Lithuania, circled by the four countries of Russia, Poland, Belarus, and Latvia, is located in the Baltic region in the north of Europe. Originally Lithuania operated as a feudalistic country, and was massive in its size―reaching from the Black Sea all the way to the Baltic Sea – warring for continued sovereignty until, in the 1400′s, it became the biggest state in Europe―excelling in trans-oceanic trade. By the mid-1500′s, Lithuania joined Poland to form the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, but then by the 1700′s, Lithuania was merged with the Russian Empire. After the first World War, Lithuania separated from Russia, only to be forced back into alliance as Russia formed into the Soviet Union in 1940. It wasn’t until the 1990′s that Lithuania finally gained independence, creating a constitution and joining the EU in May of 2004.

de_0039_lithuania - Baltic seaside near Klaipeda


When visiting Lithuania, there are a number of attractions. Some of the top attractions are:

  • Vilinius: The largest, and the capital, city in Lithuania, Vilinius was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994, mainly due to the city’s preservation of its beautiful historical architecture that ranges from the Gothic and Baroque to Renaissance and Classical.
  • Curonian Spit National Park: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park consists of an almost 100km stretch of sandy coastline on the western Baltic Sea. It is the most popular protected spot in the country, and was formed some 5,000 years ago.
  • Kaunas Castle: Built in the 1300′s, this castle was a major influence in defending the city of Kaunas. It is also the first-ever castle in the country that was built of stone. Its architecture is Gothic, and as time passed, a settlement grew around the structure; eventually turning into what we know of as the modern-day city of Kaunas.
  • Rural Tourism: a growing option for tourists, the countrysides of Lithuania offer many homesteads where you can eat and sleep, with many activities to encounter such as locals ready and willing to teach you their craft trades, as well as hundreds of sights to see such as churches, mills, and museums.

de_0038_lithuania - Trakai castle

Local Food & Drink

Lithuania is rich in its heartiness of food and drink. For example, when it comes to food, pork is a primary staple in the diet of Lithuanians; as are vegetables and plenty of potatoes. The dish known as cepelinai, are perogi-like potato dumplings filled with meat and drowned in a sauce of butter and sour cream, and is a traditional favorite in the region. On the more quick, snack-food side, lamb-filled turnovers called Kibiani are popular; as are Cheburekai―dough pockets filled with cheese, fruit and meat.

For drink, beer is of course a main source for Lithuanians, with the country boasting over 50 various brands! Also, in lieu of beer, vodka is another popular drink and is readily available in most stores. Mead―made from local bark from trees, berries, and foliage―is produced as well. However, mead production is currently controlled under strict government regulations. Other alcoholic beverages available are sparkling wines and liqueurs, which are of high-quality and quite popular among tourists.

Also available are non-alcoholic drinks such as mineral waters (Birute is a popular brand) and various coffees ranging in selection from France to the north of Europe. A variety of tea is also available, and cheap―half the price of coffee!

de_0037_lithuania - Vilnius


Lithuania has a reputation for being an unsafe place to visit. Therefore, a few cautionary pieces of advice should be heeded:

  • If traveling in unsavory areas at night, if on foot, call a cab to get to where you need to go. If you must walk, stick to the well-traveled, well-lighted roads. Take special caution if hitchhiking.
  • Being seen as openly gay, or even if the suspicion is present, can cause aggressiveness by locals. Thus, do not talk openly about being homosexual.
  • Racism has been known to exist in the region―specifically in rural regions where peoples of a different skin color are rarely seen. Thus any staring, whispering, etc. may be more due to simple curiosity than negativity. So, if you are non-white, and in the region, the best advice is to practice tolerance and understanding. Also, the police are always on the lookout for any racially-related crimes or behavior, so such racially-charged actions are actually rare in occurrence.
  • Driving can be risky, accidents frequent. Lithuania is experiencing an economic boom, and thus infrastructure (and so traffic) is also expanding at an enormous rate. Pedestrians beware! Most drivers will not yield. If you’re a driver, also beware, as many locals are aggressive and speedy.