Mary Ritter Beard once said: “Traveling is more than the seeing of sights: it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” Every one of us has different needs and wants, different traveling habits and styles – we have our own way to achieve that change. And if you find that change by being more an experience seeker and less of a tourist – we are going to help you with some tips from the perspective of a local. Ready? Let’s start with Lithuania.
So probably the first few places that everyone would recommend you to visit in Vilnius, the capital of the country, would be Gediminas Tower, the most popular place for a great panoramic view, Vilnius Cathedral and the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Gates of Dawn, little Užupis Republic, a cosy artistic district which has its own army, president and even a constitution that you can find on the wall in one of the streets, Pilies street and so on. Yes – those are really great places and you must include at least some of them into your list. But Vilnius is much more than that – from the swings that were put by anonymous in the most unexpected places (for example, under the bridges above the river or in some city squares – you can find the map on the internet) to a bit pricy but perfectly located Skybar on the top of the city, where the cup of coffee will be worth the excellent view of the Lithuanian capital.
If the panoramic views are something you are interested in, here is three other not that popular places where you will not need to share the moment with tons of other people. First of them is a viewpoint from Subačius street where you can enjoy the view of previously mentioned Užupis Republic and Old Town. The second one is wilder and covered in trees but totally worth climbing – it is Bekešas hill. The majority of people climb hundreds of stairs to reach the top of it. If you are not the best at it and would not mind to save some energy, we have a secret for you – there is an easier way. Just go up Užupis street and turn left when it branches out into two – follow the Krivių Street until you reach the school on the left. Go beyond it and voilà – two minutes and you are on the top. The third, maybe a bit busier than the previous two, would be the tower of Saint John church where you can also find a Foucault Pendulum – the only one in the Baltic States - to make sure the Earth still rotates. While visiting all the panoramic spots try to count the pinnacles of the churches in Vilnius – you will be surprised by the number of how many of them there are!
Returning to the land, there are some options to chill out in some great places that locals love. The second thing after basketball that Lithuanians are really proud of are their craft beers. In Vilnius, there are some places to try it – Šnekutis, where you can not only try the best Lithuanian beers but also enjoy a traditional cuisine for a very reasonable price, and Alaus biblioteka, which literally translated means Beer library. We guess the name says it all - there you can try around 60 kinds of beers with 300 different names. No, of course not at once – the owners are really serious about social responsibility and they foster a responsible tasting of those beers. Anyway, if beer if not your cup of tea – you can get one at Mint Vinetu, bookstore, coffee and internet hangout place in the heart of the Old Town, where you can forget all your troubles with a good book and a great pie in a cosy environment. If you prefer something more extreme and happen to be in Vilnius during the winter, Liepkalnis snow zone is a must visit 235 metres high hill where you will be able to try 10 well developed and different level skiing tracks.
Already tried everything? Leave the capital and head to one of the most beautiful towns in the country. Either it is Trakai, loved by both tourists and locals, or Kernavė – still waiting for the tourists to fully discover it. Trakai is famous for the number of the lakes that surround it and plenty of islands in them – one of them even has a beautiful castle built by one of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In winter it is possible to rent ice skates and discover every corner of the lake by skating around. And Kernavė is first, medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which still remembers old Baltic traditions and the beginning of Lithuanian state. The hill forts of Kernavė are unique in the entire Baltic Sea region, as there are five in just one location. An impressive view of the turns of the Neris River, the island of the river and its banks open from it.
Last but not least – Lithuanian coastline. Especially the Curonian spit – this is the place that is impossible not to love. It is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. There are a lot to admire – start from taking a drink at Sky terrace in Klaipėda with an amazing view to the sea, then take a boat to Smiltynė, first destination in a peninsula, and go on a lazy road trip till the beautiful village of Nida where you can climb the biggest dune of the peninsula (Parnidžio kopa – Parnidžio dune) and enjoy the inspiring landscape which is completely different than the whole country. And well, you can see Russia from there too!
Nothing lets you know a country better than a taste of places that are loved by locals. They will always show you the true colours of it and the most you can do is not to miss and enjoy them. We think you are good to go to Lithuania to renew your ideas of living – enjoy it in a way the locals do!
2015.08.07 13:40 Fri