Lithuania with kids. Travel guide for families
We traveled to Lithuania with our almost 10-months old daughter. That was a summer we spent our vacations in eastern Poland and decided to take our baby girl a little bit further east. I’ve always loved the Baltic Sea and wanted to see how it looks outside the Polish coast line. We decided to go by car. On the one hand, it was very comfortable to travel with a baby by car, on the other hand Lithuanian drivers are horrible and driving through Lithuania was a nightmare. It seemed like men there had to create dangerous and uncomfortable situations on the road to prove their level of testosterone. It was disgusting and simply dangerous. Believe me, I am not exaggerating here. Before Lithuania we traveled thousands of kilometers through Balkans and central and eastern Europe. But driving through Lithuania was the worse experience we had.
We as well didn’t have too good experiences when it comes to hosts. The Lithuanian people we met during our trip were very unfriendly. So, although we find the country itself very beautiful and interesting, we couldn’t enjoy our trip fully because of all those not nice interactions with locals. You see, we like talking to people when we visit different places in the world. We usually end up with making new friends and talking about people we met during our trips long after returning home. Sometimes we return to the same places to meet with those people again after a few years (like in Cuba or Bosnia and Herzegovina). But in Lithuania during our stay, we didn’t meet anyone worth keeping in touch with and we didn’t have any nice regular interactions with locals there. This was very unusual for us.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that ALL Lithuanians are rude and not nice. However, it’s very strange we hadn’t met anyone proving us wrong. So, if you are planning to visit Lithuania with kids (I still think it is worth it), don’t be surprised if sometimes you feel not welcomed there or find many people family and kids unfriendly. As long as you ignore the unfriendly behavior, you can still enjoy your trip. Ok, it sounds like a manifest: “don’t go there” but it’s not. Lithuania itself is beautiful. My great grandparents actually come from there and I really love Kaunas and Vilnius for example. This was not my first trip there and not the last one I assume. But, when I recommend destinations for family travels, I want to be sure I give for the parents all information they may need.
The top things to do and see with kids in Lithuania
Kaunas is a second largest city in Lithuania. If you are driving to Lithuania from Poland, it is only one hour away from the border. The city has a beautiful Old Town and it’s famous for its castle. Must sees in Kaunas are: Kaunas Castle, House of Perkūnas, Town Hall, and the Old Town.
Rumšiškės Open Air Museum is one of the largest open air ethnographic museum in Europe. It displays the heritage of rural life in Lithuania. You can see 140 reconstructed buildings from the 18th-19th century. During our trips we often visit open air and ethnographic museums and I must admit this one was the most impressive one. The museum is on a big area, so take a carrier or a stroller for your kid. Moreover, don’t forget about an umbrella and sunblock to protect your kids from sun if you are visiting in summer.
Palanga is a seaside resort on the Lithuanian shore of the Baltic Sea. I love the Baltic Sea and wanted to show it to my husband and our baby daughter. I must admit that for all of us Palanga was too tacky, touristic, and crowded. Of course, the Baltic Sea I wanted to show to my family was still there and it was marvelous as always, but if you want to enjoy this sea, choose some seaside cities in Poland (I’ve been to quite a few of them and they are much better compared to places close to the sea in Lithuania).
Curonian Spit: Nida and the Great Dune Curonian Spit is a thin sand-dune spit between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. And it is spectacular. This area is home to the highest moving sand dunes in Europe. Visit the Curonian Spit National Park (here you see the dunes) and a charming fishing village of Nida. There is a funny-ha-ha story from out trip to Nida. I’m used to eating fish at the Baltic seaside. However, while Poland is famous for its fried fish, Lithuania offers almost entirely smoked fish. We finally decide to try it in Nida. We went to one of the small fish selling spots and asked for a fish with no bones as we have a small baby and don’t want her to choke on it. The seller assured us we got what we wanted. We took the fish “to-go” and only later it turned out it was the boniest fish we ate in our lives.
The Hill of Witches (near Juodkrantė ) is an outdoor sculpture gallery filled with huge wooden witches and devils. Sounds scary but in really it is a nice place to visit with kids. We visited it on our way from Curonian Spit to Palanga.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is one of my favorite cities in the world. I’m very sentimental when it comes to Vilnius because it is strongly connected with Polish history, culture, and literature. If you are Polish you definitely should follow the footsteps of Adam Mickiewicz and see Matka Boska Ostrobramska (Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn), the famous catholic painting of the Virgin Mary. Top sights in Vilnius are: Gediminas Castle Tower, Vilnius Cathedral, Gate of Dawn, St. Anne’s Church, Cathedral Square, Three Crosses, Užupis art neighborhood.
Trakai Island Castle is a fortress from the 14th century in the middle of Lake Galve. When we visited it, there was some nice local cultural festival taking place. During it one could try local dishes and buy handmade products. Historically there were many different communities living in Trakai: Karaims, Tatars, Lithuanians, Jew, Poles, and Russians. At the festival we could try delicious Tatar food.Feel free to share: