The cities of Vilnius and Kaunas are the main tourist attractions of Lithuania. The capital Vilnius, whose historic center is part of the UNESCO heritage, is a city full of buildings of the most varied styles. There are palaces and churches in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo style. Kaunas, the second largest city in the country, is a beautiful city with a fine medieval old town. There is a large Gothic cathedral and several other prestigious buildings.
MEDIEVAL CENTERS AND CASTLES
In the outskirts of the capital there is another of attractions of Lithuania, the scenic Trakai Castle built on a lake island. Here it is also worth visiting the small town of Trakai, which in the 14th century was the capital of Lithuania. Among the curiosities of the country, between Vilnius and Kaunas, the archaeological site of Kernavė, also a UNESCO heritage site. This site displays the remains of ancient fortified settlements and prehistoric necropolises, as well as remains of medieval buildings and fortifications.
Along the Baltic coast is Klaipėda, the ancient Memel. This is the main port of the country, which in medieval times was an important port of the Hanseatic League. At the time the city was controlled by the Teutonic Knights. Its historic center shows the signs of German architecture and culture that was once predominant in the city. To the east of Klaipėda is Kretinga, a town with a beautiful old town and famous for its Winter Garden, the Orangerie, with numerous exotic plants.
THE BALTIC COAST AND THE NATURAL AREAS
Along the short Baltic coast of Lithuania there are famous and popular holiday resorts such as Palanga, characterized by a long and beautiful beach. Or like the smaller tourist settlements of Nida and Juodkrantė, located in the Neringa peninsula (Kuršių nerija). The Neringa peninsula is a long strip of sand, half of which belongs to Lithuania and the other half to Russia. This strip of sand separates the Baltic Sea from the Kuršių marios lagoon. The whole peninsula has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to the important naturalistic and landscape aspects it preserves. Including above all its particular mobile sand dunes, which are among the largest in Europe.
North of Kaunas is the small historic town of Kėdainiai, one of the oldest in Lithuania. A few kilometers from Kaunas is the Pažaislis monastery, the most valuable example of an Italian Baroque building in the country. Lithuania’s two main spas are the towns of Birštonas, located just south of Kaunas, and Druskininkai, near the southern border with Belarus.
In northern Lithuania about ten kilometers north of the city of Šiauliai there is the so-called Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas) a hill where there are thousands of crosses placed there by pilgrims passing by. The origin of this custom is unknown, but it took on particular force during the communist era as a symbol of rebellion against the Soviet occupation.
Lithuania’s nature, mainly formed by natural landscapes made up of lakes and forests, is protected by five small national parks. The largest of which are those of Aukštaitija and Dzūkija, and from several regional parks.
The climate of Lithuania.