A Baltic state, along with Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare its independence (in 1990) and joined the European Union in 2004. Since then more and more travellers have searched for cheap flights to Lithuania, some for hen and stag weekends and others for city breaks to soak up the atmosphere of the postcard-pretty capital Vilnius. Next year will attract even more tourists. Not only will Lithuania celebrate its millennium, but Vilnius will become the European Capital of Culture.

More than three million people are expected to visit Vilnius in 2009. It is Prague-like pretty with a magnificent cathedral, Unesco-listed Old Town, cobbled-stone squares and ornate buildings.

Kaunas is the second city and a former capital. Its Old Town has a remarkable concentration of historical buildings such as the ancient castle, cathedral, and Old Town Hall alongside the restaurants, bars, galleries and shops.

The country's most spectacular natural feature is the Curonian Spit, which divides Lithuania and Russia. Palanga is the star of the Baltic Coast with white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It's also the place to find amber, washed up after storms at sea.

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Lithuania climate

Summers are warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging 17 degrees. Very hot days can reach 30 degrees. Rain falls all year, even in the summer, but winters are cold with snow. The average winter temperature is -5 degrees.

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When to fly to Lithuania

Peak Season

The summer months are mild and the best time to seek flights to Lithuania. This is when temperatures are most comfortable.

Off Season

Winter is generally off-season, but this is a popular time with skiers, snowboarders and ice fishers.

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Getting around Lithuania

In the cities, there are several ways of getting about: bus, trolleybus, minibus or taxi.

Domestic Lithuania flights are available with Lithuanian Airlines (flyLAL - www.flylal.com). The airline connects Vilnius with Palanga.

Lithuanian Railways operates services from Vilnius to Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai.

There is a comprehensive bus service in Lithuania. Kautra (website: www.kautra.lt)

Getting about by rental car - main roads are usually in good condition. In more remote parts of Lithuania, roads may be unsurfaced.

There are ferry services between Klaipeda and the Curonian Spit.

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Lithuania insider information

  • Visit Grutas Park, also known as Stalin World, which opened in 2001. It's a home for the Soviet-era statues that were "retired" when Lithuania gained independence from Russia. Along with the statues of Stalin, Lenin and Maryte Melnikaite, barbed wired, watchtowers and deportation trucks are children's playgrounds, a stage for entertainers and bars and restaurants. It's about 130km (80 miles) from Vilnius.
  • The Curonian Spit extends from Kaliningrad to, very nearly, the Lithuanian mainland. A five-minute ferry crossing links the spit with Lithuania. Under the ever-shifting sands are the remains of old, deserted villages. Reforestation projects have maintained the land however and today it supports a few villages and small towns. Palanga is the most popular resort. The soft, white beach is backed by sand dunes and not much else. There are no beachfront hotels or holiday homes, just enough for a get-away-from-it-all holiday.
  • While visiting Palanga, visit the Amber Museum and the Palanga Botanical Gardens. The museum is housed on the former estate of Count Feliksas Tiskevicius. Fifteen rooms exhibit about 4,500 pieces of amber, some with trapped insects or plants as well as intricately carved pieces of jewellery.
  • Pilies Gatve is the shopping street in Vilnius. You'll find, in the shops here, almost every type of amber jewellery you could imagine. Depending on how many litas you have left, the choice will be a piece of amber ... or some marzipan.
  • Nida is an upmarket holiday resort on the Curonian Spit. A town that attracted the arty and bohemian crowd, Thomas Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning writer, lived here in the summers of 1930- 1932. His summer cottage is a cultural centre with a small memorial exhibition. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir also visited Nida in the 1960s.
  • Ice-fishing is not something very many travellers seek cheap flights to Lithuania for, but in a land of 3,000 lakes it's a very popular pastime. Lake Galve in the Trakai region is an idyllic setting. There is a sturdy red-roofed castle on an island in the middle of the lake. About 29km (18 miles) from Vilnius, all you'll need to bring is a milking stool to sit on, an ice drill and a rod and reel.

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Lithuania airports

Vilnius International Airport (VNO) (website: www.vilnius-airport.lt/en/) is situated approximately 6km (3.5 miles) southeast of the city centre.

Kaunas (KUN) is in Karmelava, 15km (9 miles) (website: www.kaunasair.lt) northeast of Kaunas city centre.

Palanga International Airport (PLQ) (website: www.palanga-airport.lt) is a ten-minute drive to Palanga city centre.

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Passport/Visa

No visas are required as long as the stay is less than 90 days.

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Entry requirements

A valid passport is needed to enter Lithuania.

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Oonagh Shiel
Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!
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