Old Town in Vilnius

Image The Old Town of Vilnius, one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in Northern Europe. It was developed over the course of many centuries, and has been shaped by the city's history and its constantly changing cultural influence. It is a place where some of Europe's greatest architectural styles - gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical - stand side by side and complement each other.

Trakai Castle

Image Trakai Castle The historical capital of Lithuania is Trakai is otherwise known as the ‘town of lakes’. Trakai town owns a unique castle which is the only one of its type in the entire Eastern Europe. The castle is surrounded by waters on all four sides and is called the Trakai Island Castle. Though constructed in 1410 just after the famous Battle of Grünenwald as a defense fortress, it was turned into a residence of Grand Dukes of Lithuania Vytautas and Kęstutis. Later on, the Trakai Island Castle was used as a prison. At these times, however, it was almost completely neglected. The Trakai Island Castle today is the hub where plenty of concerts, events and festivals are held. In Lithuania, the castle is also considered to be one of the most beautiful historical monuments ever. Trakai Island Castle is an incredible architectural example of Gothic style. The castle has a high and well-constructed strong wall all around it and also a forecastle which was built for the purpose of protection. According to historical sources, the Trakai Island Castle was also equipped with a mechanism for forced-air heating and had many lovely wooden galleries, paintings of stained glass, murals, secret passages.

Old Towns of Riga

Image Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, one of the major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centres of the Baltics, and an important seaport, situated on the mouth of the Daugava. Riga's historical centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is particularly notable for its extensive Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture, which UNESCO considers to be unparalleled anywhere in the world. Riga is divided into two parts by the river Daugava. Old (medieval) town is in the centre of the city on the east side of the river. It is surrounded by a ring of ~19th -- early 20th century architecture, followed by a mix of private 2-floor house districts (many also pre-WWII) and Soviet-era 5-18 floor apartment districts, with an occasional factory (especially near railroad lines). The term "centre" loosely refers to quite a large area around Old town limited by the river to the west, the railroad lines to the east and south, and without a definite boundary to the north. The areas usually most interesting to tourists are the Old Town and the area around the Freedom Monument, located nearby. A walking tour is by far the best way to see these two districts. The area around Old Town is mostly built between 1860 and 1914 and has many buildings that resemble Berlin, Paris, or Rome. Many Soviet-era movies set in Western Europe were filmed here as the buildings can make the city pass for a city in Western Europe.

Kursiu Nerija

Image Kursiu Nerija National Park is one of the five national parks in Lithuania. It was established in 1991 to protect the unique ecosystems of the Curonian Spit and Curonian Lagoon. One part of the 50 kilometres long Curonian Spit belongs to the Republic of Lithuania. The other to the Russian Federation. With its still drifting sand dunes, the sea side forests cherishing the hundred-years-old pine trees, dunes covered by a mountain pines’ carpet planted by hand, white sand beaches and the old fishermen villages, the Curonian spit is truly unique! In order to preserve the valuable landscape complex, Kuršių nerija National Park was established in 1991. Kuršių nerija National Park is an outstanding place that allows visitors to explore and get to know nature, culture and traditions in a way that is active and environmentally friendly. The Curonian Spit is a perfect place for observing wildlife, sustainable tourism, leisure and cultural self expression. Here you can enjoy cycling, hiking and canoe tours, sailing trips and try traditional fishermen’s food. There are numerous destinations that attract many visitors each year.

Hill of the Crosses

Image The Hill of Crosses, Kryziy Kalnas, located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity. The history begins in 1831, when hundreds of crosses were placed here to protest the fact the thousands of their countrymen who had been deported to Siberia during an anti-Russian uprising. Again, another uprising in 1863 was similarly met with repression and the crosses appeared again. Over the next 100 years more and more crosses were placed there. When the Soviet regime took over after World War II, the Communist authorities forbid anyone to go there and punished those who did. As the persecution worsened under the atheistic regime, thousands were exiled to Siberia and whole villages were rounded up. Yet this symbol of resistance remained. The Soviets brought in the army to bulldoze all the crosses, then later flooded the entire area. The last time the hill was buldozed was in 1975, and yet the crosses kept coming back.

Saaremaa Island

Image The territory of Saaremaa has been inhabited for about eight thousand years. The people of Saaremaa have seen many battles and been ruled over by Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. Saaremaa has retained its uniqueness due to its location and isolation. In the villages there are still stone fences and houses with thatched roofs. Dolomite, windmills and the famous local home-brewed beer are considered the symbols of Saaremaa. The capital (and only city) in Saaremaa is Kuressaare which started as a market trading place. In Kuressaare town park stands The Episcopal Castle which is unique in being the only intact medieval fortress in the Baltic countries. The castle is now a museum where you can see several exhibitions about the history of Kuressaare, explore the well-restored interior of the castle and “enjoy” eerie details such as torture instruments and the dungeons. In 1840 the first spa opened in Kuressaare and since then Saaremaa has been well-known as a resort area. Because of its mild maritime climate and lime-rich soil, Saaremaa has very rich flora and fauna. Each year hundreds of thousands of migratory birds visit Saaremaa including many protected species e.g. the barnacle goose and mute swan.Besides Viidumae Natural Reserve and Vilsandi National Park, there are over two hundred single nature objects under protection. The meteorite crater at Kaali is the biggest in Europe and easily accessible to visitors. The best-known windmills of Saaremaa are located in Angla - a higher place open to stronger winds. Cultural events bring thousands of visitors to Saaremaa each summer. You can take your pick from Kuressaare Opera Days, Kuressaare Maritime Festival , Kuressaare Castle Days and many more. Those interested in sports are welcome to Saaremaa in June for the Cycling Tour or in October for the Saaremaa Rally.