Lithuania

Lithuania is the southernmost of the three small Baltic States which broke away from the Soviet Union in 1990. Covering 65,200 sq km (25,174 sq mi), Lithuania has a population of 3.2 million people. Its capital and biggest city is Vilnius.

More on Lithuania

Lithuania is bordered by

Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland to the south and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the southwest.

Modern skyscrapers in Lithuania
Modern skyscrapers in Lithuania
Author: Arroww (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Lithuania is in the Eastern European Time zone, which is two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+2) and three hours in summer. The official currency here is the Lithuanian litas (LTL). The official language is Lithuanian, and 84% of the population identify themselves as ethnic Lithuanian. The traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +370. The electricity is 220V/50Hz using European plug.

All Saints Church, Vilnius

In 2010, Lithuania had an estimated nominal GDP of $35.152 billion, or a per capita nominal GDP of $10,605. The per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is $16,481.

Lithuania is a generally low-lying country smoothened by glaciers. Its highest peak is Aukštojas Hill, at just 294 m (965 ft). Its climate ranges from continental to maritime, depending on area. Average temperature in January is -2.5°C while in July 16°C. There may be extremes in temperatures with summer temperature rising to as high as 35°C while in winter, it may drop as low as -40°C.

The area of present-day Lithuania has been settled by Proto-Indo-Europeans as early as the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. Its recorded history goes back to the 11th century, when the first written mention of Lithuania appeared in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, on 9 March, 1009.

Lithuania covered a much larger area in the 14th century, when as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it included present-day Belarus,

Ukraine, and parts of present-day Poland and Russia. Over the centuries it shrunk in size as neighboring powers rose up and expanded into its area until by 1795, it was totally annexed by the Russian Empire.

Švenčionys Orthodox Church, Lithuania
Švenčionys Orthodox Church, Lithuania
Author: Juste (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Lithuania tasted a few decades of freedom when it declared independence from Russia in 1918. However it was occupied by the Soviet Union at the start of World War II, and after that by Nazi Germany. At the dying days of World War II, the Nazis pulled out, and the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March, 1990, Lithuania became the first state to leave the collapsing Soviet Union.

As with its neighbor Latvia, Lithuania experienced booming growth from 1998 until 2006, when the global financial crisis from 2007 sapped its growth. Its economy is based on high added value products and services. Its currency, the litas, is pegged to the euro at EUR 1 = LTL 3.4528 since 2 February 2002, and the country is expected to switch to the euro from 1 January 2014.

Europa shopping mall, Vilnius
Europa shopping mall, Vilnius
Author: Ville Säävuori (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Planning your visit to Lithuania

Lithuania is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which means visitors from EU and EFTA countries only need an approved ID to gain entry. Visitors who do not need a visa include citizens of

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

The Vilnius International Airport (VNO) is the main civilian airport for Lithuania. FlyLAL (officially Lithuanian Airlines) is the national flag carrier based here. Unfortunately it has folded since 17 January, 2009 due to financial troubles. The Latvia-based AirBaltic has a second base in Vilnius offering flights to selected destinations, while Ryanair flies to Kaunas International Airport (KUN), the fastest growing airport in the Baltic.

Preparing Money for your trip to Lithuania

The currency used in Lithuania is the Lithuanian Lita (LTL). The following are the latest rates for Lithuan Lita in the last 24-hours.

Recommended Travel Guidebook

My favorite travel guidebook for further reading in preparation of your trip is the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Eyewitness Guide, because it follows a format that I find useful to users, not to mention I have also contributed to some of the titles in the Eyewitness series of guidebooks.

Major Cities in Lithuania

  1. Vilnius – capital
  2. Jonava
  3. Kaunas
  4. Klaipėda
  5. Panevėžys
  6. Šiauliai
  7. Trakai

Places of Interest in Lithuania

  1. Aukštaitija National Park
  2. Dzūkija National Park
  3. Hill of Crosses
  4. Kernavė
  5. Purnuskes
  6. Žemaičių Kalvarija

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lithuania

  1. Vilnius Historic Centre
  2. Curonian Spit
  3. Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernave)
  4. Struve Geodetic Arc

World Greatest Sites

  1. Hill of Crosses

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