*1 Travel notes
Lithuania, Lietuva… every single time I talk of this country I feel like I’m talking about home. Since the first time I landed in Vilnius, the capital city, I felt some connection in the air: it does not matter I did not know any words in Lithuanian (from that moment I have got a lot of new ones), nor I did not have any maps of the cities: I felt like to follow my heart and go, visit, discover it, being surprised and totally in love corner after corner.
So, as you can see, Lithuania is in my heart (mano širdis) and I am spreading my love for it all around.
Some years after my first time in Lithuania, I had the chance to go and visit also the northern side, the one I was missing. The result? Incredibly marvelous. I am not even able to explain it just by using a bunch of words.
*2 How to get there
Based on my personal experience (I tried to choose the best itineraries)
Airport: Tarptautinis Kauno oro uostas (Kaunas International Airport)
Distance from the city center: 14 km
To the city center:
- Number: 29
- Arrival station: Kaunas train station
- Travel time: 35 minutes
- Frequency time: each 15 minutes
- Price: 1 Euro
Airport: Palangos oro uostas (Palanga Airport)
Distance from the city center: 7 km
To the city center:
- Public bus from the airport
By bus from other cities
- 30 minutes from Klaipeda
- 2 hours and half from Kaunas
- 3 hours and half from Vilnius
*3 City tour
What better chance than take some days off, go and spend some time in beautiful and cozy Kaunas before a weekend in the north of Lithuania? Baltic sea, new landscapes, wide and lovable seaside, where you can play beach volley and enjoying your drink shortly after, while looking at the sunset.
It sounds great? It is. Even more than you think.
I have not got time to go and visit also Klaipeda, another nice city in the north of Lithuania. This is just another excuse to go back to Lithuania very soon (that was my actual strategy)
So, about the trip:
The second-largest city in Lithuania, is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, around 1,5 hour by bus or train from Vilnius. Some ideas of what you can visit:
- Kauno Pilis (Kaunas Castle)
This is the castle of Kaunas. Beside it there is a nice park, where I used to go for running and there are also sport equipments you can use for free… so, be ready to be sporty;
- Laisves Aleja (Freedom Avenue)
This is a pedestrian street, where you walk into the modern part of Kaunas, and let me tell you it is quite long and very nice, full of typical shops and food.
- Kristaus Prisikėlimo Bažnyčia (Christ’s Resurrection Church)
A wonderful modern white church, that it was completed just in 2004. From there you can also have a nice view of the city.
- Vytauto Didžiojo karo muziejus (Vytautas the Great War Museum)
Another museum I had the chance to visit; you should go and take a look, it allows you to see a lot of their history.
Welcome to this huge commercial center! I needed to put in the list because it has 4 different floors, where you can go to the cinema, as well as ice-skating, or even just shopping. You can find pretty everything, and also many places where you can eat. And especially when it is cold outside, what better than to go and discover such a great spot? Super!
- Pažaislio vienuolynas ir bažnyčia (Pažaislis monastery and church)
Distance from Kaunas: 11 km
It represents the largest monastery in Lithuania, with its example of Italian Baroque architecture.
The city of amber, situated in the northern side of Lithuania, on the Baltic Sea, it was a pleasant discovery. Just off from the bus central station, you have to walk for 10 minutes in order to get to the city center. The city center, small and cozy, will give you whatever you need: plenty of markets, typical food, souvenir, relax. If you are looking for some relax, well I can suggest you to remember some things:
- J. Basanavičiaus gatvė (J. Basanavičiaus street)
Take this street and walk: suddenly, you will get to the sea. The wind increasing, the horizon opens increasingly, then you will hear the noise of the waves, and you will find in front of yourself this stunning scenery. White sand, beach volley fields, music ON, food and drinks, people cycling… to sum it up: such a great idea for a weekend.
- Tiškevičių rūmai (Tiškevičiai Palace)
Beside the wonderful seaside, you can also enjoy and discover new cultural beauties: this palace is a must-to-see in this cozy city, since it hosts the Palanga Amber Museum and it is also surrounded by the Palanga Botanical Garden.
- Palangos gintaro muziejus (Palanga Amber Museum)
Well, what better than take a look at the Amber Museum? This is a branch of the Lithuanian Art Museum, housed in the Tiškevičiai Palace, where you will find many pieces of amber and you will understand why the city is called “The city of Amber”.
*4 Food planet
What about eating? Yes, it is always a key point. Especially after walking for some time, especially when it is cold, especially when… you are just hungry!
I love exploring the food qualities, some secrets, some specialties and so any time I can I try something new.
Here are some typical Lithuanian dishes I had the chance to try, and also a great place where to eat them. Read on.
- Kepta duona
(Fried rye bread, flavoured with garlic and accompanied with creams or yoghurt-based sauces)
I do not eat bread in general, but for Kepta duona I can do an exception! It is super tasty, crunchy and delicious, if you try it with a beer you will fall in love instantly. Just thinking of it made me hungry and smiling. Super!
(Mushroom soup served in a box made of bread)
Besides the fact I really like mushrooms, this soup is served into a bowl made of rye bread, that you can eat at the same time. Besides being very tasty, it is a very nice “piece of culinary art”, so creative!
(Potatoes pudding, served with bacon or sour cream sauce)
And what about this? This potatoes pudding is awaiting for you! Since I love to add sauces, on this dish they fit very well, since when you add some bacon or sour cream sauce… you will fly, it is a very nice mix!
(Cold beetroot, usually served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs)
The famous “Lithuanian pink soup”: yes, it is pink; the colour is due to the beetroot, and it’s served cold. To try, especially in summertime.
First time I saw it, I started to wonder what it was. 10 minutes later, I was enjoying it at the table. Besides you will get potatoes. A cool mix. Super nice.
- Cepelinai or didžkukuliai
(Potato dumplings filled with minced and flavored meat or cheese, served with bacon or sour cream sauce)
This is another of the Lithuanian national dishes. The mix of potatoes with meat or cheese, with those sauces, makes this dish very tasty.
- Svyturys Ekstra and Svyturys Baltas
Well. I am not a beer lover, but… this is probably one of the best beers I have ever tried. These 2 types (Ekstra and Baltas, extra and white) are incredibly tasty and refreshing. Try them when they are very cold and you will immediately start to dream. Guaranteed.
- Skanaus! Enjoy your meal!
- Example of Menu
1 appetizer/starter (or dessert), 1 main course, 1 drink (beer/wine)
Around 7 / 8€ (euro)
*5 Lithuanian keywords
And what about learning some Lithuanian words before your trip?
Of course, here you go!
- Hello – Labas
- Yes / No – Taip / Ne
- Thank you – Ačiū
- You are welcome – Prašom
- Excuse me – Atsiprašau
- Good morning – Labas rytas
- Good afternoon – Labą dieną
- Good evening – Labas vakaras
*6 Lithuania basic information
- Name: Lithuania (Lietuva)
- Continent: Europe
- Location: North-Eastern Europe, UTC+2 (EET)
- Country code: +370
- Currency: Euro
- Capital city: Vilnius
- Main airports: Vilnius, Kaunas, Palanga