Nowadays, it’s not often that you stumble across a destination that many have yet to explore; but just one step into Lithuania and we were hooked. Brimming with natural beauty, it’s a country that also lays claim to a colorful history that lends itself to a vibrant cultural and rebellious spirit. A place to skip the crowds and get ahead of the curve, a tailormade vacation in Lithuania is not to be missed.
In a story repeated many times across the former Eastern bloc, Lithuania shook off Communist rule in 1990 and set out on its own path to independence. This quietly beguiling Baltic country – a slight sliver of land festooned with lakes – has done alright for itself, proudly showing off its storied past, its grand city skylines, and its verdant countryside; where you can visit the moving Hill of Crosses, knock back a glass of mead, or sample of eateries of Vilnius (a city which contains its own self-declared republic, Užupis, since 1997. A self-declared republic with a conceptual shoe store, no less.)
Driving across this small but rewarding country will reveal the string of tranquil, beautiful lakes and romantic castles that stand at their edges. At the lakeside town of Trakai, you can dip into its crystal waters (come winter or summer), before shooting on to charming Kaunas, which boasts of a patchwork of baroque, gothic and renaissance architecture, castle walls, and enviable eateries.
True to a country whose tourism industry has gently expanded over the past two decades, and which plays host to a real glut of medieval and baroque buildings, the luxury hotels of Lithuania offer not only world-class luxury but charmingly historic looks.
Lithuania – located at the dead center of Europe – has been a regular shooting location for films and the BBC, whose War and Peace adaptation was shot on its rolling fields and snow-soaked forests. It has also stood in for Tudor England and Sherwood Forest, lending it an easy romantic charm that would suit any luxury honeymoon across this untouched region. Play out your Tolstoyan romantic fantasies among the castles and the pines.
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