As of 1 January 2015, Lithuania will be the newest member of the eurozone, the final step in its journey from reluctant Soviet republic to fully fledged European nation. The Curonian Spit is one long line of gorgeous beaches, backed by Europe’s largest moving sand dunes. Then there’s Vilnius’ baroque old town, which earned Lithuania one of its entries on the World Heritage list.
Rebellious, quirky and vibrant, Lithuania (Lietuva) is Europe's best-kept secret. Lithuania won its independence just over a decade ago and is part of the EU, was the first of the 25 EU players to give the European Constitution a stamp of approval and is a fully fledged partner of NATO.
The country boasts a colourful culture and history. Its capital, Vilnius, is a small city with astonishing contrasts - eerie shadowy courtyards, eccentric artist community, stunning architecture and an array of museums, walking tours and restaurants to appeal to all foodies and culture vultures.
Lithuania has a number of natural treasures including forests, lakes and the magical Curonian Spit in Western Lithuania.
The county is a small North East European state at the shore of the Baltic Sea. Covering an area of 65,302 km² it is similar in size to Ireland. Lithuania’s territory extends 373 km from East to West and 276 km from North to South. There are 6,129 kilometres from the geographical centre of Lithuania to the equator and 3,873 km to the North Pole.
The country shares borders with five neighbouring states: Latvia in the North, Belarus in the East and South, Poland and the Russian Federation in the South West. More than three quarters of Lithuania’s borders stretch along rivers and lakes. Lithuania’s economic zone in the Baltic Sea (with an area around 6,400 km²) reaches the waters of Sweden. Lithuania is proud of its beautiful coastline, which stretches for over 100 kilometres.
Lithuania’s landscape is very flat which is most evident when travelling from the eastern to the western part of the country – towards the Baltic Sea. When the highest hill is Aukštójo kalnas rising 293.8 m above sea level. Around one third of the land area of Lithuania is occupied by forests.
Lithuania is commonly called the land of rivers and lakes with inland waters making up 4 % of its territory. The total number of rivers and rivulets is 22,200 (the longest river - Nemunas), and the number of lakes is well over 830. The deepest of them is Tauragnas (62.5 m deep).