Active Adventures and Medieval Riches

A rich seam of medieval influence runs through Lithuania’s culture, from its many dark wood carvings to its raucous celebrations of peasant music and its taste for ancient delights like mead. Deep in its bird-filled forests, visitors could easily imagine themselves transported to a long-ago age. But there’s diversity in the landscape here; the beaches, too, are a draw for tourists, and cities like the capital, Vilnius, and Kaunas offer up a wealth of museums and lavish historic architecture, all set along cobbled streets. For those seeking an active holiday, the flat countryside is perfect for cycling, while the sparkling lakes and Baltic coastline offer opportunities for boating, swimming and kayaking.

Lithuania falls under the Baltic Sea EU macro-regional strategy, which is focused on boosting national and international prosperity, strengthening bonds with other countries in the region and preserving the sea and its marine life. In exploring the five cultural routes that pass through Lithuania, travellers are sure to notice many ways that they tie in with these priorities.

How to get there?

There are routes into Lithuania from elsewhere in Europe by train, bus, plane and car. Ferry routes from Germany and Sweden offer good options for those who have the time. The country’s four international airports are located in Kaunas, Palanga, Šiauliai, and Vilnius. Lithuania is also home to many long-distance cycling paths, including sections of the EuroVelo 10 and EuroVelo 11 routes.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +2
  • Population
    2.8 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    € or EUR

EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Lithuania

Cultural Routes in Lithuania

Lithuania features on five cultural routes, which all take in countries outside the Baltic Sea macro-region too – although the majority of the cities that appear on The Hansa route are in this region. In addition to The Hansa, Lithuania also appears on itineraries for Destination Napoleon, the European Route of Jewish Heritage, the  Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage Routes and the Impressionisms Routes.

Destination Napoleon

Taking in 60 cities across 13 countries, the Destination Napoleon route is not just limited to the Baltic Sea macro-region. The route is designed to guide travellers to historic sites and works of art that serve as testament to the far-reaching influence of Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe. The route includes Vilnius, capital city of Lithuania.

European Route of Jewish Heritage

Understanding Jewish heritage, as well as the oppression enacted against Jewish people in World War II and throughout history, is fundamental to learning about the history of Europe. The European Route of Jewish Heritage aims to connect many of the historic sites, museums, cemeteries and synagogues of particular significance to Jewish culture in Europe. There are itinerary points for the route in several different areas of Lithuania, which is a country with an extremely significant connection to Judaism.

The Hansa

The Hanseatic League consisted of around 225 Northern European cities which dominated trade in the region for several hundred years, being first officially mentioned in writing in the 13th century and entering decline from the mid-15th century onwards. The Hansa cultural route runs through a selection of the cities that were originally Hanseatic League members. Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, is a member of The Hansa route. The Hansa website states that the route’s objective is to “make a contribution to economic, cultural, social and civic unity in Europe, and thus to strengthen the self-awareness of the cities and municipalities so that they can fulfil their role as a home of living democracy.”

Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes

The Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes centre on the continent’s best-known pilgrimage trail: the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, as it is called in English. The route runs along the northern part of Spain, taking in multiple important churches and other historic sites on its way to the city of Santiago de Compostela – the burial place of the martyr Saint James. Though the end point of the pilgrimage route is always the same, there are multiple different places, in Spain and beyond, where a traveller can join the route. These aren’t limited to one macro-region, or even just to Europe – it’s even possible to join the route in North Africa.  Various branches of the route run through Lithuania, passing through Vilnius and Kaunas, among other cities.

Impressionisms Routes

The Impressionist movement was hugely influential on the direction of 19th-century visual art and all that came afterwards. The major names associated with the movement include the likes of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot, among others. The Impressionism Routes are six cultural trails which link places these painters lived and painted, museums displaying their work, and historic sites relevant to their lives. According to the routes’ official website, “Impressionisms Routes intend to facilitate access for all to artistic knowledge by developing cultural heritage and tourism activities.” The route has six full members: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia and the Netherlands. However, there are itinerary points in other countries too, such as Lithuania.

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