Located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea in north eastern Europe, Lithuania is the largest of the Baltic States. Join a Lithuania adventure tour to explore its remarkable heritage of baroque, gothic, neoclassical and renaissance architecture which is excellently represented in churches, monasteries, palaces and mansions. With a long pagan history and a distinctive language, Lithuania has a strong independent streak despite its larger and more powerful neighbours and was the last country to adopt Christianity in Europe in 1387 and the first to declare independence from the USSR in 1990.
During our Lithuania adventure tour we will visit Vilnius, the capital city, which is often called the city of Baroque because of the abundance of buildings in the medieval style. In fact, the old city of Vilnius has been recognised by UNESCO as one of the biggest historical and architectural complexes in Eastern Europe - a World Heritage Site well worth visiting on any Lithuania adventure tour. Vilnius itself is easy to explore on foot, with numerous little courtyards and tiny cobble-stoned back streets to navigate, or you can take the weight off your feet at one of the many great outdoor cafes. The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus, Dawn Gate, Gediminas Castle and Museum, Genocide Victims' Museum and St. Anne’s Church are generally considered to be the major sights of Vilnius.
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Lithuania Travel Guide
Lithuania Travel Guide
Lithuanians, along with Latvians and ancient Prussians, are descendants of the Balts, an Indo-European ethnic group that settled on the Baltic coast 4,000 years ago.
The name Lithuania dates back to 1009 AD. Grand Duke Mindaugas is recognised as the founder of Lithuania, a territory which included Minsk and later stretched as far as the Black Sea.
Lithuania was able to withstand the advance of the Teutonic Knights, merging with Poland in 1569 to create the Joint Republic of the Polish Kingdom and Lithuanian Grand Duchy. Russia then took possession of part of Lithuania in 1795 (the western region was claimed by Prussia). The Russians were driven out by the German army during World War I. The Lithuanian Council then declared independence in February 1918. In 1921, Lithuania joined the League of Nations. Poland continued to occupy Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. Lithuania was occupied by the German Army in 1941 until its re-annexation by the Soviets three years later. Despite occupying radio, TV and other key installations, the Soviet forces were forced to back down. This period in Lithuanian history concluded with the effective end to Soviet Government followed immediately by Lithuanian independence. The country was recognised and rapidly gained admission to the United Nations, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Present-day Lithuania joined the European Union on 1 May, 2004 and today has one of the fastest growing economies in the bloc.
Geography and weather
Lithuania is the largest of the Baltics and mainly flat with forest covering around a third of its mass.
Our tours mostly operate from late spring (April/May) to early autumn (in Eastern Europe) when the weather is generally at its best. Temperatures will vary but will still be cool in April/May and again in October. The warmest months tend to be July/August. The further south you are the higher the average temperatures. You can expect snow from December to late March.
Visit www.worldclimate.com to get an idea of what the weather will be like on your tour.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months after your tour.
Visas are not required by British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and US citizens for a stay of up to 90 days.
Lithuania joined the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007 for overland entry points and seaports, and on 29 March 2008 for airports.
Visa services like www.travcour.com can be very helpful.
Prices quoted in this country dossier are in euros or litas.
Major credit cards are accepted in the main hotels, restaurants, shops and in some petrol stations. ATMs are available in most cities.
Traveller's cheques are not accepted by retailers and can only be exchanged at a few outlets. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US dollars.
Restaurant bills usually include a tip. It is customary to give a little extra for good service.
You do not need to tip taxi drivers, etc but you should tip people who assist you with your luggage at hotels (don’t over-tip, your tour leader will advise a suitable amount). Tipping guides at the end of excursions and treks etc is always appreciated and your tour leader will advise you on the amount for this.
Generally people find Eastern Europe to be safe and feel confident wandering alone during the day. However if you are unfamiliar with an area it is recommended that you exercise more caution at night and taxi taxis rather than walk, especially if you are a lone female traveller. In some cities bag snatching can occur so always keep a firm hand/eye on your personal items.
Some breakfasts are included in your tour. Breakfasts can be basic so if you tend to get hungry it may be a good idea to buy some fruit or snacks to eat during the day. All other meals, extra snacks and drinks on the tour are at your own expense.
Ask your tour leader if they can recommend any restaurants in the area to suit your taste or budget or have fun exploring independently.
National specialities to keep a look out for are skilandis (smoked meat), salti barsciai (cold soup), vedarai (potato sausage) and bulviniai blynai (potato pancakes), smoked eel is a famous Baltic delicacy, and you may enjoy trying mild white curd cheese, best served with honey.
National drinks include local brands of beer and imported drinks are popular. A famous Lithuanian spirit is midus, a mild alcoholic beverage made from honey.
The time difference in Lithuania is GMT/UTC + 2. For other time differences please visit www.timeanddate.com
220 volts / 50 Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are in use.