Bursting with history
Despite its modest size, Lithuania is a country bursting with history. It was once a remarkable empire that extended from the Baltic to Black Seas. Even in recent history, Lithuania played a major role on the world stage and was a significant factor in the dissolution of the former USSR.
This history is an integral part of Lithuania and has influenced its diverse architecture and culture. There is also a refreshing spirit of eccentricity in the country that may appeal to those of you who are looking for something out of the ordinary.
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One of the places in Lithuania where individualism is most apparent is the capital, Vilnius. In the city, you'll find an unofficial self-styled republic of bohemians and artists living by their own rules. You can also see the only statue in the world of a musician and composer who prized self-expression and creativity: Frank Zappa.
As you might expect of an old city like Vilnius, there are more traditional tourist attractions for sightseeing. One such place is the baroque UNESCO World Heritage site-listed Old Town, with its wonderful vista of Orthodox and Catholic church spires.
Not too far away from the Old Town in this small and compact city, there are also reminders of some of the worst aspects of the 20th century. Among these are the Jewish ghetto, where every single resident died during the city’s occupation in the Second World War, and KGB torture cells.
Outside Vilnius, Lithuania offers you a spectacular countryside and unique wildlife sanctuary. This sanctuary is the Curonian Spit National Park in western Lithuania. The Curonian Spit, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has some of the planet's most treasured sand dunes where birds nest and deer and elk roam.
There are two visitor centres on the Spit at Smiltynė and Nida. You can find plenty of details about the cycling paths, walking trails and sailing opportunities in the area there. Regardless of the mode of transport you prefer, the Curonian Spit is a definite must-see if you are visiting Lithuania.
Another area of great beauty in Lithuania is Aukštaitija National Park. The park is an astonishing maze of 126 lakes set in a forest rich in elk, wild boar and deer. Make your way to one of the most scenic of the lakes, Lake Baluošas, and you may chance on the opportunity to view flocks of storks, as well as golden and white-tailed eagles.
For one of the best views in Lithuania, ascend the park’s Ice Hill. From the summit, seven of the park’s lakes spread out before you surrounded by the lush greenery of tens of thousands of trees.
As a complement to such a breathtaking natural panorama as the view from Ice Hill, take a trip to the seaside in Lithuania. At Palanga, for instance, there’s a 6-mile beach that attracts Lithuanians of all ages.
Lying 15 miles north of Klaipėda, Palanga is fast becoming a modern seaside resort. However, there are still unique attractions in the true spirit of Lithuania. These include the pedal-powered taxis and Basanavičiaus gatvė, the pedestrian-only heart of the town.
Why not see Palanga, the Curonian Spit, Vilnius and the rest of Lithuania for yourself? Book your flights with SAS now.