Autumn comes with the drop of the first apple
It’s a sign for us to take our wooden baskets, go to our gardens and forests, and fill our homes with the smells of apple pies and dried boletes. Our autumn brims over with colours. It’s an autumn from Claude Monet’s paintings – a little bit sleepy and constantly wrapped in a translucent, iridescent cloak of mist. It weaves intricate spiderwebs, whispers from beneath the fallen leaves, waves the wings of the departing storks and cranes, and dances around the rainkissed cranberries in bogs. In autumn, we remember our friends, light candles and gaze into each other’s eyes. Long autumn evenings only hide the things that are genuine. Like us.
When we return to the city from the shore, the lakes, our homesteads, and our tents, all tan and recharged, we dive head first into culture. Our cities reverberate with theatre and good music, and the galleries open their doors wide open to show the fine works that were created during the summer. Autumn is a time for culture, and in autumn, culture goes out into the streets – it is colourful, and it takes your breath away. It opens your eyes and your feelings, and becomes ingrained in your experience, setting the joy of creativity free. Let’s surrender to it with the best events.
When the days begin to shorten and the circle of nature comes towards the end, it is time to enjoy the new harvest, give thanks for it, and prepare for the dark period. During the autumn equinox, it is customary to organize markets selling products of the latest harvest. Another attraction of the festival – the burning of straw sculptures and various fire shows – probably the most impressive of them takes place on the Neris waterfront in Vilnius. September 22, the day when in 1236 in the battle of Saulė, the united forces of Baltic tribes defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, was declared in 2000 by the Latvian and Lithuanian Parliaments as Baltic Unity Day.
On a peninsula washed by the Curonian Lagoon and under one of the main bird migration routes is the Ventės Ragas Ornithological Station. The people who have been working there for almost a hundred years and the ornithologists who come from different countries wait every spring and autumn for the cackling flocks. Each year, tens of thousands of birds are ringed at the station.
Next to the impressive traps, there is also the oldest lighthouse in Lithuania. Its doors are open to visitors who want to get a bird’s-eye view of the wavy waters and the golden dunes of the Curonian Spit emerging in the distance.
Lithuania is famous for flyways of rare birds. In autumn, some birds raise their strengthened wings, use sounds only they can understand to get everyone together, and migrate to where it’s warm. They come back in spring, nest, breed and cheer us with their songs. We are happy when we can hear birds singing; we’ve even dedicated certain days to birds, such as Lark Day and Rook Day – not to mention Lapwing Day or the Day of Returning Storks. When birds start to migrate en masse in autumn, up to a million fly along our coastline each day. The birds’ flyway stretches above Ventė Horn, a unique place where the Ventės Ragas Ornithological Station was established in 1929. Its surroundings afford fantastic views to the Curonian Spit and Nemunas Delta, and the station’s ornithologists not only tell interesting stories to curious visitors, but also give them the possibility of ringing birds taken from the catching traps. These birds then carry the message about where they were seen.
The quieter the evening, the better. When the wind abates, hot-air balloons resembling colourful soap bubbles take off and fly over the red roofs of the Old Town. Sometimes they come so close that it looks as if you can catch them with your hand, only for them to fly away to dizzying heights. If you choose hot air balloons ride in spring, you can admire the city’s blooming gardens; if it’s summer, you can count the tourists sitting on the pavements outside cafés; and autumn, with its colours, will leave you breathless. All this from a hot-air balloon.
Lithuanians are incurable romantics: we are among the top five countries with the largest number of hot-air balloons and balloon pilots per thousand residents; and international travel magazines have already put Vilnius and Trakai on lists of top 10 places to see from the sky for several years.
Vilnius is Europe’s only capital city that does not prohibit hot-air balloons from taking off from the city centre. If you happen to be sitting on the lawn next to the Tymas area, you can jump into a basket right away and take off. Flying in a balloon over Vilnius means falling in love with the city again. Let’s embark on an adventure together!Lithuanians are incurable romantics: we are among top five of the countries which have the biggest number of hot air balloons and their pilots per a thousand of residents; international travel magazines have put Vilnius and Trakai on the lists of top ten places to see from the sky for several years already.
Vilnius is the only capital city in Europe which does not prohibit air balloons from taking off from the Old Town. If you happen to be sitting on the lawn right next to Tymas quarter, you can jump into the basket right away and take off. To fly in an air balloon over Vilnius means to fall in love with it again. Let’s embark on an adventure together?
Even though we joke that for Lithuanians, modesty is a national trait, let’s not be modest – Lithuania is the land of theatre. There are many theatres in Lithuania and Lithuanians are deeply in love with it. It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when we would wait in long queues all night long for theatre tickets. Today there are no more queues at the theatre, but there are also no tickets available online to the best shows. Reserve them in advance and surrender yourself to the magic of the theatre. Because what is happening on the stages of Lithuania’s best theatres is magic indeed.
If art changes the world, it also changes Lithuania. In particular modern art. Lithuanians appreciate contemporary art - our history of modern art witnessed rises and the golden age, numb silence and bold attempts to swim against the current. Charming interwar Modernism, the gloomy reality of the Soviet period, the masterpieces of the thaw and creative flashes of art reflecting the contemporary world create extraordinary art space that does not finish with museums and galleries. It takes you by the hand, involves and invites to get to know the fabulous world of culture.
There are so many museums in Lithuania waiting to tell their stories. Magnificent museums located in castles that evoke the country’s glorious past, and small museums that are nurtured in earnest by the local communities. Museums that showcase valuable art collections and intrigue you with the most unexpected exhibits. Museums that take pride in their huge archives, and museums that teach in the most innovative ways – the more than a hundred museums operating in Lithuania will astonish you with their diversity.
Easing the lockdown measures, the Lithuanian government has approved that travellers coming from 24 European countries will not be subject to 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival.
On the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die list From the Old Town of Vilnius to the Curonian Spit
If you love cycling then you’ll love Lithuania! And we have a challenge for you – a cross county cycle tour that spans the entire country – a mere 300 km journey from the capital city to the scenic Baltic Coast. It’s the perfect way to experience what the country has to offer. On your journey, you’ll take in everything from the historical old-towns of the country’s major cities to the UNESCO-protected Curonian Spit – the “Sahara” of the Baltics. Then there’s the region of Lithuania Minor, with its reflections of its Eastern Prussian past, and resort towns with 200-year-old traditions. While from the River Nemunas Delta, where there are more birds than people, you can travel to mysterious Samogitia which is steeped in Baltic mythology and the legacy of the Cold War. One of the most beautiful cycling routes in the country is the Coastal Cycling Route, part of the EuroVelo 10 and EuroVelo 13 network. And, as Lithuania is a flat country, you’ll find vistas opening out in front of you around every corner, without too much of a challenge for your legs. Choose your route, be open to adventure and discover the most Lithuania’s real treasure – its natural beauty.
To mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Lithuania has announced a nation-wide quarantine and closed its borders until May 31. If you are in Lithuania at the moment and planning on returning home, don’t panic – you are not on your own. We hope you find the answers to your questions below.
Lithuania closes borders until May 31 due to COVID-19. The country is eager to invite tourists after the spread is fully mitigated.