A place with its own Romeo and Juliet story, 200 kinds of bread, and a town dotted with angel statues is definitely worth a visit. Spend a holiday in Lithuania, which celebrates its thousandth birthday in 2009!
Begin a region-to-region excursion at Vilnius, the 2009 European Capital of Culture. A romantic stroll by the bridges of Užupis is a must, where the love-struck hang lockets dedicated to their sweethearts and throw the key in the river below. Spot the mermaid sculpture nearby. Old Town, a mediaeval settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also located here.
Druskininkai, known as a spa town, is a place where the new finds its way amid the old. The new Aqua Park with its waterfalls, slides, and saunas, for example, was created in an old Soviet-style building. Take a side trip to Grūtas Park, and marvel at statues of Communist leaders, viewed in a prison camp atmosphere. Its founder won an “Ig Nobel Prize” for “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Have a kooky time at Kaunas, with its one-of-a-kind museums, like the Museum For The Blind, the Museum of Exiles and Political Prisoners, and the Devil Museum. The Town Square is a great place to while away a Saturday morning, and it’s possible to witness a procession of couples exchange their vows.
Kėdainiai is famous for its relics from the past, as well as the town of Paberžė, with the lovely Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the monk Father Stanislovas’ treasury of religious and quirky items, and forester Kęstutis Kaltenis’ collection of plants.
End a holiday in Lithuania at serene Birštonas, where time is more of a circular concept than a linear one. With its hot springs, pine forests, and ski slopes in winter, this will keep nature lovers happy, and harassed travellers well-rested. Locals also swear by the minerals in Birštonas’ mud, which rejuvenate the skin.