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The 10 Best Things to Do in Lithuania

The 10 Best Things to Do in Lithuania

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There are so many awesome things to do in Lithuania; so many amazing places to see in Lithuania. You could easily fill a two-week Lithuania itinerary exploring all of the cities, the coastline, and the incredible natural beauty of this country.

I have been living in Lithuania for several months and have been doing as much traveling and exploring as I possibly can. Over the next few months, I have no doubt I will revisit this post and continue to update it with the best places to visit in Lithuania.

Some of these are famous places in Lithuania like the Hill of Crosses or the capital city of Vilnius, but there are also some Lithuania landmarks that you will want to add to your list that you may not have heard of before.

Getting to Lithuania

There are two main airports in Lithuania that have international flights: Vilnius and Kaunas.

Depending on what your Lithuania itinerary is, both cities are great jumping-off points.

The best app to use if you will be in Vilnius is the Trafi App (Android here and Apple here). You can use this to get around Vilnius and more importantly, to get from the airport to the city center.

It tells you all of the bus times and numbers and which stop to get off at and you can pay for your tickets on the app (you cannot pay the bus driver in Vilnius).

If you are arriving in Kaunas and will start your trip there, you can still use the Trafi app, but you will need some cash to pay the bus driver. Alternatively, you can use Žiogas app (Android here and Apple here). 

There is a city bus that runs from the Kaunas Airport to the city’s bus station about once an hour. You can read more about it on the airport website

There are overnight buses available from Warsaw to Kaunas and quick twice-a-day buses between Riga and Vilnius. Both are serviced by Ecolines and Eurolines

lithuanian trains

One of my favorite ways to get between the major cities like Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, and Siauliai is to take the train.

Getting Around Lithuania

Your two main options for getting around the country are by renting a car or by using public transportation. The bus network here is excellent for getting from major hubs to smaller towns. If you want to travel between major hubs, you can also use the train network.

I have found that buses actually tend to be quicker than trains despite the fact that trains tend to stop less. The trains tend to go quite slow here in Lithuania, so going by bus is quicker and roughly the same price.

If you plan to use the bus network while you’re here, you should get the Autobusu Bilietai App (Android here and Apple here). This app allows you to look up any bus route within Lithuania as well as pre-book your bus tickets which are then saved on the app.

Some buses do not allow you to prepay and instead you either need to buy your ticket at the train station or pay the bus driver directly in cash. 

If you have an EU license, you can also use the CityBee app to pick up a local car for the day and use it to take a day trip from Vilnius or Kaunas.

Places to Visit in Lithuania

These are some of the most famous places to visit in Lithuania with details about what to see in each place. If you are visiting for the first time, these places should be at the top of your Lithuania itinerary.

vilnius lithuania cathedral

The cathedral at sunset in Vilnius. This is the real center of the city and where you’ll find all of the main events happening like the markets and
Christmas tree as well.

1. Vilnius

Vilnius is the country’s capital and the largest city in the country with a population of roughly 600,000 people. 

The city’s old town is a UNESCO world heritage site where you can see stunning baroque architecture and where you’ll be able to learn quite a lot about the recent and rich history of this incredible city.

I have written extensively about Vilnius. You can check out the specific posts here:

If you are planning to explore Lithuania for a week or so, you should give Vilnius at least two days of your time. Starting here means that you can go to all of the different museums and learn about all of the other places you will see on your trip. 

If you only have time for a few stops in Vilnius, be sure to get to the KGB Museum and the National Museum inside the Palace. Walk up to Gediminas tower, explore the funky neighborhood of Užupis, and take a bike ride along the river (or kayak down it in the summer months!).

Check out all of my videos from Vilnius on YouTube here.

woman in front of trakai castle lithuania

Trakai Castle is one of the most magical fairytale places in Lithuania!

2. Trakai

This is a very easy day trip from Vilnius but deserves a full day of exploring, especially if you’re visiting when it’s warm enough to be outside all day. 

If you visit Trakai during the summer, you can rent paddleboards or rowboats to take out on the lake. You can hire bikes and ride around the different trails in the area. You can sit along the beach at the lake and go swimming.

But the biggest draw to this little town is the Trakai Castle. 

Trakai Castle sits on an island in the middle of Lake Galvė. It was originally built back in the 14th century. It was the center of the country during the Grand Duchy of Lithuania epoch. 

It was reconstructed again in the 1950s and 60s and is now home to the most fairytale castle you’ll find in Lithuania as well as an interesting museum.

Even if you aren’t visiting during the summer, Trakai looks incredible all year. During Autumn, you can stroll the trails and see the castle through the fall foliage. In the winter, the lake freezes and you can go ice skating around the castle.

It’s also cheaper to visit the museum in the winter. In peak summer, it costs €12 to enter, and during the shoulder-seasons is only costs €8.

3. Kaunas

The second-largest city in the country and what many Lithuanians agree is “the most Lithuanian city in Lithuania.”

In the early 20th century, Vilnius was actually part of Poland, so Kaunas took the title as the capital city during those years. It’s here where you’ll find some very interesting architecture including a large art deco influence around the center of town.

Kaunas has a long history which starts back in 1030 when it was founded as a fortress. It became a town in 1317 and was chartered as a city in 1408. 

Its location at the confluence of two of the largest rivers in Lithuania has made it an important and frequently attacked city since its inception. It was an important city during the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th and 16th centuries. 

kaunas cathedral

This church on Laisves Aleja is a great place to start your touring around Kaunas because it is the start of the pedestrian street that runs all the way through the city.

Kaunas is home to the largest basilica in the Baltics, a stunning castle with an interesting museum, and some of the best restaurants and bars in Lithuania.

Check out all of my videos from my trips to Kaunas here.

I would recommend spending at least 24 hours in this city giving yourself a full day to explore if not two full days. Here are all of the blog posts I’ve written about this amazing Lithuanian city (perhaps my favorite of them all!)

4. Kedainiai

woman in front of buildings in kedainiai

One of the colorful market squares in Kedainiai.

One of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Lithuania and an easy day trip from Kaunas.

To get here simply head to the Kaunas bus station (check the Autobusu app listed above for times!). It takes just under an hour and you get off at the Kedainiai bus station. 

From the Kedainiai bus station, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk (depending on your walking pace) to the center of the old town.

Start with the Kedainiai regional museum which has tons of information in both Lithuanian and English (although the staff don’t really speak English, they are nice and will help guide you a bit).

The museum is packed with interesting information and will help orientate you to the town before you begin exploring a little bit more.

The town was one of the most important merchants and market towns in the country in its heyday and you can still visit the different market squares and imagine what it must’ve been like when it was a bustling city.

The one thing you cannot miss is a meal at Beneto Karčema. This was without question one of the top three meals I’ve eaten in Lithuania and I would go all the way back to this town just to eat at this restaurant.

In particular, I recommend trying the local specialty which are the Kedainiai pancakes or Kėdainių blynai arba bulviniai blynai su mėsa

The pancakes are much like other potato pancakes you might find when visiting Lithuania. However, these are filled with pork meat and the meat is cooked inside the pancake, so it offers a luxurious bit of fat that regular potato pancakes just don’t have.

5. Šiauliai and Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses is perhaps Lithuania’s most famous landmark, and for good reason. It’s a little bit peculiar and seeing over 100,000 wooden crosses in one place isn’t something that you see everywhere.

However, the city where you need to start in order to get to the Hill of Crosses, Šiauliai, should also be added to your Lithuania itinerary, at least for a morning or afternoon.

You don’t need a ton of time in this region and if you rented a car to travel Lithuania, you can easily stop here between Kaunas and Klaipeda (or Vilnius and Klaipeda).

If you are going by bus, there are plenty of hotels to stay the night and get an early start to Klaipeda the next morning by bus or train.

Hill of Crosses Siauliai Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai is one of the most fascinating places to see in Lithuania and well worth learning more about.

Read my guide to Siauliai here to find out about the best things to do, best places to eat, and where to rest your head.

Getting to the Hill of Crosses without a car means either hiring a taxi for the trip (they will take you, wait for you, and take you back) or taking the bus. The taxi will run between €20 and €30 depending on the time of year and the bus costs €1 each way, but requires a bit of walking and only comes once an hour.

If you don’t speak Lithuanian and you want to take a taxi, head to the Šiauliai visitor center and they will organize it for you. Just be sure to agree on a price before you go. 

6. Klaipeda

Klaipeda is Lithuania’s main port and its third-largest city. It is home to an American university as well so between the port workers and the professors here, there is a large contingent of expats in Klaipeda.

This is the jumping-off point for any beach trips you may want to take since it has the largest bus station and train station in the area, although I do also think it’s worth stopping at for at least a few hours.

The main reason to stop here is to see the lasting German architecture around the city (it used to be part of Prussia) and to visit the castle museum. The castle museum here is probably one of my favorite museums in Lithuania after the KGB Museum in Vilnius.

Klaipeda has been the main and most important port in Lithuania for centuries and the history that exists here is absolutely fascinating. 

Klaipeda also has a great bar and nightlife scene, especially around the River Danės in the old town. Whether it’s sunny and warm or rainy and cold, the bars in this part of town are always packed with people, especially on a Friday and Saturday night.

Some of my favorite spots are Gaisrinė Restobaras, Seven Pub, and Nisha Craft Beer Bar (which I also love in Vilnius and Kaunas). Head away from the river to the Švyturys BHouse where you can sample beer inside the large brewery as well as enjoy some food.

7. Curononian Spit and Nida

This is my favorite place in Lithuania and maybe even one of my favorite places in the whole world.

Okay, that’s a little bit dramatic. But there is something about this place that has stuck with me since my first visit. I have since returned again in terrible and cold weather and it was still just as magical as it was in the sunshine. 

The Curonian Spit is easy to get to from Klaipeda. Simply head to the old ferry terminal and pay €1 (round trip!) for your ferry ticket. This is a pedestrian ferry and it takes about 5 minutes.

It goes once an hour in the winter months and every half an hour during the summer period (roughly late-May to early October, but this changes each year).

blue beachside house in nida with liferaft outside

The buildings in the town of Nida all reminded me so much of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

If you want to head straight to the beach just for a day trip from Klaipeda, get off the ferry and walk straight to the other side of the spit to Smiltyne Beach. This is a beautiful white sand beach that faces out to the Baltic Sea and it takes less than 10 minutes to walk here from the ferry. There are toilets and changing areas, but not much in terms of food and drink, so be sure to bring what you’ll need for a day at the beach.

If you have a car, you can take this ferry from Klaipeda over to Nida and you can drive. Just know there is a toll to take your car into the Nergina National Park area where Nida is, so you’ll need some cash on you.

Check ferry times for both ferries here.

On the way to Nida, you can stop at the Hill of Witches, which is basically an outdoor sculpture park. It’s a trail through the forest, which also sits atop a sand dune, and there are tons of beautiful and intricate wooden sculptures.

Once in Nida, the possibilities are endless. You can hike up to the top of the Parnidis Dunes, you can eat smoked fish at Pas Jona (highly recommend) or you can take a boat ride out around the dunes and wave at Russia. 

There is also a wonderful beach in Nida which faces out to the Baltic Sea and where you can spend the day enjoying the sunshine and swimming during the summer months.

8. Palanga

Palanga is one of the most popular beach resort areas in Lithuania. This is where you’ll find families on vacation at the beach, on kid’s rides along the boardwalk, eating ice cream at all times of day, and fishing along the pier.

I have only been to Palanga once and it was a rainy November day, but even through the wind and rain, I could see what a beautiful place this was. I will definitely be back once it gets warmer to walk along the beach and swim in the Baltic Sea.

9. Biržai

The home of beer in Lithuania. That’s all I needed to hear in order to want to visit.

However, it’s also a place packed with natural beauty and a wonderful place to come to go on walks through forests, parks, and around lakes (like most places in Lithuania, to be honest).

Biržai is wonderful at any time of year, but is especially popular with Lithuanians during the summer months when you can swim in the huge lake, camp in the forests, and enjoy long sunny days at the local breweries.

It’s best to have a car if you really want to explore this entire region, but it’s also possible to see it without a car. Simply take the bus here from Klaipeda or even from Vilnius, and spend a full day exploring the area around the downtown and lake.

walking path over dunes

There are so many walking paths around the Curonian Spit and renting a bike is also a great way to explore this part of Lithuania.

You can even taste tons of local beers at this spot and buy them to take to your hotel at this spot without having to get in a car and drive to any of the breweries (which means you don’t have to worry about a designated driver, hurrah!).  

Other spots you don’t want to miss besides the beer:

10. Druskininkai

Lithuania’s famous spa town, Druskininkai is so named because of its thermal and salty waters (druskos means salt in Lithuanian).

It’s about two hours by bus from Vilnius near the borders with Belarus and Poland. 

The main attraction for most families is the Aqua Park. It isn’t just a fun water park with slides and water rides that you may be familiar with, it is also home to tons of different types of saunas and hot and cold pools. It’s even better for adults than it is for kids.

The “adult area” is strictly for 18+ years old and has such a different and far more relaxing feel to it. There is a pool with swim-up bar, tons of saunas, and steam rooms of varying temperatures. There is a Turkish bath, a cold pool, an ice room, and even a little spa inside to get other treatments as well. 

I think the Aqua Park is the best value for money in Druskininkai with a three-hour pass costing less than €30 per person for adults. 

The other popular thing to check out here is the indoor ski slope at Snow Arena. This is the largest indoor snow arena in the Baltics and one of the best in Europe. Athletes from around the world come here to train in the summer months and while it’s not the Alps, it is a very affordable and fun place to come if you are just learning to ski or snowboard or you want to refresh yourself before hitting the mountains this winter.

The city has a huge lake with a beach, plenty of walking trails to enjoy nature in, and tons of great places to eat traditional Lithuanian food.

I put this place last on the list because I think it’s the perfect way to end your trip to Lithuania. After exploring the different cities and coastal towns, you can refresh and relax in Druskininkai and enjoy some of the most traditional Lithuanian dishes before heading back to Vilnius to catch your flight back home.