Lithuania: Perfect destination to spend a vintage family holiday

Lithuania was, until relatively recently, an almost unheard of cultural gem in Europe. It has slowly gained popularity as people realize how much it has to offer. It is the southernmost of the Baltic States and has an abundance of natural beauty and cultural delights. Every member of the family will find something to interest and delight in while exploring the rugged territories of this beautiful northern country:

The coast

One of the most amazing sights you will see in your lifetime is the thin sliver of white sand which sits on the Baltic coastline. It is known as the Curonian Spit and laps the deep blue sea as well as wet marshlands and vast green forests with lakes scattered across them.

The capital – Vilnius Vilnius is the capital city of this picturesque, independent country. There are cobbled streets everywhere, many passing by one of the numerous baroque churches, each with an ancient courtyard. Despite its origins, the city has a decidedly continental feel. Although, the general feel as you stroll through the city is of a vibrant, bustling and optimistic place. In fact, you can take a trip in a hot air balloon and see the skyline from the sky; the multitude of church spires creates the image of a bed of needles! The modern skyline also has numerous shiny skyscrapers and the gradually improving nightlife shows that this is a city and a country which is determined to survive and thrive.

Among some of the best places you can explore with your family in Vilnius, we should mention: Old Town, KGB Museum, Bernardine Gardens, Vingis Park and numerous others.
Historical reminders

Not far from this cultural gem is a disused missile site which has been turned into a museum, displaying everything to do with the Cold War. There is even a sculpture park which was created by the soviets and remains as a reminder if darker times. The city itself has reminders of these dark times. There are KGB torture cells and many reminders of the ghettos which existed in those dark days; places where the Jewish community were herded and kept before the Nazi’s killed them all.

Nemunas Delta

This is the marsh land on the East side of the Curonian lagoo. It is a remote area which has seen virtually no tourism. The summer sun illuminates the white sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see. In winter the Nemunas delta lagoon freezes over and you can walk across the entire lake, which is as wide as twelve kilometers at some points! You can also try your hand at ice fishing, a leisurely activity which involves sitting by an ice hole for hours with your rod and line, hoping!
Zemaitija National Park

This park is two hundred square meters of lakes and forests; it seems like a fairytale landscape which is the origin of many a ghost story and even a few of buried treasure. The lakes are perfect for swimming and boating or you can hike your way around the national park. The national park visitor centre is in Plateliai which is on the western shore of Lake Plateliai! This is the best place to enter the park.

You can even travel on a further twenty kilometers past the park and visit the Samogitian Calvary which has been built over the site of burial grounds. These are believed to date from the ninth to thirteenth century. There are seven hills with twenty chapels along a seven kilometer route. These are a symbolic commemoration to the life, death and resurrection of Christ. It is a very popular pilgrimage during the first two weeks of July.

There are numerous other attractions which need to be visited whilst you are in the country. In fact you may not have enough time to visit them all! The best ones are the Hill of Crosses, the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Cathedral Square, Orvydas Gardens, Parnidis Dunes and Trakai Castle. Explore the wonders of Lithuania and enjoy the best vacation with your family. Come admire the sights, vintage-like towns and traditional people, and you might just fall in love with this place.

By Peter Smith and!