Lithuania was the first Baltic country I stepped foot in, actually. I flew to Vilnius and then ventured to Klaipeda and Trakai and beyond.
Since that first trip, I have traveled to Lithuania around a dozen times. There are many places to visit in Lithuania and that is why I recruited a few other bloggers to help you see all the country has to offer!
These are the best places in Lithuania that you should add to your Baltic itinerary.
Best Places to Visit in Lithuania
Lithuania’s capital Vilnius makes for a perfect weekend break due to its size and abundance of things to do. The city center is a wonderful blend of historical buildings and obscure brutalist buildings built by the Soviets.
As you walk through the city center, you can not help but be taken aback by the beauty of the old churches and buildings that line the streets.
However, if you cross the Neris River from the Old Town, you will be greeted by one of the country’s most famous examples of socialist modernism architecture, the Palace of Concerts and Sports- a huge wave-like building.
One of the most important places to visit is the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, situated in the former KGB building the museum documents the horrors and atrocities committed by the Soviet Union on the people of Lithuania.
Strangely, there is also a statue of Frank Zappa in the city, a musician who became a symbol of freedom and a change during the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite the fact he never once visited the country of Lithuania!
Seventeen miles west of Vilnius is the historical city of Trakai, one of Lithuania’s most popular tourist destinations.
Founded in the 14th-century, the city has become a symbol of Lithuania’s varied history with various cultures moving into the region adding their own cultural identity to the city while preserving the buildings and designs from their predecessors.
The main feature of the city is the beautiful medieval castle that sits on one of Lake Galvė’s 21 islands.
The city is also home to fantastic examples of Karaim culture including an amazing traditional wooden synagogue, which is one of the few left in existence today.
In Trakai, you will also find the delectable Kibinai, a traditional Karaim pastry that has become a local delicacy over the years.
While it is possible to stay in Trakai overnight and there are plenty of fantastic hotels you can also take a half day guided tour of the city from Vilnius, perfect for those who are visiting the region on a time crunch.
On Lithuania’s Baltic coast, you’ll find the amazing city of Klaipeda. The city has had a rich and complicated history, with rival forces battling to control the land and its influential port.
In the center of the city, there is a beautiful historic district with buildings influenced by German and Scandinavian architectural styles.
Theatre Square is often a hive of activity, with festivals and concerts often held in the square during the warmer months.
There are also some fantastic examples of Soviet architecture, and to the beaches in the north, you can also see WW2 defensive structures.
To the south of the city, you’ll find the unbelievably beautiful Curonian Spit, a 61-mile sand dune that stretches down to Kaliningrad and creates the Curonian Lagoon.
The impressive spit is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the wild fast-moving dunes have created a wonderful nature spot.
Nida and the Curonian Spit
Recommended by Bradley and Cazzy at Dream Big, Travel Far
In my opinion, and that of plenty of other visitors to Lithuania, the Curonian Spit is the most naturally beautiful place to visit in the country.
In fact, it’s where many Lithuanians choose to spend their holidays at one of the many small campsites or towns located along the spit of land. Of which, the nicest is possibly Nida.
Nida is a small town right at the end of the spit, not far from the point where it becomes Russian territory.
It’s a great place to stay for a few nights, enjoying the laid back atmosphere and the many cute cafes and restaurants along the front.
In the evening, they also have markets here and even an outside fire pit for when it gets cold.
It’s worth taking time to visit the many long stretches of beach and sand dunes all the way up until Nida. Simply pull in and cut your way through the trees; you’ll be amazed at just how incredibly untouched and pristine many of these beaches are.
Of course, if you want to get the best use of these, then it’s definitely worth visiting Lithuania and Nida in the summer months, from July to September.
To get to Nida, you need to first head to the city of Klaipeda. From here, you take the ferry across, which takes only around 10 to 15 minutes.
Check out our guide to the perfect Baltics road trip.
Lithuania’s fourth-largest city is Siauliai, a city that often is overlooked when people plan their Lithuanian adventures.
The city was founded in the 13th-century and grew as an important cultural and educational hub. However, as the world broke out into war during the early 20th-century, Siauliai suffered heavily.
Eighty-five percent of the city was destroyed during WW1 and despite rapidly rising from the ashes after the war, the city was again thrown into turmoil as WW2 broke out and inflicted even worse terrors.
Since the city had to be largely rebuilt after the war by the Soviets, there are plenty of amazing examples of modernist architecture around the city.
As you walk around the city, you can enjoy one of the city’s many parks and wide boulevards, perfect for a relaxing break.
Siauliai is also the launching point for visiting the Hill of Crosses that sits 7.5 miles north of the city.
On Lithuania’s southern border with Belarus is the chilled out town of Druskininkai. Surrounded by stunning birch forest and marshlands, Druskininkai grew famous for its healing spas.
During the early 20th century, the town had one popular spa resort that was classed as one of the best in the region attracting visitors from as far away as Moscow.
Once the Soviets took control of the town, sanatoriums were rapidly built and Druskininkai became one of the most famous resorts in the Soviet Union with almost half a million visitors each year.
While many of the sanatoriums have since closed their doors since the collapse of the USSR, Druskininkai still has plenty to offer.
For water sports lovers, some of the lakes offer wakeboarding and water skiing, and interestingly, there is also one of Europe’s largest indoor ski slopes just outside of the town.
Outside of the city, there is Grutas Park, a private collection of Soviet monuments collected from around the country (I hated this place- they also had a horrifying zoo).
In the middle of the city, relax with a walk by the large lake or chill out in one of the town’s cafes.
Hill of Crosses
The main tourist sight in the Siauliai region is the Hill of Crosses, a creepy yet eerily beautiful attraction.
The small hill is overloaded with well over 200,000 crosses, statues of the Virgin Mary, and various other effigies. No one is entirely sure how the Hill of Crosses came into existence but crosses started appearing during the 1830’s.
During the Soviet occupation, the site became more important as it was a symbol of hope and a way to connect with the life and culture the Soviets tried so hard to wipe out.
During this period, the Soviet leaders did everything they could to remove the crosses and destroy the display but people remained persistent.
The site can easily be visited from Siauliai either by car, taxi or a private tour.
You can easily spend a few hours walking amongst the crosses and marveling at the intriguing history that still has that feeling of hope surrounding it.
For those who are looking to visit the site from Vilnius, there are some amazing day tour options from the capital.
Recommended by Kami at Kami and the Rest of the World
Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, is a great place to visit in the country. It offers a great variety of attractions and with so many great things to do in Kaunas, you won’t be bored for sure.
The city was founded in the 10th-century and still today you can admire monuments from the Medieval times when Kaunas was an important trade center in the region.
During the interwar period, Kaunas was the capital of Lithuania. That’s when the city developed and most of the important buildings as well as regular houses were built in the modernist style that brings recognition to Kaunas in the present day.
In Kaunas, you will also find two funiculars (the only ones in Lithuania) that originally come from the interwar period too.
Fans of street art won’t be disappointed either – there are so many amazing murals all over the city, some of the works were even painted on the old trolleybuses!
Kaunas is a vibrant and cool city that can be a perfect European city break destination. Don’t miss it during your trip to Lithuania!
Recommended by Deb at The Visa Project
Lithuania is a picturesque country home to many forests, castles, lakes, and historical towns. And if you want to learn the history of Lithuania, Kernave is a must.
Popularly known as the Troy of Lithuania, Kernave was its medieval capital. It is home to one of the most important ancient settlements of Lithuania.
Facing the meandering Neris river, the Cultural Reserve of Kernave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are four old castle mounds and the remains of a medieval town, and a museum with a wealth of artifacts.
The reconstructed village with wooden cottages is a great way time travel to the past. There are guided tours available as well.
Summer is when Kernavė comes to life with celebrations and folk festivals. With medieval fun activities like ax throwing, mead making, and catapulting, Rasos Feast is probably the most famous one.
If you are planning a day trip from Vilnius, at merely 35 kilometers, Kernave is a great idea. To get to Kernave, you can either drive from Vilnius or take a bus as well.
And as Lithuania is part of the Schengen zone, if you need a visa to visit it, you can get a Schengen visa.
Recommended by Mark at Vogatech
Anykščiai is a green and somewhat hidden gem in northern Lithuania.
The city is located 35 km from Utena and lies on the river Šventoja, the longest river that passes through all of Lithuania, which is connected to the Baltic Sea by its tributaries.
Rich in enviable greenery, it is an oasis of peace for all nature lovers.
Anykščiaikoji Regional Park is located near the city and a real nature reserve. The forest is rich with over thirty species of trees… and the River Šventoja that passes through this park offers visitors plenty of activities.
The Treetop Walking Path is a truly unique project that offers a walk above the treetops. It is 300m long and walks relatively quickly with this unusual construction. But, it’s the view it provides that will stop and make you feel captivated. It truly is a unique European experience!
Kalita Mountain – toboggan and ski trails is another place that is simply unavoidable. There are so many activities offered for the youngest visitors.
There are opportunities from driving an alpine coaster to a children’s autodrome to a mini Volvo excavator adapted for children to use.
“Dainuva” Adventure Valley offers a real adventure for the bravest. At 13 meters altitude, there are six trails of various levels of difficulty. You choose the weight of the track that you think you are ready for and go for it! This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Lithuania.
Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.