ETIAS - Traveling to Lithuania
U.S. citizens can travel to Lithuania using an ETIAS visa waiver
Country of Lithuania
- Euro (€)
- UTC+2 (EET)
Emergency Lithuania Telephone Numbers
112 (112 is the equivalent to 911 in the US)
Lithuania: An Overview
Though not well known, in the 15th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the biggest state in Europe encompassing territories of modern-day Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Having formed various political unions in the subsequent centuries, Lithuania’s rich history has been shaped by diverse cultures, religions, and ethnicities which can be felt in the present day Tucked along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea Lithuania is known for the more than 160 miles of gorgeous coastline, inland forests, and numerous―more than 5,000―lakes and ponds. Nature in abundance is what beckons most visitors but certainly the charm of ancient castles, storybook villages, and the warm inviting energy of its capitol, Vilnius, which boast a mix of contrasting architecture.
Tourist arrivals have more than doubled since the country joined the Schengen zone in 2007, with its low population density, Lithuania remains a beautiful and peaceful getaway. Mostly rural, the landscape of this southernmost Baltic state is characterized by soft white sand dunes, aromatic pine forests, and Medieval castles on lakes. Lithuania welcomes more than 3 million tourists visit each year.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, ETIAS, will be in effect in 2021. Authorization for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program for US citizens allows for visa-free travel with a 90-day limit per trip to Lithuania and any Schengen zone nations (member states). With ETIAS approval you can look forward to touring a country of lush green natural charms, beautiful European architecture, and fabulous beaches.
Primary languages: Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, a little Yiddish. English is spoken in most tourist areas.
Where to Go
Small and lively, Vilnius is a capital easy to explore. The city’s biggest claim to fame is the impressive collection of Baroque architecture concentrated in and around its picturesque Old Town. Connected with charming winding cobblestone streets, it is an enticing area to discover. The cobbly streets lead to local cafés, museums, shops and boutiques, and eateries simmering the aromas of classic Lithuanian fare. The city also has an impressive amount of trendy street art. Throughout this diminutive city (pop 600,000) diverse architectural styles in addition to baroque are prevalent; contemporary, gothic, neoclassical, and renaissance are woven throughout the distinctive neighborhoods. Historical attractions include centuries old houses of worship including magnificent Vilnius Cathedral. One of Vilnius’ main religious and historical attractions is the Gate of Dawn (Aušros vartai) which was part of the city’s defensive wall system erected in the 16th century. An international pilgrimage site for Catholics and Orthodox alike, the chapel above the gate hosts a worshipped painting of the Virgin Mary. The chapel is organized in a way that allows seeing the painting with said miraculous healing powers from the street leading to the famous gate and thus avoiding the crowds in the chapel.
Lithuanian fare mostly has the feel of hearty and delicious peasant fare. Be sure to sample the Koldūnai, Lithuanian stuffed dumplings, Bulviniai blynai, which is traditional potato pancakes, and Tinginys, a divine chocolate and cookies cake. To quench your thirst, you may want to sample local Mead and naturally fermented beers or the rye spirit, Starka.
Walking distance from Old Town is the neighborhood of Užupis―a self-proclaimed republic and the capital’s artistic center. A once-derelict district in the Soviet era attracting society’s marginals, the neighborhood has seen incredible growth and development since the republic’s inception on April Fool’s Day in 1997. With its own constitution, flag, and president, this unrecognized microstate remains a proud home to a creative community of artists and free-spirited bohemians. There are regular cultural events hosted in the neighborhood; one of many reasons to visit this quirky micronation.
Don’t miss: The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. Standing proudly in Cathedral Square in the center of Vilnius, the 13th century palace showcases gothic, renaissance, and early baroque halls and incredible artifacts in its museum.
Seventeen miles west of Vilnius lies a small town of Trakai which was once the capital of the powerful Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The town’s main attraction is a picturesque 14th century stone and brick Trakai Castle which is considered a masterpiece of medieval defensive architecture. The spectacular castle is located on Lake Galvė and can be reached via a wooden drawbridge. Each summer, Trakai Castle hosts a Medieval Fest. Dressed in period costumes, the community organizes traditional games and jousting tournaments, accompanied by festive medieval music and dancing. With several interconnected lakes around, Trakai is also a great place to rent a kayak or canoe or to simply go swimming. And picnics lakeside are an utterly romantic diversion.
A visit Lithuania should include a sojourn to the Curonian Spit, one of Lithuania’s most popular coastal sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 60-miles long breathtaking natural sand-dune barrier separates the Baltic Sea from the freshwater Curonian Lagoon. Gently caressed by the wind, its snow-white dunes move very slowly as if shape shifting. Being the highest in Europe, the Curonian Spit dunes offer astounding views on the peaceful waves of the Baltic sea and the long-lasting colorful sunsets. The best accompaniments to a scenic picnic are the local food specialties including smoked fish, rye bread, and local beer which is easily procured from one of the many local shops in any fishermen’s village. Keep an eye peeled for amber which can be found along the beach.
To its north, Lithuania borders Latvia; one of the two other Baltic states. The two share much in common, Lithuanian, and Latvian being two out of three living languages that still are spoken in the Baltic language group, although not mutually intelligible. Lithuania’s longest border of 312 miles is with Belarus, on the southeast of the country. Lithuania’s neighbors in the south are Poland and the Russian exclave Kaliningrad which is an exclave of Russia. Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland are members of the Schengen Area. They will be eligible for visa-free travel with an ETIAS visa waiver program for entry beginning in 2021.