8-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 greatest 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, 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 – KAUNAS
In the morning, drive to Kernave where the first capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania once stood. Today, Kernave Archaeological Site offers time travel through history starting from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. In Kernave, you can see the remains of five picturesque hill forts, 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 afternoon, drive to Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania. Kaunas is 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. In order 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! Don’t forget to stroll around the Kaunas Old Town too: visit Kaunas Castle, Town Hall Square, Perkunas House and simply follow your intuition. If you want to see the best panorama of Kaunas, go to Aleksotas Hill.
DAY 4: KAUNAS – KLAIPEDA – CURONIAN SPIT
Start your day by driving 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 history of the town, visit the Klaipeda Castle Museum.
Later take a ferry that will bring you to the Curonian Spit, a long and narrow sandspit stretching for almost a hundred kilometres between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Stop by 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.
On your way to Nida, stop by the spooky Grey Heron and Cormorant Colony. In the evening, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Nida.
DAY 5: 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.
Another wonderful place for discovering the magical charm of dunes is 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.
DAY 6: NIDA – PALANGA – PLATELIAI – SIAULIAI
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. 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.
Next, drive to Siauliai. 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 town 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 7: SIAULIAI – HILL OF CROSSES – PAKRUOJIS – LABANORAS – VILNIUS
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 continue driving to Pakruojis Manor, one of the biggest, most impressive, and beautiful manors in the Baltic States that is especially famous for its Flower Festival that 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 afternoon, 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 short hike, choose one of the hiking trails and explore the best of what the regional park offers.
In the evening return back to Vilnius.
DAY 8: 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
- Art Deco architecture in Kaunas
- Dead dunes on the Curonian Spit
- Samogitia National Park
- The Hill of Crosses
- Pakruojis Manor
- Labanoras Regional Park
The price for two people in a double room:
- 3-star hotels: 540.00 EUR per person
- 4-star hotels: 615.00 EUR per person
Single supplement: 230.00 EUR
- Rental car Toyota Auris or similar per program for 5 days
- Rental car delivery on Day 3 and drop off on Day 7 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
- 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
- Private transfer from/to the airport: 55 EUR for private car (1 – 3 persons)
- Traditional Lithuanian Cepelinai cooking class: price for group is 200.00 EUR
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