Another recently visited and unreasonably forgotten (or maybe yet not found) country – Lithuania, the land of ecologic vegetables, tasty (and still rather uncostly) wheat beer, amber accessories, lovely bakeries, talented theatre actors and genius writers (my-self included), Soviet heritage and etc.
Wise people choose Lithuania as a low cost holiday destination or as yet another weekend escape. Even it is still rather nationalistic and stubbornly homophobic country with foolish politicians; Lithuania has a lot to offer and could without any doubt be called a paradise of hipsters. Starting from already mentioned ecologic food, which still may be found in most of supermarkets (if you go for local brands) and markets and ending (quite literally) with famous Nida Dunes.
In this short recommendation I will focus on three major cities: Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda, paying no attention to smaller towns and villages, which would require separate post (if not a travel book).
First of all, do travel to Lithuania in summer, there is a great list of music festivals to choose from (Supynės, Sata, Tundra etc.) and nature is in all it’s glory. If you miss summer slot, i.e. mid of May till late August, do not hesitate and book tickets for early autumn. Lithuania has four seasons, with rather hot summers and pretty damn cold and snowy winters, as well as blossomy springs and golden autumns.
Considering, that summer is just a day away, let’s presume, Lithuania is your spontaneous last minute holiday choice. You book your tickets for price range from £150 to £200 (in summer, in spring, autumn and winter prices drop to approximately £70). Little advice here, go to https://www.google.co.uk/flights/ to check all available flights in one go.
Once in Vilnius or Kaunas airports do not, I repeat, do not get into any of the taxis outside the airport, which awaits for such a naïve tourists like you and for 10-20km ride strips you double (if not triple) price. The best thing would be to google some taxi numbers and call once arrived or book in advance online.
Any city you choose to stay in, I would recommend to stay in the centre, mainly for one reason, there is nothing to do outside it. Soviets left its trace all around suburb neighborhoods and all you’re going to find out there will be grey living blocks.
Some places to visit, if you only come for easy-relaxed-no-sight-seeing-involved weekend:
Stroll the streets starting from the train/ bus station through Aušros Vartai, choose the Bazilijonų gatvė for less touristic route and Didžioji gatvė for number one visitors retreat with full collection of sight seeing spots and touristy shops and cafes. But if you choose that road do not miss Café de Paris, cosy to enjoy a glass of your favorite something during the day time and crowded with youngsters with a live DJ spinning tunes late on weekends. If you are hype madrefucker, go wild and stroll the Bazilijonų gatvė straight into Pylimo gatvė, pop in to one of my favorites, Rūdninkų knygynas in Rūdninkų gatvė that sells great books, top notch magazines and vinyls. If you continue down the Pylimo gatvė soon enough you will hit Islandijos gatvė, main street for kick ass parties. If you are more of movie watcher and a wine lover, do stroll a little bit further to Liejyklos gatvė and turn right to Šv. Ignoto gatvė where you will find one of the most oldest cinemas Pasaka, that smoothly blurs with La Boheme winery- restaurant, where you’ll find intimate surroundings and drinkable wine selection. In general it is worthy to dedicate a day (it will not take more) to walk down the narrow streets and visit everything that catches your eye, it is highly doubtful that you will be disappointed. Dedicate half a day for a walk in Bernardinų sodas and a lunch at Užupis Republic. Yes, you heard me – re-pub-lic.
Most likely I missed out a great deal of places, but I hope you get an idea and you’re tempted.
Stroll down the Laisvės Alėja from Soboras church towards Rotušė, walk around the Santakos park, visit the remains of Kaunas Castle, have a lunch or a dinner at G.vine, one of the first (and most likely still the only) gastro art places in Kaunas. Apart from Hipster Island Kultūra, an off site Pompėja for a lunch or cup of coffee, Spurginė for tasty doughnuts and cacao, as well as Soviet canteen feel, Centrinis Kauno knygynas for a smell of books, there is nothing else I personally would recommend.
Klaipėda is a port town, where I spent most of my summers as a child. It is perfect destination for those, who do not wish to give up the city joys and also have an escape to the nature nearby. Choose Kaštonas for a night out and Smiltynė beach for lazy sunbathing afternoon.
As I am half through the bottle and one of my favorite men is already asleep I will stop just right here. But if you have any questions, please please please do not rely on google it-self for advices and contact me for an-open-no-bullshit advice in the case you do chose Lithuania as your holiday destination.
There is a lot more to tell, or you also may just skip the recommendations bit, rent a car and drive through the glorious, unique and more or less untouched landscape of Lithuania.
P.S. Hippies refer to Kaimo Turizmas.
P.P.S. Ladies, Google for cheap Spa treatments, facials and etc.
P.P.P.S. It’s going to be awesome, trust me, follow your guts and book the ticket now.