|Lithuania has had a rich and varied history, and now though relatively small in size, it was at one point during the 14th century the largest country in Europe. After World War 2 it was occupied for the second time by the Soviet Union but became the first nation to declare independence in 1990, and has been a Republic ever since. With all the influences of different cultures over hundreds of years, Lithuania has become a very culturally rich country and offers the opportunity to experience different dialects, traditional dress styles, architecture and more if you are prepared to travel across the country’s five regions.
Vilnius is both the capital and largest city in Lithuania. Its Old Town is popular with tourists as it has a range of churches and buildings dating from between the 13th and the 19th centuries. Attractive churches include St Peter and St Paul’s Church, though the striking architecture of St Anne’s Church is said to be the most beautiful in the city.
The Archcathedral Basilica is a well known landmark also, while the Three Crosses Hill and its memorial is popular also. From Gediminias Castle, set on top of a hill overlooking the city you get excellent city views and the ride us the hill via funicular is a great way of getting there.
Lithuania’s National Parks
There are five national parks in total in Lithuania, protecting both its beautiful scenery, and its important historical sites. Each park has something a little different to offer, but if history if your thing then the Trakai Historical National Park is probably the best one to visit. This includes beautiful scenery, taking in both lakes and forests, but it also includes historic villages and the picturesque Trakai Island Castle.
More of Lithuania’s scenic beauty can be enjoyed in Aukstaitija National Park. This was the first national park in Lithuania and includes forests, lakes and rivers, perfect for boating. The 116 villages that are included within the boundaries of the national park do also offer history, such as the country’s oldest wooden church.