24 February 2018
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Lithuanian tourism is not only…

- Posted by - (7) Comment

Text: Giedre Paliusyte

There is more – and less – to Lithuanian tourism than what you may have thought. Lithuania is not like Spain, England, Thailand or USA, but if you are ready for some different experiences, then Lithuania is definitely the country for you. You can even save a good deal of money on many special services and products here. Maybe it’s your turn to discover the world of Lithuania?

Here are some examples:

Hair tourism 

Picture from


Get your haircut done by a professional for a very decent price. Hairdressers in Lithuania are many. In the uptown market they can be somewhat pricy, but compared to the average in other European countries your visit can be rewarding.

A visit in a good modern kirpykla starts at Lt 20,-, but can go up to 300 or more depending on how much luxury products and work you want them to put in to your top floor. The language level varies, but many manage English quite well. And the outcome is often better that at a Western hairdresser. Yes, I mean it!

Interested? Then click here to see a list of beauty salons all around Lithuania: 


Spa tourism

Pictures from


Lithuanian spa centres offer therapy as well as relaxation massages, beauty treatments galore and several baths in salty water or mud for that matter. The number of spas in Lithuania is growing. Investment funds show an increasingly growing interest as well. Spa tourism is booming and is by many tour operators said to be one of the main reasons to visit Lithuania. Price for an all body massage in a high level place starts at 70 Lt (20 Euros).

The spa towns of Druskininkai and Birstonas represent the ultimate in Lithuanian health spa offers. In these two small picturesque towns, famous for their natural mineral waters and peaceful environment, a number of serious actors with centuries of experience are available. From the Soviet days a stay in one of the sanatoriums is highly regarded medicine to ward of anything from psychological issues to hurting bones and muscles. A number of places with professional staff and procedures can be found in other cities as well. In Vilnius Sothy’s is a new place said to be upper class. In Kaunas Sauleja has a good reputation.

For more check this list of spa around Lithuania centres:

Car and camping tourism

"Pajūrio kempingas " (Seaside camping) Klaipėda (Giruliai)


To get around Lithuania is easy. By post-Soviet standards, the highways are excellent, good maps are on sale and since Lithuania is a small country it is easy to cover in a short time. Have in mind that some drivers think Schumacher is their middle name so always expect certain surprising moves along the way. Traditionally campsites have been a bring-your-own-tent-thing with a signpost and a waste-basket. Some modern sites are emerging, but it is still a long way to go to live up to the standards of other European countries.

Some campsites though, are quite close to the capital of Lithuania and also there is  camping in Vilnius city. One of the best known campsites is near the tourist town of Trakai. It has everything you can dream about as a camping tourist, a scenic lake included. Campsites operate with stars, five star camping being of the best quality. But do not expect too much. The businesses are new and under development and standards are variable, stars or not. Expect to pay from. 5 Lt (1.50 Euros) for a tent, around 30 (E 9) for a camper van and from around 50 Lt (15 Euros) for a bungalow. Hiking and camping is free for all in the open nature, with some restrictions in the National parks.

For more check this lists of campsites:


Nature tourism

Lithuania, though small, has vast areas of open space. The national and regional parks are excellent options for those who want to hear the wind in the willows and observe birds in the wild. Sports’ fishing is big. Hunting is coming. The parks can and should be granted funds to develop healthy tourism and to keep them clean. The most trafficked routes tend to be a plastic bottle safari, rather than a walk in the park. A provocation: Lithuanians love nature, but expect someone else to clean up...

For more about the nature in National parks of Lithuania see:


 Booze and beer tourism

For the thirsty traveller Lithuania has a lot on offer. Duck into any bar and find excellent light, crisp beer on tap. A number of other varieties are available. Organised trips to breweries and beer regions are being arranged, but it’s not a big thing – yet. Gradually it is becoming more and more popular both among the locals and the visitors of the country. Spirits in Lithuania have old tradition and new recipes seem to hit the market on a monthly basis. The prices might make you smile double! Just order “The stick” from booze giant Stumbras - it is a piece of wood with holes made for six traditional shots. It will give you a small idea of how the local sweets and bitters taste, and a big possibility to forget it all before dawn.

For the list of places for a drink around the country see:

A short TV show can give you a hint of the variety and quality of alcohol in Lithuania:



Body art tourism 

Betty Broadbent (1909-1983) — was the most famous tattooed attraction of all time

Even housewives got tattoos nowadays and Lithuanian artists can offer high standards in clean facilities. Either if you want Ozzy Osborne style or something more discrete, the tattoo studios of Vilnius can pin it on to you for descent prices. If you feel like hooking more metal on to you, be it in your ears, nose, lip or...(well, let it be of your choice), the same saloons do this as well.

For more see:


Nail Tourism 

Pictures from


Put your hands into other people’s hands. The manicure saloons are many and prices can be extremely good measured with Scandinavia. Not only for women that want to sharpen their claws, guys do it as well. A light trim, fake nails, polish, painting or high level artwork - you choose! Prices from 10 to 30 Lt (3 to 10 Euros). Many girls from Western Europe will come for the sake of this, if they get to know about it.

Click here to see a list of beauty salons all around Lithuania where such procedures can be performed:


Fair tourism

Pictures by Vytenis Kriščiūnas, 7th of March 2009

In order to experience a country’s soul, you have to visit the markets and the houses of prayer. To experience a real busy eastern European market is still possible and recommended. Old bobutės selling knit work, potato mongers, mountains of mushrooms, herbs, old car parts, fish, new car parts, tools, socks, shoes, cigarettes and kittens. Some foreign tour buses actually park at Gariūnai near Vilnius. Many modern Lithuanians tend to shrug when the markets are mentioned, but remember that many foreigners find this cool and cost-conscious. Guided tours in English to Kalvarijų market anyone?

Picture from


For a list of markets in Vilnius see:


Air tourism

There are not many capitals in Europe where you can fly a hot air balloon over the rooftops on a warm summer evening. In Vilnius you can! Sky diving, bungee jumping, glider planes and all sorts of daredevil fun is organized and if the activities by themselves are scaring, the prices are not!

For more information about the sightseeing flights and skydiving see:


Church visitors

The churches of Lithuania are many; some of them date back to the 11th century. In Vilnius Old Town alone there are 28 churches worth visiting for many reasons! Many groups are already coming just to see the churches. Historical, architectural, educational visits are made. From outside and from the inside all of the churches are small distinct worlds and it is sometimes hard to believe that for fifty years some of them were used as warehouses or even as museums of atheism during the Soviet occupation. Although Lithuania was the last nation in Europe to become a Christian, much of its history and mentality of the people can be explained and understood by following the history of the Church. The number of different beliefs and religions in Lithuania was always a sign of different nations living together in peace. The new signposts located in front of each Church are giving a short history about each building in English, which is an excellent touch from the authorities’ side...

For more information see:


Historical tourism

The Germans come to Klaipeda and Neringa to see Hansa-history. The Italians are coming to see renaissance art and Italian influence in Vilnius. The Jews are coming in high numbers to visit Vilnius, the former Jerusalem of the North. These groups are big, but can easily grow if the ground is being prepared better. Lithuania’s own history is interesting enough for history freaks and has a big potential!

Picture taken from


For more see:


Business tourism

Business or pleasure? Some come for business only. There are organisations arranging trips for foreign investors to come and see. Some come by themselves. But there is a general idea that much more can be done to attract this group. We have met foreigners buying glass, firewood, toys, linen, baskets, buildings and cheese. Some of them are observed in the bars as well. So much for “business only…”


Conference tourism 

Lithuania seems to be a very attractive place to arrange big international conferences, be it is business or politics. Even a small conference can prove to be reasonably priced in Lithuania. There are already some players in this market. The hotels are looking out for this in the low seasons. Joining forces is obviously a keyword for getting more conferences to the country.

For more see:,



‘Sensual’ tourism 

The number of clubs where the ladies don’t wear too much, are visual in Lithuania. Some are raising moral questions about this. Others love it. The stag-party segment in the market is here already, though it seems like Riga has attracted a bigger crowd than Vilnius. We won’t go into details about what’s happening behind the shoulder of the bouncer, but close encounters between performers and guests has been reported.

Many foreign men mention that the beauty of the average Lithuanian girl is astonishing. It is still free to walk the streets and look. Hmmm...

For more see:



Clinic tourism 

Picture taken from:                                           The Vitkus clinic


Beautification done with knife or body contour surgery, as it now so beautifully being called, is good business in Lithuania. If you need to lose 50 kilos in some hours, it can be done here as elsewhere in the World. Lithuania Today has in earlier issues spoken with The Vitkus clinic and GK Clinic (both in Vilnius) that specialises in different areas with knife as well as laser tools. As none in our staff have first hand experience with this, we have to take their word for it that they are good at it. These are serious businesses run by experienced educated people. The prices in Lithuania are considerably lower than in Western European countries. The people speak foreign Languages and some clinics already have a long line of foreign customers.

For more see:


Dental tourism 

Picture from


How painful it might be, the price and quality level of Lithuanian dentists makes many travellers consider touching up their grin when they hear about price differences. Apart from the traditional drilling and filling business, the cosmetic part of dental work is being done with care, pride and quality. Besides, one can find the prices rather interesting. While in a country like Norway the price for a consultation including x-ray is around 350 Lt (100 Euros), it can be done for 50 Lt (14 Euros) in Vilnius. But have in mind that a pre-registration is needed, especially before the holidays when Lithuanians living abroad come and invade the dental offices.

For more see:


Active tourism

Our opinion is that if you are going to run, you might as well run in Lithuania as anywhere else. For bicycling the country is perfect. Tourism authorities in the costal region are proud of their bicycle routes. Anywhere else in the country you pedal through a network of roads and paths, though a good map is needed. Water and winter sports are a coming thing, wind - as well as motor powered.

For information about extreme sport for the extremely active see:

Visitors who come to Lithuania want to discover something new and different from what they traditionally are seeing or experiencing. People can choose to make the rounds to the standard cultural places, or to follow the alternative roots and activities. Either way the trip will be unique and memorable. Why? Because there is no other Lithuania in this world!

Category : Travel Lithuania sidebar


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

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