Wondering what sites and attractions you should take in when you travel to Lithuania? Lithuania is a small country, but it’s packed with places to see and things to do.
Use the list below to get you started on your tour of this Baltic country with attractions from the capital to the coast. These sights should be on any Lithuanian itinerary! Also note that many Lithuania tours often include these sites.
If you can see one attraction in Lithuania, Old Town Vilnius should be top on your Lithuania itinerary list. It’s not only lovely to look at and rich in history—this is where all the action happens as well, particularly in the city center.
Take a guided walking tour of the top sights, such as Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Castle Tower, the Gates of Dawn, Town Hall Square, and the Parliament, and then see what seasonal events are on—whether an outdoor market such as Kaziukas Fair, the architectural festival Open House Vilnius, Culture Night, or the Street Music Festival.
Dine in the city’s best restaurants and shop for local souvenirs—Lithuanian linen and amber are both good choices.
Trakai is a small, old town outside of Vilnius that played an important role in Lithuania’s history, and the ancient castles there are proof. It is also known as one of the country’s medieval capitals. Drawn by the beautiful lakes and surrounding nature of the area, Grand Duke Gediminas built a castle there in the fourteenth century. Today, it makes an excellent day trip from Vilnius!
Trakai Island Castle is a stunningly reconstructed red-brick series of walls and towers that is now a museum, which you can investigate on a tour. The Island Castle makes one of the most picturesque scenes you’ll see when you visit Lithuania.
The town also offers boating and souvenir shopping, and you’ll be encouraged to try kibinai, a specialty made by the Karaite, a Turkic-speaking ethnic minority group that came from Crimea in the fourteenth century and made Trakai one of their cultural and religious centers. Most people include Trakai in their Lithuanian itinerary: it’s a favorite!
Another popular day trip, Kaunas, once the capital of Lithuania, is the second-largest city in Lithuania and easy to get to from Vilnius. It most certainly should be on your Lithuanian itinerary! It has a charming old center with an Orthodox church, lovely boulevard, and rebuilt castle.
It is also home to a series of museums that travelers find intriguing, including the Devil’s Museum, the Ciurlionis Museum dedicated to Lithuania’s most revered artist, and the Sugihara house museum, which preserves the memory of a Japanese diplomat who issued transit visas to Jews during WWII and saved thousands of lives. Also check out the Ninth Fort, which is a remnant of military history.
Additionally, the shopping and dining scene is becoming more exciting, with many brands headquartered there and Lithuanian and international chefs setting up restaurants.
Of course, there are plenty of things to see in the Kaunas Region if you want to expand your exploration of this area!
4. Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses near Siauliai is an impressive historic and spiritual site. Thousands of crosses have been erected on this hill, which continues to see visitors and pilgrims every year. Bulldozed repeatedly by the Soviets, it nevertheless rose again as the faithful returned to the site to place crosses in remembrance and prayer.
Wind your way through the crosses and leave one of your own if you choose. The experience is beautiful and moving. Entrance to the hill is free, but if you’d like to buy a cross from one of the vendors, pop across the street and give their offerings a look. Definitely include this stop on your Lithuanian itinerary and spend an hour or two there.
5. Nida and the Curonian Spit
Nida and the Curonian Spit hold a special place in every Lithuanians’ heart—and once you see it, you’ll feel the same way. This pristine, protected piece of land off the coast of Lithuania is mostly nature preserve dotted with small villages along the way.
Nida, with its quaint fisherman’s cottages, is the farthest town and located near the famous sand dunes that are both picturesque and lovely to climb. Rest in nature, eat some smoked fish, and dip your toes in the Baltic Sea.
Druskininkai is Lithuania’s premier spa town. You can go there to be pampered, pounded into relaxation, soaked in mineral water, and generally have your ailments eased. But the town is also very pretty, with gentle landscaping and architecture from another time.
Birstonas is closer to Vilnius than Druskininkai and another spa town growing in popularity. Its Vytautas Mineral Spa is a well-known establishment with a lovely pool and sauna area, a menu of pleasant and professional beauty and wellness treatments, a hotel, and a restaurant.
Klaipeda is a coastal town (from which you get access to the Curonian Spit by ferry). With the Baltic Sea breeze keeping the air fresh, it’s impossible not to be revitalized during a stay here. A historic center with tidy buildings, friendly restaurants, and well-kept squares has much to recommend it. A handful of museums, the port, and the remnants of a castle will keep you occupied, or stroll or bike through the city to find its pace.
Palanga is another coastal city. Palanga, however, is felt to be livelier and more energetic thank Klaipeda as beachgoers take advantage of the party atmosphere. This resort town has a vibe all its own. Combined with Sventoji, it makes an interesting way to see the Baltic coast.
Palanga and Sventoji continue to grow ever more popular for visitors to Lithuania with their connection to legends, pagan sites, noble families, maritime history, and Lithuanian history in general. By all means, enjoy the white sand beaches and sea breeze here, but also note that regional architecture, museums, concerts, and other activities and points of interests await you here.
10. Rumsiskes Open-air Museum
The Lithuanian open-air ethnographic museum is a way to learn about Lithuanian folk culture by taking a tour of the regions of Lithuania, which are all represented in the park, learning a traditional craft such as Lithuanian egg decorating, talking with guides about Lithuanian culture, and viewing people wearing national costume.
11. Grutas Park
Many countries in Eastern Europe have parks like Grutas Park. Grutas Park is where the Soviet statues of Lithuania were placed after they were removed from their original locations in cities. Now they have been laid to rest among trees.
This surreal park takes you back to Soviet-occupied Lithuania and introduces you to both top-level Soviet leaders, such as Lenin, and to the top home-grown bigwigs of the Communist Party of Lithuania. This sight will make an interesting addition to your Lithuania itinerary.
12. The Geographical Center of Lithuania and Europos Parkas
The center of Europe depends upon your perspective, but if you’re Lithuania, the center belongs to you. The Lithuanian center of Europe, 26 kilometers north of Vilnius, was awarded this distinction by the French National Geographic Institute, who used specific geographical references to come up with this point. The center of Europe is marked with a monument, but you can also visit nearby Europos Parkas while you’re in the area, which has an outdoor sculpture museum.
Visiting Lithuania is an incredible experience, whether you take a Lithuania tour or explore on your own, and whether you spend all your time in Lithuania or visit the other Baltic countries.