This year Lithuania could be called the ultimate city break destination because of its biggest cities' special occasions followed by various cultural events, festivals and surprises. This year, the title of European Capital of Culture was bestowed upon Kaunas which will host over 1,000 different events in the city and its district. Whereas capital Vilnius recently marked its 699th birthday, kicking off year-long anticipation of the 700th anniversary which will be filled with a rich cultural programme for city residents and visitors.
Other noteworthy anniversaries in Lithuania: Trakai celebrates the 700th anniversary and the year of Lithuanian Karaite, Sūduva – 600th anniversary, Šiauliai Chocolate Museum – a decade since its establishment.
New touristic objects
Švėkšna Synagogue (Šilutė District) is planned to be reopened after the renovation. A reconstructed yeshiva – rabbinical school, to which students from all over the world flowed, will open its doors in Telšiai.
Follow the news here.
Sauna on the narrow-gauge railway in Aukštaitija region is going to be one of the top activities for this summer season. "We will install a wagon-sauna and it will be possible to travel in a heated sauna, then swim in a water body and finally return to the starting point," said the representatives of the “Aukštaitijos siaurasis geležinkelis”. Follow the news here.
Museum on the water. The second life of the ship “Sūduvis”, which ended its military service, is a museum on the water. This will be the first museum of its kind in Lithuania. The team of the Lithuanian Maritime Museum intends to implement the transformation of the ship and to invite visitors from the second half of spring of 2022. Follow the news here.
A selfie with Thomas Mann. Until the end of this year, the Neringa Museums have plans to pay tribute to Vilhelmas Storosta-Vydūnas, a philosopher, writer, publicist, the last famous man of culture to hail from Lithuania Minor. Vydūnas Music Bench and the Vydūnas Thought Light Trail are to be opened to the visitors of the Curonian Spit. Among other surprises in Neringa, visitors will be invited to take a selfie with Thomas Mann, a prominent XX century German author who spent his summer days in Nida. Follow the news here.
A former ship-dredger “Nemuno 7” transformed into cultural space is one of the most striking highlights of Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022. It is located on the left bank of the Nemunas, in the town of Zapyškis, Kaunas district. “Nemuno 7” is a unique river technology and landscape design project in Kaunas district, which will serve as a public cultural space, center of visual arts, media and technology, interdisciplinary cooperation, science, creativity, nature and culture. The opening is scheduled on 22 May. Follow the news here.
Virtual route “Following the Trails of Karaite History”, available in English, German and Lithuanian languages. This year Trakai celebrates the Year of Lithuanian Karaims. In the spring, the route will be marked with metal information boards where visitors can scan the QR code and learn more about the objects related to the Karaite community. Link to the route here.
Mostly relevant to neighboring countries:
Route “Pacų kelias” invites history lovers for a better acquaintance with Vilkaviškis district, Prienai and Suwalki counties in Poland. Information about the route will be available in Polish and English. All objects and activities related to the Pacai tribe on the Lithuanian-Polish border will be marked by a metal lily from the Pacai heraldry. In Vilkaviškis district, you will find a metal lily in two places – near Vilkaviškis St. Cathedral of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary and St. St. Anne's Church, in Prienai district – in five places. Follow the news here.
Castle by the Nemunas. 17th century castle, a luxurious residential palace that combines Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist styles is an actual pearl of Panemunė. From 2022, visitors are invited to discover the castle with the help of smart tablets: see how furnished rooms of the castle looked like and learn more about the daily life and celebrations of the landlords. More information here.
Most important dates of cultural events to keep in mind
The biggest events of Kaunas 2022:
May 20-22. Second Act: The Confluence. It is the second main event in the Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy. Kaunas 2022 invites everyone to one of Lithuania’s most impressive sites to encounter the contradictions that lie within all of us and celebrate unity together. Everyone will face the event with a water show on a scale never before seen in Lithuania, directed by British theatre director Chris Baldwin.
November 25-27. Third Act: The Contract. The official Closing Ceremonies of the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 programme will be dedicated to signing contract with ourselves and with our city – a pledge to live long and happy lives from this moment forward!
More information about Kaunas 2022 programme can be found here.
Vilnius 700 events: Vilnius Summer Music Festival on 25 of July. Free music festival in Vingis Park, one of the largest open spaces in the city, will be waiting for all residents and guests of Vilnius who love music. More information about Vilnius 700 here.
Manor tasting. Ilzenberg Manor (Rokiškis district) will invite visitors to a special picnic on an electric catamaran in Ilgis Lake to taste the natural food products of Ilzenberg Manor. Follow the news here.
Tastes of Vilnius. Right before the touristic season, hybrid gastronomy and historical excursions “Dinner Tours” will take place in the Stikliai Quarter of Vilnius Old Town. The tour combines the most secret places in the quarter, its history and flavors of four different cultural cuisines in different restaurants. The audio guide in English will reveal the stories of how people lived in the quarter (which now is 600 years old) – what the residents suffered from and what they laughed at, what they were angry with and… many other interesting details about Stikliai Quarter's neighborhood. Follow the news here.
New ideas for active leisure in Lithuania
Around Lithuania. Those looking for more sustainable ways to travel around the country should check the Forest and Sea Trails which stretch through all three Baltic States! The length of the Forest Trail in Lithuania is 747 km, and the Sea Trail is 216 km. Until the start of the tourist season, the trail sections will be fully marked with points of interest and prepared for the travelers. More information here.
Gondola rides in Trakai. This year is special for Trakai – the city will celebrate its 700th anniversary! On that occasion, a number of festive surprises await the guests of Trakai, including the opportunity to take a gondola ride. Follow the news here.
Water bus. In Klaipėda, a water bus should start transporting travellers from the Biržai bridge up the Danė River to the Tauralaukis district. 6 marina stops are planned (marinas and coasts are still being developed). It is planned to have 3 water buses that will run 12 trips a day. Follow the news here.
Interwar villas in Kaunas. Exclusively for the year of the European Capital of Culture, Kaunas offers thematic apartments for a stay where guests will get acquainted with the most prominent periods of Kaunas history and enjoy the authentic art deco interiors of these times. More information here.
More news from Kaunas. “Magnus Hotel” is undergoing a complete refurbishment and it will open its doors as "ibis Styles Kaunas" in May 2022. “The Berman hotel" apartment style hotel is planned to open in April. Follow the news here.
News from the seaside. A new four-star hotel “Victoria” (Accor Group Hotel) will open its doors in Klaipėda. Likewise, the existing “Michaelson Boutique Hotel” will open an annex in a renovated Dane River warehouse. Follow the news here.
Travelling with kids in Lithuania: what’s new?
Mostly relevant to neighboring countries:
Cartoon characters in Biržai district. Located very close to Kirkilas Observation Tower, Kirkilas Amusement Park surprises its visitors every time. This year, a new park of cartoon characters, superheroes and sculptures will invite those travelling with children. Follow the news here.
Summer skating rink in Anykščiai. Exciting news from Labyrinth Park from May: Devil's Tunnel, a new train, an interactive sandbox and a special novelty – a summer outdoor skating rink! In addition, the town of the crooked house will open the door next to the Labyrinths Park. Follow the news here.
Mini-golf in Alytus. This year, Tarzanija Adventure Park, located on the picturesque bank of the Nemunas, will not only rebuild the climbing tracks, adjusting more of them to the young adventure seekers but also invite its visitors to play mini-golf. More information here.