Lithuania's natural
beauty is well preserved. The
eastern part of the country
Aukštaitija, is famous for
lakes, hills and forests.
Non-Schengen sector at
Vilnius airport
Trakai — small town 28 km away from
capital. A former capital of the country with a
residence of medieval rulers. Centre of the
Historical National Park and resort area
Curonian Spit — unique peninsula in the
Baltic sea with sand dunes, seaboard forest,
white sanded beaches and old ethnographic
villages. A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hill of Crosses — site of religious
significance, north of Šiauliai city
Jonava — city named after John, which
makes St. John's Day, the biggest national holiday, really special. Quirky town
with vintage industrial buildings and structures, and a modern factory away
from the city itself
Kernavė — former (first known) Lithuanian capital on the bank of Neris river;
now a well-preserved archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kėdainiai — city in the centre of the country, has rather large old-town close to
Nevėžis river. Famous for annual Cucumber Festival
Molėtai Lakeland (http://www.infomoletai.lt/) — abundance of homesteads
and mini-resorts scattered among more than 200 lakes of various size. Paradise
for vacationists
National Parks (http://www.lietuva.lt/en/tourism/what_to_see/national_parks)
— each region has its own national park which protects and represents most
valuable environment. Free and open all year round
Purnuškės — small village 26 km north of Vilnius where according to
measures of Institut géographique national is the geographical centre of
Europe
Žemaičių Kalvarija — famous pilgrimage site in Samogitia region
Lithuania is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between countries that
have signed and implemented this treaty - the
European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus,
Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a
visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all
other countries that have signed and implemented
the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have
signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen
members are part of the European Union. This
means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling
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Via Baltica passing Kaunas'
suburbs
within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear
immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen
country).
Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how
the scheme works and what entry requirements are.
By plane
Most airlines arrive at the main Vilnius International Airport (http://www.vilnius-
airport.lt/index.php?lang=en) and some at the smaller, seaside Palanga Airport
(http://www.palanga-airport.lt/en/), while no-frills carriers such as Ryanair
(http://www.ryanair.com/) land in Kaunas International Airport
(http://www.kaunasair.lt/index.php?lang=2&m=2&p=210). Kaunas airport also has a
direct link with Riga by AirBaltic.
For destinations in Northern Lithuania, Riga Airport is an attractive option.
By train
There are train connections to Vilnius from Daugavpils (Latvia), Warsaw, Moscow,
Saint Petersburg, Minsk and Kaliningrad.
By car
Major "Via Baltica" road links Kaunas to Warsaw
and Riga/Tallinn. The Baltic road, which links
Vilnius to Tallinn, was just reconstructed. It is a very
easy and pleasant route. Overall, the major roads
between the cities are of decent quality. Be
extremely cautious when getting off the main roads
in rural areas, as some of them may contain pot
holes and general blemishes which could damage a
regular car if you go too fast. While driving between cities there are usually cafes and
gas stations with bathrooms and snacks.
By bus
Busturas (http://www.busturas.lt)
Ecolines (http://www.ecolines.lt)
Eurolines (http://www.eurolines.lt)
Kautra (http://www.kautra.lt/)
Simple Express (http://www.simpleexpress.eu/)
By boat
There are several passenger/car ferries from Klaipeda to Sweden, Germany,
Denmark. See DFDS Seaways (http://www.dfdsseaways.lt/)
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Lazdėnai train stop at the edge
of Neris Regional Park, an
outdoor recreation area
Marijampolė railway station
(built in 1924)
By train
Litrail (http://www.litrail.lt/) has services to major
cities in Lithuania as well as to some small towns
and villages which are difficult to reach by other
public transport (e.g. popular holiday/weekend
destinations in Dzūkija and Aukštaitija National
Parks, Neris Regional Park and, for example,
Kretinga town, a final stop for those who are
traveling to Palanga seaside resort by train). Fares
are low compared to Western Europe: Vilnius-
Kaunas ~18 LTL (5.2 Euro), Vilnius-Klaipėda
~52 LTL (15 Euro).
Many of the long distance trains have compartments
which can accommodate six seated passengers or
four sleeping passengers. The headrest can be lifted
up to form a very comfortable bunk bed, which can
be used while people are seated below. The seats
themselves form the other pair of beds. As some
journeys are quite long (about 5 hr in the case of
Vilnius-Klaipėda), it is common to see people
sleeping on the upper bunks during daytime
journeys as well.
Generally the railway network is not considered as
an alternative to the road network as it does not
exactly duplicates the roads. As a result some places are more convenient to reach by
train, some other places by bus, even if the railway and the highway are not far apart.
Examples of the destinations which are more convenient to reach by train: Ignalina, a
main point where the trip to Aukštaitija National Park begins; Kaunas' eastern part
around the dam where several recreation areas and tourist objects are situated (one
have to get off at Palemonas suburb). This makes the question "which one is better,
train or bus?" rather hard to answer because it depends on the specifics.
Narrow Gauge Railway (http://www.siaurukas.eu/) in Anykščiai offers short trips to a
near-by lake. In summer it runs on regular schedule, rest of the time tours must be
booked in advance.
By thumb
Hitchhiking in Lithuania is generally good. Get to the outskirts of the city, but before
cars speed up to the highway speeds. The middle letter on the older licence plates
(with Lithuanian flag) of the three letter code usually corresponds with the city of
registration (V for Vilnius, K for Kaunas, L for Klaipeda, etc.). Newer licence plates
(with EU flag) are not bound to city of registration in any way.
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Bus stop road signs for the
three types of buses that
provide passenger transport
services between cities.
By bus
In Lithuania it is easy to move by buses and in
practice, all the bigger even a little places can be
reached with buses. The buses usually run more
slowly than where a Western has got used due to if it
is not a question of Ekspresas, the bus stops at every
stop exactly. To be more precise, there are two types
of bus lines (see below) and three types of the bus
stops: "red" stops for "Ekspresas" buses (very few,
the journey with "Ekspresas" is quick), "yellow"
stops for the regular intercity buses, and the "blank"
stops for suburban buses (very frequent, the journey
is slow). The color is a color of a road sign for the
bus stop. For example 40 km the trip by suburban
bus can last thus an hour. Some buses are old cars
that have mainly been brought from the Nordic
countries, some are new ones, it is not predictable which one you will get. Practically,
when you travel the time is most important factor and the best decision is to take the
closest bus which runs in the right direction.
There is usually its own bus company on every town (district centre) and more than
one company in the largest towns. Just to name few, TOKS (http://www.toks.lt/)
(long distance routes) and mini bus company Transrevis (http://www.minibus.lt
/tarpmiestiniai-marsrutai/) which will drive turns between Kaunas and Vilnius, are
based in Vilnius; KauTra (http://www.kautra.lt/) (Kaunas Transport) additionally
specializes in bicycle transfer service, though luggage compartments vary in size and
not all types of bicycles always can fit in. Company offers the option to transport the
bike to the agreed stop by the next bus with capacious compartment, informing you
about the delivery by the short message to your cell phone. However, during the high
season in summer popularity of this service is enormous, one should have that in
mind if planning the trip by bicycle. Šiauliai company Busturas
(http://www.busturas.lt/), in addition to the regular routes, offers the tours to and from
Riga (Latvia) via Rundale (http://rundale.net/en) which otherwise is inconvenient to
visit from Lithuania. Klaipėda Bus Fleet (Klaipėdos autobusų parkas)
(http://www.klap.lt/) is based in Klaipėda and serves mostly the routes in Western
part of the country as well as some international routes. There are also several smaller
intercity and suburban bus companies in all the cities mentioned above.
For students with Lithuanian student ID, bus companies grant 50% discount around
the year with the exception of July and August. For students with ISIC (international
student card), bus companies grant 50% discount.
The bulk of Lithuania's bus routes (http://www.autobusubilietai.lt) and turns have
been listed in an address from which you also can reserve the tickets for certain
routes. However, pay attention to the fact that the payment system supports only
some of the Lithuanian banks for the present and the credit card at the moment does
not suit.
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The list above is only for the intercity buses, which generally is sufficient. There are
two types of bus lines in Lithuania: intercity (tarpmiestiniai) buses and suburban
(priemiestiniai) buses. This is reflected in the structure of the bigger bus stations, for
example Vilnius bus station has two sections, a suburban "blue" one (blue color
dominates in the timetables, destination plates on buses are written in blue) and a
intercity "red" one (red colour dominates in the timetables, destination plates on
buses are written in either blue or red). Thus, for example, "Trakai" direction has two
platforms, a "red" one where intercity buses leave directly towards Trakai, and a
"blue" one where suburban buses leave to Trakai but run different routes, zig-zagging
from village to village and finally arrive to Trakai. Similarly, at the Trakai bus station
there are two platforms for "Vilnius" direction: blue one and red one. It is important
to know that the "red" (intercity) bus always is faster. At the same time, intercity bus
does not stop everywhere, for example the bus stop near the Hill of Crosses is for
suburban buses only, if you wait there you can see many buses passing by but they
won't stop there, you have to wait for a "blue" (suburban) bus. Schedules for
suburban buses usually are put up separately from the schedules for intercity buses.
For buses and trolley-buses on routes within towns and cities it is usual to buy the
ticket from the driver. Recently the electronic ticketing has been introduced in major
cities, but still the ticket can be obtained from the driver, though the types of tickets
vary from town to town, for example in Vilnius you have to validate (stamp using
one of the punches for paper tickets) the ticket obtained from the driver (thus you can
buy several tickets and use them later), in other cities you get a one-ride ticket which
already is valid for this particular ride. Inspectors periodically check tickets and will
issue a fine if you cannot produce a correctly punched ticket or your electronic ticket
is not valid. The bus is exited by the middle door and it is important to head for the
door before the bus has stopped - it can be impossible to leave once people have
started boarding; and if the driver sees that the bus stop outside is empty and nobody
waits to leave the bus, the bus can skip the stop.
In addition to common buses run by municipality, many towns have private
minibuses which usually operate express routes.
By taxi
Taxis are run on a meter and can be booked by the phone numbers shown on the door
of the taxi. Taxis are relatively cheap compared to western Europe. Some companies
may not be as honest as others, common sense will keep you safe in this regard. It is
common to ask about the approximate price to your destination in advance before
boarding the vehicle. If the answer does not satisfy you, you are not obliged to board
this vehicle. Therefore Lithuanians prefer to call the taxi by phone in order to know
the price and the time of journey, and at the same time to be sure that the driver who
will take them aware of destination and the agreed price. However not all operators
speak fluent English, same about drivers. On the other hand, people typically know
more than one or two languages and know how to explain the relevant information
without being fluent, this applies to drivers and passengers as only minority of
travelers from abroad are native English speakers.
Taxi can also be booked online (http://www.etaksi.lt/en/book-taxi-online). Be aware
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Bicycle path along the "Old
Road" to Trakai.
Blizzard on the A1 road
between Vilnius and Kaunas
that some inaccuracies may occur as the infrastructure construction and renovation
works are carried out in all largest cities, the works affect the traffic. Depending on
your destination there may be a necessity to choose a longer way, compared to that
which was calculated. If you suspect some dishonesty you must know all
circumstances for sure before starting the dispute with company or driver, otherwise
it is common that you will be simply ignored as unreliable customer.
Orientation of prices (company's name, phone, boarding fee and price LTL per 1 km)
can be found on a Taksi Lt (http://www.taksi.lt) website, you have to select the city
first from the list of 11 cities at the top. Each company has different price, but
roughly expect to pay around 1.00-2.50 LTL/km. All taxis have also a fixed boarding
fee in addition, so one should have that in mind before reaching any final
conclusions.
Taxi prices are highly dependent on fuel price which is constantly increasing recently,
therefore all the figures above should be interpreted as approximate.
By bicycle
Cycling in Lithuania is quite popular, however it
depends on the exact location as in major cities
pavements usually will have a bicycle pathways
with numerous signs, although getting around by
bicycle in rural areas might become a bit of a
challenge. Two international EuroVelo cycle routes
across the country, EuroVelo No 10 and EuroVelo
No 11 equipped with quality signs, bikepaths are of
excellent quality.
Don't leave your bicycle outside without locking it in, unless you are riding outside
the settlements. Within any city or a smallest village always lock your bicycle, even
if you are going to the store for cigarettes.
The international bicycle project BaltiCCycle
(http://www.balticcycle.eu) may provide you with
information and help.
By car
Lithuanian traffic moves on the right and, as with
most of the world, all distances are posted in km.
Headlights are mandatory and must be kept on at all
times when driving.
A vehicle is required by law to stop at a zebra crossing, if there is a pedestrian who
obviously is going to cross the street but still didn't step from a sidewalk.
The road network in Lithuania is fairly good, especially the motorways. The quality
of road surface on minor roads can vary. The improvement work hampers traffic in
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Road Kaunas-Prienai in
October
U-turn on the A1 road at night
in winter
many places. The Via Baltica road goes through
Lithuania from Estonia to Poland. Another
important road is the A1 from Vilnius to Klaipeda.
Unlike many European countries, but similar to
North American practice, turning right at a red
traffic light is allowed where indicated by a "green
arrow" (square white sign next to the red light,
containing a green arrow indicating the permitted
direction), provided that it does not endanger other
traffic. Be aware that the absence of such a sign
means that turning right on red is not allowed, and the police will stop any driver
seen breaking this rule.
Many bigger junctions have a separate green light for traffic turning left, but no red
light. The green light for the other directions shows arrows going straight and to the
right, but you need to look closely to make them out.
On two- or three- lane roads, it is polite to move out of the right-hand lane (if safe to
do so) when you intend to travel straight ahead; this keeps the right-hand lane clear
for right-turning traffic. When moving back to the right hand lane watch out for
fast-moving vehicles approaching from behind.
On the motorways the u-turn is possible. The
motorists do not observe traffic regulations so
especially the pedestrians must be exact as
conscientiously as elsewhere in former Soviet
countries. Moving domestic animals and roe animals
may cause dangerous situations on the rural roads.
The motorways are almost entirely fenced up to
protect from wild animals, secondary roads have the
signs warning about possibilities of such collisions.
Drivers who are not used to that must be very alert
as collisions with elks, although rare, may be lethal.
Potentially the most dangerous time, when even the fence can succumb, is in May
and October, between 18:00 and 01:00 hr.
Roundabouts are a feature of the Lithuanian road network, particularly in the cities.
Visitors from countries where this type of junction is uncommon or not used at all,
may find the Wikipedia article on roundabouts (http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Roundabout) useful.
The alcohol limit is 0.4 in Lithuania's traffic. The alcohol limit is being lowered to
0.2.
Fixed speed cameras are frequent along country roads and motorways, usually near
crossroads or pedestrian crossings, and in cities. These are usually announced by a
sign. Many of them appear to be designed to be turned around from time to time,
watching the opposite direction.
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Frozen lake in Trakai
The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian, making up one of only two
languages (along with Latvian) on the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family.
Despite the kinship of Lithuanian to many other European languages, the archaic
nature of its grammar makes it hard for foreigners unfamiliar with the language to
form even basic sentences.
Foreigners interested in reading English news can access the Lithuania Tribune
(http://www.lithuaniatribune.com), which is an online news portal providing news
about Lithuania in English.
Russian is spoken as a second language by about 80% of the population according to
European Union statistics, clearly making it the most useful non-Lithuanian language
to know. The younger generation is becoming more and more proficient in English,
but still only 32% of Lithuanians can speak it. Polish and, to a lesser extent, German
are also spoken in some places for historical reasons. Lithuanians are always eager
for an opportunity to practice their English, but those who learn a few basic phrases
of the local language are always amply awarded with good will and appreciation for
their efforts.
In Samogitia (Western Lithuania), most people talk in Samogitian, which is
somewhat different from Standard Lithuanian and is sometimes called an
independent language.
Remember that you are in Lithuania, not in a Russian colony and no longer in the
Soviet Union: Lithuanians do not want to hear their language being 'almost Russian'
because it is not and they do not like to be associated with Russia.
Lithuanian and Latvian are the last living languages of the Baltic language family.
Local people greatly appreciate even small attempts to speak Lithuanian.
The most southern of the Baltic countries,
Lithuania's historic heritage sets it quite apart from
the other two. Visiting this small but colourful
country today, few travellers might guess that this
was once the largest nation in Europe. A few
monuments remind of those golden ages, when the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania stretched out far into
modern day Russia, Poland and Moldova, but even
fewer are still inside the Lithuanian borders. The
archeologic site of Kernavė, long ago a medieval
capital, is now a World Heritage Site and has historic hillfort mounds as well as a
museum. The Trakai Island Castle in Trakai is sometimes called "Little
Mariënburg". It's located on an island and was one of the main strongholds in the
prime days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Although it was severely damaged in
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Forested valley of Minija river
in Salantai Regional Park
(http://www.salanturp.lt/14526
/salantai/zemelapiai.html),
Western part of Lithuania
17th century wars with Muscovy, the castle was beautifully restored in the 20th
century and is now a popular tourist sight. Kaunas Castle in Kaunas is even older,
but only a fourth of the original building remains.
The country's lovely capital, Vilnius, is a small but pleasant place with a UNESCO
listed historic centre. It's the perfect place to admire a range of architectural styles,
as it boasts a mixture of gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical buildings.
Stroll through the narrow streets and cosy courtyards and kick back for a coffee in
one of the many cafés on Pilies Street. Then, walk down Gediminas Avenue, the
town's main street lined with governmental buildings and theatres, towards the old
neighbourhood of Žvėrynas. With some 65 churches, the famous Gediminas Tower,
the Cathedral Square, the Royal Palace, the Presidential Palace and many other
monuments and museums, you won't run out of things to see in Vilnius any time
soon.
For a day at the sea, the popular seaside resort of Palanga is the place to be.
Although it gets crowded in summer, it has some great beaches and beautiful sand
dunes. Sand dunes overgrown with pine forest is also what you'll find at the almost
100 km long Curonian Spit, which separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic
Sea coast. It's a World Heritage Site shared between Lithuania and Russia and is best
explored from the large port city Klaipėda, though there is a possibility to stay on the
Spit itself in one of the four fishermen villages. Not far from Klaipėda is the village
of Juodkrantė, which is famous for its Hill of Witches, decorated with sculptures
from the country's legends and tales. Farthermost on Lithuanian half is the
fishermen's town of Nida, it is praised for its shores, ancient ethnographic cemetery
and high sand dunes in vicinity. Klaipėda is also a good hub to other sea side resorts
on the Baltic Coast, less known but equally cosy, such like Karklė. Nice bicycle path
stretches north and south from Klaipėda, as well as along all Curonian Spit.
A few kilometres from the northern city Šiauliai you'll find the remarkable Hill of
Crosses, which is an extraordinary and popular pilgrimage site. Over a 100.000
crosses - small, huge, simple and exuberant - have been placed here by faithful from
far and wide. On the other side of the country, in the very south, you'll find the
popular and classy spa resort town of Druskininkai, surrounded by largest pine forest
in the country.
Like it's Baltic neighbours, Lithuania has a lot to
offer for nature lovers. Dense forests, hills,
beautiful blue lakes and rivers are the main base.
The forested Aukštaitija National Park is perhaps
the most popular of the country's national parks for
its balanced diversity of natural and cultural values.
Its forests are home to elk, deer and wild boar. Some
of the pines you'll see here are up to 200 years old
and the park is a safe haven for many plants and
birds that are endangered in the rest of the country.
The 126 lakes and countless streams in between
them make the park a great place for water sports
activities and the villages in the park have some
interesting wooden churches. South west from the
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"Monkey" bridge over narrow
stream in Dituva village, south
of Klaipėda
national park lies a one of the largest forests, famous Labanoras Forest, which is a
part of Labanoras Regional Park (http://labanoras.am.lt) - and there is more rare
plants, more rare birds, including Black Stork, Capercailye, Crane and few species of
eagles, more rare animals like Lynx and Wolf, 285 lakes (70 of them swimmable),
mysterious swamps and numerous rivers and streams suitable for canoeing. No
surprise that its popularity among holidaymakers exceed even popularity of its
neighbour Aukštaitija National Park. Another favourite regional park, especially
among the birders, is the Nemunas Delta (http://www.nemunodelta.lt/). The vast
wetlands around the place where Neman River reaches the Baltic Sea are a popular
eco-tourism destination and an important bird habitat.
Natural scenery
Lithuanians describe their land with the help of
poetry. Poetry and songs are filled with romantic
images of gently rolling hills, vast valleys and
meandering rivers, somber forests rich of animals,
meadows full of butterflies and the birds singing in
the sky. This embodies what the Lithuanian is
looking for and is happy when he finds it. This is
what the Lithuanian is willing to promote and
defend. And when Lithuanians abroad begin to feel
homesickness – this is homesickness for all such
scenery and everything else related to it. This is,
according to many Lithuanians, the highest value of
the country. Consequently, if you are after all this,
you can experience more than you had expected,
however this can be quite a challenging experience.
You have to be well prepared and probably to rent a
car. You can see, hear and touch everything that is described in Lithuanian poetry and
songs, but how you will perceive it depends on you and circumstances, which often
are unpredictable. And this is a part of modern Lithuanian myths and urban legends
as well: unpredictable circumstances. One of the first things that travelers from the
West notice is the lack of infrastructure and facilities in the recreation areas. And
there is no reason to expect any improvements or changes in this respect in the future:
Lithuanians tend to make the difference between the "urban habitat" and the "visits to
the nature", the latter is supposed to be a rough experience, a visit to the natural, not
necessarily pristine or well maintained, but naturally strong and lively environment
without the attributes of urban life, it should contrast with the daily routine of the city
resident. Visiting the nature is supposed to be a way of gaining vital energy.
Therefore you must to "pave your path" through the woods as if you were a
pathfinder – each time again and again – so that ultimately you are affected by
elements of nature even against your will or laziness. Locals would tell you that if
you don’t want to make any effort you don’t deserve to step outside the city. But if
some effort is not a big trouble to you, all those gently rolling hills, vast valleys and
meandering rivers, somber forests, meadows full of butterflies and the birds singing
in the sky are almost every time guaranteed.
National Parks: there are five National Parks (http://www.qrz.lt
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Widely spread inland dunes,
mostly forested, cover about
2.61% of the territory of
Lithuania. The most typical
areas of the aeolian relief
stretch in South Lithuania.
This picture features the inland
dune covered by cup lichen in
Dainava forest, a part of
Dzūkija National Park.
/lyff/Nacionalinai%20parkai_eng.htm) in
Lithuania.
Aukštaitija National Park
(http://www.anp.lt/) (Aukštaitijos
nacionalinis parkas) in the eastern
region of Aukštaitija, both
administration office and the Tourism
Information Centre are located in
Palūšė village (Lūšių St 16, Palūšė,
Ignalina district; phone
+370 386 47478, e-mail info@anp.lt).
Dzūkija National Park And Čepkeliai
Nature Reserve (http://www.cepkeliai-
dzukija.lt/) (Dzūkijos nacionalinis
parkas ir Čepkelių rezervatas) in the
southern region of Dzūkija, its
administration office is located in
Merkinė town (Vilniaus St 3, Merkinė,
Varėna district, e-mail dzukijanp@is.lt), the park has two Visitor
Centres: Merkinė Visitor Centre (Vilniaus St 2, Merkinė, Varėna district;
e-mail merkine@dzukijosparkas.lt) and Marcinkonys Visitor Centre And
Čepkeliai Visitor Centre (Šilagėlių St 11, Marcinkonys, Varėna district;
mobile phone +370 672 46388, fax +370 310 44471,
e-mail info@dzukijosparkas.lt). Čepkeliai State Strict Nature Reserve is
a large bog, listed among Wetlands of International Importance, it is a
part of a European Union network of protected territories and also a
NATURA 2000 territory. It can be visited only accompanied by
Reservation staff (in some cases only written permit is needed), without
permission from the Reservation headquarters it is forbidden to visit
Čepkeliai Bog.
Samogitian National Park (http://www.zemaitijosnp.lt) (Žemaitijos
nacionalinis parkas) in the region of Samogitia; administration office
and the Visitor Centre are located in Plateliai village (Didžioji St 19,
Plateliai, Plungė district; phone +370 448 49231,
e-mail info@zemaitijosnp.lt).
National park Of Curonian Spit (http://www.nerija.lt/) (Kuršių Nerijos
nacionalinis parkas) covers a narrow peninsula of the farthest western
edge of the country’s Lithuania Minor region, administration office
(http://nerija.am.lt/VI/index.php) is located in Nida (Naglių St 8; e-mail
infonida@nerija.lt), and the three Tourism Information Centres
(http://www.visitneringa.com/en) are located in Smiltynė (only in
summer; Smiltynės St 11; e-mail info@nerija.lt ), Juodkrantė
(L. Rėzos St 8; e-mail juodkrante@neringa.lt) and Nida (Taikos St 4;
e-mail info@visitneringa.lt).
Trakai Historical National Park (http://www.seniejitrakai.lt/) (Trakų
istorinis nacionalinis parkas) is surrounding a former capital of Grand
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Juniper valley in Kaunas
Reservoir Regional Park
(http://www.kaunomarios.lt
/20726/zemelapiai/specialieji-
planai.html).
Duchy of Lithuania – a small town of Trakai near Vilnius.
Administration office (Karaimų St 5, e-mail tinp@seniejitrakai.lt) and
the Tourism Information Centre (http://www.trakai-visit.lt/)
(Vytauto St 69; e-mail trakaiTIC@is.lt ) are located in Trakai.
The south-west region of Suvalkija is represented by Vištytis Regional
Park (http://www.vistytis.lt/pradinis-ifram.htm) near Vištytis Lake. There
were attempts to convert this Regional Park into Suvalkian National
Park; however the local residents opposed to. Information and travel
ideas about all Suvalkian region, which is divided between Lithuania and
Poland, can be found at the Tourism Information Centre of the Šešupė
Euroregion (http://tic.sesupe.lt/index.php) in Šakiai (http://www.sakiai.lt)
town (V. Kudirkos St 61/1; phone/fax +370 345 1262, e-mail
tourism@sesupe.lt). Šešupė Euroregion is named after the one of most
prominent rivers in the country, Šešupė, which marks the border between
Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast. Information Centre web site
offers description of several different routes, some are translated to
English: Walking in Šakiai, By bicycle around Šešupė Euroregion, Car
route-1 (Wooden churches in Šakiai region), Car route-2 (Keeping traces
of authors from Šakiai region), Car route-3 (Around Šešupė Euroregion),
Hiking around Šešupė land, By canoe along the bends of Šešupė in
Šakiai region, By canoe on the bends of the river Šešupė.
Regional Parks: there are 30 Regional Parks
(http://www.qrz.lt
/lyff/regioniniai%20parkai_eng.htm) in the
country total. Some of them are mentioned in
the text above, some can be found below.
Visiting both National and Regional parks is
free of charge, they represent most valuable
environments of the country and are popular
outdoor recreation destinations among people
of Lithuania and neighbouring countries.
Some territories and areas within those parks
have additional restrictions of various degree
(nature reserves and preserves), like
well-known Čepkeliai Bog and Nagliai Nature Preserve
(http://www.visitneringa.com/en/main/places?id=58949) (also known as Dead
or Grey Dunes), or lesser known ones like Viešvilė State Nature Preserve
(http://viesvile.lt/zemelapiai.html). Some parks are more oriented to the visitors
in sense that the lower restrictions and characteristics of environment itself
allow to install some kind of infrastructural, recreational and entertaining
objects; some other parks prefer to leave the visitors on their own without the
comforts of civilization. Visitor is supposed to be able to make a choice. This
part may be difficult for people from the countries where the visitors should be
offered.
Accessibility: all areas of the outdoor recreation are reachable by car, and all
their Visitor Centres are also reachable by public transport. One must have in
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The spring "Mary's Tears" by
the bridge over Dubysa river,
near Ariogala town.
Road No 141 crossing Dubysa
river near Seredžius
(http://www.seredzius.com/)
town.
mind that the network of public transport is designed to provide the service
between the settlements and not between the areas, therefore the car (or rental
bus for larger groups) is recommended.
Scenery and the roads. Traveling down the
main roads is dull and boring. The roads,
among other features, are treated as the
objects that damage and pollute the natural
environment; therefore the modern roads are
built across the former pastures and
agricultural lands, bypassing smaller
settlements at "respectable distance", which
means that you can barely see them from the
road. Older roads, with reconstructed
pavement, are also in use. For example, the
motorway A1 Kaunas-Klaipėda loosely
duplicates the Samogitian Highway (Žemaičių
plentas) wich was opened in 1939, and which
can be rcognised as a winding secondary road
connecting all the district centres slightly
north of the road A1 on the section that begins
before Ariogala (http://www.ariogala.lt
/miestas-2/) (NW of Kaunas) and ends up
after Gargždai (http://gargzdumiestas.lt
/index.php/zemlapis) near Klaipėda. To some
extent such secondary roads are more diverse
and more interesting, however the speed is
lower and the time costs are higher. Some
objects of interest are easy to miss, some others are still away from the road.
Traveling by train reduces opportunities of sightseeing to a minimum: the rows
of trees are planted along the railway tracks to form a green barrier in order to
separate the railway infrastructure from the surrounding space. The rare breaks
between the trees let to enjoy the scenery for several seconds or minutes.
There are several roads in the country that are scenic and pleasant to drive.
Regardless of what objects are or are not on these roads, they can be treated as
a separate objects of interest: all you need is just to relax and drive. Lithuania
is not a country of outstanding beauty or extraordinary objects; its natural
beauty is soft, unpretentious and relaxing. The scenic roads are:
A16 highway, section between Trakai and Prienai
(http://www.prienai.lt/go.php/lit/English);
Regional road No 141 Kaunas-Jurbarkas
(http://www.jurbarkotic.lt)-Klaipėda, total lenght 228.92 km;
Regional road No 148 Raseiniai-Radviliškis, section between
Raseiniai (http://www.raseiniai.lt/) and Šiluva
(http://www.siluva.lt/);
Regional road No 155 Kuršėnai (http://kursenai.lt/apie-kursenus
/kursenu-planas/)-Mažeikiai (http://www.mazeikiai.lt/go.php
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/lit/English), total lenght 53.70 km;
Regional road No 226 Kartena (http://www.kartena.lt/kaip-
mus-rasti-.html)-Kūlupėnai-Salantai (http://www.salantukc.lt/apie-
mus/istorija/salantai), total lenght 19.27 km.
Hill-forts (http://www.piliakalniai.lt). This is the one of most common
objects of interest and type of landmarks for Lithuanians. If you want to go
“somewhere” other than the lake or river for the outdoor recreation purposes
and nothing comes to mind as “where to go”, there always is a hill-fort or its
surroundings suitable for leisure pursuits. Total number of the hill-forts, or
piliakalniai (nominative plural), in Lithuania is 840, the latest one was
indentified in 1997.
There are several types of early hill-forts that date from the Bronze Age BC to
13th century AD, they all have flattened hilltop defensive positions; and two
types of hill-forts built for defensive purposes against the raids of German
Crusaders between 13th and 15th centuries, their hilltop defensive positions are
irregular. The latter type of two is motte-and-bailey castles, for example the
Second Hillfort of Veliuona (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=123), now partially washed out by Nemunas
river. Construction of castles and other elements of the fortifications were
made of wood and stone, nothing has survived to date. Later the few brick
castles were built, but by that time the firearms and new methods of warfare
made such type of castles unsuitable for defensive purposes, they were
abandoned and eventually only the hills remained. The scenery of Lithuania
has changed: the settlements have “climbed down” from the hilltops to the
foothills and hid in groves. This is what you see driving through the rural areas:
the road winding among the scattered groves, several farms here and there in a
distance, and eventually you see the steeple of the church above the grove,
betraying the presence of town still hidden behind the trees. Somewhere aside
an old hill-fort marks its previous location. You can climb it up and the view
that unfolds before the eyes often (but not always) is a literal embodiment of
Lithuanian songs and poetry.
On the country’s and regional maps the hill-forts are marked with an icon
resembling the shape of some kind of a mound from the side or from above.
The map legends are typically bilingual or multilingual, in Lithuanian language
only the one term is used, piliakalnis (nominative singular), and English
translations vary: hill fort, mound or castle hill means one and the same, the
hill-fort.
Several notable hill-forts are widely known throughout the country, their names
conclude the names of organizations, schools and companies, and of course
they are in the spotlight of vacationists and organized excursions:
Kernavė (http://www.piliakalniai.lt/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=570)
– a complex of the hill-forts and archaeological sites. South of Kernavė
(http://www.sirvintos.lt/lt/turizmas/lankytinos-vietos_961/kernaves-
seniunija_1003.html) town, just behind the church.
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Medvėgalis hill-fort, a highest
point in Samogitia region.
Medvėgalis (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=535) –
Samogitia region, Varniai Regional
Park (http://www.varniuparkas.lt
/view.php?id=kultura&sbid=82) (north
of the A1 motorway, south-east of
Lūkstas lake near Karūžiškės village in
Bilionys elderate, Šilalė district).
Merkinė (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=724) –
Dzūkija region, Dzūkija National Park, south of Merkinė
(http://info.druskininkai.lt/en_lankytinos_vietos/merkine/) town by
Nemunas river.
Napoleono kepurė (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=386) (Napoleon's Hat) – Dzūkija region,
west of Aukštadvaris (http://www.aukstadvarioseniunija.lt/galery
/aukstadvaris.html) town near Lepelionys village. Conveniently located
very close to the A16 highway (southern side).
Punia (http://www.archeologijosdraugija.lt/itvirtinimai
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=4) – Dzūkija region, Punia village by
Nemunas river in the Nemunas Loop Regional Park
(http://naujas.nemunokilpos.lt.alksnis.serveriai.lt/index.php/parko-
zemelapis.html), Alytus district. Reachable from the road No 129, the
hill-fort is just behind the church which stands in the village’s centre.
Šatrija (http://www.piliakalniai.lt/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=623) –
Samogitia region, Varniai Regional Park (http://www.varniuparkas.lt
/view.php?id=kultura&sbid=75), south-east of Telšiai, reachable by
driving south from the A11 highway Šiauliai-Palanga or by local
transport from Telšiai.
Šeimyniškėliai (http://www.baranauskas.lt/lt/left/apie-
mus/seimyniskeliu-piliakalnio-kompleksas/) – Aukštaitija region,
Anykščiai Regional Park (http://www.anyksciuparkas.lt/index.php?id=4)
(north-east of Anykščiai (http://www.anyksciai.lt/en/general-information
/about-anyksciai.html), suburb of Šeimyniškėliai, west of J. Biliūno
street / road No 120, coordinates 55°32'43.96", 25°8'21.03" ).
Nature objects
European Bison (http://www.panmu.lt/en/bison_paddock_/) Petriškės village,
Krekenava elderate, LT-38305 Panevėžys district (Forest between Kaunas and
Panevėžys, specifically east of Krekenava and west of Ramygala, reachable
from both), ☎ Call in advance +370 455 93339, mobile: +370 686 16434,
+370 620 59809 (krekenava@panmu.lt). Closed Mondays; Tu-F 09:00-16:00,
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Sa-Su 10:00-18:00; lunch break 13:00-14:00. Prices: adult – 4 LTL, kid,
schoolkid – 2 LTL, tour guide services – 10 LTL. Reintroduction of European
bison started in Lithuania in 1969; currently 17 European bisons live in
paddock, and a free-ranging herd in 30-40 km radius around the paddock. The
paddock and the forest is a part of Krekenava Regional Park (http://krpd.am.lt)
(established in 1992) which has 5 Nature Reserves, 1 Historical Reserve
(Upytė village), 3 cognitive paths, 4 bicycle trails, motor routes to the all
objects of interest, Nevėžis river canoe route, and Culinary Heritage program
(call in advance +370 454 54040, +370 455 93648, E-mail:
krekenavoslc@zebra.lt). For the downloadable map (http://krpd.am.lt
/VI/index.php#r/238) click the line Priedai: Krekenavos regioninio parko
schema.
Papilė Jurassic Exposure (Papilės atodanga) - 2 km Venta river section of
Jurassic conglomerates with abundant remains of small fossils. Papilė
(http://www.papile.lt/lt/turizmas_37/juros_periodo_atodanga.html) town,
Mažeikiai district (Samogitia region). Object of the Venta Regional Park
(http://www.ventosparkas.lt/), declared as geological monument since 1964,
listed among the most valuable geological localities of Lithuania since 1997.
Cow's Cave (Karvės ola) - a well-type almost round funnel-formed sinkhole,
the most notable one out of 9,000 sinkholes that have been identified in the
area of Biržai district, Northern Lithuania. At the top its diameter reaches up to
10 m, the depth is about 19 m, of which 7 m is under the water. In the bottom
of the sinkhole at the depth of 9.5 m there is an underground cavity opened
instead of melted gypsum; this cavity splits up into several caves that were
explored by speleologists and cave divers from Kaunas in 1973 and 1978.
There are five caves: the Wet Cave (Šlapioji ola), the Narrow Burrow (Siauroji
landa), the Bat Burrow (Šikšnosparnių landa - several bats have been found
here), the Toad's Cave (Rupūžės ola) with a small underground lake of about
1.5 m depth and the Lustrous Cave (Blizganti ola). The water level in the
bottom of underground cavity is variable, the water temperature reaches 4.5°C.
In 2007 the joint expedition of Lithuanian caving club "Aenigma" and caving
club "Sokolniki-RUDN" from Moscow explored the Cow's Cave in detail and
discovered a new hall, 15 m in width. It was noted that cave diving in sinkholes
is extremely complex and requires a high level of professionalism, this also
means that average cave diver with good skills can't get a permit to explore this
sinkhole. Cow's Cave is an object of the Biržai Regional Park
(http://www.birzuparkas.lt/), it has been declared as geological monument
since 1964.
Devil's Pit (Velnio duobė) - a pit of unknown origin. Its diameter is 60-65 m at
the bottom, 200 m at the top with a depth of 30-40 m. The total area is 0.04 ha
at the bottom and 4.5 ha at the top. It's located about 4 km north of
Aukštadvaris town, Trakai district in the Aukštadvaris Regional Park
(http://www.arp.lt/), 54°36′41.96″N, 24°30′55.45″E. The bottom of the pit is
walkable, however it is rather soft as that what looks like a bottom is a top of
9.5 m height peat layer which is still in early stage of formation. A light fog,
supposedly slightly toxic, tends to form early in the morning and in the
evening. It is not recommended to stay for a long time at the bottom as you
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Vilnius University Botanical
Garden at Kairėnai Estate.
may start to feel yourself a little weird, though there is no official statistics or
researches about the consequences of such an effect. Research conducted by
Physics PhD's reveal that "This is especially active place where intersects the
structures of strong and diverse geological biofields". Around and inside the pit
there is a number of virtually healthy trees with the growth anomalies. The pit
is ready for visits; there is an observation deck at the edge and a path leading
around and inside it. Devil’s Pit has been declared as geological monument
since 1964.
Stelmuzhe Oak (Stelmužės ąžuolas) (http://www.stelmuzes-azuolas.lt/) – a
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) which grows in Stelmužė village near the
church (Imbradas elderate, north of Zarasai (http://www.zarasai.lt/) near
Latvian border at the north-east corner of the country). The oldest plant in
Lithuania, at least 1,500 years old, it measures 3.5 m in diameter, 958 cm in
girth at waist level and 23 m in height. Declared a natural monument
(http://medziai.apicentras.lt/?id=1&subid=1&start=0&count=20&sort=laikas&
desc=1&view=85) since 1960 and included in the list of protected objects in
Lithuania. The skeleton of Napoleon's army soldier and gun were found in one
of its inner hollows. The oak grows in the park (10 ha) of the former Stelmužė
Manor which is known since 17th century when estate owner was a German
baron Folkerzamb. Distance from Vilnius 160 km.
Oak of Thunder God (Perkūno ąžuolas) (http://medziai.apicentras.lt/?id=1&
subid=11&start=0&count=20&sort=laikas&desc=1&view=83) – a
Pedunculate oak which grows in a park of Ogiński Manor Estate, Parkas St 1,
Plungė. Legend tells that priestess Galinda stoked a sacred fire near this oak.
One day her lover went forth to war against Crusaders, and never returned
back. The chief priest, seeing Galinda’s tears and heartache, began to teach her
that only a sacred fire can quench her earthly pain. Once, when Galinda was
weeping under the oak, a thunder struck the tree. Oak shook, some soil has
poured into its trunk – and soon the flower of incredible beauty has sprouted
out of the trunk of the oak. Since then people started to call it on behalf of
Thunder God. Trunk girth 530 cm, height 21 m, has 2 trunks, several hollows.
Declared as natural monument. Distance from Vilnius 286 km, distance from
Klaipėda 59 km.
Major parks and gardens
Vilnius University Botanical Garden
(VUBG) (http://www.botanikos-sodas.vu.lt)
(Vilniaus Universiteto botanikos sodas),
Kairėnų St 43, LT-10239 Vilnius-40, ☎
Information +370 5 219-3139 (hbu@bs.vu.lt,
fax: +370 5 231-7933). Summer - daily
10:00-20:00, winter - Mo-Fr 09:00-16:00, last
admission 1 hr before closing. Prices (cash
only) 1 May to 31 Oct for adult 7 LTL,
concession 4 LTL, family (2 adults + children)
18 LTL. 1 Nov to 30 Apr for adult 4 LTL, concession 2 LTL, family (2 adults +
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Lentvaris Park designed by
Édouard André.
Manor stud in Žagarė Park.
children) 8 LTL. Vilnius University Botanical
Garden was founded in 1781. Today the
Garden resides in two areas, Vingis Park and
Kairėnai Estate, it is not only the largest in
Lithuania (with combined total area of
199 ha) but also have the most numerous
collections of plants. Guide-led tours in
English, additional services (horse riding,
horse-drawn carriage ride, rent of gazebos and
picnic tables) must be booked in advance by
phone +370 5 219-3139.
Landscape parks designed by Édouard
André - there are 4 parks in Lithuania:
Palanga Park in the seaside resort of Palanga,
Užutrakis Park (Užutrakis, Trakai district),
Lentvaris Park ( Lentvaris, Trakai district),
Trakų Vokė Park (Trakų Vokė, Paneriai
elderate, Vilnius municipality).
Palanga Botanical Park
(http://www.pgm.lt) (Palangos botanikos parkas), Vytauto St 15,
LT-5720 Palanga (Palanga, south of the centre), ☎ +370 460 49270,
+370 460 49271 (botanikosparkas@takas.lt). The best preserved, best
kept and most popular park in Lithuania, total area 101.3 ha.
Trakų Vokė Manor Estate (http://www.trakuvoke.lt/apie.htm) (Trakų
Vokės dvaras), Trakų Vokė, Paneriai elderate, Vilnius municipality
(Outside Vilnius on the way to Trakai, between Vilnius and Lentvaris,
north of A4 highway, near Vokė river). The park, total area 23 ha, is
surrounding the Neo-Renaissance manor of Count Tyszkiewicz family.
The park was completed c. 1900. During WWII the manor was occupied
by colonists from Holland. Later it was used for various purposes, the
park declined. Currently the park is partially renewed, the feasibility
study is prepared by European Institute of Cultural Routes, the park is
being under the early stage of complete restoration.
Žagarė Manor Park, Šiaulių St 28, LT-5467 Žagarė, Joniškis district (When
you go from Joniškis to Žagarė, you enter the Park first (the road divides it into
2 parts) and as soon as you leave it behind you suddenly find yourself in the
centre of the town). edit The park is rather neglected now, it was second-
magnificent park in Lithuania, after Palanga Park. Founded by Naryškinas
noble family who were descendents of Tatars, developed from 1898 spring to
1900 autumn to design of dendrologist George Friedrich Ferdinand Kuphaldt
(1853-1938), covers area of 70 ha. Belongs to Žagarė Regional Park
(http://zagaresrp.am.lt/). 56°21'44"N, 23°16'9"E
Japanese believe: if someone intrudes into nature and attempts to change it,
so this should be perfectly done, just raised to the heights of art. So. This is the
biggest (16 ha) Japanese garden in Europe. It was started to develop in Oct
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2007 and (almost) finished in 2009. Though it actually can’t be finished as it
continues to live and grow and develop in its own natural way….. for only the
death can confirm that something is finished. Japanese Garden Samogitia
(http://www.japangarden.lt/) Mažučiai village, Darbėnai elderate, Kretinga
district (Lithuania seaside: from Palanga head east up to Kretinga, then turn
north (road No 218) up to Darbėnai, then turn left (west) towards Laukžemė
right after the church in Darbėnai, you'll see signs to the garden then), ☎ +370
616 18530, +370 606 05756, +370 616 14202 (jgardenfund@gmail.com).
Daily 09:00-21:00. Admission fee children 5 LTL, adults 8 LTL..
Major manors
Arvydai Manor (http://www.arvydudvaras.lt/) (Arvydų dvaras), Pakalnės St
26, Bezdonys, Vilnius district, ☎ +370 614 41947 (vilija@arvydudvaras.lt).
The manor is known since 1415 when King Jagiello paid a visit during the
hunt. The present appearance it gained when Samuel Goldstein, a German
merchant of the 2nd Vilnius Guild, has bought the manor around 1900; the
style of architecture since then is Neoclassicism. The next and last known
landlord was polish duke Koscialkowsky, who was best known for his favorite
activity shooting cows from the castles belvedere tower. During soviet times
the manor was turned into a dorm with a cinema hall. In 2002 the manor was
sold to a businessman from Vilnius, fully restored and now offers a variety of
entertainment (hot-air balloon flights, hunting, fishing, bicycling, horse riding,
golf, paintball, photosessions, spa procedures), accommodation for up to
18 people in 8 double rooms, services of wedding planner, premises for the
banquets, weddings, conferences and various business events.
Norviliškės Castle (http://www.norviliskiu-pilis.lt) (Norviliškių pilis),
Norviliškės, Šalčininkai district (86 km south-east of Vilnius, road A15 up to
Šalčininkai, then turn east, road No 104 up to Dieveniškės, turn left (road
No 3904) up to Ureliai, then to the right (road No 3915) and drive some 5 km
up to the castle which stands several metres away from external EU border),
☎ +370 682 41155 (info@pilys-dvarai.lt). M-F 08:30-17:00. According to
romantic story, the castle was built in the beginning of 16th century by a
wealthy Prussian merchant and warrior who fell in love with the local beauty,
Countess Darata Zienovičiūtė… and her brave warrior from Marienburg
decided to stay in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The castle was built in a
Renaissance style, same look it has today. During the centuries the castle
served a variety of purposes, including barracks and a monastery. There are
known many stories about the hidden treasures (silver and gold, specifically
mentioned in written source of 1933), secret tunnel from the castle to Halshany
(a town in modern Belarus), however only a tunnel from the castle to the belfry
was found. Fully restored in 2005 it now offers active relaxation services,
business conference facilities and cultural tourism services, accomodation,
dining facilities, rental of the premises, event organization, horse-riding,
hunting, extreme off-road adventures with four-wheel drives and motor-cycles,
hot-air balloon rides, paragliding and helicopter rides as well as orienteering.
The castle is situated in the territory of Dieveniškės Regional Park
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Pakruojis Manor
Raudonė Castle.
(http://dirpd.am.lt/VI/index.php#a/125).
Ogiński Manor (http://www.oginski.lt/) (Žemaičių dailės muziejus – Museum
of Samogitia Fine Arts), Parkas St 1, LT-90117 Plungė (North of Plungė centre,
north of Babrungas river, west of the train station; there are 3 entrances to the
manor park: from the west (Parko St 1), from the north near the railway
(Stoties St), and from the east (Dariaus Ir Girėno St)), ☎ +370 448 57643
(zd.muziejus@takas.lt, fax: +370 448 52492). 1 May–31 Oct W-Su
10:00-17:00; 1 Nov–30 Apr Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. Price: adult 5 LTL, kids
2 LTL, guide (foreign language) for group of 25: 50 LTL. The manor was first
time mentioned in 1568, reconstructed in 1879 by Count Ogiński, since then
the manor house has a Neo-Renaissance style and is surrounded by 58.3 ha
park. Since 1994 the manor premises are used for Museum of Samogitia Fine
Arts.
Pakruojis Manor (http://www.pakruojo-
dvaras.lt) (Pakruojo dvaras), Pakruojis
Manor, Karčiama St, LT-83166, Pakruojis
(Northern Lithuania, between Panevėžys and
Šiauliai, north-east corner of Pakruojis town,
west of the road No 151 (Linkuva direction)),
☎ +370 686 86376, Rest and Tourism Centre
office +370 681 88151 (info@pilys-dvarai.lt),
[1] (http://www.pakruojistic.lt/en). Tavern -
Tu-Th, Su 12:00-20:00, F-Sa 12:00-22:00;
Windmill - F-Sa 12:00-19:00, Su 12:00-18:00. First mentioned in 1531, its
heydays began since 1780 when Baron Wilhelm von der Ropp from Livonia
married local Countess Aleksandra Miunsterytė. Baron was the initiator who
financed the new extensive construction of Pakruojis Manor, which was
completed in the third decade of the 19th century and remains up to date, it has
Late Neoclassical style. Fully restored in 2009 it now offers guided tours in the
main palace and territory (price 8 LTL per person), introductory and
educational program “Visiting Miller – Cognition of the Bread Path” (4 hr
30 min, price up to 70 LTL per person for groups from 20 individuals), 5
different size and interior halls for business events and weddings, catering in
tavern “Traktierius”, horse-riding; for rent: bicycle, scooter, boat, kite;
accommodation in hotel “Stadala” (hotel reservation hotel@pilys-dvarai.lt, bed
and breakfast price per person 70 LTL).
Raudonė Castle (http://www.heritage.lt
/epd/2001/raudones_pilis.htm) (Raudonės
pilis), Pilies St, Raudonė, Jurbarkas district
(South of Raudonė town, on a hill by the
highway A141, surrounded with the park).
Castle construction works started in late 16th
century. In the first half of the 19th century
Prince Zubov family transformed the castle according to the design of architect
Cesare Anichini, the building now has a style of Neo-Gothic architecture.
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Tenth Fort in Romainiai,
Kaunas municipality: shelf
with ammunition niches.
During tourism season visitors are allowed to climb up the tower. The Castle is
a highlight of Panemunė Regional Park (http://prpd.am.lt).
Šešuolėliai-1 Manor (http://www.sesuoleliudvaras.lt/) (Šešuolėlių I dvaras),
Šešuolėlai I village, Zibalai elderate, LT-19032 Širvintos district, ☎ +370 672
92377 (office@sesuoleliudvaras.lt). Offers: eight luxuriously-decorated
sleeping apartments, a Jacuzzi bath, luxurious living and dining rooms, sauna,
soiree room, a ballroom with capacity for 400 people. The surroundings are
well-suited for occasional and cultural events.
Žeimiai Manor (http://www.zeimiudvaras.lt/) (Žeimių dvaras), Draugystė St
28, Žeimiai, LT-55066 Jonava district, (zeimiudvarosodyba@zeimiudvaras.lt).
Visiting time: weekdays 12:00-18:00, weekends 10:00-19:00. Offers: Artist-
in-residence programs and other residency opportunities which allow artists to
stay and work elsewhere. (http://www.transartists.org/air/residency-o-yo-0).
20th century military heritage
WWI
Lithuania was a part of Russian Empire and bordered Germany. Various small
fortifications are sparsely scattered across the country, but most of them are
concentrated in two places: around Kaunas and in Zarasai (http://www.zarasai.lt/)
(Novo-Alexandrovsk at the time) - Ignalina area.
Russian fortifications
Kaunas Fortress
(http://tvirtove.kaunas.lt/), originally built in
19th century. Since 1912 an expansion and
reconstruction has begun, its completion was
scheduled for 1917. In 1915 only one fort, the
Ninth, was completed, while the Tenth was
partially built and 3 others were left in the
early stages of construction. In 1915 Germany
began an offensive against Russia and reached
Kaunas Fortress in July 1915. The fortress and Kaunas city were taken by
Germans in August 18, 1915.
Tenth Fort (Romainių fortas) (http://saimhe.avita.lt/romainiu_f
/index.htm) Directions: west of Kaunas, west of A5 highway,
north of a junction of Šilainiai and Romainiai streets, Romainiai
elderate. 54°55′39″N, 23°49′50″E .
German fortifications
Kaunas - Germans planned to use Kaunas Fortress for the defense from
Russian counter attack. Further expansion and reconstruction has begun, line of
defense (http://www.grumlinas.lt/?p=21962) (Vaišvydava-Palemonas-Narėpai-
Domeikava) protecting the city from the North-East was started to construct.
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One of casemates in Narėpai:
iron observation cupola.
Inside the observation cupola
in Narėpai: armoured hasps on
the lookout hole.
The works lasted from 1916 to 1917.
Kleboniškis Casemates
Directions: Kaunas municipality,
Kleboniškis forest north of
motorway A1 Vilnius-Klaipėda,
reachable by paved path from
pedestrian overpass near
"Tėvynė" restaurant-motel
(http://www.tevyne.lt/kaip-rasti-
en.html), west of a main viaduct,
the path leads to Naujasėdis
settlement. South of Naujasėdis,
300 m away from the site with
the sculptures of wooden gnomes.
54°56'38"N, 23°57'59"E .
Narėpai Casemates Directions:
Kaunas municipality, between the
road A6 Kaunas-Jonava and
Neris river where the river makes
a loop, north of Narėpai village.
The path (north of a ditch wind)
leads north to the forest.
54°57'9"N, 24°0'1"E .
Tverečius - 1915 autumn marks an extensive battles in the eastern Lithuania in
Zarasai-Ignalina region. Some of constructions built during that time still can
be found near small town of Tverečius, Ignalina district, near Belarus border.
Details on accommodation in vicinity: this part of the country, Eastern
Lakeland, is heavily forested and sparsely populated, therefore a
hotel/hostel-type accommodation is unavailable; only a mini resort-type places
which range from very simple to very sophisticated. There are 3 modest
options rather close to the objects of interest: Trys ežerai (Three Lakes)
(http://www.trysezerai.lt/) – 5 cottages, 20 beds total, Ligita Kindurienė
Homestead (http://www.atostogoskaime.lt/en/farmstead/kindurienes-sodyba) –
2 cottages, 21 bed total, mob. phone +370 652 70651, Ramūnas Bubnys
Homestead (http://www.atostogoskaime.lt/en/farmstead/bubniu-sodyba) – 2
cottages, 12 beds total, mob. phone +370 686 49009.
Military hideout Directions: in Tverečius, several metres behind
the bus stop near cemetery.
Artillery firing positions Directions: from Tverečius head south
some 7 km Adutiškis direction down the road No 4402 up to
Katinautiškės village by Svyla stream.
Military village of concrete camp huts Directions: the road
No 4402 from Katinautiškės turns south-west along the Svyla
stream, go some 2.8 km up to Guntauninkai village. A bit further
east some hideouts can be found.
Pillboxes Directions: Further south-west 1.78 km away from
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Guntauninkai you find a village of Radžiūnai where 3 pillboxes
can be seen in the fields near the road: the first one before the
village (55°14'42.27", 26°34'44.69"), then you walk across the
village, pass the bus stop and cross Svyla stream, and almost
immediately see another one by the left hand side (55°14'27.62",
26°34'29.81"), then 130 m further (55°14'23.63", 26°34'27.37")
you see a third one.
WWII
Vilnius Entrenched Camp – a complex of Vilnius defensive fortifications,
constructed between 1923 and 1928 by Second Polish Republic. Fortifications
were aimed to defend the city from increasing military power of Soviet Union,
in case of conflict. However, irony of fate, only Wehrmacht used it fighting
Armia Krajowa which was attacking by the end of World War II. The main
tourist attraction is several objects situated in the outdoor recreation area of
Sapieginė Forest, Antakalnis district, and belong to Pavilniai Regional Park
(http://www.pavilniai-verkiai.lt/) . They are sparsely scattered from Šilo (5
ammunition depots) and Žolyno (batteries) streets up to Rokantiškės (2
batteries and 2 observation points) near Pūčkoriai outcrop which can be seen
from Belmontas Entertainment And Recreation Centre
(http://www.belmontas.lt/).
Nazi German Fortifications in Memel-Klaipėda – there are 9 remains of
military constructions and 20 military hideouts in Klaipėda area total. One
battery north of Klaipėda on the beach near Giruliai, called Black Fortress
(Juodoji tvirtovė), is a popular and well known spot among holidaymakers.
There are other three in different locations which are rather easy to find.
Memel Nord
Batterie Försterei aka Black Fortress (Girulių baterija), Giruliai,
Klaipėda municipality (Giruliai beach). edit Anti-aircraft battery,
modified Fla2 type.
Batterie Mellneraggen (Melnragės baterija), Melnragė, Klaipėda
municipality (Melnragė beach). edit Anti-aircraft Fla2 battery.
Memel Süd (on Curonian Spit)
Baterrie Bachmann (Kopgalio baterija), Smiltynė, Klaipėda
municipality (Curonian Spit, Smiltynė, dunes near men’s beach). edit
Anti-aircraft Fla2 battery.
Batterie Schweisbrücken (http://www.ineringa.lt/en/view-object/235/10
/Alksnynės+baterija) (Alksnynės baterija), Smiltynė-Nida Highway,
Neringa municipality (Curonian Spit, 6.07 km from the 1st ferry terminal
at Smiltynė, then turn left to the road closed for vehicles and go 480 m).
Anti-aircraft Fla2 battery. In order to visit underground premises call in
advance, phone +370 611 22111.
Molotov Line – the line of Soviet hardened field defences of World War II, its
section of 328 km stretches between the Lithuanian seaside near Palanga up to
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Building of Macikai Lockup.
Polish border and marks the former border between Germany and Lithuanian
SSR in 1941. Construction of the pillboxes started in 1941 April, some 100 out
of 1641 objects were more or less completed until June 22, 1941 when
Wehrmacht unexpectedly invaded Soviet Union, violating the non-aggression
pact of 1939.
Oflag 53 (subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp), Pagėgiai (German:
Pogegen) district, Lithuania Minor (From the centre of Pagėgiai turn west
(from Vilnius St to Jankus St which soon turns into the road No 4230) and go
1 km 83 m Anužiai direction, then turn to the right (road sign “Oflager-53”) to
the forest, the site is 410 m away from the road), ☎ +370 656 18551
(ticpagegiai@gmail.com). edit Established 15 Apr 1941, closed Jun 1944. A
memorial complex for prisoners of war who died in Pagėgiai concentration
camp erected in 1977, rebuilt in May 2005. For more information contact
Pagėgiai Region Tourism Information Centre (http://www.pagegiai.lt
/index.php?761933499), Šereikos St 3-3, LT-99254 Vilkyškiai, Pagėgiai
district.
Macikai Village Concentration Camp -
Lockup (http://silutesmuziejus.lt/maciku-
lageris-karceris-muziejus/) (former German
WW II POW camp Stalag 1C / Soviet prison
for internal enemies GULAG department
No 3), Macikai village, LT-99156, Šilutė
district (1.15 km down the road No 4235
which branches off from the main road
No 141 east of Šilutė, Lithuania Minor
region), ☎ +370 441 62207
(info@silutesmuziejus.lt, fax: +370 441 62207). Tuesday-Saturday
11:00-15:00. Once it was a manor. Then, in 1924, its territory was used for the
barracks of Lithuanian Army. 1939 Germans established the WWII POW
camp. 1944-1948 Soviets continued to use the camp for the German POW.
1948-1955 it was renamed to "GULAG department No 3" and served as a
prison for "internal enemies". 1995 the Museum of Macikai Concentration
Camp was established.
Cold war
Plokštinė SS-4-type Intermediate-range Missile Silo Complex
(http://www.zemaitijosnp.lt/en/the-cold-war-exposition/), Didžioji St 8,
Plateliai village, Plungė district. ☎ +370 677 86574. In Samogitian National
Park (http://www.zemaitijosnp.lt/).
Urban Exploration. 31 Aug 1993 the last Soviet soldier left the territory of
Lithuania. Vast areas that have been used for military purposes, has been
abandoned. Thereafter Lithuanian military took over some objects and
territories, redesigned and reconstructed them to meet NATO standards, and
this represents about 40% of the territories and objects previously used by
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Linksmakalnis Officers
Clubhouse built 1944-1950 by
German prisoners of war who
were then executed at the spot.
Building design is a replica of
the manor stable. Soviet
symbols on the facades were
an obligatory.
Soviet military. Some 60% of enemy's military bases were left to decay. Today,
all of them yet to be explored, but the ruthless effects of time and Mother
Nature are already clearly visible. The sites suitable for Urban Exploration
consist of 3 main groups of the former Soviet military objects and territories: 1
- KGB object in Linksmakalnis and its affiliate, 2 - properties of Soviet 58th
Missile Division (HQ in Karmėlava) and 29th Missile Division (HQ in
Tauragė, later in Šiauliai) of 5th Missile Army, and 3 - the large territories of
the firing grounds and Kaunas Lodgement. Some of the former firing grounds
were converted into the biosphere grounds and recreation zones suitable for the
eco-tourism.
KGB Radio Intelligence Center
Linksmakalnis aka Lustberg. It
was a former manor estate turned
into the KGB radio intelligence
center which was served by the
secret military unit 71272. One
non-combat subunit was
responsible for the infrastructure,
three combat subunits were
responsible for political and
economical intelligence in West
Germany and Scandinavia.
Preconditions for the existence of
such a center were created by
Europeans themselves: in order to
save the state budget it was
decided for confidential
communications not to use the separate wireline channels (very
expensive), but to use the ordinary commercial channels instead,
encoding messages with a special chip. However, the chip did not
become an obstacle. In 16 Jun 1993 the secret unit was moved to
the new unknown location and changed its subordination and
number. Directions: 20 km south of Kaunas, the road No 130,
before Išlaužas turn east across the pool. As you cross the bridge
and enter the town, go down the main street (Liepų St) till the end.
The town soon ends up, and as soon as it disappears behind you,
you start to see something ahead: a "brain center". 54°45'32.42",
23°56'30.02".
"Neman" – it had to be a new satellite communications center
near Piliuona town. The large building of the technical center, staff
office with an underground hideout, boiler, power generator,
garage and some other structures has been almost fully completed.
Apartment building for the staff was started to construct. In 1989 it
was decided that the place has become unreliable for such an
object. Dismantling works started, however only engineering
infrastructure has been dismantled and transfered to the new
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Abandoned Soviet nuclear
missile storage hangar at the
Surface Launch Base near
Šateikiai, Western Lithuania.
unknown location of the same center. Directions: east of
Linksmakalnis near Nemunas river, between the towns of
Pakuonis (south) and Piliuona (north), east of the road No 1901
and south of Redimistis stream. The platforms for satelite antennas
on the roof of the main building are visible from the road, also can
be seen on Google Maps and Street View. 54°45'4.1", 24°6'24.64"
SS-4-type intermediate-range nuclear missile launch facilities – there
were 4 pairs of missile bases in Lithuania (8 total, not counting the
Dvina type silo complex in Plokštinė which was converted into
museum).
Šateikiai (79 Regiment, 29th
Missile Division of the 5th
Missile Army) – two surface
launch facilities with 4 launch
pads and accessory infrastructure
each, constructed in 1962.
Directions: west of Samogitia
National Park, Plungė district,
north of the road Šiauliai-
Palanga, Šateikiai village
(intersection of the roads No 169
and No 3216).
Šateikiai North – forest
north of Šateikiai, entrance from the road No 169:
56°0'37.53", 21°40'3.41", turn north (displayed on Google
Maps Street View).
Šateikiai South - forest west of Šateikiai, same crossroad
on the road No 169, turn south.
Tauragė (637 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th Missile
Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and
accessory infrastructure each, constructed in 1960. Directions:
Lithuania Minor region, both bases located south of Tauragė city.
Tauragė North – south of Tauragė city, reachable from
Tauragė (by the road No 4505) or from the south (near
Viešvilė from the road No 141 Jurbarkas-Klaipėda),
55°9'23.24", 22°20'44.59".
Tauragė South – west of Viešvilė, same crossroad from the
road No 141, turn south-west and go till the end,
55°4'51.62", 22°19'24.2".
Karmėlava (42 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th
Missile Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads
and 6 underground hangars for missiles, construction completed in
1976. Missiles SS-4 later were replaced with SS-20. Directions:
north-east of Kaunas, north east of Karmėlava town, east of the
road to Jonava.
Karmėlava South – east of Kaunas air port
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(http://www.kaunas-airport.lt/) (former Soviet air-force base
which served as a cover for the missile base). Reachable
from the road A6 north of Karmėlava, turn to the right
before Turžėnai bus stop and round the forest and the
air-port territory, then turn left, cross the cover base, then
"S" shape bend, remains of tripple checkpoint, enter the
base.
Karmėlava North – same road A6 further towards Jonava,
turn to the right to Gulbiniškiai (road sign "a turn to the
right", no directions, 55°2'39.56", 24°13'59.6"), pass
through Gulbiniškiai village, cross the railway (unused),
turn to the right, go till the end.
Ukmergė (324 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th Missile
Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and
accessory infrastructure each, constructed in 1959. Directions:
north-west of Vilnius near Ukmergė, both bases are located
south-west of Ukmergė.
Ukmergė North – reachable from the road No 231 south of
Ukmergė, via Vaitkūnai suburb turn west towards
Kopūstėliai village, pass it through, go straight to the end
near Šventoji river, 55°11'1.03", 24°42'12.53".
Ukmergė South – direct access from the northern base is
impossible, located south-east of Vepriai (road No 4809) and
north-west of Bagaslaviškis (road No 4303). From the road
No 4809 at Kelmai hamlet turn north, pass the farmstead, go
on up to the end, turn left, then turn right, 55°7'51.93",
24°38'30.5".
Kaunas Lodgement – the HQ and training grounds of offensive
airborne division. Construction: the works started in Aug 1975 by the
end of Conference on Security and Cooperation in Helsinki – ended in
Jul 1977, closed in 1993. Consists of about 50 objects, among them: the
airfield (lenght 2 km 250 m), fuel base, "Generals Villa" (high-ranking
officers guesthouse), command headquarters, firing ground No 215.
Served as a base for the 7th Guards Airborne Division (second
formation), military unit 02291 (since Aug 1993 the regiment has been
based in the city of Novorossisk, Russia). Directions: Suvalkija region,
south-west of Kaunas, Kazlų Rūda forest. Go from Kaunas via road A5
but soon turn via Veiveriai to Kazlų Rūda (road No 230, after Didžioji
Zariškė turn to the right and ride 7 km to Kazlų Rūda), pass it from the
south to the north Jūrė direction (road No 2602), pass Jūrė through
towards Griškabūdis, and from Jūrė river go 2.60 km down the same
road No 2602 up to the crossroad, 54°47'39.58", 23°29'33.85". Some
remains of the main gates and flagpoles can be seen by the right side
(displayed on Google Maps Street View). The airfield to the right
(3.55 km from the crossroad), "Generals Villa" and the underground HQ
are further north beyond the airfield near Judrė stream. Firing grounds
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are to the left from the crossroad (no proper road there, only a overhead
power line, distance about 1 km), or go back and turn left from Jūrė river
and go some 3-7 km depending on chosen path.
Seimas Barricades - Remains of the barricades (http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter
/w5_vaizdas.foto?p_kat_x=104062) built around the Parliament building to
protect the newly-democratic Lithuanian parliament from Soviet troops in
1991. Gediminas av 53, LT-01109 Vilnius.
Pagan heritage: sites and artifacts
Thunder God Temple (Perkūno šventykla) - the biggest known Lithuanian
pagan temple constructed supposedly by Duke Gerimundas in 1265.
Archaeological investigations in 1986 have revealed the exact location of the
temple and confirmed the legends and texts of chronicles which say that
Vilnius Cathedral (http://www.katedra.lt/) was built at the site of the pagan
shrine. Remains of the temple can be seen in the cellars of Vilnius Cathedral.
Tours only accompanied by a guide.
Tverai Sacred Site, Tverai elderate, Rietavas district. Although Tverai
(http://www.tverai.lt) village, an ancient capital of Samogitia, can be a very
interesting place to visit in itself, Lithuanians link this name to a place which,
although still in Tverai elderate, is 3 km 400 m east from Tverai central square
and situated in Ruškis Landscape Reserve, which is a strange hilly forest with a
lake Ruškis in the middle. South-west corner of this forest, framed with a
medium-size 25 m height hill-fort (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=445), is probably one of the most mysterious
places in Samogitia. The hill-fort is separated from the forest with a deep
ravine of a narrow stream that springs slightly further, its murmur you can hear
all the time. Winding deceptive paths leads you between the hills from one
stone artifact to another, until you finally start to understand the stories that
local people tell about the spells of this place that makes people to get lost.
Directions: head east Varniai direction, road No 3203, as soon as you leave the
village you already see the forest in a distance by left side of the road, and a
serpentine stream that flows across the fields by the right side of the road.
When you reach the stream turn left, the road takes to the entrance to the forest
where you find a parking lot and a sign that informs that this is a "Ruškio
kraštovaizdžio draustinis". As you enter the forest, there are other info shields
with the scheme of the object locations and some other information.
Karmazinai Mound (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=759) (Karmazinų piliakalnis), Karmazinai,
Dūkštos elderate, Vilnius district (Some 0.8 km northwest of the Karmazinai
village, 40 m from the right bank of the Dūkšta river, close to its confluence
with Neris). 54°49′09″N, 24°55′52″E. Early type hill-fort (600-800 AD), used
as a place of worship (lith. alkas). Numerous legends tell the stories about the
temple standing on its top in the past, stone idol, hidden gold, drowned bell and
giant oaks of size that made people wonder. Oaks, although rather sparse, still
grow in the area fulfilling the hearts of Lithuanians with warm feelings and
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Vilnius University central
entrance
Rokiškis town square and the
church
chills…. and probably making foreign guests to wander why. If you stand on
the top of the hill, and coincidentally hear the sound of bells in the Dūkštos
church 4 km away, you can feel that the hill echoes under your feet as if it was
hollow. One of the endless highlights of Neris Regional Park
(http://www.neriesparkas.lt/).
Birutė Hill (Birutės kalnas), Palanga Botanical Park, LT-5720 Palanga (Some
200 m away south-west from Amber Museum, at the southern end of Love Alley
(Meilės alėja)). edit 55°54′20″N, 21°03′10″E . The relict dune at the seaside of
Palanga, linked with a story of priestess Birutė, who married to the Grand
Duke of Lithuania Kestutis and gave birth to Vytautas, the most famous
Lithuanian Grand Duke. In 1989 the archaeologists found the evidences of a
pagan sanctuary, observatory and elements of wooden fortifications which had
existed on the top of Birutė hill in 14th-15th century. Best known place of
worship in Samogitia, although every settlement had its own one.
Samogitian Sanctuary (http://palangatic.lt/en/zemaiciu-alka/) (Žemaičių
Alkas), Šventoji, Palanga municipality (North of Šventoji, east of beach, west of
the path to Būtingė). 56°02′28″N, 21°04′28″E . Reconstruction of pagan
paleoastronomic observatory found at Birutė Hill. Constructed in June 1998.
Christian heritage
Concerning
religion,
Lithuanian rulers
were very flexible.
Some tended to
Catholicism, others
to Orthodox, and
some were
changing religions
like clothes depending on trend. Finally, on 19 April
1389, Pope Urban VI recognized the status of
Lithuania as a Roman Catholic state. A direct
consequence of this was that German Orders lost
any legal reasons to continue their crusades to
Lithuania. Some say that Lithuania was forced to
accept Christianity, some others can say that
Christian Europe was forced to recognize Lithuania,
but if the measure of progress is human life, then it was beneficial for all.
Vilnius University (http://www.vu.lt/lt/) (Vilniaus universitetas), Universiteto
St 3, LT-01513 Vilnius, ☎ +370 5 268-7001 (infor@cr.vu.lt). Established as
the Jesuit Academy of Vilnius by King of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth Stephen Báthory in April 1, 1579, complex of University
buildings is one of the highlights of Vilnius Old Town. The model of Vilnius
University, as a symbol of European civilization in a broad sense, was chosen
to represent Lithuania in Mini-Europe Park (http://www.minieurope.com/) in
Brussels, Belgium.
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Liškiava monastery in
southern Lithuania.
Churches - Virtually every town and small settlement has its own church, let
alone the largest cities. There are about 800 Catholic (http://www.katalikai.lt/)
churches all over the country. Other Christian denominations are less
represented: Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church
(http://www.liuteronai.lt/) has about 35 churches, Lithuanian Evangelical
Reformed Church (http://www.ref.lt/) has 6 churches, all of them are in
different towns. Russian Orthodox Church in Lithuania
(http://www.orthodoxy.lt) has about 60 churches all over the country (among
them 13 in Vilnius, 4 in Kaunas, 3 in Klaipėda). Old Believers (mostly
Pomorian Old Orthodox Church of Lithuania (http://www.starover.lt/)) since
17th century traditionally have sought refuge in Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
They used to settle mostly in the NE region (with the main centre in Degučiai
village (http://samstar.ucoz.ru/publ/65-1-0-267), Zarasai district
(http://www.zarasai.lt/tic/en/index.php?kas=300)) and in the central part
(around Jonava town) of the country. There are about 50 Old Believer churches
in Lithuania total.
Monasteries - There are about 75 monasteries
in various locations of the country, some 40 of
them are operating up to date. In sense of the
architectural expression there are two
significant monastery complexes: Pažaislis
Monastery (http://www.pazaislis.org
/vidinis.php?id=80) in Pažaislis suburb east of
Kaunas, and Tytuvėnai Monastery
(http://www.tytuvenubaznycia.lt
/index.php?id=3) in Tytuvėnai town, Kelmė
district, Samogitia region. Both are examples
of Italian Baroque architecture, and Pažaislis complex is the most magnificent
one. It also is famous for its annual international Pažaislis Music Festival
(http://www.pazaislis.lt/en), it lasts for three summer months and offers about
30 different concerts. Between Kaunas and Tytuvėnai, almost in the middle,
few km north of Kėdainiai there is a complex of Dotnuva Monastery
(http://www.dotnuvosparapija.lt/index.php/istorija) and Annunciation of the
Blessed Virgin Mary Church, both constructed in the end of 18th century in the
style of Late Baroque. The monastery have played rather significant role
during 1831 and 1863 uprisings against the Russian Empire: Bernardine monks
themselves organized the insurgent squads, led them, and supported other
insurgents. Some of the priests were imprisoned or exiled to Siberia after the
collapse of the uprising in 1864, the monastery was closed same year by tsarist
government.
Pilgrimage sites - See below Do: Pilgrimages.
The basic data on most common Lithuanian tourism routes (19 total) can be found on
presentation (http://www.lietuvosmarsrutai.eu/index.php?lang=2) which was created
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Kaziukas Fair 2010
with the help of the project funded from EU structural funds. It can provide some
ideas of where to go and also gives idea about EU funds absorption in Lithuania for
the needs of all travelers. Also see below for more ideas on what to do in different
places of Lithuania.
Song and Dance Celebration (Dainų šventė)
(http://www.dainusvente.lt/en/) — The biggest traditional music festival, first
time organized in 1924. Held every four years in summer since 1990. It usually
lasts about a week.
Kaziukas Fair (Kaziuko mugė) — the largest
annual folk arts and crafts fair held in the
streets of Vilnius’ centre and Old Town on the
Friday-Sunday nearest to March 4. It is a
Saint Casimir's Day, the anniversary of the
death of Saint Casimir, the patron saint of
Lithuania and Poland. The fair also features
music and dance, attracts tens of thousands of
visitors and craftsmen from all over the
country as well as from neighbouring countries. To the lesser extent it is
celebrated also in Kaunas and Klaipėda. Information, among the other sources,
is provided on the official website (http://www.kaziukomugevilnius.lt/) which
usually is created in the beginning of every year. The Internet address typically
consists of two lithuanian words kaziuko muge (meaning Little Casimir's Fair)
with some extension which can vary from year to year. Note: it works only a
month before and after the event.
Shrove Tuesday (Užgavėnės) — traditional Lithuanian annual festival that
takes place during the seventh week before Easter. It takes place in all cities,
towns and all countryside.
The biggest event traditionally is organized near Kaunas at Rumšiškės
Open Air Museum (http://www.llbm.lt/) L. Lekavičiaus St 2, LT-56337
Rumšiškės, Kaišiadorys district, ☎ Information office +370 346 47392,
Events +370 346 47245 (info@llbm.lt).
Sartai Horse Racing (Sartų lenktynės) (http://www.sartulenktynes.lt/)
Hipodromas St, Didžiadvaris village, Dusetos elderate, LT-32300 Zarasai
district. — This is annual fest which takes place in Aukštaitija National park,
by Sartai lake near the small town of Dusetos since 19th century. Traditionally
it is held on the first Saturday of February, it offers an exciting day to see the
trotter horse race on the ice of the lake Sartai (when ice is too thin the race is
held in hippodrome near the lake). The event has become one of the most
spectacular winter events in Lithuania. Besides the race itself, the traditional
fair always takes place as well. You are able to try traditional Lithuanian food
and hot beverages to keep you warm. The guests of the fair are entertained by
local music and dance groups. For visitors and participants: detailed
information how to arrive, relevant weather conditions, as well as all other
important information is provided at the official website of Sartai Horse
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Hanseatic Days in Kaunas
2009
Racing.
Kaunas Hanseatic Days (Hanza Kaunas)
(http://www.hanzakaunas.lt/) — annual
festival that takes place in Kaunas. First
celebrated in 2005, became very popular and
one of the biggest events in Kaunas.
Days of Live Archaeology, Kerniaus St 4a,
LT-19172 Kernavė, Širvintos district
(Kernavė, about 40 km North-West of Vilnius.
Drive down the A2 highway up to Bukiškis (in
fact still outskirts of Vilnius), then turn west on the underpass to the road
No 171. Buses go regularly from the Vilnius bus station to Kernavė), ☎
Information +370 382 47385 (muziejus@kernave.org, fax: +370 382 47391).
Festival lasts 3 days. edit This is annual International Festival of Experimental
Archaeology which is dedicated to commemorate the King Mindaugas’
coronation day – Day of the Statehood. It takes place in Kernavė
Archaeological Site which was included into UNESCO world heritage list in
2004. Usually it is held three days including weekend nearest to July 6. During
the event visitors may become acquainted with re-created crafts and lifestyle of
prehistoric period and the Early Middle Ages. Visitors have a chance to chop
off piece of flint, to throw and to burn out a clay pot, to mint a coin, to shoot
from a bow, visitors have a possibility to enjoy an impressive natural and
historical environment, to listen to archaic music, to taste some ancient
Lithuanian dishes. One of the main non-profit public organizations which helps
to organize and participate in this events is "Pajauta"
(http://www.pajautaclub.lt), their website is alternative reliable source of
information in addition to the official website of Kernavė State Cultural
Reserve (http://www.kernave.org/). Besides that, the tourists can get all needful
information at the Vilnius Tourist Information Centre (http://www.vilnius-
tourism.lt/en/vtic/).
Blues Nights (Bliuzo naktys) (http://www.bliuzonaktys.lt/) — traditional
annual Blues and Rock festival that take place near Varniai town in Samogitia
(Žemaitija) by the lake of Lūkstas. This is one of the best known and most
popular such kind of events held in Lithuania. Details on location: Varniai is a
central town of Varniai Regional Park (http://www.varniuparkas.lt/) (for the
map click “Žemėlapiai”), which is one of two most interesting and attractive
areas in Samogitia. The site of the festival is situated 2 km west of Varniai
town on the northern shore of Lūkstas lake, the place is allotted for wild
camping, scouting, outdoor recreation and various kinds of local festivals.
Varniai Regional Park is situated almost in the very centre of Samogitia
(Žemaitija) region, south of Telšiai and north of Šilalė, in Telšiai district. From
the south it is accessible from the Kaunas-Klaipėda motorway A1, from the
north you can arrive using Šiauliai-Palanga highway A11, enter Telšiai and
head south some 32 km down the road No 160. By train: you have to get to
Telšiai first, then get a bus to Varniai. By bus from major cities: there may be
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Apuolė-2009
direct buses to Varniai, though it may be more convenient to get to Telšiai first
. The date of event is the weekend on the first half of July. The ticket price for
all days is around 50 LTL/€ 14,3.
Visagino Country (http://www.visaginocountry.lt) — annual Country music
festival that takes place in Visaginas town North-East of the country. Country
music is a least favorite style of music in Lithuania, however this particular
festival gained the enormous popularity, regardless the quality of music itself.
Visagino Country evolved from the first Lithuanian country-music festival,
named “Once Upon a Time on Easter” in 1990, which unfortunately was
almost ruined by politicians. Since then, things have changed for the better, for
the much much better…. and the beer runs free every year in the middle of
August in a small town of Visaginas, situated north of Aukštaitija National
Park in a beautiful corner of the country, surrounded with forests and lakes.
Contacts: Draugystės St 12, LT-31222 Visaginas. Phone/fax +370 386 32411,
e-mail vkc@sugardas.lt . Ticket for 1 adult costs around €10.
Mėnuo Juodaragis (http://www.mjr.lt/) (Black Horned Moon or MJR for
short) — this is an annual Lithuanian music festival for various post-folk,
neo-folk, neo-pagan, alternative, experimental music and contemporary Baltic
culture. Festival mostly is focusing on the heritage of pagan tradition, post-folk
trends and avant-garde of contemporary music. Every year the festival is
organized in different picturesque locations of nature and stretches through
three days and nights and has several scenes at a time. The first time in 1997 it
was Verbiškės village near Molėtai which is known for its lakes and outdoor
recreation areas. The 13th edition of the festival in 2010 was unique for a
limited number of tickets and took place by two beautiful Škilietai (Skeletons)
lakes near the Devil’s Pit (Velnio duobė) in Aukštadvaris Regional Park, Trakai
district. Recently Black Horned Moon bases in the forested Lake Zarasas
Island near Zarasai (http://www.zarasai.lt/) town in North-East corner of the
country. The date of event is the long weekend on the second half of August.
Single-day ticket costs about €7-25, ticket for 3 days for 1 adult person costs
about €35, the Family ticket covers all festival days for 2 adults and their
child/children up to 12 years of age and costs about €65.
Apuolė Festival (http://apuole.lt/en/)
(Apuolė 854) — traditional annual festival of
ancient Baltic Warfare and Crafts that take
place on and around Apuolė Hill-Fort at the
remote North-West corner of the country in
Apuolė vicinity, Aleksandrija elderate,
Skuodas district (12 km south-east of
Skuodas: head some 6 km east (road No 170),
then turn to the right (road No 4603)
Barstyčiai direction and drive 4.72 km, as
soon as you leave Apuolė village you’ll see a big stone by the left hand side,
turn left (400 m), then leave the vehicle and walk to the right, cross Brukis
rivulet and walk to the left). Apuolė is the oldest Lithuanian settlement
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mentioned in written sources; viking attack in 854 AD is commemorated by
the annual medieval reenactment since 2004. Apuolė was an important wooden
fortress (http://viduramziu.istorija.net/pilys/apuole-en.htm) of the Curonians,
its hill-fort (http://www.piliakalniai.lt/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=472) is
situated on the confluence of Luoba and its tributary Brukis rivulet. There was
a large settlement situated east of the fortress. The conflicts between the
Curonians and Vikings were described in Vita Ansgari written by Saint
Rimbert, archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg. According to Rimbert, King Olof of
Sweden organized a large expedition into Curonian lands in 854, the sieg of
Apuolė lasted for eight days, then both sides reached an agreement. The site of
the hill-fort is situated in Apuolė Landscape Reserve which covers the area of
318 ha. During the festival the guests and participants can wild camp right at
the southern foot of the hill near Bukis rivulet. The traditional fair always takes
place as well; the guests can buy the food and drinks at the spot.
Accommodation options available in vicinity several km away from Apuolė:
motel-café Gintagnė (http://www.gintagne.lt/kontaktai/) in Aleksandrija,
8.5 km away; mini resort Mažosios Laumikės
(http://www.mazosioslaumikes.lt/) in Laumės, 16.4 km away; Gandrinė
(http://gandrine.lt/) in Skuodas north-west suburb (Statybininkų St 20,
Skuodas, phone +370 616 03376), 12.8 km away. Catering in Skuodas:
"Skuodiškių Užeiga" at Vilniaus St 21, "Vespera" (catering and takeaway) at P.
Cvirkos St 4. Public transport from Klaipėda: direct bus to Apuolė (F-Mo)
departs 13:50, arrives 16:28; some 8 direct buses to Skuodas every day
(journey takes 40 min less than to Apuolė). Buses from Skuodas to Apuolė:
06:40, 08:10 (M, F, Sa, Su), 15:05. Taxi by phone +370 682 16063. Official
website of the festival is updated approximately 1 month before the event,
alternative source is a site of Skuodas Region Culture and Tourism Office
(http://www.skouds.lt/?en=1197896715), information about the event appears
at the News section (http://www.skouds.lt/) in Lithuanian, use online translator
if necessary.
Hunting and fishing (http://www.hubertus.lt/) — Commercial hunting and
fishing is allowed, popular, well organized and under control, and virtually
does not make damage to nature. Poaching is strictly illegal, though still
happens, even to the extent of organized crime. However it has a very negative
attitude among entire society, intolerance to such kind of crimes is constantly
increasing.
Horse riding is fairly popular among Lithuanians and some foreigners,
Germans in particular. The "Yellow Pages" website lists about 60 stud-farms
(http://www.1588.lt/en/veikla/zirgynai-hipodromai-jodinejimas?ps=25&
pa=2&so=city_search&&pa=1) and other companies involved in this service.
One of the best known and situated in attractive recreation area near Šiauliai is
Kurtuvėnai Horse Riding Centre (http://www.kurtuva.lt
/en_nau_straipsnis.php?id=677) Parko St 2, Kurtuvėnai, LT-80223 Šiauliai
district (Kurtuvėnai is a village near Šiauliai: from Šiauliai centre drive
South-West down the A12 highway (Kelmė direction) about 15 km, then turn
right after Bubiai village (road No 215) and drive about 5km, then turn left to
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Kurtuvėnai), ☎ For reservation +370 413 70333, Mobile +370 618 29964
(info@kurtuva.lt). Price for 2 persons 270 LTL/€78, including two nights
accommodation in ***camping.
Dog Sledding popularity is increasing. Most suitable areas are in the eastern
Lithuania, although there are several places in Samogitia too. The lithuanian
portal of extreme sports Xteam (http://www.xteam.lt/LT/22/Roges,sunu-
kinkiniai.htm) lists 4 companies all over the country offering this service.
These companies are mostly so called "homesteads" which run countryside
tourism business and offer various kinds of entertainment. There is no need to
highlight any, they all good in their own way. Same applies to locations,
practically the choice depends on personal preferences, financial and time
factors and also on mood. One of the clubs seriously involved into this sports is
Top Dogz (Rogių Šunys) (http://www.rogiusunys.lt/en) L. and I. Daujotai,
Vičiūnai village, Kernavė elderate, LT-19170 Širvintos district, ☎ Mobile +370
650 99985, +370 650 34844 (info@sleddogs.lt). Among other companies
which offer dog sledding all year round, is one especially attractive due to its
superb location, south-east of Kernavė in a most mysterious part of Neris
Regional Park, called Devil's Corner (Velniakampis) - Adventure Academy
(Nuotykių akademija) (http://www.nuotykiuakademija.lt). Contact phone
+370 699 86767, address Žalgiris village, Vievis elderate, Elektrėnai
municipality.
Pilgrimages
Pilgrimage places define the geographical area within which the place is known and
from which pilgrims are drawn. The location of nature objects, such as mounds,
forests, trees, stones and water embodied the network of sacred places in the
pre-Christian Lithuania. The ancient Balts had their own center of pilgrimage
Rickoyto (Romuva), its geographical locality is still unknown. It is, that the trinity of
Baltic gods – Perkūnas (Thunder God), Patrimpas (Fertility God) and Pikuolis
(Underworld God) – were venerated under the old and high-powered oak at that
place. The 16th-17th centuries are the formative period of the network of Christian
pilgrimage places in Lithuania. Trakai, Šiluva, Gate Of Dawn (Aušros Vartai),
Samogitian Calvary (Žemaičių Kalvarija), Vilnius Calvary were the main pilgrimage
centers as well as Vilnius Cathedral (veneration of Saint Casimir). The new
pilgrimage places refreshed the network in the 18th–19th centuries, the Hill of
Crosses, an ancient hill-fort of Jurgaičiai (http://www.piliakalniai.lt
/piliakalnis.php?piliakalnis_id=512), became one of them when after uprising of
1831 and 1863 the crosses had been built in the memory of dead. The places of
apparitions of Virgin Mary complement the network of pilgrimage places in the 20th
century exclusively. The obstruction for pilgrimage to the sacred places either places
of apparitions was evident in the soviet era; several places (Vilnius Calvary, The Hill
of Crosses, Janoniai Spring in Anykščiai district ) were destroyed physically. The 23
main catholic pilgrimage places can be grouped at the present time. Most of them are
bound with the cult of Virgin Mary (12 – the worship places of images of Holy Mary,
3 – places of apparitions, 1 – the place of coronet image and apparition). The second
groups – Calvaries (5 places, the Samogitian Calvary has the miraculous image too),
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Sarcophagus of Saint Casimir
at Vilnius Cathedral.
the places of saints and cult of holy persons (4 places, the Cathedral of Vilnius has
the coronet image of Holy Mary too), the worship places of Cross (2 places) and holy
spring (Mažučiai Spring 2 km away from Alksnėnai village, Vilkaviškis district).
The main and most popular places of pilgrimage today are included into the tourist
routes.
Motor vehicle transport is one of the forms of travel mode to the most pilgrimage
places in Lithuania (individual cars, shuttle or charter buses). Pilgrimage is traveling
on foot too, this is popular among youth. Directions of traveling on foot can be
divided into 3 large areas:
1 – in Samogitia: Samogitian Calvary
(Žemaičių Kalvarija), Beržoras;
2 – in Central Lithuania: Šiluva, the Hill of
Crosses (Kryžių kalnas), Krekenava
(28.60 km south-west of Panevėžys), Pažaislis
(Kaunas suburb);
3 – in Dzūkija: Gate of Dawn (Aušros Vartai)
in Vilnius, Trakai, Pivašiūnai (23 km
north-east of Alytus).
Pilgrimage by foot from the Hill of Croses to
Šiluva is organized by Šiauliai Diocese
(http://siauliai.lcn.lt/) annually in the
beginning of September.
Pilgrimage by foot from the Gate of Dawn to
Trakai is organized by Vilnius Archdiocese
Youth Centre (http://www.vajc.lt/index.php/kontaktai) annually in the
beginning of September.
Community of Lithuanian Pilgrims (http://www.piligrimai.lt/about-us/)
provides assistance and organizes pilgrimage by bus:
Vilnius Calvary (http://www.vilniauskalvarijos.lt/) feast - every year
on Whitsunday;
Vepriai (http://vepriai.lt/) feast - every year on Whitsunday;
Samogitian Calvary feast – every year in the beginning of July;
Hill of Crosses (http://www.kryziukalnas.lt/) feast – every year last
Sunday of July;
Pivašiūnai (http://www.pivasiunai.lt/) feast – every year August 15;
Krekenava (http://www.piligrimukelias.lt/index.php?id=263&lng=1)
feast – every year August 15;
Šiluva (http://www.siluva.lt/) feast – every year in the first half of
September;
Gate of Dawn (http://www.ausrosvartai.lt) feast – every November.
Sport
Lithuanians are proudest of one thing: Basketball. To Lithuanians it is not just a
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sport, but a symbol of independence. Lithuanians had been oppressed by the Russians
for a long time and they kept fighting for their independence. Lithuanians were the
first to declare independence from the Soviet Union. Basketball finalized this
independence when the newly independent country of Lithuania participated in the
World Olympics in Barcelona. They barely managed to raise enough money to send
the team to the tournament, but they returned as heroes because they came back with
a bronze medal after besting the Russian team. This victory was even more
meaningful because in previous Olympic games, Lithuanian athletes had been forced
to play for the Soviet Union, winning a gold medal for the Soviets in the 1988
Olympics. Lithuania also has the highest number of NBA players per capita of any
country. Lithuania is consistently one of the top-ranked countries according to The
International Basketball Association (FIBA).
Lithuania is as basketball-mad as the British are with football or New Zealand with
rugby. Lithuania is one of the most successful teams in international competition,
winning medals in three out of four Olympic tournaments, (bronze), and finishing
fourth in 2008. Major domestic clubs are BC Žalgiris (http://www.zalgiris.lt/) from
Kaunas and BC Lietuvos Rytas (http://bc.lrytas.lt/) from Vilnius. Basketball is so
popular in Lithuania that you are sure to find a basketball court in almost every park
and playground.
Be careful if some people challenge you to a basketball game. Common Lithuanians
are very good in basketball, and you might just embarrass yourself.
Arvydas Sabonis is a legendary basketball player that earned a spot in Basketballs
Hall of Fame.
Artūras Karnišovas is all time leading scorer for Lithuanian national team.
Swimming is also a sport that is gaining a lot of attention, especially after Rūta
Meilutytė won olympic gold medal in women's breaststroke.
Žydrūnas Savickas is another person that Lithuanians are proud of. He is considered
as the strongest man in the world.
Knowing Lithuanian sports will definitely help you win their hearts.
Major sports venues
Siemens Arena (http://www.siemens-arena.com/) Ozo St 14, LT-08200 Vilnius
(Vilnius, north of centre, Baltupiai district), ☎ +370 5 247-7576
(info@siemensarena.lt, fax: +370 5 247-7578).
Pramogų Arena (http://www.pramoguarena.lt) (Former Ice Arena), Ąžuolyno
St 9, LT-07171 Vilnius (Vilnius, north-west of centre, Viršuliškės district), ☎
+370 5 242-4444 (info@pramoguarena.lt, fax: +370 5 242-4400). Weekdays -
14:00-20:00, weekends 12:00-20:00.
Žalgiris Arena (http://www.zalgirioarena.lt) Karaliaus Mindaugo ave 50,
Kaunas (Kaunas, south of the Old Town, near Akropolis mall, on the island of
Neman river), ☎ Ticket Office in Arena +370 37 354-403
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Basketball in Žalgiris Arena
(kasa@zalgirioarena.lt, fax: +370 37
406-967).
Švyturys Arena (http://www.svyturioarena.lt)
(Švyturio arena), Dubysos St 10, Klaipėda
(Klaipėda, west of 2nd ferry to Smiltyne
terminal, east of a roundabout at Taikos
pr./Baltijos pr.), ☎ ticket office +370 46
241-500, mob. +370 640 23858
(info@svyturioarena.lt, fax: +370 46
241-517). Tuesday-Friday 12:00-19:00.
Šiauliai Arena (http://www.siauliuarena.lt) (Šiaulių arena), J. Jablonskis St 16,
Siauliai (Šiauliai, south-west of the centre, beyond the railway, head on down
the main street (Tilžės gatvė) up to the major crossing, turn to the right, the
park can be seen in a distance.), ☎ Information about tickets +370 41
540-151, Mobile phone +370 682 48822 (ofisas@siauliuarena.lt, fax: +370 41
540-755). M-F 8:00-19:00.
Cido Arena (http://www.cidoarena.lt) Parko St 12, LT-37310 Panevėžys
(Panevėžys, west of centre, from the main crossing Klaipėdos St/Nemuno St
head north.), ☎ +370 45 440-252 (info@cidoarena.lt).
Utena Arena (http://www.sportas.utena.lm.lt/) (Utenos daugiafunkcinis sporto
centras), K. Donelaitis St 38, LT-28141 Utena (Utena, north of bus station, at
the edge of the park), ☎ Info about tickets and services +370 389 70012, info
specifically about swimming pool and gym +370 389 65143
(scentras@sportas.utena.lm.lt, fax: +370 389 52709). In 1958 the first
children's Sport School in Utena was opened, it was a beginning of the sports
complex gradual development which ended up by constructing this
multifunctional arena (opened on 30 Apr 2009).
Alytus Arena (http://www.asrc.lt/) (Alytaus sporto ir rekreacijos centras),
Naujoji St 52, LT-62381 Alytus (Alytus, north-west of the centre, by the main
street), ☎ +370 315 37622 (centras@asrc, fax: +370 315 37622).
Snow Arena (http://www.snowarena.lt/) Nemuno kelias 2, Mizarai village,
LT-67308 Druskininkai municipality (Druskininkai, Nort-West from the centre,
on the other bank of Neman river; walk North-East to the bridge, cross the
river, then turn left.), ☎ ticket office +370 313 69699, Mob. +370 615 35415
(registratura@snowarena.lt, fax: +370 313 69599). For adult 18+: 2 hr M-F -
49 LTL, weekend - 69 LTL, all day M-F - 85 LTL, weekend - 99 LTL..
Major football stadiums
Žalgiris (http://www.lff.lt/lt/zalgirio_stadionas) Rinktinės St 3/11, Vilnius
(Vilnius, right bank of Neris river, north of Gediminas Castle).
LFF stadionas (http://www.lff.lt/lt/lff_stadionas) (Former 'FC Vėtra'
Stadium), Liepkalnio St13/2, Vilnius (Vilnius, south of the Old Town, south of
Gates of Dawn, about 300 m behind the railway).
S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium (http://www.sportohale.lt/) (S. Dariaus ir
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S. Girėno sporto centras), Perkūno al 5, LT-44221 Kaunas (Kaunas, north of
bus station, north-east of the Old Town; the stadium is next to the legendary
basketball arena Kaunas Sports Hall (Kauno sporto halė)),
(info@sportohale.lt).
ARVI Football Arena (http://www.lff.lt
/lt/marijampoles_futbolo_klubo_maniezas) Kauno St 125, Marijampolė
(Marijampolė, north-east of centre, at the outskirts near the main highway A5.
Driving from north go to the town directly, don't turn on a bypass. Driving
from south, bypass the town (highway A5) and enter the town from north.).
Motorsport
Nemuno Žiedas (http://www.nemunoziedas.lt/) (Motor racing circuit
Nemunas Ring near Kačerginė), Racing circuit: Gaižėnėliai village, LT- 53455
Kaunas district. HQ: Vytauto pr. 23, Kaunas, ☎ +370 37 211-969, Mobile
+370 682 51172 (mail@nemunoziedas.lt, fax: +370 37 211-969).
Golf courses
Europos centro golfo klubas (http://www.golfclub.lt) Girija village, LT-15010
Vilnius district (North of Vilnius, Molėtai Highway 26 km), ☎ +370 616 26366
(info@golfclub.lt, fax: +370 616 34649).
The V Golf Club (http://www.thevgolfclub.com/en/golf) P.O. BOX 2590,
LT-03005 Vilnius, Lithuania (North-West of Vilnius, Highway A2,19th
kilometre, Hotel 'Le Meridien Vilnius'), ☎ +370 5 273-9700
(golfreception@lemeridienvilnius.com).
The Capitals Golf Club (http://www.capitals.lt) (Sostinių golfo klubas),
Pipiriškės village, Pastrėvis elderate, LT-21331 Elektrėnai municipality
(Between Vilnius and Kaunas, specifically in the middle between Elektrėnai
and Trakai), ☎ +370 619 99999 (info@capitals.lt).
"Elnias" (Red Deer) (http://www.golfoklubaselnias.lt/) (Golf Club 'Elnias'),
Didžiosios Lapės village, LT-54400 Kaunas district (North of Kaunas city,
Kaunas district, on the right bank of Neris river), ☎ +370 37 470-237, Mobile
+370 686 30777 (pranevicius@centras.lt).
Wolf Golf Club (http://www.dzukijosgolfas.lt) (Vilkės golfo klubas),
Kamorūnai village, Leipalingis, Druskininkai district. Club HQ: Vaistariškių St
7, LT-44104 Kaunas (Location of Golf course: southern Lithuania, 19 km away
from Druskininkai, few km North-East of Leipalingis town, by Vilkė (Wolf)
stream), ☎ Reception +370 611 45333, HQ +370 698 30658
(reception@dzukijosgolfas.lt). General information via e-mail
info@dzukijosgolfas.lt . First Scottish-style 18-hole golf course, a length of
more than 6 km.
National Golf Resort (http://www.nationalgolf.lt) Stančiai village, Kretingalė
elderate, LT-96336 Klaipėda district (North of Klaipėda, between Klaipėda and
Kretinga, specifically 3 km north Kretinga direction from the crossroad of the
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roads A13 and No 168), ☎ +370 46 420-000, Mobile +370 655 22222
(info@nationalgolf.lt).
Lithuania uses the litas (Lt) as its currency, which is pegged to the euro at the rate of
3.4528 to 1. The country is expected to adopt the euro by 1 January 2015.
Shopping
Lithuania has a lot of shopping malls for so few inhabitants. There isn't a big
difference between Lithuania's shopping malls and those in other parts of Europe.
Vilnius recently became a shopper's paradise when plenty of massive shopping
centres were opened all over the city. Akropolis (http://www.akropolis.lt/) (a chain of
shopping malls in Lithuania) is one of them and definitely worth visiting if you are a
shopping malls maniac, as it houses an ice skating rink, bowling lanes and a cinema.
Shopping centre Helios City (http://www.helioscity.lt/) in Savanorių Ave offers to
have dinner, to take a cup of coffee and to go shopping under the one roof. On the
first and the second floors of the Helios City restaurants, cafes, small shops, beauty
salon, dry cleaning and other service companies are located. The centre of the city or
the Old Town and the new leisure and service centre are separated by less than
1.5 km. It is convenient to access the Helios City from any place of the city – either
by public or proper transport.
Gariūnai (http://www.gariunai.lt/) is the Baltic's largest open air market, located on
the western edge of Vilnius. Thousands of merchants can be found there on a good
weekend, from not only Lithuania, but also from as far away as Ukraine. Clothes,
shoes, and even music can be bought there. Counterfeit goods still can be found, and
it was a serious issue several years ago. But since it's illegal the demand has
decreased significantly, and as a consequence profits decreased as well, therefore
merchants are not really interested in such trade even without an effort of authorities.
Overall, a low price is guaranteed, quality is not.
Kaunas is also a city of shopping centres, and the centre of the city, Laisvės avenue is
a pedestrian thoroughfare. The main shopping centers in Kaunas are: Akropolis,
Mega (http://www.mega.lt/), Molas (http://www.molas.lt/), Savas
(http://www.savascentras.lt/), HyperMaxima, and Urmas shopping area
(http://www.urmas.net/). There is even that symbol of "mall culture", which is new to
Lithuania, Akropolis. Actually, Mega has the biggest aquarium in whole Europe that
could be find in a mall. It has more than 800 fishes from every ocean and various
seas. It is more than worth seeing.
Klaipeda is a major shopping center for people from Latvia and Kaliningrad. The
main shopping centers are: Akropolis, Arena, Studlendas (http://www.studlendas-
klaipeda.lt/) and BIG (http://www.big-klaipeda.lt/). Many people coming to the city
on cruise ships shop in Klaipeda, due to the good value and price combination.
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The cost of living in Lithuania is cheaper than Western European Countries, some of
the other Baltic Countries are of similar price, with some being cheaper.
Lithuanian dinners usually include meat, potato, vegetables and sometimes a curd
sauce of some sort. Case in point: the cepelinai, or zeppelins, which are meat filled
potato-starch based zeppelin-shaped masses traditionally slathered in a sauce of sour
cream, butter, and pork cracklings. Pork is traditionally eaten, beef much less so.
Needless to say, vegans will have a hard time eating out, although some large
restaurant chains will have vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Some fast food in Lithuania, such as Kibinai, (from the Karaim people) small
turnovers usually filled with spiced lamb, and Cheburekai (a Russian snack), large
folds of dough with a scant filling of meat, cheese, or even apples, can be found
around the city.
Many restaurants have menus in English (usually in the Lithuanian menu) and to a
lesser extent, Russian. Though use caution as sometimes menus in other languages
may have inflated prices, although this is a rarity, and won't be found in Vilnius, or
the better known chains such as Čili Pica (Chili Pizza).
If you are traveling to Lithuanian shore from the eastern part of Lithuania and you are
passing through Karmelava you must try Cepelinai. The Restaurant is called Briedžių
Medžioklė (address Vilniaus street 54, Karmėlava) and they have the biggest size
Cepelinai in the whole country. Usually, 3 or 4 homemade Cepelinai call fill up a big
person. To eat 2 Cepelinai at Briedžių Medžioklė is a huge achievement. Usually
Lithuanians make the stop at Karmėlava because in their eyes a trip to shore is
extremely long and across the country, even though it lasts only a little bit over 2
hours.
Lithuania is a beer drinking country, with the most famous brands being Švyturys,
Kalnapilis, Utenos, Horn and Gubernija. A visit to a kiosk will show that there may
be more than 50 different brands of beer in this small country. Alcohol percentages
are displayed on the label, and usually range from 4 to 9.5 percent. Compared to
other European countries, beer is usually affordable, in shops approx. 0.50 to 1 € per
half litre, in bars approx. 0.75 to 2 € per half litre(beer is sold by the half or full litre,
a full litre being found rarely). The beer tastes excellent, putting global brands to
shame and it can be said that Lithuanian lager is of at least equal quality to Czech,
Slovak, German, and Polish lager. A request for a Lithuanian beer always generates
goodwill, even in a Chinese or other foreign-themed restaurant.
When you visit a bar or restaurant without intending to eat, try one of the bar snacks,
which are very popular among Lithuanians. The most popular of these snacks
consists of a bowl of pieces of garlic bread covered in cheese.
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In addition to beer, rather cheap but high quality vodka (or "degtinė" in Lithuanian) is
consumed, but not to the extent usually associated with this part of the world. Also,
every region has its own home-made speciality of which "Samane" is most
famous/notorious and is best avoided. The larger supermarkets have an incredible
variety of vodka from all the main vodka-producing countries.
Lithuanian mead, or midus is a beverage produced exclusively under government
control. It is commonly made from all sorts of Lithuanian flora, from leaves and
berries to some tree bark. Alcohol percentages range from 10% to 75% (considered
medicinal).
For tourists, quality sparkling wines, such as Alita or Mindaugas, and local liqueurs
are popular choices to bring back home.
Keep in mind the law that came into effect from Jan 2009 that prohibits selling
alcohol in shops between 10PM and 8AM (bars, cafes, restaurants etc. are exempt
from this).
In shops and cafés different tea and coffee qualities are widely available. The
selection in coffee ranges from northern European brands to French ones. In coffee
houses, you should expect to pay up to 1.50 € for your coffee. Some cafés offer also a
variety of special coffees with more or less special prices. Many cafes (kavinės) still
make "lazy" coffee, which is simply coffee grounds and boiling water, unfiltered,
with grounds at the bottom of the cup, often surprising the drinker - ask before you
buy! Tea is usually sold at 50% of the price of coffee. Some of the wonderful drinks
such as the Marganito are great for fun filled party drinks and rated one of the top
kinds of wine in the country, perfect for weddings.
Unlike restaurants, or pubs aimed at tourists, bars (Baras) may be frequented by
heavy drinkers and can therefore be somewhat rowdy. Nevertheless a visit may still
be very rewarding, especially if you accept an invitation to participate in karaoke.
A law banning smoking in cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, discotheques and other
public establishments was passed in May 2006, and came into effect on 1 Jan 2007.
However, many nightclubs have internal smoking rooms, which have a degree of
ventilation.
Tap water is suitable for drinking in many parts of Lithuania. In other areas, local
people prefer to purchase bottled water or to run tap water through water filters. If
you need to buy bottled water, a 5 litre bottle is not much more expensive than a one
litre bottle. Where in doubt about the tap water, seek local advice.
Mineral water is also offered in restaurants, cafés and shops, although it's a bit more
expensive than tap water. Some popular brands are Birutė and Vytautas.
There are two main clearly distinguished types of accommodation in Lithuania:
“urban style” accommodation and “countryside style” accommodation. Roughly the
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former type is called Viešbutis (Hotel), and the latter is called Sodyba (Homestead).
Which one belongs to the actual hotel or hostel, or B&B, or some other standard
international category depends on how the owners' marketing policy is aimed at
foreign visitors. Domestically it is considered that the actual difference is only in
those two types of accommodation and price. For example, the range of “urban” type
of accommodation may be called by locals a luxury hotel, budget hotel, a cozy hotel,
and a motel – those all versus the “homestead”, which can range from a cozy little
farmhouse style hotel to mini-resort. This may be very useful if you want to move
around without pre-booking accommodation or just in unusual circumstances: you’ll
be able to understand locals if they say that “there are no hotels, only one farmsted
(homestead) nearby”, and you won’t try to insist that “there must be a B&B, I know
that for sure”.
Hotels, motels, hostels, apartments
There are several international hotel chains in the major Lithuanian cities, and a
variety of local hotels. Many hotels and motels are members of Lithuanian Hotel and
Restaurant Association (http://www.lvra.lt/), some hostels are members of Lithuanian
Hostels Association (http://www.lha.lt/). Hotels, hostels and motels are ranked by
stars (1 to 5 stars). The price of accommodation depends very much on the place. For
instance, in Joniškis (http://www.joniskis.lt/) (Northern Lithuania), you can get a
good hotel room for ~100 LTL whereas an equivalent room might be as much as
200-300 LTL in Vilnius. Example: 100 LTL in a family-owned hotel called Guest
House “Northern Gates (Šiaurės vartai)” (http://www.siauresvartai.lt/), 3 stars, in
Joniškis centre, and ~250 LTL in family-owned hotel Apia (http://www.apia.lt), 3
stars, in Vilnius’ Old Town.
Some hotels in Neringa and Palanga may be similarly or more expensive as in
Vilnius because of highly acclaimed location. In this case the price may seem high
and hotel itself overrated, but it all is determined by location. It especially applies to
Neringa which is a more expensive place in all respects.
Most of hotels do have home pages, but some do not. Nevertheless, the Internet helps
considerably in planning.
You will find the hotels of every town on their own interleaves. However, remember
that this is the service maintained by the volunteers and you should not wait for
current prices let alone that there would be all the possibilities listed.
Most large cities such as Vilnius or Kaunas have an abundance of hotel options from
60 LTL and up. When traveling to a popular vacation spot in the summer and around
the New Year (like Palanga or Druskininkai) make sure to book a room in advance
because demand may outnumber supply. Additionally, some of the Cafes on the main
highways between cities also have rooms to rent.
Hostels, usually called Svečių namai (Guest Houses), provide simple, budget
accommodation. They may be good places to meet other travelers and wrong places
if you expect to deal with locals.
If you want to rent the apartment, the prices will be usually from 700 LTL a month.
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Cottages of "Miego Klinika"
("Sleep Clinic")
(http://www.miegoklinika.lt/)
homestead in Kurtuvėnai
Regional Park, Kelmė district
In the biggest towns there are companies which rent apartments "to the long-time
tourist or working here". In these you complete on good conditions the apartment
furnished and cleaned by the cleaner. From 1000 LTL.
If you are looking for an apartment for a shorter period (from a few days onwards),
do a Web search for "trumpalaikė butų nuoma". This will give you some portals or
sites of companies, though not all of them are available in English – some are,
however, available in other languages such as German, Polish or Russian. Also you
can use option of online translation, it often is sufficient.
Countryside Tourism Homesteads
Homestead (Sodyba, nom., sing. or sodybos, nom.,
plur.) is a common name of the separate tourism
industry branch. One of the key features is that
homesteads typically are not related to agriculture,
but usually are associated with short-term and
long-term recreation places. They are a type of
accommodation in the countryside. Homesteads
which are members of Lithuanian Countryside
Tourism Association (http://www.atostogoskaime.lt
/en/apie-lkta/about-association) are ranked by storks
(1 to 5 storks). The official website of the
Association Countryside.lt
(http://www.countryside.lt/) offers the shining
catalog for accommodation alternatives and you find
nearly all the countryside targets and a reservation
system from there.
There are 10 official types of activity; each homestead is focused on one or several of
them. Here is a list of all ten types of activity you can choose from their website:
Quiet recreation, Culture recreation, Active recreation, Holidays for Families,
Culinary Heritage, Environment-friendly Homestead, Wellness Homestead, Family
Celebrations, Business events, Agrotourism.
Currently the association has over 400 homesteads, most of which provide Quiet
recreation services (around 200 homesteads). The Family Celebrations are in second
place, and the third is the Holidays for Families with children. Culinary heritage
homesteads are scattered throughout the regions and offer services related to the
traditions of the concrete region.
The popularity of Celebrations service can answer the question where the Lithuanian
urban youth go to celebrate: the further from city the better. You have a whole house
with all equipment and a territory with ponds and saunas on your own... and
everything is surrounded with a large forest. This is a striking difference compared to
the Westerners who come to the Baltic cities to get drunk. It may give you an idea
why locals sometimes express a very negative attitude to the foreign visitors and
insist that they are inappropriately behaving in the inappropriate place. You should
know and accept that the forest is an appropriate place in such situations. Homestead
that is focusing on Celebrations provides a far more adequate service than some
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luxury hotel or a restaurant in a city can offer.
The styles of homestead range from very simple “sleeping with the grandmother" to
large mini-resorts. Three homesteads listed below are not only deserving attention,
but also distinctly represent three different styles. They all are conveniently situated
near the main roads, but at the same time conveniently secluded. The first one is
almost in the middle of the country, Samogitia region; the second one is in the centre
of the country not far from Kaunas and Via Baltica, Aukštaitija region; and the third
one is closer to the capital and situated on the edge of Aukštaitija and Dzūkija
regions.
Karpynė (http://www.karpyne.lt/) (Carp Estate), Gabšiai village, Raseiniai
district (0.5 km north of the A1 motorway Vilnius-Kaunas: 173 km from Vilnius
or 137 km from Klaipėda), ☎ +370 428 70123, mobile +370 650 77437
(info@karpyne.lt, fax: +370 428 70124). checkout: 12:00. Coordinates
N55°20'22" E23°05'52". This place is not only devoted to fishing, so beloved
by Lithuanians, but also has the setting that Lithuanians find to be very
attractive for recreation. Guesthouse: double room for 1 person from 140 LTL,
for 2 persons from 160 LTL including breakfast; additional person in the room
65 LTL (breakfast included); tripple with a sitting room (for a family of 4
persons) 320 LTL; Lux (2 persons) 300 LTL. Timber huts: 2 persons 160 LTL,
3 persons 245 LTL, 4 persons 310 LTL, additional person in the hut 65 LTL
(breakfast included).
Medžiotojų sostinė (http://www.medziotojusostine.lt) (Hunter’s Capital),
Malūno St 6, Kunioniai village LT-58020, Kėdainiai district (SW of Kėdainiai:
22.5 km west from Via Baltica viaduct south of Kėdainiai at 55.219884,
24.032946, or 13 km north from the A1 motorway viaduct at 55.139439,
23.723322), (info@medziotojusostine.lt). Coordinates 55°11'52.89",
23°50'8.83". Total number of sleeping places for business events 30-40, for
family celebrations and parties ~50. Capacity without accommodation up to
120. 1 ha recreation area territory. Clay pigeon shooting, archery, individual
training, tournaments, competitions. The place is styled like a "sanctuary" of
hunters and set in a corresponding environment: southernmost end of a tiny
village several metres to Šušvė River Landscape Reserve; cozy, picturesque and
nearly untouched nature. This is a homestead for all kinds of fests and business
conferences.
Elniakampis (http://elniakampis.lt) (Deer’s Corner), No 3 Elniakampis
village, Sudervė elderate, Vilnius district (Territory of Neris Regional Park,
from Vilnius: road to Kernavė No 171, turn south at 54.81108, 24.986659; or
from Kernavė: drive towards Vilnius and turn south 1.6 km after Dūkštos; then
drive 2.63 km down the forest path up to 54.790918, 24.971595 and turn West),
☎ Mobile +370 686 12112 (info@elniakampis.lt). Coordinates 54°47'25.98",
24°58'5.32". Tennis courts, basketball, football, volleyball sites, table tennis,
billiard. Total capacity up to 120 guests, and up to 90 guests for lodging.
Features the kind of setting that Lithuanians like most: a cosy oasis in the
middle of nowhere, surrounded by dense impassable forest, suitable for
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Road signs: different types of accommodation.
berry/mushroom hunting, and only 18 min by car from the nearest regional
road. No road signs, no signboards or plates suggesting the presence of a
delightful stay. The only signs near the main road are pointing to the HQ of the
Forest Enterprise at the corner. Prices depend on season, number of people and
services.
Camping
There are two kinds of
camping in Lithuania:
wild camping at the
appointed place where
you have a right to park
your car and set up the
tent - and “civilized”
camping at the camp
site suitable for camper
vans.
Most of the latter camp
sites are the members of
Lithuanian Camp Site Association (Lietuvos kempingų asociacija)
(http://www.camping.lt/), they have at least the basic facilities of shower/toilet
blocks, and often offer a range of useful additional facilities. Camp sites are ranked
by stars (1 to 4 stars). Most of camp sites are in recreation areas and very few are
near the main roads. There are about 25 camp sites that are members of the
association, and several that are not. Lithuanians consider this kind of business not
profitable. If there is a need for a camp site it is very common to look for the
homestead instead: many homesteads allow to stay with the camper vans or just to set
the tent in their territory, some have the parking sites specifically for campers,
separately from the car parking lots. All facilities are available, living comforts vary
in accordance with the rank (storks) of the homestead. Therefore it is impossible to
come across the camp site incidentally just driving down the main road (e.g. Via
Baltica) if you don’t know its location beforehand or don’t look specifically. In this
case one should also pay attention to the road signs of homesteads.
Camp sites by the main roads:
By Via Baltica near Kaunas – Kaunas Camp Inn (http://www.campinn.lt/)
Raudondvaris Highway 161A, Kaunas (From south: as soon as you cross
Nemunas river turn to the left away from Kaunas and towards Raudonvaris;
from north – turn to the right towars the lake near the road before you reach
the bridge. The beach visible from the distance belong to the camp site), ☎
Mobile +370 602 33444 (kaunas@campinn.lt). Open since 1 May to 30 Sep.
Adult - 16 LTL/€5, camper – 40 LTL/€12.
By the A1 motorway north of Kaunas – Kaunas City (http://www.camping.lt
/index.php?lang=2&sid=120&fb=27) Jonavos St 51A, Kaunas (Eastern bank
of Neris river, south of the A1 motorway. Driving from the east turn before the
bridge, and driving from the west turn after the bridge – the white road sign in
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lithuanian shows a direction to the 3 districts of Kaunas, no camp site sign
there), ☎ Mobile +370 618 09407 (camp@kaunascamping.eu). Also camping
cabins for rent. Open since 1 May to 30 Sep. Adult - 15 LTL/€4.3, camper –
32 LTL/€9.3.
Within Vilnius city – Vilnius City (http://www.camping.lt/vilniuscity) Parodų
St 11, LT-04215 Vilnius (West of centre, in the valley of a northern bank of
Neris river, north from viaduct, the bridge, and Exhibition Centre which is
behind the pine grove and not visible from the main streets (Oslo and Laisvės)),
☎ Mobile +370 629 72223 (vilnius@camping.lt). Also offer cabins for rent.
Open since 1 May to 10 Sep. Although it is within the city, location is very
convenient to arrive, to set a base for the further exploration, and to leave.
Territory is within the exhibition complex, in the valley, and is surrounded with
pine grove, the built up areas are not visible but very close and easy to reach.
Adult - 16 LTL/€4.5, camper – 40 LTL/€12.
SW of Šiauliai near the A12 highway – Dvarkiemis
(http://dvarkiemis.com/en) (Mansion Yard – the complex is retro styled like a
countryside manor), Meškiai St 37, Meškiai village, Bubiai elderate, Šiauliai
district (Seven km away from Šiauliai city, mini resort visible from the highway,
follow the road signs), ☎ +370 41 552575, mob. +370 685 34431
(info@dvarkiemis.com). Recreation and entertainment complex that have all
needful facilities and offer a wide range of entertainment, rather typical for
such complexes all over the country .
The other kind of camp sites, plenty of which are marked on the regional maps with
an icon resembling a tent (specified on bilingual legend: stovyklavietė, en. transl.
campsite, in contrast to the camp sites suitable for camper vans: kempingas, en.
transl. camping), are just a small plots of meadow in the depth of the forests and by
the rivers. Some of those icons indicate the presence of homesteads that specialize in
countryside tourism industry and offer a certain zone where the canoeists and
bicyclists can stay in their tents overnight for the small fee. Typically such sites are
surrounded with impassable thickets; scarce wild meadows are either swampy or full
of formicaries and unsuitable for rest, the private land is the only salvation. The sites
that are in public recreation zones usually are free of charge and have no facilities
except some rugged wooden furniture (benches and tables) typical for Lithuania.
Lithuania has one of the best educational systems in the World. Many universities
participate in student exchange programs. Most popular international college in
Lithuania is Lithuania Christian College (http://www.lcc.lt/), LCC, in Klaipėda. The
best universities of Lithuania are Vilnius University (Vilniaus Universitetas)
(http://www.vu.lt/lt/), VU, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilniaus
Gedimino Technikos Universitetas) (http://www.vgtu.lt/), VGTU, and Kaunas
University of Technology (Kauno Technologijos Universitetas) (http://ktu.lt/), KTU.
In Kaunas, apart the biggest technical university in the country, KTU, there are a
Lithuanian University Of Health Science (http://www.lsmuni.lt/) (Lietuvos sveikatos
mokslų universitetas), Sports University (http://www.lkka.lt/) (Sporto universitetas),
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the Academy of Music and Theatre (http://lmta.lt/) (Muzikos ir teatro akademija),
Aleksandras Stulginskis University (http://www.asu.lt) (former Agriculture
University), and multidisciplinary University of Vytautas Magnus
(http://www.vdu.lt/).
Klaipėda and Šiauliai also has its own universities. In the country several lower
educational institutions which go with the name kolegija (engl a college) also are
found.
The course supply hangs very much from the university and there also are
somewhere programmes for English. However, pay attention to the fact that
Lithuania's official language is Lithuanian and in the law it has been prescribed that
the Lithuanian student has a right to study in Lithuanian in Lithuania. Especially all
the courses of the candidate level will be thus in Lithuanian and in the Master of Arts
programmes in English the bulk of the courses is in English. Depending on the rules
of the university the courses must have a certain number of foreign students before it
must be in English (it touches courses in English) and if this limit is not exceeded, the
lecturer may lecture, if desired, in Lithuanian. Because the employment of
universities has been lowered last year about 20% and the addition which is paid for
the courses in English in some universities to the lecturers was removed, many
lecturers choose the easiest road preferably for them to themselves. Then the foreign
students can take the course by writing either essays or based on personal meetings.
The grading system in Lithuania is generally 1-10 in which 5-10 correspond to the
accepted performances. The local students usually have to keep their average very
high and still a higher one in order to get the scholarship in order to guarantee free
studies. There is no financial aid for studies.
There are now many work options in Lithuania. Any EU national can work and live
in Lithuania. However, residence permits must be obtained, and employers must
prove a lack of competent workers in Lithuania for such employment, which can be
difficult. Also, Lithuanian law dictates that all business be conducted in Lithuanian
language.
In Lithuania you need the residence permit and a registered address for the working.
The immigration authorities will usually be fairly fluent in English, otherwise either
Russian or Lithuanian is useful. One seldom manages working life without control of
the language.
In Lithuania the worker pays 21% of an income tax 6% for health and unemployment
insurance which is about 3%. The taxes take about 20% of the salary, irrespective of
income. Minimum wage is about 300 Euros and average wage is approaching
850 Euros.
In general, safety depends on what country you are from. You should take basic
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safety measures:
Take care when visiting potentially dangerous neighbourhoods at night. After
dark it is safer to walk along main roads, than to take a short cut through a park
or apartment complex, as these areas often have very poor lighting. Take a taxi
if you are nervous. A thing to watch out for is bicycle theft, and it is advisable
not to leave valuable things in your car.
As with eastern Europe in general, openly gay behaviour such as holding hands
or kissing may result in a violent confrontation from an onlooker. Suspicion of
homosexuality may also cause problems; two male visitors to a straight
nightclub should sit a respectable distance apart, even if they are heterosexual.
Overall, if you are a man that prefers other men over females you should not be
open about it. Usually, the ones that are proud about it get harassed. On the
other hand, lesbians are not typically attacked.
Members of ethnic minorities, (particularly those of African descent), may
experience some form of racism. This is not tolerated by the authorities and
racist attacks are rare. However non-whites may at least have to get used to
being stared at by locals, especially in rural areas. More often than not this can
be out of pure curiosity rather than malice. The issue of race relations, the
history of slavery and civil rights are relatively unknown. That said, the
presence of several Afro-American basketball players in the Lithuanian league
does help and means that racism is perhaps not as big a problem as in other
eastern European countries. The best way to overcome any minor issues is to
maintain a dignified air and understanding that for many Lithuanians living in
a homogeneous society, they may not have had any previous contact with a
person of color. Therefore, if you are a dark skinned, do not be surprised that
they whisper to each other. You might hear them saying something similar to
"nigger". They do not say it because they mean to disrespect you. They do not
understand why it is a wrong thing to do, since they hear this word in movies
and music in a language which is foreign to them.
Driving in Lithuania is considered dangerous according to European standards.
Lithuania's rapidly expanding economy has lead to an increase in traffic
density, thus accident rates are high. As a pedestrian, take great care when
crossing the roads, as pedestrian crossings are widely ignored. When driving be
careful of aggresive, quickly going and irresponsible drivers. It's better to pass
them even if they are flouting rules. Keep in mind that traffic police could be
corrupt. Mind the forest roads, collisions with wildlife animals can easily
occur.
Natural danger
If bitten by a dog or a wild animal, seek medical attention immediately;
emergency phone number: 112.
In some parts of the country, particularly in pastures, forest outskirts and
meadows with a high grass, there is a low risk of contracting tick-borne
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Official logo of Lithuanian
pharmacies resembles the Rod
of Asclepius shaped like the
letter "V", green graphics on a
white background. The "V"
stands for "Vaistinė",
lithuanian for Pharmacy.
encephalitis. Vaccination is advised at least 2 weeks before you plan out-door
activities in a wild nature. Risky areas (mostly agricultural areas of pastures
with some woodland) are annually updated on the map of the prevalence of
encephalitis-infected ticks (http://www.erke.lt/s/show/6/Erkinio-encefalito-
paplitimo-žemėlapiai). The risk of Lyme disease is similarly low, vaccination is
not available. Prevention: avoid high grass areas and wear long trousers and
appropriate shoes.
The main wild animals that transmit rabies are raccoon dog and red fox. All
occurrences of this horrible disease are FATAL, but a prior course of
vaccination and proper emergency prophylactic treatment may buy you 12
hours before proper its onset. Plan your activities in the forest accordingly.
Oral vaccination of wildlife is regularly carried out since 2006 up to date.
According to State Food and Veterinary Service (http://vmvt.lt/) the number of
infected animals has significantly decreased; all infected animals occur in the
eastern districts of the country, supposedly from Belarus. State Food and
Veterinary Service regularly informs that if rabies vaccine bait is found, leave it
alone and do not touch it.
There is a one species of poisonous snake, the European adder, which has a
distinct dark zig-zag on its pale back. Poisonous insects are bees, wasps and
bumblebees. The only poisonous plant is Sosnowsky's Hogweed, an invasive
plant which appeared in Lithuania in c. 1950. Since 1990 it has quickly spread
all over the country and in 2001 it was included in the list of malicious animals
and plants. The plant is 3–5 m in height, the leaves are 50–60 cm long and its
all parts are extremely toxic; skin contact causes severe chemical burns (up to
3rd degree) and skin necrosis.
No inoculations are needed to enter or leave
Lithuania. In the winter only influenza can cause
you a considerable inconvenience. Official list of
health institutions (http://www.sam.lt/go.php
/Institutions_under_the_Ministry) with the contact
information is presented on a web site of Ministry of
Health. Service of laboratory tests is provided by
National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory
(http://www.nvspl.lt/).
Ayurveda and holistic centres
”Arkanas”, self-help and group therapy
centre (http://www.arkanas.lt/) (Arkanas –
saviugdos ir grupinės terapijos centras)
Sąjungos Square 6, Kaunas (W bank of Neris
river, Vilijampolė district), ☎ +370 655 43665. Offers: massages, qigong, tai
chi, oriental dance workouts, meditation, aura diagnostics, aromatherapy; hall
rental: size 78 m², up to 30 people, fully equipped. Prices: full body massage
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(1 hr) 120 LTL, up to 150 LTL, ayurvedic massage (1 hr 30 min) up to
180 LTL, pilates, qigong 25 LTL (1 session), 190 LTL (12 sessions). Hall rental
280 LTL per day.. E-mail form (http://www.arkanas.lt/kontaktai/) on their web
site.
Ayurveda Centre (http://www.ayurvedacenter.lt/) (Ajurvedos centras)
Liauksmino St 3, Vilnius (Near Central Post office at Gedimino av), ☎ +370 5
233 3385, mobile +370 659 90101 (info@ayurvedacenter.lt). Presentations,
consultations, diagnostics, shop
Ayurveda SPA Centre “Shanti” (http://www.ajurveda.lt/) (Ajurvedos SPA
centras Šanti). Has 2 centres: in Vilnius and Kaunas:
“Shanti” Vilnius (http://vilnius.ajurveda.lt/) Subačiaus St 17, Vilnius, ☎
+370 5 262 0205, mobile +370 606 75557 (spa@ajurveda.lt, fax: +370 5
262 0205). M-Su 10:00-21:00. Massages: face 49 LTL; Shanti Kerala
540 LTL; Indian ritual 600 LTL (2 hr 45 min)..
“Shanti” Kaunas (http://kaunas.ajurveda.lt/) Laisvės al 3, Kaunas, ☎
+370 616 88777 (spakaunas@ajurveda.lt). M-Su 10:00-21:00.
Massages: face 49 LTL; Shanti Kerala 500 LTL (2 hr 45 min)..
ChiGong (http://www.chigong.lt) ☎ +370 656 88599 (gcigun@gmail.com).
For beginners M, F 18:00-19:00, classes for master cycles 1, 2, 3, 4 M, F since
19:00. Offers qigong classes
“Holimed” (http://www.holimed.lt/cms/?lang=lt) (Holistinės medicinos
institutas), Algirdo St 9, LT-03219 Vilnius, ☎ +370 523 39979, mobile +370
659 39979 (info@holimed.lt, fax: +370 523 39979). M-F 09:00-19:00. Offers:
homeopathy specialist services, microwave bio-resonance testing, intestinal
cleansing, hirudotherapy, different types of massage, manual therapy specialist
services, psychotherapist, mamologist-oncological services, ultrasonography, a
plastic surgeon's consultation. Prices (http://www.holimed.lt/cms/content
/view/25/28/lang,lt/) 50-385 LTL.
Holistic Therapy Cabinet (http://holi.lt/) (Holistinės terapijos kabinetas) Tilto
St 29, Vilnius (Centre, in front of the Congress Hall). Offers holistic treatment
and yoga therapy (indications: bronchial asthma, allergies, increased or
reduced blood pressure, headaches, digestive disorders and some other
psychosomatic ailments, depression), qigong and yoga classes. Prices: therapy
(90 min) about 120 LTL, yoga classes (90 min) 120 LTL per person, qigong
classes (15 hr) 300 LTL..
Holistic Therapy Centre (http://www.naturamed.lt/) (Holistinės terapijos
centras) Didlaukio St 80, Vilnius (Baltupiai district, Z-Klinika), ☎ +370 685
77096 (ltamasauskiene@yahoo.com). M-W 14:00-20:00, Th, Sa 09:00-14:00.
Group sessions at Verkių St 29, Šeimos Square 8, Vilnius. Offers holistic
treatment procedures, consultations, diagnostics (musculoskeletal system,
internal organs and metabolism), manual therapy for infants up to a 1 yo with
dystonia or cranial asymmetry, body psychotherapy, muscle testing for adults,
classic massage, qigong.
Yoga
Countrywide Yoga School (http://www.lev.lt) (Respublikinė jogos mokykla).
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Booking in advance. List of contacts (phone numbers) by cities
(http://www.lev.lt/lt/apie-mus/kontaktai.html), for detailed contacts click the
city (or a country) at the top and then a “El. paštas” link to send a message.
In Vilnius:
Shambu School of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (http://www.jogos-
mokykla.lt/en/) (Šambu aštanga vinjasa jogos mokykla), Žirmūnų
St 68, LT-09124 Vilnius (3rd floor to the right), ☎ +370 655
00628 (12:00-17:30). Weekdays. In the group: 1 class 30 LTL, 10
classes (on evenings) 230 LTL. Private: express course (3 classes)
400 LTL, full course up to 1,000 LTL. Contact form
(http://www.jogos-mokykla.lt/kontaktai/). Ashtanga Yoga Summer
Camp (http://www.jogos-stovykla.lt/) in Trakai vicinity – adult
1,200 LTL, child up to 17 yo 880 LTL.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (http://www.sivananda.org
/vilnius/) (Šivananda jogos vendetos centras), M. K. Čiurlionis St
66, LT-03100 Vilnius, ☎ +370 648 72864
(vilnius@sivananda.net). Booking in advance. 1 open class
35 LTL, season ticket for 10 classes 230 LTL, unlimited 1 month
season ticket 215 LTL, 3 month season ticket 500 LTL, 6 month
season ticket 900 LTL, 1 y season ticket 1500 LTL.
In Kaunas:
Yoga Academy (http://jogosakademija.lt/) (Jogos akademija),
Savanorių av 192, Kaunas (Business centre “Nordic”, entrance
from the yard, 4th floor), ☎ +370 685 18997. Mo-Fr, hours vary.
E-mail form at the bottom (http://jogosakademija.lt
/lt/kontaktai.html).
Yoga Studio “Buddha On Bike” (http://www.buddhaonbike.com)
Laisvės al 26, LT-44238 Kaunas, ☎ +370 662 17944
(buddhaonbike@yahoo.com). In the group: 1 time 20 LTL, season
ticket for 1 month up to 160 LTL. Private: 1 class (90 min)
60 LTL, 10 classes 500 LTL. Downloadable schedule (PDF) of the
classes (http://media.wix.com
/ugd//851287_79ea35227f0d79179d876b85b0b6fc40.pdf).
Yoga Studio “Urban Yoga” (http://www.miestojoga.lt) (Miesto
joga), Veiverių St 150, Aleksotas district, Kaunas, ☎ +370 37
328241 (info@miestojoga.lt, fax: +370 37 328239). Mo-Sa, hours
vary. 1 month season ticket 60 LTL (1 time per week), 180 LTL
(4 times per week).
Kaunas’ Yoga House (http://kaunojogosnamai.lt/) (Kauno jogos
namai), Leliūnų St 10, LT- 50177, Kaunas (Žaliakalnis district
near Savanoriai av), ☎ +370 686 54671, +370 687 19976
(info@kaunojogosnamai.lt). Mo-Th 08:00-21:00, Fr 08:00-20:00,
lunch break 13:00-14:00. Private classes 100-200 LTL. Shedule of
classes (http://kaunojogosnamai.lt/index.php/tvarkarastis).
In Klaipėda:
Joga Klaipėda (http://www.jogaklaipeda.lt/) Naujojo Sodo St 1,
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LT-92118, Klaipėda (Premises of “Amberton” Hotel, 11th floor),
☎ Booking +370 615 16862. Mo 19:00–20:15, Th 19:00–20:15.
1 time 20 LTL, 1 month season ticket 70-130 LTL.
"Pažinimas" (http://www.joga-pazinimas.lt/) Baltijos pr 14-102,
Klaipėda, ☎ +370 683 74280, +370 605 07034
(jogasavespazinimas@gmail.com). Mo 19:00–20:30, W
19:00-20:30. 1 time 15 LTL, 6 weeks season ticket 120 LTL.
Message form for additional info (http://www.joga-pazinimas.lt
/kontaktai).
"Prema" (http://www.prema.lt/) Prema jogos centras, Herkus
Mantas St 31A - 4, Klaipėda (City centre, ”Žemaitija” shopping
centre, 4th floor), ☎ +370 650 79499 (info@prema.lt). Mo, W
18:15, Sa 10:00.
Reiki
In Vilnius:
Akarma Reiki (http://www.reikimokymai.lt/vilniuje.html) Tilto St
7, Vilnius (Entrance through the gate of Tilto St 3, code 4567, end
of the courtyard, to the right)), ☎ +370 688 56671
(reikimintis@gmail.com). Tu 18:00–20:00. 1 time 80 LTL. In
addition: diagnostics, meditation, yoga classes, massages, shop.
In Kaunas:
Culture and Health Cente (http://www.reikijoga.lt/) (Kultūros ir
sveikatos centras), Laisvės al 51B, Kaunas (In the “Agnum”
centre), ☎ +370 688 91498 (reikijoga.lt@gmail.com). Workdays
10:00–20:00, by agreement.
Physical Well-Being Center (http://www.fgc.lt/) (Fizinės gerovės
centras), On a corner of Utenos St 12/Kalniečių St 54, Kaunas, ☎
+370 688 56671 (reikimintis@gmail.com), [2]
(http://www.reikimokymai.lt/kaune.html). Tu 18:00–20:00. 1 time
80 LTL. In addition: psychologist, cosmetologist, therapeutic
exercises, massage.
Lithuanians are a Baltic nation; however, it's common for tourists to think that they
are somehow connected with Russians.
Lithuanians form their own distinct ethnic group and speak their own language
(Lithuanian), which is one of the most archaic Indo-European languages, belonging
to the Baltic (not the Slavic) branch of Indo-European languages (although
Lithuanian and Latvian have some common similarities with Finnish or Estonian
languages).
It is a notoriously difficult language to master, but learning how to greet locals in
their own language can go a long way. They will appreciate your efforts in
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Prechristian Baltic Sun and the
Moon cross at the top of wooden
monument. Christian and pagan
traditions are very interwined in
Lithuanian culture
Lithuanian.
Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union from the
end of World War II until 1991. You should also
try to remember that the Lithuanian capital is
Vilnius, not Riga, which is the capital of
neighbouring Latvia, a common mistake for
travellers and an annoyance to locals.
Because of war time occupations by Tsarist
Russia in the 19th century, the Soviet Union in
the 20th century and the territorial disputes with
Poland in the early 20th century, conversations
revolving around disputes with neighboring
countries are not a good idea for those not from
the region. Be careful when mentioning
Lithuania in the context of the former USSR.
Any praising of Soviet practices is very unlikely
to be understood or appreciated by the
Lithuanians. Talking about World War II or the
Holocaust is not something to talk about either.
This is because this is a very touchy subject to
many Lithuanians.
Lithuanians may appear at times nationalistic; however, it is with good reason that
they are a proud nation as they have fought to maintain their cultural identity through
dark times, and this has kept them a unique and in general a warm and charming race.
Although most Lithuanians officially are Catholics, native (pagan) Lithuanian
religion is still alive in traditions, ethnoculture, festivals, music etc.
Lithuanians may appear sad, depressive (suicide rates in Lithuania are among the
highest in the world), a little bit rude and suspicious, so talking about your good
health, wealth, and happiness could be sometimes taken negatively. Smile at a
Lithuanian in the street and most likely they will not respond in kindness. Smiling in
Lithuania is traditionally reserved for friends; smile at a stranger and they will either
think you're making fun of them and there's something wrong with their clothes or
hairdo, or that you must be an idiot. Furthermore, an automatic Western smile is
widely regarded as insincere.
Women in the entire former USSR area are traditionally treated with utmost respect.
Female travellers should not act surprised or indignant when their Lithuanian male
friends pay their bills at restaurants, open every door in front of them, offer their hand
to help them climb down that little step or help them carry anything heavier than a
handbag - this is not sexual harassment or being condescending to the weaker sex.
Male travellers should understand that this is exactly the sort of behavior that most
Lithuanian girls and women will expect from them, too.
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In Lithuania, internal area codes consist of a zero mostly followed by 2 digits for the
town, followed by 6 digits for the local subscriber number. Smaller towns have a zero
and then 3 digits and the 5 digit local subscriber number. Vilnius has 7 digit numbers
and just 5 as the city code. The national number's total length is always 8 digits if one
excludes the initial zero (as one must, of course, when dialling from abroad).
To call abroad from Lithuania, the international access code is 00
International and roaming calls are expensive. To reduce your bill you can:
buy "phone cards" for international calls;
talk over the Internet.
Land line phones
There is monopoly operator for land line phones - TEO (http://www.teo.lt/) (now it
belongs to "TeliaSonera AB"), a subsidiary of Sweden (Telia) and Finland (Sonera).
Land line phones are easy to find in all country. Public phone booths are used with
cards, witch you can find in kiosks, "TEO" or newspaper stands, however this service
is left mostly in hospitals, dorms and some other institutions, as well as at the
relevant points in the largest cities, for example in Vilnius bus and train stations. So
far existing rules does not allow to refuse this service, but TEO, which is responsible
for maintenance, will do that in the nearest future at the first opportunity. There is no
data of how much and whether at all it is useful for people who come from abroad.
Mobile phones
Numbers begin 06nnn, where the three digits "n" indicate the original network
provider. There are three mobile phone operators in Lithuania: Omnitel
(http://www.omnitel.lt/), BITĖ Lietuva (http://www.bite.lt/) and TELE 2
(http://www.tele2.lt/). About 97% of the country's surface is covered by the standard
European GSM 900/1800 MHz network, the remaining 3% are non-walkable forests.
Internet
If you're bringing a laptop, Wireless LAN Hot-Spots are available in distinct places
(mostly "Zebra" (http://internetas.zebra.lt/) from - TEO), sometimes free, otherwise
not very cheap. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés,
shopping malls, universities, various places. You can ask in your hotel, but be
prepared to pay. For those who need to connect at an Internet cafes, major cities do
have internet cafes. You can get free wireless Internet in Kaunas main pedestrian
street - Laisvės Alėja. Internet speed in Lithuania is actually better than American
internet speed. Download speed reaches 26.2 Mb/s, while upload speed is 16.8 Mb/s.
Keep in mind that the internet service that provide such speeds are not free.
With your mobile phone you can use: CSD, HSCSD, GPRS or EDGE, but the cost
may be unattractive. UMTS is only available in some bigger cities. If your phone is
not SIM-locked, you may consider purchasing a pre-paid SIM card designed for data
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Official Lithuanian Postal
Service logo: black graphics
on a yellow background.
access.
If you want to communicate with your friends or locals using internet, you'll need
two programs Skype or ICQ. The most popular chatting program is Skype, all of
which can be used in English as well. As well in Lithuania social websites are quite
popular. Facebook and LiveJournal (both are quite different) are the two most
popular; such websites like One.lt, Yourspace.lt, Draugas.lt are rather unevenly
popular, Myspace exists, but is not widely used, Twitter somehow does not fit.
Postal Service
Lietuvos paštas (http://www.post.lt) (Lithuanian
Postal Service), ☎ +370 700 55400 (info@post.lt,
fax: +370 5 216-3204). (working hours M-F
09:00-19:00, Sa 09:00-14:00, may slightly vary
from town to town). provides:
worldwide postal services - priority and
non-priority letter-post items (the
former are marked with the label
“Prioritaire / Pirmenybinė”), ordinary
or insured parcels, prepaid packages of
three standard sizes; courier mail
service providing delivery both
domestically and internationally;
possibility to use the self-service parcel
terminals LP EXPRESS 24
(http://www.lpexpress.lt/) (operational
24 hours a day, 7 days a week);
financial services - money orders at any post office or “PayPost”
(http://www.post.lt/en/private/financial-services/paypost/outlets) outlet,
Western Union money transfers; you can pay utility, telecommunication
bills, insurance and other contributions, or receive consumer credits
(money is transferred at once after concluding the agreement); offers
financial services of several alternative companies; non-citizens of the
European Union member countries can claim a value added tax (VAT)
refund on purchases obtained in Lithuania (refunds in cash only);
subsciption to periodicals - orders of different Lithuanian and foreign
press periodicals with the delivery to your home or office, also doable
online (http://prenumerata.post.lt/);
philately - sell different philatelic products: postage stamps, first day
sheets, thematic folders of stamps, books; each year puts about 25
postage stamps into circulation;
the largest post offices also sell international bus tickets.
In 2006, the enterprise was reorganized to the Public Limited Company Lietuvos
paštas. Shortly thereafter, it changed the management, marketing, and started
gradually expand and improve the service.
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DHL Lietuva (http://www.dhl.lt) A subsidiary of German Deutsche Post DHL.
Offers normal postal services (letters, parcels, packages), domestic and international
express services, express and online shipping, customs support, wide range of freight
transportation options. Has 3 bases in Lithuania:
In Vilnius - S. Dariaus ir S. Girėno St 81 (Not far from the air port), ☎
+370 5 236-0700 (fax: +370 5 216-7740, to e-mail use the form on their
website). M-F 08:00-19:00.
In Kaunas - Žemgulio St 8, ☎ +370 37 399-311. M-F 08:00-17:30.
In Klaipėda - Turgaus St 2, ☎ +370 46 312-312. M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa
10:00-14:00.
Except of Klaipėda, the bases are not in the city centre, thus use Service Points
at the offices of their partners: Baltic Clipper in Vilnius, Kaunas and most of
other cities, also Astrida in Vilnius (J. Tumo-Vaižganto St 5) and Jurgvita in
Šiauliai (Aido St 10).
DPD Lietuva (http://www.dpd.lt/) Liepkalnio St 180, LT-02121 Vilnius (At the
southern outskirts of Vilnius), ☎ +370 5 210-6750, for customers +370 5 210-6777
(toll free: online orders 8 700 55700, info@dpd.lt, fax: +370 5 210-6740). Workdays
08:00-18:00. A subsidiary of French La Poste Group. Offers domestic and
international parcel shipping "from door to door", classic and express service. Has a
number of Service Points in Lithuania: several in Vilnius and Kaunas, also in
Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys, and 1 in Marijampolė. Service points are
conveniently located within the malls, supermarkets, hotels. Their main partner is
Optika Vizija (http://www.optikavizija.lt/), but also works with other companies, all
details are comprehensibly listed on their website's Lithuanian language page "Siuntų
taškai" (http://www.dpd.lt/lt/main/dpd-siuntu-taskas/vietos) (Service Points).
UPS Lietuva (http://www.ups.com/) (ups@ups.lt). has 3 offices in Lithuania:
In Vilnius - Eigulių St 15, ☎ +370 5 247-2222 (fax: +370 5 247-2200).
In Kaunas - Skubios Siuntos Ltd (Express consignments), Chemijos St
5A, ☎ +370 37 350-505 (toll free: 8 800 77877, ups@ups.lt, fax: 370 37
350-500).
In Klaipėda - Danės St 31, ☎ +370 46 421-000 (fax: +370 46 421-001).
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