The Best of Old and New Europe Combined

Lithuania

A country of rolling hills, patchwork fields and a lovely Baltic Sea coastline, Lithuania was the last pagan country in Europe and the first of the Baltics to re-establish independence from the Soviet Union.  Blessed with a sunny and self-deprecating cultural personality and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, the Lithuanian people are happy to welcome foreign travelers.  Let us introduce you.

Why Travel with MIR to Lithuania
  • Over two decades of Lithuania travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Stanford University alumni and the Commonwealth Club have chosen MIR to guide them to Lithuania
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
Signature Experiences

We regularly garner raves from our travelers for the inspired opportunities we provide to help them get to know the distinctive art, architecture and accomplishments of Lithuania.  Below is just a sampling of the Lithuania experiences MIR has designed to take our clients far from the familiar.

  • Walk among thousands of crosses planted on the Hill of Crosses
    Walk among thousands of crosses planted on Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses, a powerful symbol of faith and perseverance....
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    Walk among thousands of crosses planted on the Hill of Crosses

    Lithuania

    Klaipeda, Lithuania

    Walk among thousands of crosses planted on Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses, a powerful symbol of faith and perseverance.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Travel overland up the 5,000-year-old Curonian Spit
    Travel overland up Lithuania’s UNESCO-listed Curonian Spit, a narrow 60-mile strip of sand formed over 5,000 years ago, creating a strange and beautiful...
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    Travel overland up the 5,000-year-old Curonian Spit

    Lithuania

    Curonian Spit, Lithuania

    Travel overland up Lithuania’s UNESCO-listed Curonian Spit, a narrow 60-mile strip of sand formed over 5,000 years ago, creating a strange and beautiful landscape of corrugated dunes, little villages and forests of linden, elm, birch and pine.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Browse the shops and stalls in Lithuania’s UNESCO-listed capital
    Browse the shops and stalls where artisans sell their traditional wares among the 16th to 18th century buildings of Pilies Street, the main artery of Vilnius’ Old Town....
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    Browse the shops and stalls in Lithuania’s UNESCO-listed capital

    Lithuania

    Vilnius, Lithuania

    Browse the shops and stalls where artisans sell their traditional wares among the 16th to 18th century buildings of Pilies Street, the main artery of Vilnius’ honey-colored Old Town.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Climb the Hill of Witches
    Climb the Hill of Witches and wander through the groves of carved wooden figures straight out of old Lithuanian folk tales and mythology....
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    Climb the Hill of Witches

    Lithuania

    Nida, Lithuania

    Climb the Hill of Witches and wander through the groves of carved wooden figures straight out of old Lithuanian folk tales and mythology.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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Ways to Travel to Lithuania with MIR

Lithuania is a great place to explore museums, mansions and palaces, but let MIR also give you a chance to discover the windswept beauty of the Curonian Spit, the incredible folk carvings of the Hill of Crosses and the warmth and sense of humor of the Lithuanian people.

Take a look at your options, from small group escorted tours to independent, custom and private travel:

Small Group Tours
Kaliningrad & The Baltics

Kaliningrad & The Baltics

Definitive Journey through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Kaliningrad

Travels to: Baltics, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia

13 Days / Departures in July 2017

Small Group land tour from $6,795

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Rail Journeys by Private Train

At the moment, we don’t offer any rail tours that include this destination. However, we do have a variety of options for rail journeys by private train, including those that travel along the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway.

Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries across the patchwork fields and through the little towns of Lithuania for over two decades; a majority of our guests travel on custom itineraries.

For ideas, peruse one of our Regional Travel Planners, a roundup of the must-sees from our savvy staff.

Take a look at our suggested Private Journey, Essential Baltics, or read more about how to design your own trip.  Also, consider this: You can customize our small group tour Kaliningrad & The Baltics to match your preferred dates of travel.

Design Your Own Custom Trip

Traveling privately on a custom program means flexibility:

  • You set the dates, the focus and the level of accommodations.
  • You are met on arrival and seen off at the end of your trip.
  • Your in-country transportation is pre-arranged hassle-free.
  • Your own expert local guides ensure that you get the most out of your visit.
  • And the best part? You travel at your own pace on an itinerary exclusive to you.

Check out just a handful of our Lithuania signature experiences below and then get in touch with a MIR Private Journey Specialist to craft an itinerary that suits your travel goals, budget and style.  Or get started planning now.

Suggested Itineraries for Private Travel

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR offers itineraries that are available on a private departure basis with your choice of dates. They can also serve as inspiration for your own custom itinerary.

Our itinerary, your dates – great for solo travelers, couples or small groups.

Essential Baltics

Essential Baltics

The Best of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

Travels to: Baltics, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Departures in May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2017

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip

Weather
Our Favorite Places in Lithuania
Lithuania

Vilnius

From its founding in 1323, Vilnius has survived successive attacks by Crusaders, Crimean Tatars, Russians, Napoleon’s armies, Poles and Germans. Nevertheless, structures in Gothic, baroque, Renaissance and neoclassical styles are still standing today in Vilnius’ Old Town, one of the largest in Eastern Europe. Highlights include the Town Hall Square, bordered by the town hall, which dates back to the 15th century. Pilies Street, the main artery of the Old Town, is lined with shops and artisans selling traditional wares.

The neoclassical Vilnius Cathedral’s separate bell tower is partially constructed from the medieval ruins of the lower castle that occupied this area. The large Vilnius Castle complex, developed during the 10th to 18th centuries, contains the Gediminas Tower – the only remaining functional part of the Upper Castle, and the symbol of the city of Vilnius. Also of note is the KGB Museum, in the basement of the former District Court Building on Lukiskiu Square, where thousands of Lithuanians underwent interrogations before their deportation to Siberia.

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Journeys that travel to Vilnius

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Lithuania

Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses is a powerful symbol of faith and perseverance. This small hill, which in early times accommodated a defensive fortification, is totally hidden by a multitude of crosses planted in the ground by local believers. During the Soviet era, authorities regularly tore down and burned the crosses, though many of them were valuable examples of folk art. Undaunted, Lithuanian Catholics, artists, and patriots would steal up the hill at night and plant more. The last major attempt at leveling the shrine was in 1975. Since then, local people and travelers have placed thousands upon thousands of crosses on the hill. The evocative atmosphere of this sacred place draws thousands of believers and pilgrims each year.

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Journeys that travel to Hill of Crosses

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Lithuania

Trakai

The 14th century town of Trakai was one of Lithuania’s first capitals, and has two lakeside castles. The peninsula castle was destroyed in the 17th century, and only ruins remain. The restored island castle was built in the style called Brick Gothic on a little island in Lake Galve. (Brick Gothic took root in places like the Baltics where there was little native stone to build with.)  At the end of the 14th century, when Lithuania expanded its territories as far as the Black Sea this castle became the residence of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes. Grand Duke Vytautas brought some 400 families of Karaites (Turkic adherents of Karaite Judaism) from the Crimea to serve as his castle guards. An active kinessa – a Karaite house of prayer – is locat­ed here, as is the Ethnography Museum of Karaites.

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Journeys that travel to Trakai

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Lithuania

Kaunas

The remains of Kaunas’ original defensive castle sit on a hill near the Neris River, having successfully performed the duty of defending Lithuania’s western borders. The Kaunas Town Hall on Rotuse Square was begun in 1542. The white Gothic building with its baroque elements is sometimes called the White Swan, because of the 170- foot tower rising like a swan’s neck from the body of the hall. In 1970 the hall was transformed into a Wedding Palace, and newlyweds can be seen emerging from the doors every Saturday morning.

Visit the St. George Church ensemble dating back to the 16th century; Vytautas Church from the 15th century; Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral, Lithuania’s largest house of worship; and the Perkunas House, a 16th century trading house built over the remains of a temple to the Thunder God, Perkunas.

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Journeys that travel to Kaunas

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Lithuania

Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit is a narrow 60-mile strip of sand running from Klaipeda south into the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Formed over 5,000 years ago, the forested dunes of the spit separate the mostly freshwater Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The spit’s first inhabitants were Stone Age people who lived lightly on the land, but its later settlers – Western Balts, who spoke a Latvian language – managed to denude the fragile spit of trees by the 16th century. For 300 years the winds and waves battered the area, burying 14 villages under the encroaching dunes.

In 1825 a postal worker named G. D. Kuvertas began planting trees to help stabilize the dunes, and since then an ongoing reforestation project has helped to protect the spit from destruction. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, the Curonian Spit is a strange landscape of corrugated dunes, little villages and forests of linden, elm, birch and pine.

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Journeys that travel to Curonian Spit

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Lithuania

Kernavé

The site of Kernavé in the Pajauta Valley has been settled for at least 10,000 years. An accident of geology made the conditions in the valley perfect for preserving its cultural layers: Each succeeding settlement was covered with the alluvial soil of the river valley, which formed wet peat, preserving the artifacts intact. In particular, five hill forts attest to the importance of the location in the 13th and 14th centuries, when it was a medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

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Journeys that travel to Kernavé

Contact a MIR Private Journeys Specialist at privatejourneys@mircorp.com or 800-424-7289 to plan a custom & private trip to Kernavé.

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When to Travel to Lithuania

Kaziukas Fair, Vilnius (March)

A Lithuanian festivalKaziukas Fair takes place every spring in Vilnius and features traditional arts, crafts, and souvenirs. The market is a great place to pick up Lithuanian souvenirs and handmade goods and a perfect opportunity to experience Lithuanian traditions such as Lithuanian food, folk art, song and dance.

Skamba Skamba Kankliai, Vilnius (May)

Skamba Skamba Kankliai is the oldest international folklore festival in Lithuania and features cultural activities and concerts to promote and preserve the authentic traditions in Lithuania. Begun to peacefully resist Soviet influence, the festival draws folk musicians from all over Lithuania to Vilnius. During the weekend the streets and courtyards of the old town are filled with performers in national costumes, singing folk songs and dancing.

St John’s Day/Rasos/Kupolines: Summer Solstice, throughout Lithuania (June)

The Lithuanian traditional Rasų feast, or Joninės, marks the summer solstice and is considered to be the most significant holiday of the year. During the feast, wreaths are made and set to float down the river. Bonfires, beer, dancing, jumping over fires and all-night-long parties are a central theme to Midsummer celebrations in the Baltics. Midsummer-related traditions pre-date Christianity and modern celebrations are still very much centered on ancient pagan culture and beliefs.

Sea Festival, Klaipeda (August)

The Sea Festival has been celebrated since 1934 and is a tradition popular with both Lithuanians and visitors. One of the most anticipated Lithuanian cultural events, the festival transforms Klaipeda harbor into a series of stages with music, dance and other performances and museum exhibitions. In addition to live music there is a fair, fireworks and a dragon boat race as part of this yearly celebration.