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Lithuania, together with Estonia and Latvia, comprises the three Baltic States. Of these, it is the biggest and, arguably, one of the best known, partly because it was the first to break free of Soviet rule. As the landscape is largely flat, this makes for some excellent driving routes, which will lead you to some of the many lakes, rivers and coastlines which Lithuania is privileged with.
The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and this charming city is situated on the banks of two rivers; the Neris and the Vilnia. The architecture in Vilnius is said to be some of the finest examples of Eastern European style in the whole region, and you can absorb the renaissance style simply by walking around the city. Some particular highlights of a visit to the city include the Cathedral, which is simply captivating, and the so-called ‘Gates of Dawn’ which is the only remaining gate (out of a total of nine) to still be preserved from the old fortification which was built between 1503 and 1522. Also highly recommended is a visit to the Genocide Victims Museum, which is a stark reminder of the victims of the KGB.
From Vilnius, it is well worth driving on to other cities in Lithuania, such as Kaunas which is another lovely town and home to some excellent attractions including the Zilikinas Art Gallery. The Ninth Fort, which was built during the early 19th century and served as defence from the Nazis, is also fascinating. From Kaunas, one particularly recommended route is to visit the majestic Hill of Crosses, which is around a hundred miles away from the city by car. Crosses have been planted here since the Middle Ages. Be sure, also, to leave some room for Lithuania’s trademark dishes which include beetroot soup and potato pancakes – particularly recommended as winter warmers!