Introduction - A country, situated at the geographical centre of Europe, washed by the Baltic Sea, covered with dense forests and meandering rivers and lakes, respectful of its traditions, proud of the Lithuanian language, nurturing its UNESCO world heritage sites, and open to innovations.
Its capital vilnius, which is the biggest and most beautiful city in the country. The city has a stunning array of Baroque and Gothic architecture and one of the largest Old Towns in Central and Eastern Europe, which takes up 360 hectares and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lithuanian beer is considered to be the national drink and you shouldn’t miss a chance to try it together with a dish from a distinctive range of national cuisine. Nighttime Vilnius is simply irresistible and can offer any number of adventures in its clubs and bars. Its natural treasures - forests, lakes, the magical Curonian Spit in Western Lithuania - shimmer, while its oddities - the Hill of Crosses in and a Soviet sculpture park - add a flavour found nowhere else.
Area: 65,200 km2
Languages: Lithuanian is an archaic language derived from Sanskrit, with 32 letters. Some people in the larger cities also speak Russian, Polish, English and German as their native tongue.
Passport and Visa: Lithuania is a member of the European Union and the Schengen area. Visitors from the EU as well as from 30 or so other countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States don’t require a visa to stay for up to 90 days within a six month period. A visa issued for any Schengen country is also valid in Lithuania. For more information, take a look at www.urm.lt.
Health and Safety: The only health risks associated with visiting Lithuania are for those intending to visit forested areas, who are advised to take the necessary precautions against tick-borne encephalitis. EU citizens are entitled to emergency medical treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of origin. Medical facilities are fair and there are plenty of doctors, but equipment and resources are lacking. There are a few private clinics of high standard. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services. Travel medical insurance is highly recommended. Safety in Lithuania is not a major issue for travellers, the country is devoid of civil unrest and the terrorism threat is low. Car theft is rife, and there is a risk of mugging, pick-pocketing and bag snatching especially on public transport. Visitors should exercise due care and avoid carrying valuables. It is advisable to carry a copy of your passport for identification purposes. Traffic accidents are common, so extra vigilance is required for driving, especially at
Religion: Predominantly (79%) Roman Catholic with Russian Orthodox and Protestant, including Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformist.
Social conventions: Lithuanians are a reserved people with respect for tradition. They generally will not go out of their way to greet someone they do not know; people on public conveyances do not look directly at someone else unless they are friends and generally give up their seats to their elders. People often bring a small gift of candy or flowers when they visit someone. Give an odd number of flowers. Do not give chrysanthemums - they are used in funerals. Do not give white flowers - they are reserved for weddings. Gifts are generally opened when received. Hosts are generous and do anything they can to make a guest comfortable. Men always shake the hands of male friends when they meet in a café or on the street but never inside a door. This is one of many superstitions, which include not whistling indoors for fear of calling little devils and not sitting at the corner of a table if one wishes to marry soon.
Clothing: Lithuanian Costume is Western style modern clothes. Lithuanian dress are stylish and decent and gives a description of Lithuanian society and culture. As the time elapsed dressing in Lithuania also evolved and became quite similar to other European countries. The Urban folk started wearing the modern outfits whereas the traditional clothing is worn only in festivals. More dressy outfits for formal restaurants and nightclubs and casual clothes for everywhere else. Even in summer bring a light jacket because the evenings can occasionally be cool. Needless to say you should bring a thick coat, gloves and a woollen hat in winter.
Climate: Summers are generally warm and sunny with an average temperature of +17 C. The highest known temperature, +37.5 C, was registered in 1994. Winters, however, are white and cold. The average winter temperature is – 4.9 C, but the lowest recorded temperature was a bone-shattering – 42.9 C in 1956.
Best time to visit: Summer is perhaps the most exciting time to travel to Lithuania.Lots of street activity and open-air concerts are taking place and all of the attractions are open. From early June to the end of August is the peak tourist season therefore its worth to book your accommodation in advance. From the middle of June till the middle of August, when you usually get the warmest weather in Lithuania, is the best time to visit Lithuanian seaside and enjoy the best of its beach life.
If you want to beat the tourist rush, late spring and early autumn is a delightful time to visit. In May the countryside is beautiful with rich green fields dotted with yellow flowers, the weather is rather warm and comfortable and in September you often get spells of sunny and warm weather especially during Lithuanian bobu vasara (Indian summer).
Money: Lithuanian Litas (LTL; symbol Lt) = 100 centas. Notes are in denominations of Lt500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of Lt5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 centas. The Litas is pegged to the Euro. Major credit cards are accepted in the main hotels, restaurants, shops and in some petrol stations. ATMs are available in most cities.
Currency exchange: Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change. Travellers cheques are not accepted by retailers and can only be exchanged at a few outlets. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
Currency restriction: There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
Getting around towns and cities: There are domestic airports at Kaunas, Palanga and Siauliai. There are not many domestic flights. Public transport in urban districts includes buses and trolleybuses, which usually run from 0500 to 2300, but times do vary between routes. Transport coupons can be bought either at news kiosks before boarding or from the driver. Minibuses are less crowded but more expensive. Taxis display illuminated Taksi signs and can be hailed in the street, found at taxi ranks or ordered by phone. As with the rest of mainland Europe, Lithuanian traffic moves on the right, and all distances are posted in kilometres. The road network in Lithuania is fairly good, especially the motorways. Car hire available from local and international firms. Most European nationals should be in possession of EU pink format driving licences. Otherwise, a national driving licence is sufficient, if supported by photo-bearing ID. Lithuanian Railways (website: www.litrail.lt) provides good connections from Vilnius to Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai. Twice-daily passenger trains (including a sleeper train) connect Vilnius with the Baltic coast. Though the train does not stop in Palanga, the major resort on the Baltic coast, passengers to Palanga usually get off at Kretinga station or in Klaipeda and then reach Palanga by bus. Passengers to Neringa (Nida, Juodkrante) can go to Klaipeda by train and then take a bus. Suburban trains going to Ignalina connect Vilnius with the popular lake district of the National Park. The ancient Trakai Castle can be reached by taking the suburban train going to Trakai. Local ferries connect Klaipeda and the Curonian Spit. Klaipeda is home to two yacht clubs.
For All emergencies: 112
Police - 02
Fire - 01
Ambulance - 03