Lithuania: Holidays, Events, and National Customs
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|February 16||Independence day|
|March 11||Lithuania regained statehood|
|March April||Easter Monday|
|May 6||Mother’s Day|
|July 6||Anniversary of the coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
Source: Countryaah – Lithuania Holidays
On June 24th, the festival of Jonines (Midsummer Eve) is celebrated in Lithuania
Regular cultural events
Baltica is a folklore festival that is celebrated every year in the capital of another Baltic country.
A popular event is skamba, skamba kankliai, which is celebrated in Vilnius at the end of May. Many foreign musicians, singing and dance groups also take part in this great folklore festival.
What football is to Germans, basketball is to Lithuanians. Basketball has a long tradition in Lithuania. Lithuania was European champion as early as 1930. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Lithuania finished fourth.
Lithuania has good conditions for sailing, windsurfing and swimming.
The best time to travel to Lithuania
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. For example, cultural travelers see the climate very differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Winter is usually less suitable for a vacation.
The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from each other and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 23 °C to have maximum values of over 30 °C on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that LT stands for the nation of Lithuania as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Struve Arch is a cross-border scientific monument with a length of 2,821 km and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. This geodetic survey sheet covers ten countries. It starts in Hammerfest in Norway and then continues through Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and ends in Ukraine. There is a chain of geodetic measuring stations on the Struve Arch. It was used to measure parts of the earth’s surface and had its origin in the Tartu observatory in Estonia, of which Struve was director from 1820-1839. More details under Struve arches.
Kernave Archaeological Site
Kernavė is located northwest of Vilnius and was an important city in the 13th century that had five fortified castles, but only four mounds remain. The fortified castles were built on the so-called “Schüttberge”, such as the “Throne of Mindaugas”, the “Sacrificial Mountain” and the “Mountain of Lizdeika”. The remains of a settlement dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries were found in the valley between the mountains.
The Kernave Archaeological Site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004
The Curonian Spit lies between Klaipėda (in German: Memel) in Lithuania and Lesnoi (in the Kalinigrad region), it belongs to the Russian Kaliningrad region. and Lithuania and is therefore cross-border. It is an approx. 100 km long peninsula, the widest point of which is around 4 km wide, which separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. In earlier times the vegetation was cut down in many places on the island, and the sandy soil no longer had a hold. There were shifting dunes, some of which were later planted with pine trees, birches and juniper trees. Places were buried under the great sand dunes until the 19th century. Near Nidda and Pillkoppen are the largest dunes with a height of up to 70 m. Many artists saw the special charm of the landscape, and pictures of the Curonian Spit and the Curonian Lagoon by Lovis Corinth, Bischoff-Culm, Max Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluff, Wilhelm Eisenblätter, Ernst Mollenhauer and others were created Thomas Mann built a holiday home here in 1929, where he and his family spent the summer holidays from 1930 to 1932. The house is now a museum.
The Kurschskaya Kossa National Park is located on the peninsula. In addition to the Museum of the Curonian Spit, visitors to the dune landscape can also visit the famous ornithological station in Rossitten.
The Curonian Spit with the sand dune near Nidden (Nida) was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000 as a cross-border world heritage site.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Lithuania, Map
Old Town of Vilnius (Wilna)
The 360 hectare old town of Vilnius extends on the slopes on the left bank of the Neris. It is one of the largest and best-preserved old towns in Europe and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994. The old town offers an indescribable hodgepodge of buildings from various styles, with the baroque being the dominant.
Important buildings to be visited are the Church of St. Anne, the Church of St. John, the Baroque Church of St. Kazimir, the Gate of Dawn and the historic town hall.
Basil’s Gate in Vilnius © goruma (T.Kruse)
Special buildings and structures
Castles of Trakai
The two castles in the town of Trakai, the peninsula castle and the island castle, are definitely worth seeing. They are among the most important defensive structures in Lithuania. The castles rendered important services to the state of Lithuania, which was founded in the 13th century, because it was threatened by Western European attackers for around 200 years.
Gediminas Castle in Vilnius (Wilna)
The ruins of Gediminas Castle is one of the landmarks of Vilnius. It is located on the hill of the same name and dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. In addition to some fragments of the old castle that are currently being restored, the only remaining intact part of the former fortifications is the Gediminas Tower. It has a good viewing platform from which you can enjoy the panorama of the old town of Vilnius. The tower is not only interesting for tourists, it is also an important national and historical symbol of Vilnius and all of Lithuania.
Europa Tower (according to Europos bokštas) in Vilnius (Wilna)
The tallest skyscraper in the Baltic States is located in the Šnipiškės Vilnius (Wilna) district. It measures 148 meters and dominates the skyline of the new city center of the Lithuanian capital. It was completed and opened in 2004 as part of the Lithuanian EU membership celebrations. The Europaturm is very controversial because of its contrast to the historic old town, but is universally accepted as the city’s landmark. At a height of 114 meters there is a viewing platform that can be visited free of charge on Sundays.
Thomas Mann’s holiday home in Nida
In 1929 the house that was also used by the great German novelist Thomas Mann was built. He and his family spent summertime here in 1930, 1931 and 1932. It is now open to the public as a museum and is one of the main attractions of Nida.
TV tower Vilnius
The over 326 meter high TV and radio transmission tower Vilnius ((lit.: Televizijos bokstas) was built in reinforced concrete between 1974 and 1980. The viewing deck at a height of 190 meters can be visited. The tower, which at Christmas always is decorated as a Christmas tree, on January 13, 1991 venue was the so-called “Vilnius Bloody Sunday.” on this day were run over several demonstrators civilians at the tower of tanks. Therefore, the tower is located at the foot of a memorial to the victims.
Frank Zappa Statue in Vilnius (Vilnius)
The world’s first statue of rock legend Frank Zappa was unveiled in 1995. It is made of bronze and rises near the center of Vilnius (Vilnius).
House of the Signatories (according to Signatarų namai) in Vilnius (Wilna)
This symbol of Vilnius is located on Pilies Street and on February 16, 1918 was the place where the independence of Lithuania was contractually fixed. The imposing structure has been standing since 1645 and has served various functions over the centuries. In the 19th century it was renovated in the neo-renaissance style. Today it houses the “White Sztral” café, which opened in 1939 and reopened in 2000, as well as part of the Lithuanian National Museum.
Holzhausviertel in Trakai
In the north of Trakai you can visit the Holzhausviertel, a small quarter that is home to numerous one-story wooden houses. The quarter is one of the most interesting parts of the city of Trakai and has even been placed under state protection.
Trakai Chapel Column
The Trakai Chapel Column dominates the town’s former market square. A sculpture rises on the pillar, which is supposed to represent St. John Nepomuk, the patron saint of fishermen and cities that are located on the water.
Royal Palace of Lithuania (lit. Valdovų rūmai) in Vilnius (Wilna)
The palace, built in the 15th century behind the cathedral of Vilnius and destroyed in 1801, is currently being rebuilt. It once belonged to the lower castle of the Lithuanian capital. Reconstruction activities have been going on since 2002, some of which historians are observing very critically.
Nidden artists ‘colony in Nida
The Nidden artists’ colony came into being in the 20th century after numerous expressionist painters such as Max Pechstein settled in Nida. The main meeting point of the Bohémiens was the Blode inn, which still exists today as Nidos Smilte. The painters have settled around him and in this way founded the Nidden artists’ colony.
Perkunas House in Kaunas
If you turn from the Town Hall Square in Kaunas into one of the side streets towards the Memel, you inevitably come to the Perkunas House, a town house that was designed in the late Gothic style. During the summer, students from the Jesuit grammar school offer tours of the house.
Radvila Palace in Vilnius (Wilna)
Built by Jonušas Radvila at the beginning of the 17th century, the palace in Vilnius (Wilna) was badly damaged in the course of the wars against Russia and other battles. It was restored in the 20th century and has housed an art gallery since 1990. In 1994 an international gallery began to be established in the palace. Today various exhibitions can be visited in the palace.
Kaunas Town Hall
The historic town hall of the Lithuanian city of Kaunas rises in the very beautiful old town, which attracts many visitors from outside with its numerous old buildings. The town hall now rises on Rathausplatz, the main square of Kaunas. It is in the immediate vicinity of the Jesuit Church and the Kathadrale von Kaunas and is popularly known as the wedding palace because of its function as a registry office. The other nickname, White Swan, comes from the fact that Kaunas Town Hall was kept in white and looks very majestic.
Vilnius City Hall (according to Vilniaus rotušė)
The historic Vilnius City Hall is located on the square of the same name in the old town and was first mentioned in 1432. The current building was rebuilt in 1799 in the Neo-Renaissance architectural style and has remained unchanged since then. Nowadays it is used for representative purposes and as a festival venue for high-ranking international guests during state visits.
Simon-Dach-Brunnen in Klaipėda (German Memel)
The Simon-Dach-Brunnen in Klaipėda (German Memel) can be found – surrounded by many beautiful half-timbered houses from the period between the 17th and 19th centuries – on the Theater Square in the old Town. He is dominated by Ännchen von Tharau, a legendary figure from a Lithuanian folk song.
Gate of Dawn (according to Aušros Vartai) in Vilnius (Wilna)
Between 1503 and 1522 the gate was built as part of the Vilnius fortifications. It is the only remaining one of nine city gates. The others had been destroyed during the 18th century. The chapel in the gate contains miraculous images such as that of the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy”. For centuries this image had been one of the symbols of Vilnius and an object of worship. In 1993 Pope John Paul II prayed a rosary in the chapel, and every year in the third week of November there is a festival of the Virgin Mary.
Trakai Water Castle (Eng. Traken)
About 20 kilometers from Vilnius is the (former Lithuanian capital) town of Trakai, which is famous for its old water castle, which is located on an island between Lake Galves, Lake Lukasee and Lake Totoriska.
Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Vilnius (Wilna)
The museum is said to have been founded in 1898 on the occasion of Adam Mickiewicz’s 100th birthday. Today it belongs to the University of Vilnius and shows things from the artist’s personal belongings.
Alexander Pushkin Museum in Vilnius (Wilna)
The exhibition to be visited here in Vilnius (Wilna) comprises six authentically furnished rooms at the end of the 19th century.
Amber Museum in Palanga
In Palanga, one of the most important tourist attractions in Lithuania, the Amber Museum is one of the most famous sights. It was housed in the earlier, neoclassical palace that was built in 1897 for Count Feliks Tyszkiewicz. The architecturally wonderful ensemble is surrounded by a botanical garden from 1897.
Amber Museum in Vilnius (Wilna)
Amber lovers get their money’s worth in this museum in Vilnius (Wilna) and, in addition to the main component amber, can also look at artistic works in which this natural product has been processed.
Ciurlionis Museum in Kaunas
The Ciurlionis Museum in Kaunas commemorates Lithuania’s famous painters and composers by showing both the pictures and the musical greatness of the artist.
Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Rumšiškės
The interesting Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is located in the small town of Rumšiškės. The extensive complex is considered to be the largest open-air museum in Lithuania and often hosts such important festivals as the solstice or the Lithuanian carnival.
Europa-Park near Vilnius (Wilna)
20 minutes by car from Vilnius, in the village of Purnuškės, is Europa-Park. This is a kind of “open-air museum” for modern art, which is combined with the beauty of a park landscape. The park, which was founded in 1991, is intended to give “the geographical center of Europe importance through works of art” (see operator’s website). More than 90 sculptures can be seen, arranged on an area of 55 hectares.
Galerija Balta in Kaunas
A few meters behind the Kaunas Cathedral is the Galerija Balta. It belongs to the Association of Lithuanian Textile Artists.
Meno Parkas Gallery in Kaunas
The Meno Parkas Gallery in Kaunas can be found on Town Hall Square. It is subordinate to the Lithuanian Artists Association and shows exhibitions of contemporary art.
Grutas Park (lit. Grūto parkas) near Druskininkai
The Grutas Park, located near the Lithuanian spa town of Druskininkai, is one of the main tourist attractions of southern Lithuania. It was founded in 2001 by the entrepreneur Viliumas Malinauskas. The park consists of numerous Soviet sculptures that once stood in the Lithuanian city centers. These propaganda sculptures are no longer surrounded by modern communist buildings, but by secluded pine forest. The waitresses in the park’s restaurant appear like anachronisms because they wear pioneer shirts and work in an environment reminiscent of ex-Soviet times. The Grutas Park also has a nostalgic souvenir shop and a propaganda-free petting zoo.
Lithuanian National Museum in Vilnius (Wilna)
The National Museum contains the largest and oldest exhibits from the country’s rich history. The museum is located in Vilnius (Wilna)
Maironis Museum in Kaunas
The Kaunas Literature Museum is of great importance for the country, as important evidence of Lithuanian literature is collected here.
Museum of Applied Arts in Vilnius (Wilna)
The museum covers the remains of the lower Vilnius castle, which was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The exhibition is mainly located in the basement of the former arsenal.
Municipal Picture Gallery of Kaunas
The Municipal Picture Gallery of Kaunas includes a small collection of works by the painter George Maciunas, a friend of Joseph Beuys. The artist, who was born in Kaunas, is considered to be one of the most outstanding Lithuanian masters of contemporary art.
Devil Museum in Kaunas The devil museum in Kaunas is more
diabolical. The building, located near the Ciurlionis Museum, houses a unique collection of devil figures.
Vytautas Magnus Military Museum in Kaunas
Anyone interested in Lithuanian military history will be in good hands at the Vytautas Magnus Military Museum in Kaunas. However, you will be a little disappointed that the somewhat inglorious aspects of Lithuanian military history (such as the involvement of Lithuanian soldiers in crimes of the German Wehrmacht) were not mentioned at all or only in passing.
Zilinskas Gallery in Kaunas
In addition to works by Max Liebermann, other paintings by Western European artists are on display in the Zilinskas Gallery in Kaunas.
Opera and theater
Didysis Vilniaus teatras (Vilnius Great Theater) in Vilnius (Wilna)
Verkių St 29
Tel: 00370 – (0) 6 – 05 50 192
Email: [email protected]
Jaunimo teatras (State Youth Theater) in Vilnius (Wilna)
Arklių St 5
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 5556
Email: [email protected]
Congress hall in Vilnius (Wilna)
Vilniaus St 6/16
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 8127
Email: [email protected]
Lithuanian National Philharmonic in Vilnius (Wilna)
Aušros Vartų St 5
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 266 5210
Email: [email protected]
Lithuanian National Drama Theater in Vilnius (Vilnius)
Gedimino Ave 4
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 6471
Email: [email protected]
Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet in Vilnius (Wilna)
A. Vienuolio St 1
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 0727
Email: [email protected]
Oskaras Koršunovas Theater in Vilnius (Wilna)
T. Vrublevskio St 4
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 261 1877
Email: [email protected]
Russian Drama Theater of Lithuania in Vilnius (Wilna)
J. Basanaviliaus St 13
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 7133
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 262 0552
Email: [email protected]
Valstybinis Vilniaus mažasis teatras (Small State Theater of Vilnius) in Vilnius (Vilnius)
Gedimino Ave 22
Tel: 00370 – (0) 5 – 261 3195
Email: [email protected]
Churches and chapels
Dominican Monastery of Trakai
The Dominican Monastery of Trakai, which was closed in the 19th century, has already fulfilled many functions in the course of its eventful history. and have to experience various transformations. Probably the most notable function of the monastery was as a branch of the Russian secret service KGB. The monastery currently houses the offices of the Trakai Historical Museum.
Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius (Wilna)
The most important Christian-Orthodox cathedral in Lithuania was built under the rule of Duke Algirdas in 1346 and is therefore one of the oldest churches in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius (Wilna). The former spiritual center of the duchy’s growing Christian community was badly damaged in World War II, but restored from 1948 to 1957. Today the cathedral belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church and was renovated once more in 1988. It mostly serves as a place of worship for Russian and Belarusian city dwellers.
St. Stanislaus Cathedral (according to Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika) in Vilnius (Vilnius)
The main Roman Catholic church of Vilnius is also the church of the city’s archbishopric. In 1801 the wonderful classical basilica was constructed and given a separate bell tower. In the cathedral you can visit the graves of Alexander the Jagiellonian (= King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania).
Church of the Visitation of the Holy Mother Mary in Trakai
The Church of the Visitation of the Holy Mother Mary in Trakai rises near the small mountains of the town. The church was donated by Vytautas the Great in 1409 and was later incorporated into the Trakai fortifications. The originally Gothic church was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries and understood with baroque style elements. The church is known for the picture of Our Lady of Trakai, which is said to have been painted in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the 12th century. The picture shows a virgin who was named patron saint of Lithuania by the then Pope in the 18th century.
Pažaislis Monastery (lit. Pažaislio vienuolynas) near Kaunas
The beautiful Pažaislis Monastery in the southeast of the Lithuanian city of Kaunas was founded in the 17th century. It is a monastery of the Camaldolese order, the most important part of which is the picturesque baroque church. The monastery rises on the shore of the Kaunasser Sea, a reservoir more than 80 kilometers long.
Parish church Maria Frieden in Klaipėda (German Memel)
This rather modern church was built after the Second World War. After the Catholic parish church Maria Frieden was used as a theater under Soviet rule, it is now a well-attended Christian church again, which also includes a fairly large community.
St. Mary’s Church in Palanga
The St. Mary’s Church in Palanga is dominated by a tower that rises 76 meters into the sky. The Catholic Church itself was built between 1897 and 1906. It was designed by Karl Eduard Strandmann (1867-1946), a Swedish architect who designed his sacred brick building in the neo-Gothic style.
St. Anne’s Church (according to Šv. Onos bažnyia) in Vilnius (Wilna)
On the right bank of the Vilnia there is another Roman Catholic church in Vilnius (Wilna). It was built in the Gothic style and is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The church was built between 1495 and 1500 on the site of a previous building. It was renovated between 1902 and 1909 and between 1960 and 1970 and impresses with its breathtaking facade, Gothic arches and its two towers. The interior was designed in the Baroque style.
St. Peter’s and Paul’s Church (according to Šv. Petro ir Povilo) in Vilnius (Wilna)
This enchanting church in Vilnius (Wilna) doesn’t inspire with its exterior, but with its rich and baroque interior. It is an important pilgrimage destination, especially for Polish Catholics. The church, located just outside the old town, can best be reached by trolley bus (No. 2 or 14).
Vilnius Academy of Art
The most important art academy in Lithuania is located in Vilnius. It offers top-class training in painting and drawing, sculpture and art history, as well as engraving and graphics.
Mykolas Romer University in Vilnius (Wilna)
16,000 students are currently studying at the third largest university in Lithuania. This is located in Vilnius (Wilna) and has been named after Michail Pius von Römer, a famous lawyer from Lithuania, since 2004.
Vilnius Pedagogical University (according to Vilniaus pedagoginis universitetas) in Vilnius (Wilna)
Since 1992, the Vilnius Pedagogical University has been recognized as a state university.
Gediminas Technical University Vilnius (according to Vilniaus Gedimino technikos universitetas) in Vilnius (Wilna) In
1956 the Technical University in Vilnius (Wilna) was founded, which now has eight faculties. The students are currently being trained in a total of 88 different study programs.
Technical University of Kaunas (lit. Kauno technologijos universitetas)
The Technical University in Kaunas is the largest technical university in the Baltic States. There are currently around 19,000 students enrolled at it.
University of Klaipėda (lit. Klaipėdos universitetas) in Klaipėda (German Memel)
The State University of Klaipėda has existed since 1991 and is currently attended by around 10,000 students. There are a total of seven faculties at the university and eight institutes.
Vilniaus Universitetas in Vilnius (Wilna)
Located in Vilnius (Wilna), the largest university in Lithuania and with a founding date of 1579 also one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe currently consists of 12 faculties. It has the oldest library in the country. This was founded in 1570.
Vytautas Magnus University (lit. Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas) in Kaunas
The Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas has existed since 1922. The educational institution, initially established as the University of Lithuania, was then named in 1930 after the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas the Great. In 1989 the university was re-established.
Kaunas high terraces
The fascinating Kaunas high terraces spread out above the Memel Valley. They are opposite the old town of Kaunas and can be reached with the help of funiculars.
High dune near Nida
Close to the beautiful landscape of the city of Nida, the high dune, the second highest dune in Europe, rises. Incidentally, the highest is the Dune du Pyla near Arcachon.
Kaunasser Meer (Lithuanian: Kauno marios)
This reservoir, which has existed since 1959, is up to 63 km² in size and up to 22 meters deep. The wonderful Pažaislis Monastery stands on its banks, while the Kaunasser Sea itself is used by sailors. The largest open-air ethnographic museum in Lithuania is located by the sea.
Kuršių Nerija National Park (lit. Kuršių Nerijos Nacionalinis Parkas)
Founded in 1991, the almost 26,500 hectare Kuršių Nerija National Park spreads over Lithuania’s part of the Curonian Spit and parts of the bordering Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon. In addition, the Kuršių Nerija National Park is one of the largest closed Natura 2000 areas in Lithuania.
Nida is probably the most famous place in Lithuania and is located on the Curonian Spit. Artists such as Max Pechstein, Lovis Corinth, Ernst-Ludwig Kirchner and Thomas Mann spent time in Nida. A special attraction is Thomas Mann’s house, where he spent several summers with his family. Today it’s a museum. The Thomas Mann Festival takes place there every year. At Nida there is a huge dune with up to 70 m high sand hills. In the south the dune borders on Kaliningrad (Russia).
Pavilniai Regional Park in Vilnius (Wilna)
The Vilnia Valley is the heart of the Regional Park, with the Pukorių cliff in particular being a unique geological monument. This stone formation from the Ice Age is the most important part of the park and was formed from erosions that go back to the Vilnia River. But the park also serves as a place of relaxation and offers various leisure opportunities.
Vingio Park in Vilnius (Wilna)
Located on the Neris River and covering an area of 160 hectares, the park is one of the most popular places for the residents of Vilnius for hiking, cycling, roller-skating and jogging. The park is also the venue for various concerts and festivals.