14-DAY SELF-DRIVE TOUR IN LITHUANIA
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN VILNIUS
Arrival in Vilnius. Optional private transfer from the airport to the hotel. Check in to the hotel.
DAY 2: DISCOVER VILNIUS
Vilnius is a lively and vibrant Baltic capital that offers a great contrast – the Old Town charms you with wonderful gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical architecture gems, while other parts of the city are known for a buzzing alternative culture scene. Lithuania is very proud of its history as the Grand Duchy, and many cultural monuments in Vilnius still speak of these times. One is Gediminas Tower, a very distinctive landmark of Vilnius that offers a wonderful panorama of the Old Town. Another important monument is Vilnius Cathedral, an impressive neoclassical building that once served as the coronation place of the Grand Dukes, but today is the main Catholic cathedral in Lithuania. Vilnius is especially famous for its sophisticated baroque architecture. To see the most outstanding examples of this richly decorated style, visit the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Church of St. Catherine, the Church of St. Archangel Raphael, the Church of St. John, the Church of St. Theresa, and wander around the Old Town.
Right next to the Old Town lies the self-declared artists’ republic Uzupis, a very charming bohemian district with its own “constitution”, “president”, “flag” and even “money”. One EurUzas, the local currency, is worth one pint of beer. Uzupis is full of art pieces on the streets and secret artists’ yards, and it offers many exciting discoveries that reveal themselves only to the most attentive observers. Go for a leisurely walk around the Uzupis, sit at a cafe, and enjoy the creative atmosphere of the artists’ republic.
DAY 3: VILNIUS – KERNAVE – TRAKAI – VILNIUS
In the morning, drive to Kernave where the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania once stood. Today, the Kernave Archaeological Site offers time travel through history starting from the late Paleolithic Period to the Middle Ages. In Kernave, you can see the remains of five picturesque hillforts, a reconstructed 13th – 14th-century settlement, as well as interactive expositions at the Kernave Archaeological Site Museum. Take your time and explore the history of Lithuania at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Later, drive to Trakai and visit Trakai Island Castle, one of the main tourist attractions in the country and the symbol of Lithuanian statehood. Being built on an island on Lake Galve, one of the deepest lakes in Lithuania, the red brick medieval castle looks just like out of a fairytale. You can easily reach the castle by crossing a bridge, however, renting a boat and sailing around the castle is a very nice activity too. Trakai Island Castle used to be a residence of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, and you can learn more about them by visiting the Trakai History Museum located in the castle. Historically, Trakai has been a very diverse town where many ethnic and religious groups have been coexisting for centuries. One of the most distinctive communities is the Karaite people, a Turkic ethnic group. Go for a walk along Karaimu Street and enjoy Karaite wooden architecture.
In the late afternoon, return to Vilnius and discover the places you didn’t manage to see yesterday: dive into one of the many museums, stroll around the most beautiful streets, look for some impressive pieces of street art, or simply find a nice and cozy restaurant, enjoy a great meal and observe the surroundings.
DAY 4: VILNIUS – MERKINE – DRUSKININKAI
Most of this day you will spend in the Dzukija National Park or very close to it. Start your day by driving to Merkine, one of the oldest settlements in Lithuania. This little town is known for the Merkine Hillfort. Once, one of the most important castles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania stood on this hill, but today it serves as a beautiful landmark of the Dzukija National Park and offers a wonderful panorama of the confluence of the Merkys River and the Nemunas River. To see another great view, go to the nearby Merkine Observation Tower. Being twenty-six meters high, it is one of the highest viewing towers in the country. Merkine Observation Tower consists of several platforms and provides a stunning panorama of the valley of the Nemunas River, Pastraujas Island, vast forests, and Merkine town.
Later drive to Druskininkai, the largest and oldest resort in Lithuania. Druskininkai is famous for its mineral waters, pine forests, fresh air, and healing mud, inviting you to relax and enjoy some refreshing health procedures. You can go to one of the countless wellness centers, spas and saunas, or choose to spend some fun time at the Druskininkai Aquapark instead. You can also rent a boat and explore the lake, or simply walk around the town and its many parks, for example, Dineika Wellness Park. If you want to acquire eternal beauty, wash your face in the Beauty Spring, the saltiest spring in Druskininkai with skin cleansing and rejuvenating properties. Apart from mineral waters, Druskininkai is also known for stunning 20th-century wooden villas which are waiting for you to discover them. To see the landscape surrounding Druskininkai, go to one of the top tourist attractions in the town – Druskininkai Cable Car which stretches across the Nemunas River, offering about eight minutes of a wonderful panorama.
DAY 5: DRUSKININKAI – BIRSTONAS – KAUNAS
In the morning, drive to Birstonas, another famous mineral water resort. To explore the best of Birstonas, we suggest choosing one of the walking routes. A great place to enjoy relaxing mineral water therapy is the mineral water pavilion Villa Birute. Simply lie down and enjoy the healthy air and the calming sound of running water. Another unique place not to miss is the Druskupis mineral water facility which offers a very special air therapy, similar to breathing the seaside air. If you are brave enough to drink some of the mineral waters, visit Versme Spring or Birute Spring. Later, you can go for a leisurely walk along the Nemunas River, visit Kneipp Garden and enjoy body-strengthening activities, look for historical architecture, or climb to the top of the Vytautas Hill, a hillfort that offers a wonderful panorama of the town and the river. If you feel like climbing three hundred steps up to see an even more stunning panorama, go to the Birstonas Observation Tower. It provides a view of the most beautiful part of the Nemunas River – its famous curves.
In the afternoon, drive to Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania known for its Interwar architecture, mostly Art Deco, amazing pieces of street art, as well as the only invisible and inaccessible square in the world that was inspired by the Fluxus art movement – George Maciunas Square. To see the greatest examples of Art Deco and other Interwar architecture, it is best to follow one of the walking routes. An exciting walking route is also created for street art lovers, but one of the must-see places is the Yard Gallery. Follow the map and explore the beauty of Kaunas!
DAY 6: DISCOVER KAUNAS
Spend the whole day in Kaunas. Keep exploring Art Deco and street art jewels, but don’t forget to stroll around the Kaunas Old Town too. Walk along Vilniaus Street, a lively pedestrian avenue full of cozy shops and lovely stores, and visit the Town Hall Square and House of Perkunas, as well as other sights in the Old Town. Later, go to the Kaunas Castle built right at the confluence of the Nemunas River and the Neris River. It is one of the first stone castles in Lithuania, but today it serves as a museum telling the history of Kaunas and even offering to meet the ghost of the castle. If you are an art lover, spend some time at M.K.Ciurlionis National Museum of Art, one of the oldest and largest art museums in Lithuania that allows you to see the development of Lithuanian art throughout the centuries. The museum is especially proud of a great artwork collection of M.K.Ciurlionis, the most famous Lithuanian artist. You can also choose some of the other popular museums: Kaunas City Museum Folk Music Branch, Kaunas Picture Gallery, or Kaunas Photography Gallery. To get the best panorama of the city, go to the Aleksotas Hill either on foot or by the Aleksotas Funicular. If you feel like exploring a darker period of history, it is worth visiting the impressive Ninth Fort, part of Kaunas fortress that was built in the 20th century as a defensive fortification but later turned into a prison and place of mass murders of Jews.
DAY 7: KAUNAS – VENTE – KLAIPEDA
Start your day by driving to Vente Cape, a peninsula at the Curonian Lagoon that is home to one of the oldest bird ringing stations in Europe. Vente Cape is located in the area that serves as the main migration route for Lithuanian birds, so it is a perfect place for observing, catching, and ringing birds. You can visit the small museum at the ornithological station and get to know more about bird migration and ringing. While visiting Vente Cape, don’t miss out on the opportunity to climb to the viewing platform of the Vente Cape Lighthouse, one of the few Lithuanian lighthouses available for visitors, and enjoy a scenic panorama of the dunes of the Curonian Spit and such villages as Nida and Preila.
Later drive to Klaipeda, a lively and colorful port town full of fishing boats, yachts, and ships. Klaipeda has a very distinctive architectural style strongly influenced by Germans, and that makes Klaipeda very different from any other Lithuanian town. Go for a walk around Klaipeda Old Town and fall in love with cozy architecture, cobblestone streets, and countless sculptures that hide in the most unexpected places: on the rooftops, on the street corners, and on the walls. Later enjoy the promenade along the Dane River. It is a lovely place for leisurely walks that offers a romantic port-town atmosphere with sailing boats in the river, countless cafes and restaurants, and old warehouses standing on the shores. If you feel like exploring the town’s history, visit the Klaipeda Castle Museum.
DAY 8: KLAIPEDA – CURONIAN SPIT
In the morning, take a ferry that will bring you to the Curonian Spit, a long and narrow sandspit stretching for almost a hundred kilometers between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. If you would like to get to know more about sea life and maritime history, as well as enjoy very fun dolphin and sea lion performances, we suggest spending the first half of the day at the Lithuanian Sea Museum, Aquarium, and Dolphinarium. In this place, time will fly in the blink of an eye – it is a very interactive and engaging museum with many topics to discover and many sea creatures to observe and adore.
Later drive to Juodkrante and go for a walk along the promenade, as well as explore beautiful wooden villas, hiding in this lovely village. If you are interested in wooden sculptures and Lithuanian mythology, visit the Hill of Witches, one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Curonian Spit. Not far from Juodkrante, you will find another tourist attraction with a spooky atmosphere – the Grey Heron and Cormorant Colony.
On your way to Nida, stop by a truly wonderful place for discovering the magical charm of dunes – Naglia Nature Reserve and its dead dunes that once buried several villages under sand. As this is a strictly protected area, you should follow the Nagliai Cognitive Trail to visit the dead dunes and feel like in a real desert.
In the evening, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Nida.
DAY 9: CURONIAN SPIT
The Curonian Spit offers a unique and diverse natural and cultural landscape: magnificent sand dunes, peaceful fishermen’s villages with lovely wooden architecture, vast pine forests, and endless beaches. Enjoy a slow morning in Nida: walk around and explore the colorful architecture and weather vanes traditional to the Curonian Lagoon, enjoy the promenade, peek inside the Fishermen’s Ethnographic Homestead, discover the surprising world of ambers at Mizgiris Amber Museum, and take a look at the Curonian Spit from the heights of Nida Lighthouse. If you are interested in literature, pay a visit to the summer house of the world-famous writer Thomas Mann. When you feel hungry, look for some smoked fish and enjoy the local flavor.
Undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular places on the Curonian Spit is Parnidis Dune. Go to the observation deck right next to the Nida Sundial to enjoy the best panorama of the dune. Later, follow a small footpath and explore the beauty of Parnidis Dune by walking on it.
If you feel like going for a longer walk, you can choose one of the hiking routes and explore different villages, dunes, forests, and capes.
DAY 10: NIDA – PALANGA – PLATELIAI
Take a ferry back to the mainland and drive to Palanga, the most popular seaside resort in Lithuania that is often called the Summer Capital of Lithuania. This is a great place for a couple of peaceful hours at a beach or leisurely walks along Basanavicius Street, a lively pedestrian boulevard full of cafes and restaurants. The most known symbol of Palanga is the Palanga Pier, an L-shaped pier that stretches into the sea for 470 meters. Already at the end of the 19th century, the pier was dedicated for the use of pedestrians only. Today, it is the most popular place for watching the sunset, going for romantic walks, and having a panorama of the beach. In order to catch the aristocratic 19th-century resort vibe, walk around and look for historical villas.
Later, stop by Plateliai, a typical Samogitian town located next to Lake Plateliai in the Samogitia National Park. Go for a walk in Plateliai to discover characteristic Samogitian town structure with a central square in the middle, as well as visit one of the oldest shrines in Lithuania – the Church of St. Peter and Paul. If you feel like hiking, go to the Seire Cognitive Walking Trail which stretches for about seven beautiful kilometers. Keep exploring the Samogitia National Park by driving around Lake Plateliai, the largest and deepest lake in Samogitia that is known for its natural and cultural value. There are several places that offer a great panorama of the region and the lake, for example, Siberija Observation Tower and Lake Plateliai Viewing Platform.
DAY 11: PLATELIAI – SIAULIAI
Drive to Siauliai and dedicate this day to exploring the city. You will see the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, a renaissance architectural monument, shining bright white already from far away. The best place to feel the real essence of Siauliai is Siauliai Boulevard, the pedestrian part of Vilniaus Street that is often called the Heart of Siauliai. Go for a leisurely walk along the boulevard and enjoy its charm: various sculptures, buildings from different centuries, tiny stores, cozy cafes, and restaurants create a very lively atmosphere. Siaulai offers different museums for a wide range of interests. One of the top museums in the city is Chocolate Museum Ruta, founded in an old chocolate factory building. To get to know Baltic people better, visit the interactive Baltic Culture Education Center Balts’ Road. Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the Photography Museum.
DAY 12: SIAULIAI – HILL OF CROSSES – NAISIAI – PAKRUOJIS – AUKSTAITIJA NATIONAL PARK
In the morning, visit the Hill of Crosses, one of the most sacred Christian pilgrimage sites in Lithuania. It is believed that people have been leaving crosses of different sizes on this hill since the 1830s. In some historical periods, this activity was perceived as a resistance against the regime, but generally, the Hill of Crosses serves as a place for hope. If you want to leave a cross on the hill, but you don’t have one, don’t worry – people often create symbolical crosses from whatever they can find around, little branches, grass, or tiny stones.
Later, visit another unique place – Naisiai Baltic God Park. This is an open-air museum that educates about ancient Baltic religion and pagan ways of understanding the world around us. Stroll around the park, enjoy wooden sculptures depicting different Baltic gods and deities, and explore the ancient Baltic worldview.
Continue driving to Pakruojis Manor, one of the biggest, most impressive, and most beautiful manors in the Baltic States that is especially famous for its Flower Festival which takes place every summer. The manor offers time travel back to the 19th century by strolling around its splendid interiors and wonderful garden, exploring the curiosity room and clock room, peeking into the beer brewery and distillery, as well as visiting a fortune teller. If you wish, you can rent a 19th-century costume and feel like a real noble person.
In the late afternoon, drive to Aukstaitija National Park, the oldest national park in Lithuania rich with charming lakes and hills. To see rural architecture and local farmers’ lifestyle, visit such ethnographic villages as Suminai, Vaisnoriske, or Kretuonys, stop by Paluse St. Joseph’s Church, a wooden church built without any iron nails, and go to Ginuciai Watermill. One of the most famous sights in Aukstaitija National Park is Ladakalnis, a very scenic hill that provides an amazing panorama of six lakes. If you feel like hiking, you can choose one of the hiking routes and discover the beauty of the national park.
Overnight: Aukstaitija National Park
DAY 13: PAKRUOJIS – LABANORAS – VILNIUS
In the morning, drive to Labanoras Regional Park, the largest regional park in Lithuania. Labanoras region is famous for very picturesque landscapes with lakes and forests. One of the best places to enjoy a great view of the surroundings is Mindunai Observation Tower. As there are about seventy lakes in the Labanoras Regional Park, fishing is an important tradition, and you can learn more about it at the Lake Fishery Museum. If you feel like going on a hike, choose one of the hiking trails and explore the best of what the regional park offers.
On your way to Vilnius, visit the Europa Park, also known as the Open-Air Museum of the Centre of Europe. The park was founded by Lithuanian sculptor Gintaras Karosas, and today you can see fifty-five hectares richly decorated with contemporary art pieces created by various artists from all over the world. The art pieces are hidden between trees, exposed on hills, and exhibited in meadows. Art and nature create a charming combination, making the visit to the Europa Park a very special one. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature and stunning contemporary art at the same time and place.
Later drive to Vilnius, and enjoy your evening in the capital.
DAY 14: DEPARTURE FROM VILNIUS
Departure day. Check out from the hotel. Optional private transfer from the hotel to the airport.
- Vilnius Old Town
- Republic of Uzupis
- Kernave Archaeological Site
- Trakai Island Castle
- Dzukija National Park
- Mineral water resorts Druskininkai and Birstonas
- Art Deco architecture in Kaunas
- Dead dunes on the Curonian Spit
- Samogitia National Park
- The Hill of Crosses
- Pakruojis Manor
- Aukstaitija National Park
- Labanoras Regional Park
The price for two people in a double room:
- 3-star hotels: 1150.00 EUR per person
- 4-star hotels: 1350.00 EUR per person
Single supplement: 510.00 EUR
- Rental car Toyota Auris or similar per program for 12 days
- Rental car delivery on Day 3 and drop off on Day 13 at the hotel
- Accommodation per program
- Well planned itinerary
- Support during the trip
- Roadbook (sightseeing objects, hiking routes, and other recommendations)
- 3h walking tour in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai: price for each tour is 120.00 EUR;
- Kayaking tour in Trakai: price for group is 220.00 EUR (1-2 persons)
- Hot air balloon flight over Vilnius or Takai: price per person 240.00 EUR
- Neris Nature Park & Kernave hike: price for group is 200.00 EUR (1-2 persons)
- Private transfer from/to the airport: 55 EUR for private car (1 – 3 persons)
- Traditional Lithuanian Cepelinai cooking class: price for group (1-2 people) is 200.00 EUR
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