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Lithuania

 

 

                                                  

                                                     

 

Lithuania holds a 90 kilometre long area of the Baltic Sea coast. As the National Geographic Institute of France confirmed in 1989, the geographic centre of Europe lies just 24 kilometres northwest of Vilnius.

  • Total area: 65,300 sq. km. Nearly one third of the territory is covered by forests, 4.5% – by inland waters. There are over 2,800 lakes larger than 0.5 hectares in size, and 18 rivers longer than 100 kilometres in Lithuania.
  • Climate: oceanic/continental. Average temperature in July is +17°C, in January – -4.9°C.
  • Local Time: Central European Time zone. GMT + 2 hours, or same as, for Helsinki, Riga, and Tallinn.
  • Population: 2, 9 million
  • Ethnic Composition: Lithuanians – 83.5%, Polish – 6.7%, Russians – 6.3%, Belarusians – 1.2%, others – 2.3%.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic approximately 80% of the total populatio. Other confessions include Orthodox, Old Believers, Lutheran, Reformat, Judaist, Sunni, Karaite and other communities.
  • State struckture: democratic parliamentary republic
  • National day: 16th of February (Independence Day)
  • State language: Lithuanian.
  • Curency: EUR
  • Capital: Vilnius - 526,6 thousand.
  • Other Largest Cities: Kaunas – 306,1 thousand; Klaipėda – 158,8 thousand; Šiauliai – 106,0 thousand; Panevėžys – 97,3 thousand.
  • Distances: to Helsinki 720 km, to Berlin 850 km, to Moscow 830 km.

 

 

Useful links

Maps of Lithuania

Video presentations of Lithuania 

Photo gallery of Lithuania

Brochures about Lithuania

 

WHY LITHUANIA:


1. Vilnius Old Town. Admire the majestic views

From the tower of Gediminas Castle visitors are presented with breathtaking views of the baroque Vilnius Old Town. The abundance of churches is particularly eye-catching: it is often said that regardless of where in the Old Town you are, you are always next to a church. From the gothic masterpiece of St. Anne’s to be a baroque splendour of Sts. Peter and Paul, the architectural variety demonstrates the rich heritage of the city, drawing from influences of different cultures.

2. Užupis republic. Discover the artist within.

The Užupis quarter in Vilnius, favoured by artists and those with bohemian inclinations, is a veritable republic with its own traditions, border crossing points and even a constitution of this is at least what many Užupis residents posit. Contrasting with the renovated and commercialized Old Town, Užupis offers a real look into the avant-garde as working artists open their studios to the public, sculpture pieces and tucked alongside the river and local cafes play host to poets scribbling verse and students having animated philosophical debates.

3. Frank Zappa monument. Visit the only Frank Zappa bust in the world.

Althought there is no connection between Lithuania and the late nonconformist rock musician and composer Franck Zappa, he has impressed local fans so much they have decided to erect a monument in his honour. It was unveiled in 1995 in Vilnius square, and a military orchestra played at the ceremony. It is noteworthy that the bronze bust was commissioned to a sculptor whose previous work includes some Lenins and other socialist heroes.

4. Trakai Castle. Visit a medieval fairytale.

A small town surrounded by lakes, Trakai, once the capital of Lithuania, is proud of its rich history. Its beautifully restored medieval red brick castle on an island in the lake, the residence of Lithuanian dukes, looks as if it could only exist in fairytales. Medieval buffs will surely spend some quality time exploring the castle and its surroundings. This popular tourist destination also offers a chance to acquire Lithuanian souvenirs or to learn more about the local Karaite food specialities.

5. The Hill of Crosses. Wittness the miracle of faith.

The Hill of Crosses is a special monument of faith. Tens of thousands of crosses crowd the slopes of the hill. The first crosses were put here for those fallen during the 1831 uprising against the tsarist regime. Since then new crosses were constantly being put up there. The hill that was seen as a symbol of resistance was razed four times under the Soviet regime, but it was resurrected every time. Pope John Paul II visited this site in 1993. A cross donated by him still stands.

6. The Curonian Spit. Seek refuge in the arms of nature.

The Curonian Spit is a long and thin peninsula, separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Covered in sand, it has been preserved due to human effort to counter the natural erosion process by deforestation. The landscape of the Curonian Spit, an entry in the UNESCO heritage list, is dominated by picturesque sand dunes and pine tree forests. The beaches here are exceptionally clean. Resort towns on the Curonian Spit manage to preserve their old fishing village charm. This is a splendid place for a tranquil seaside family repose.

7. Kernave. Discover ancient civitions.

Traces of ancient civilization dating back to 11 000 years ago have been discovered in the unique Kernavė archaeological reserve, which was also an important political centre for Lithuania in early Middle Ages. The reserve is inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Every year in the beginning of July, on the Day of Statehood, a Lithuanian national holiday, the Days of Living History & Archaeology are held in Kernavė. The event offers a chance for visitors and locals to learn about the daily life of pre-historical and early medieval Lithuanians with an emphasis on the lives of artisans and craftsmen.

8. Castles along the Nemunas River. Travel along the medieval front line.

The Nemunas River has long been a front line of Lithuanian resistance to the crusaders. On the right bank many castles and fortifications were built, some have survived and can be visited today on a day trip on the road running along the river. It is worth climbing atop the towers of Raudonė and Panemunė castles stunning views open up towards the plains on the opposite bank.

9. Grūtas park. Take a tour behind the Iron Curtain.

Many post communist countries had their symbols of a bygone era removed and hidden away or destroyed. In Lithuania a singular theme park was created using removed ideological sculptures and other symbols of the Soviet era by private initiative of a local entrepreneur. This park affords the opportunity to imagine the special atmosphere of these years to those who have never experienced living socialism.

10. The geographical centre of Europe. Find youself right in the middle of the continent.

In 1998 the French national geographical institute determined that the geographical centre of Europe lies about 26 km north of Vilnius at 54°54′N 25°19′E. Some other Central European countries claim their own centres of Europe, ascertained by using different methods, but the Lithuanian one is in the Guinness Book of World Records. The exact spot is marked by a column that as erected to commemorate Lithuanian accession to the EU.

11. Druskininkai and Birštonas. Recharge your batteries

Resort towns of Druskininkai and Birštonas, situated on the Nemunas River between pine forests, have been known for their mineral waters as well as beauty and health spas for a couple of centuries. Here you can enjoy excellent and very reasonably priced mud and whirlpool baths, massage and many other treatments, stroll or ride bikes on trails surrounded by lakes and pine forests.

12. Palanga. Enjoy the beach.

Lured by sandy beaches, entertainment and wild nightlife, this is a small seaside town to which people flock in the summertime. The obligatory evening promenade on the sea pier to bid goodbye to the sun setting into the sea has become a long-standing tradition. Of interest is the seaside landscape park, which features a neo-classical palace, now housing an amber museum.

13. Aukštaitija National park. Enjoy a great variety of wilde nature.

Lithuania's first national park - Aukstaitija - was established in 1974 and covers an area of 30 thousand hectares. Over 70 % of its territory is pine stands. Some of the pine trees are over 200 years old.     Scattered among the woods and hills are some 100 smaller and larger lakes, often interconnected by rivulets and streams.The woods, marshes and meadows of the Aukstaitija National Park abound in rare plant species, including a number of plants that are listed in the Red Data Book of Lithuania and are protected as endangered species. The lakes and rivers, too, are rich in wildlife, from Canadian mink to a variety of birds that can bring quite a few exciting moments to a devoted birdwatcher. The parks territory embraces some 80 settlements and villages, some of which have retained not only their old original layout but also archaic wooden farm buildings and other structures.

Contact person
Aušra Rapalytė
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