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By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor
With Poland on one side, Belarus on the other and Latvia in the north, Lithuania, which has been a member of the European Union since 2004, is the first Baltic State that travellers from southern Europe meet on their travels. Its capital city is Vilnius and its geography in general is very natural; there are no high mountains (the highest peak is less than 985 ft) and the forest plains are dotted with lakes and rivers. Lithuania is one of the best destinations for discovering central Europe as its history and traditions are markedly different from Western Europe.
Note: two major events are celebrated in Lithuania in 2009. The country is not only celebrating its millennium, but Vilnius is also to become the European cultural capital. Festivities will therefore be going on throughout the year, making now the best time to travel to Lithuania!

Our Editorial team's advice

Lithuanians are proud of their country and identity: learn some words in Lithuanian to be courtious, it will be much appreciated! Two few things to note: seek permission before taking snapshots of inhabitants and do not accept worn-out notes, they will only be refused later. Lastly, Lithuanian folklore is rich and varied so don't miss taking part in its traditional music festivals.


  • +Vilnius is the largest Medieval town in Northern Europe.
  • +The dunes of the Kurland Peninsula.
  • +Trakai and its Karait village.


  • -Beware of mosquitoes in the summer!
  • -The traditional cuisine is difficult to digest.


Milk products and sweet potatoes are staple foods in the country. You must taste the traditional zeppelin or cepelinai (sweet potato pie stuffed with meat, cheese or mushroom), vedarai (sweet potato sausage), bulviniai blynai (sweet potato balls), skilandis (smoked meat) and salti barsciai (cold soup). Grilled eel and elk fillet are also very delicious. For dessert, you have the choice between cakes like the sakotis, party cakes shaped like fir-trees, or honey fritters. Lastly, you musn't leave before you taste the two best local beers, Utenos and Kalnapilis, as well as Stakliskes, an alcoholic honey-made drink, and midus,the local liquor (60%).


You can buy traditionally decorated Easter eggs, icons, dolls and Baltic (or Lithuanian) amber-carved jewellery and crafts as souvenirs. For collectors, there is a host of coins, stamps and old pounds. Shops and markets are open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.