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Holidays in Lithuania

Understanding Lithuania

Lithuania is an active member of the European Union since 1 May 2004 and North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 29 March 2004 Lithuania is the only Baltic country with nearly eight hundred years of statehood tradition, while its name was first mentioned one thousand years ago, in 1009 Wedged at the dividing line of Western and Eastern civilizations, Lithuania battled dramatically for its independence and survival Once in the Middle Ages 15th century, Lithuania was the largest state in the entire Europe, where crafts and overseas trade prospered

In 1579, Vilnius University, an important scientific and education centre of the European scale, was opened In 16th century, Lithuania adopted its First, Second and Third Statutes Not only the Statutes were the backbone of the legislative system of the country, they had a major impact on legislation of other European states of the time Despite losing its independence, Lithuania managed to retain its Third Statute in effect for as many as 250 years, which was instrumental in preservation of national and civic self-awareness of the public The Constitution of Lithuania-Poland together with the French Constitution, both adopted in 1791, were the first constitutions in Europe Lithuanian-Polish constitution was adopted few months earlier

Climate

Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers

Terrain

Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil The fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits

Highest point 
Aukstojas Hill 29484 m 967322 ft, about 24 km southeast of Vilnius lies just off the main highway to Minsk and within sight of the Belarus border 30% forest

History

Lithuania, first formed in the middle of the 13th century, was a huge feudal country stretching from the Baltic to the Black sea in the middle ages and in 1569 entered an union with Poland to form a commonwealth Lithuania was part of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth until the Polish Partitions in the 18th century when it became part of the Russian Empire

National holiday 
Independence Day, 16 February 1918; note - 16 February 1918 is the date of independence from German, Austrian, Prussian, and Russian occupation, 11 March 1990 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union

Independent between the two World Wars, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR in 1940 On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but this proclamation was not generally recognized until September of 1991 following the abortive coup in Moscow

Independence 
11 March 1990 independence declared from Soviet Union; 6 September 1991 Soviet Union recognizes Lithuania's independence
Constitution 
adopted 25 October 1992

The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993 Lithuania subsequently has restructured its economy for eventual integration into Western European institutions

Talking in Lithuania

The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian, making up one of only two languages along with Latvian on the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family Despite the kinship of Lithuanian to many other European languages, the archaic nature of its grammar makes it hard for foreigners unfamiliar with the language even to form basic sentences Russian is spoken as a second language by about 80% of the population according to European Union statistics, clearly making it the most useful non-Lithuanian language to know The younger generation is becoming more and more proficient in English, but still only 32 % of Lithuanians can speak it Polish and, to a lesser extent, German are also spoken in some places for historical reasons Lithuanians are always eager for an opportunity to practice their English, but those who learn a few basic phrases of the local language are always amply awarded with good will and appreciation for their efforts In Samogitia Western Lithuania most people talk in Samogitian, which is somewhat different from Standard Lithuanian and sometimes called an independent language

Remember that you are in Lithuania, not in the colony of Russia and not the Soviet Union -, the Lithuanians do not want to hear their language being 'almost Russian' because a it is neither it nor b it be there even against Lithuania and Latvian are the last living languages of the baltic language family The local people appreciate even small attempts to speak Lithuanian greatly

What to do in Lithuania

  • Enjoy times at ancient castles and ruins, as also commonly seen in Latviaits neighbor


Buying stuff in Lithuania

Vilnius recently became a shopper's paradise when plenty of massive shopping centres were opened all over the city Akropolis a chain of shopping malls in Lithuania is one of them and definitely worth visiting, as it houses an ice skating rink, bowling lanes and a cinema

Shopping center Helios City in Savanoriu ave offers to have dinner, to take a cup of coffee and to go shopping under the one roof On the first and the second floors of the Helios City restaurants, cafes, small shops, beauty salon, dry cleaning and other service companies are located The centre of the city or the Old Town and the new leisure and service centre are separated by less than 1,5km It is convenient to access the Helios City from any place of the city – either by public or proper transport

Gariunai is the Baltic's largest open air market, located on the western edge of Vilnius Thousands of merchants can be found there on a good weekend, from not only Lithuania, but also from as far away as Ukraine Clothes, shoes, and even music and software can be bought there Counterfeit goods are ubiquitous A low price is guaranteed, quality is not

Kaunas is also a city of shopping centers, and the center of the city, Laisvės avenue is a pedestrian thouroghfare The main shopping centers in Kaunas are: Akropolis, Mega, Molas, Savas, HyperMaxima, and Urmas shopping area There is even that symbol of "mall culture", which is new to Lithuania, Akropolis

Klaipeda is a major shopping center for people from Latvia and Kaliningrad The main shopping centers are: Akropolis, Arena, Studlendas and BIG Many people coming to the city on cruise ships shop in Klaipeda, due to the good value and price combination

Food and eating in Lithuania

Lithuanian dinners usually include meat, potato, vegetables and sometimes a curd sauce of some sort Case in point: the cepelinai, or zeppelins, which are meat filled potato-starch based zeppelin-shaped masses traditionally slathered in a sauce of sour cream, butter, and pork cracklings Pork is traditionally eaten, beef much less so Needless to say, vegans will have a hard time eating out, although some large restaurant chains will have vegetarian dishes on the menu

Some fast food in Lithuania, such as Kibinai, from the Karaim people small turnovers usually filled with spiced lamb, and Cheburekai a Russian snack, large folds of dough with a scant filling of meat, cheese, or even apples, can be found around the city

Many restaurants have menus in English usually in the Lithuanian menu and to a lesser extent, Russian Though use caution as sometimes menus in other languages may have inflated prices, although this is a rarity, and won't be found in Vilnius, or the better known chains such as Cili Pizza

Drinking in Lithuania

Lithuania is a beer drinking country, with the most famous brands being Svyturys, Kalnapilis, Utenos, Horn and Gubernija A visit to a kiosk will show that there may be more than 50 different brands of beer in this small country Alcohol percentages are displayed on the label, and usually range from 4 to 95 percent Compared to other European countries, beer is usually affordable, in shops approx 050 to 1 € per half litre, in bars approx 075 to 2 € per half litrebeer is sold by the half or full litre, a full litre being found rarely The beer tastes excellent, putting global brands to shame and it can be said that Lithuanian lager is of at least equal quality to Czech, Slovak, German, and Polish lager A request for a Lithuanian beer always generates goodwill, even in a Chinese or other foreign-themed restaurant

When you visit a bar or restaurant without intending to eat, try one of the bar snacks, which are very popular among Lithuanians The most popular of these snacks consists of a bowl of pieces of garlic bread covered in cheese

In addition to beer, rather cheap but high quality vodka or "degtinė" in Lithuanian is consumed, but not to the extent usually associated with this part of the world Also, every region has its own home-made speciality of which "Samane" is most famous/notorious and is best avoided The larger supermarkets have an incredible variety of vodka from all the main vodka-producing countries

Lithuanian mead, or "midus" is a beverage produced exclusively under government control It is commonly made from all sorts of Lithuanian flora, from leaves and berries to some tree bark Alcohol percentages range from 10% to 75% considered medicinal

For tourists, quality sparkling wines, such as Alita or Mindaugas, and local liqueurs are popular choices to bring back home

Keep in mind the law that came into effect from January 2009 that prohibits selling alcohol in shops between 10PM and 8AM bars, cafes, restaurants etc are exempt from this

In shops and cafés different tea and coffee qualities are widely available The selection in coffee ranges from northern European brands to French ones In coffee houses, you should expect to pay up to 150 € for your coffee Some cafés offer also a variety of special coffees with more or less special prices Many cafes kavinės still make "lazy" coffee, which is simply coffee grounds and boiling water, unfiltered, with grounds at the bottom of the cup, often surprising the drinker - ask before you buy! Tea is usually sold at 50% of the price of coffee Some of the wonderful drinks such as the Marganito are great for fun filled party drinks and rated one of the top kinds of wine in the country, perfect for weddings

Unlike restaurants, or pubs aimed at tourists, bars Baras may be frequented by heavy drinkers and can therefore be somewhat rowdy Nevertheless a visit may still be very rewarding, especially if you accept an invitation to participate in karaoke

A law banning smoking in cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, discotheques and other public establishments was passed in May 2006, and came into effect on January 1 2007 However, many nightclubs have internal smoking rooms, which have a degree of ventilation

Tap water is suitable for drinking in many parts of Lithuania In other areas, local people prefer to purchase bottled water or to run tap water through water filters If you need to buy bottled water, a 5 litre bottle is not much more expensive than a one litre bottle Where in doubt about the tap water, seek local advice

Accommodation in Lithuania

The price of accommodation depends very much on the place For instance, in Joniskis Northern Lithuania, you can get a good hotel room for 25 euros whereas an equivalent room might be as much as 100 euros in Vilnius Some hotels do not have home pages Nevertheless, the Internet helps considerably in planning

Throughout the country, homestays -- sleeping "with the grandmother" -- are typical On main street of a town there are many elderly townsfolk offering spare beds in their extra rooms These experiences are absolutely worth seeking out

If you want to rent the apartment, the prices will be usually 200 euros a month since In the biggest towns there are companies which rent apartments "to the long-time tourist or working here" In these you complete on good conditions the apartment furnished and cleaned by the cleaner Since 300 euros

You will find the hotels of every town on their own interleaves However, remember that this is the service maintained by the volunteers and you should not wait for current prices let alone that there would be all the possibilities listed

An interesting accommodation alternative is a countryside accommodation or an own cottage Countrysidelt offers the shining catalog for accommodation alternatives and you find nearly all the countryside targets and a reservation system from there

Most large cities such as Vilnius or Kaunas have an abundance of hotel options from 60 litas and up When traveling to a popular vacation spot in the summer like Palanga or Druskininkai make sure to book a room in advance because demand may outnumber supply Additionally, some of the Cafes on the main highways between cities also have rooms to rent

Working in Lithuania

There are now many work options in Lithuania Any EU national can work and live in Lithuania However, residence permits must be obtained, and employers must prove a lack of competent workers in Lithuania for such employment, which can be difficult Also, Lithuanian law dictates that all business be conducted in Lithuanian language

In Lithuania you need the residence permit and a registered address for the working The immigration authorities do not necessarily know a word either, English, so you have to be known, either Russian or Lithuanian Also otherwise one seldom manages in the working life without the control of the local language

The wage level of the country is not a reason to leave for Lithuania for work: To the nurse about 230-300 euros per month is paid, secretary can get the one hundred more The construction workers, the car servicians, coders and car drivers - are the high payed, they can get as much as 1600 euros in the month The leaders' salaries are their own number and are very even indeed higher than in Scandinavia

In Lithuania the worker pays 21% of an income tax 6% of a sickness insurance and unemployment insurance which is about 3% The taxes take about 30% of the salary, size irrespective of it The minimum wage is about 220 euros

Cities in Lithuania

akmene  alytus  anyksciai  ariogala  baltoji voke  birstonas  birzai  daugai  dotnuva  druskininkai  dukstas  dusetos  eisiskes  elektrenai  ezerelis  gargzdai  garliava  gelgaudiskis  grigiskes  ignalina  jieznas  jonava  joniskelis  joniskis  juodupe  jurbarkas  kacergine  kaisiadorys  kalvarija  kaunas  kavarskas  kazlu ruda  kedainiai  kelme  klaipeda  kretinga  kudirkos naumiestis  kulautuva  kupiskis  kursenai  kybartai  lazdijai  lentvaris  linkuva  marijampole  mazeikiai  moletai  naujamiestis  naujoji akmene  nemencine  neringa  obeliai  pabirze  pabrade  pagegiai  pakruojis  palanga  pandelys  panemune  panevezys  pasvalys  plunge  priekule  prienai  radviliskis  ramygala  raseiniai  rietavas  rokiskis  rudiskes  rusne  sakiai  salantai  salcininkai  seda  seduva  siauliai  silale  silute  simnas  sirvintos  skaudvile  skuodas  smalininkai  subacius  svencioneliai  svencionys  taurage  telsiai  trakai  troskunai  turmantas  tyruliai  tytuvenai  ukmerge  utena  uzventis  vabalninkas  varena  varniai  veisiejai  venta  vieksniai  vievis  vilkaviskis  vilkija  vilnius  virbalis  visaginas  zagare  zarasai  zemaiciu naumiestis  ziezmariai  

What do you think about Lithuania?

How expensive is Lithuania?
(1 LTL = 0.33 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant14.7 LTL
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)82.58 LTL
McDonalds meal14.55 LTL
Local beer (0.5 draft)5.76 LTL
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 5.53 LTL
Cappuccino5.7 LTL
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)3.4 LTL
Water (0.33 bottle)2.51 LTL
Milk (1l)2.66 LTL
Fresh bread (500g)2.73 LTL
White Rice (1kg)4.48 LTL
Eggs (12) 5.49 LTL
Local Cheese (1kg) 21.3 LTL
Chicken Breast (1kg) 15.35 LTL
Apples (1kg) 2.84 LTL
Oranges (1kg) 4.08 LTL
Tomato (1kg) 4.31 LTL
Potato (1kg) 1.27 LTL
Lettuce (1 head) 2.72 LTL
Water (1.5l)2.22 LTL
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 21.03 LTL
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)3.03 LTL
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 3.2 LTL
Cigarettes9.37 LTL
One way local bus ticket2.76 LTL
Monthly pass for bus110.9 LTL
Taxi start3.32 LTL
Taxi 1km1.88 LTL
Taxi 1hour waiting33.15 LTL
Gasoline (1 liter) 4.34 LTL
Utilities for a "normal" apartment479.23 LTL
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 78.21 LTL
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 733.36 LTL
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