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Of the three Baltic States dotting the east coast of the Baltic Sea, Lithuania is the most aggressive in fighting for its state independence, which spans over eight hundred years of statehood tradition. First formed in mid-13th century, Lithuania entered a union with Poland in 1569 to form a Commonwealth until it became part of the Russian Empire. It gained its independence in 1918 but was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940, and successfully able to reclaim its independence in 1990. Even if Lithuania lost its independence for the longest time, it managed to retain its national and civic self-awareness. History has a way of making itself known with the remains of Soviet occupation in the region of Dzūkija, and the Cold War Museum in the Samogitia ethnographic region in Žemaitija.

What to see & do

As a lowland country with sparse lakes overshadowed by lush forests, cycling in Lithuania is an enjoyable way to get around the city and even see the countryside. There are two international cycling routes, EuroVelo-10 and EuroVelo-11, with the former offering a friendlier cycling route and scenic view to the beach. International cycling route EuroVelo-10, which traverses along the coast from Curonian Spit, in the south until the Latvian border in the north, is equipped with visible signs that makes cycling relatively easy and enjoyable. Take a respite from cycling and park your wheels at the Curonian Spit, a 98-kilometre stretch of trans-boundary UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Lithuania and Russia. A sandy peninsula separating Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea, it offers some of Europe’s finest landscapes, warm towns, and villages. Sand dunes, seaboard forest, and white sanded beaches make Curonian Spit a popular summer destination.

The capital Vilnius is known and visited for its Old Town wonder. Named as the European Capital of Culture in 2009, Vilnius welcomes every nationality and their culture with open arms. Vilnius managed to maintain its cool and nonchalant ways, and even exhibit its Old Town wonder, also called as Senamiestis. Fusion of architectural wonders is a sight to behold, from baroque, classicism, with a few renaissance and gothic wonders truly encapsulates the old aura of Vilnius. Here, you can visit the Cultural Reserve of Vilnius Castles, which protects the historical, spiritual, and cultural centre of the state, as well as the red brick tower of Gediminas Castle, which features archaeological findings and other exhibits.

How to get around within Lithuania

From Vilnius Airport, you can reach most major cities, as well as some small towns and villages by boarding a train. If you want to win a friend or a companion while you’re off to your next destination, try hitchhiking, a common good practise in Lithuania. Lithuania also has a good network of buses, which can be classified into two bus lines with three types of bus stops (red stops/Ekspreseas, yellow stops/Intercity, and blank stops/suburbans.) Red stops means that the bus has fewer stops along the road, while the blank stops means that the bus has multiple stops along the way and therefore, will arrive at a desired destination a little late.

How to get there

Those who are looking to visit Lithuania usually find themselves at the Vilnius International Airport, the largest of the four commercial airports in terms of passenger traffic. The airport serves as a base for Small Planet Airlines and Wizz Air, as well as a focus city to Ryanair. Other airlines serving the airport include Aeroflot, airBaltic, Austrian, Belavia, Brussels Airlines, Estonian Air, Grand Cru Airlines, Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air Shuttle, RusLine, Ryanair, Scandinavian Airlines, Transaero, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, and UTair Aviation.

Other alternatives getting into Lithuania include arriving in the Palanga Airport by the Baltic Sea, or the Kaunus International Airport aboard the budget carrier Ryanair. If you wish to visit Northern Lithuania, arriving in Riga Airport is a better option, which in turn has direct link to Kaunus International Airport via AirBaltic.

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