Independent Lithuania is becoming recognized as one of Europe’s gems. Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is now extraordinarily pretty, almost every building in the center has had the Cinderella treatment. There is a sense of novelty about the swish cafés and the good-looking bars.
The foremost attraction is it’s stunning Baltic coastline, but Lithuania has much to offer inclu
Visit Vilnius Old Town: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 1,500 buildings here present an attractive picture of medieval Europe.
For pastry lovers, try the traditional kibiai pastry: a half moon turnover stuffed with meat, potatoes or jam.
See the Cathedral
Where one chapel memorializes the 300,000 souls deported to the USSR and the 14 patriots killed in a 1991 battle with Russian forces.
The Hill of Crosses
One of Lithuania’s most awe-inspiring sights is the legendary Hill of Crosses. Planted here since the 19th century, the crosses were bulldozed by the Soviets, but people continued to plant them, risking their lives to express their national fervour.
Don’t miss the Chapel of St. Casimir
Lithuania’s patron saint, with its deeply Baroque décor.
St. Anne’s was built of brick and dates back to 1495. One of the country’s most charming structures, it even transfixed Napoleon, who apparently wanted to take it back to Paris « in the palm of my hand. »
Hang out in the Uzipis District
A bohemian district inhabited by would-be artists and other creative types. They are an independent republic and they have their own flag and national anthem.
Visit Curonian Spit
A wild, beautiful national park on the Baltic coast. The Spit was formed by the sea, wind and human activity and continues to be shaped by them.
Eat a Zeppelin
No visit to Lithuania would be complete without sampling some native cooking. A favorite main course is the cepelinai, nicknamed a ‘zeppelin’ because of its elongated oval shape. These are big potato dumplings stuffed with meat and occasionally curd cheese.
The Narutis Hotel
A 5-minute walk from Vilnius Cathedral, this refined boutique hotel in buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries is 3 km from Vilniaus train station.
Featuring pastel or bold, colorful tones, the individually decorated rooms and suites offer free Wi-Fi, TVs with premium channels, and minifridges. Suites have separate living areas and pull-out sofas, plus balconies and marble bathrooms. Upgraded suites add Jacuzzis or hammams.
Complimentary amenities include parking and a breakfast buffet, which is served in an old-world restaurant. An eatery with 18th-century paintings offers Lithuanian fare. There’s also a spa.
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