What you most likely have never heard about Lithuania

Lithuania is a geographical centre of Europe

After a visit to Lithuania you will be able to safely claim that not only you have been to one of the Nordic countries but also in the very centre of the continent! The official geographical centre of Europe is 26 kilometres away from the capital of Lithuania. Just a few hours on plane from any corner of Europe will provide you with a possibility of seeing UNESCO-acclaimed cities: Vilnius, with its historical centre, recognised as world heritage, and Kaunas, known for its modernism architecture and typical design.

One third of the territory of Lithuania is covered by forests

0.5 ha of forest per one inhabitant in Lithuania! The country counts nearly 30 thousand rivers and streams and about 6 thousand lakes. Particularly delicious and clean fresh Lithuanian underground water resources are seven times higher than the national demand.

The Lithuanian language is one of the oldest in the world

No wonder that our foreign guests often find the Lithuanian language as very unusual, not like any other language heard. The linguists recognise it as one of the oldest living languages in the world. The Lithuanian language is similar to Sanskrit, some of its words sound the same or very much like the classical Indian language. Learning Lithuanian is a real challenge, but do not worry, as the better part of Lithuanians speak at least one or more foreign languages, English and Russian being among the most popular.

Best internet connection in the world

There is no such spot in Lithuania devoid of the Internet! Its bulky investments in Internet technologies have put Lithuania among the world leaders offering fast public wireless Internet. In 10 years, the average internet speed in Lithuania has increased 45 times! The broadband Internet network covers the largest part of the territory of Lithuania, reaching the outermost regions.

The last pagans in Europe

The Baltic archaic traditions are still easily recognised: after all, Lithuanians have held their paganism the longest in Europe. The country was baptised as late as 1387, while its western part, the so-called Samogitia, resisted yet a few more decades. The late joining into the ranks of the Christian world still shows in the Lithuanian mentality and culture: the Christian holiday traditions have many elements of paganism, including old rituals, songs and dances, old crafts, and herb crafting.

Lithuania holds special celebrations in 2018!

At the end of the 18th century, Lithuania briefly disappeared from the map of Europe only to come back again in 1918, when we resolutely restored our independence. The centennial celebrations will be held all across the country with a number of festive cultural events.  In summer the spectacular Lithuanian Song Festival will be one of the most important events bringing together over 40 thousand dancers and choirs!

Air ballooning leaders

Lithuania is leading the world in air balloon numbers per thousand inhabitants. Vilnius is one of the few European capitals offering a balloon ride over its historic centre and beyond!

The Hill of Crosses is the only of its kind in the world

Densely covered with crosses, the mound testifies to the faith of pilgrims who have built them. It is home to about 200 thousand crosses of different sizes! In the Soviet times, they were subject to regular wipe off, but also to a subsequent miraculous “revival”. A few years after the restoration of independence, Holy Father John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses.

Black bread champions

Lithuania’s annual production and consumption of black bread is by far bigger than that in any country in the world. As many as 110 kg per person a year! It is an old belief that bread is holy, and it is often kissed after its accidental drop-down on the ground. There are many places in the country where you can learn how to make it – from corn to oven, including dough making, loaf forming and the actual baking.

The Baltic Sea is home to 80 % of the world’s amber

The amber, or otherwise called the Baltic gold, is an integral part of Lithuania’s identity. It has been valued since the ancient times not only for its cultural, aesthetic but also therapeutic features – the Baltic amber is free from heavy metal impurities, therefore, it is particularly good for use in medicine and beauty products. There are about a hundred amber deposits, and the majority of them are in the Baltic Sea.

Time

Eastern European Time (GMT/UTC plus two hours)

Weather

Lithuania is at its best in high summer, from June to August, when the days are long, the nights are short. Autumn (September to November) can be ideal, with sunny days and chilly nights.

Money

EUR
Lithuania has been the member of the Eurozone since January 2015. ATMs are widespread. Cash preferred to credit cards for small purchases.

Tipping

Tipping is not required as a matter of course, but is appreciated for exceptionally good service.

Electricity

European style two-pin sockets at 220 volts AC, 50Hz

Business

Business in Lithuania is usually conducted formally, though the younger generation is less conservative. Face-to-face meetings are key, with good eye contact and a firm handshake upon greeting. Business cards are usually exchanged and it is important to be punctual.

Telecommunications

The international dialling code for Lithuania is +370. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK) and the country has three-digit area codes. There are three major mobile GSM network service providers and connections are excellent.

Duty free

Duty free allowances for travellers to Lithuania include 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre spirits, 2 litres wine or 5 litres beer; perfume for personal use.

Travel health

EU citizens are entitled to emergency medical treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of origin. Medical facilities are fair and there are plenty of doctors. There are a few private clinics of high standard.
Information: www.tourism.lt