This road trip itinerary will highlight the top things to see in Lithuania on a weekend trip away. For sure, something is refreshing about travelling to the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). These countries have not yet suffered from mass tourism. So, they have a raw and authentic feel.
Beck and I really enjoy travelling to lesser-visited destinations such as Lithuania. It gives us a greater sense of exploring something different and new. In particular, a trip to Lithuania has a great mix of untouched natural landscapes, captivating sites and well-maintained medieval castles in old towns. By following this weekend road trip itinerary, you’ll get to see all of the top tourist attractions in Lithuania.
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Lithuania Road Trip: Two Day Itinerary
Undoubtedly, there’s plenty to see in Lithuania. When considering a weekend trip to Lithuania, most people will only explore Vilnius, the capital city. This is fair enough. Vilnius has much to see in the way of culture, history and green spaces.
However, our fascination for Lithuania admittedly began when a friend of mine, who posted a photo of the Hill of Crosses. The photo enticed me – what an incredibly unique and fascinating site. We would have to go there at some point I figured!
After that, Beck and I stumbled upon a photo of a beautiful terracotta-coloured castle located on an island! Upon further research, we discovered the name was Trakai Island Castle, which is one of the most famous Lithuanian places to see. To put the icing on the cake, we also came across an Instagram photo of an unusual strip of land. It was parallel to a coast and it was called the Curonian Spit. Again, it was located in Lithuania. For us, that was three strikes! Essentially, the writing was on the wall – Beck and I would have to go to Lithuania.
How Many Days Are Enough For Lithuania?
Is it possible to see all the important places in Lithuania in just one weekend? Travel guides suggested we couldn’t! However, we soon realised that Lithuania, a country just shy of three million people, is quite a small country by size. Yes, there would be hours of driving involved, but it was doable – to explore Lithuania in two days.
So, a Lithuania weekend road trip was born! Beck and I don’t mind a busy trip if that means we get to see more of a place or country. If you’re interested in doing the same, this is how we travelled the width of Lithuania in less than 48 hours.
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Lithuania Road Trip – Day 1
Rest assured that during this weekend road trip itinerary, you’ll see all of the top places to visit in Lithuania. Without further ado, this is the first day of our Lithuania road trip.
1. Kaunas Castle
The first stop on this road trip itinerary is Kaunas, which is the second-largest city in Lithuania.
Bear in mind, that there is no free parking in or around Kaunas city centre or the old town. So we parked some distance away. From there, we walked 20 minutes or so, grabbed a coffee and then headed to Kaunas Castle. It’s actually the oldest castle in Lithuania dating back to the 14th Century. But, it has been recently renovated and modernised. We didn’t go inside – we simply enjoyed walking around the parameters of the small but aesthetically charming castle.
2. Raudondvaris Manor Castle
Afterwards, we visited Raudondvaris Castle. Sure, it was quite a beautiful Gothic-Renaissance style manor. But it included a restaurant amongst other modern buildings. So it wasn’t the Medieval style of castle we were after. So it’s no huge loss if you skip this former residence.
3. Raudonė Castle
About 40 minutes away is the Raudonė Castle. This castle is another manor whilst currently being used as a public school! But, we actually preferred this castle over Raudondvaris Castle. There were less modernised buildings attached, some informative plaques and also a nice park next to it which added to the ambience.
4. Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses is a 60 metre long hill filled with wooden sculptures and crosses. Specifically, there are around 200,000 crosses that cover more than one acre of it! Yes, it is as bizarre, peculiar and eerie as it sounds.
Interestingly, many of the hills’ crosses have been destroyed in numerous demolition attempts by the Soviet government. But the crosses are always quickly replaced, strengthening the fortitude and significance of the Catholic pilgrim site. In 1993, Pope John Paul II visited. This first brought attention on the world stage, helping it gain popularity. There were so many cool photo ops here that we were overwhelmed, in a truly fantastic way!
5. Port of Klaipėda
The Port of Klaipėda, near the resort town of Palanga, isn’t an attraction as such. It’s the new ferry port you will need to use to cross the Curonian Lagoon to get to the Curonian Spit. The ferry route is Klaipėda-Smilynė and usually runs half-hourly from 6:20am–11:20pm. But, please check the website for a more detailed timetable. The price for a passenger car is around €12 one way and takes only five minutes to cross.
Once you have arrived on the Spit, the drive down to Nida is around 45 minutes. Personally, when Beck and I arrived, it was dark. So, we explored the Curonian Spit, the day after.
Lithuania Road Trip – Day 2
This is the second day of our Lithuania road trip adventure.
6. Curonian Spit National Park
The Curonian Spit National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a curiously thin slither of land that divides the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon. We had researched an interesting area called the Hill of Witches but decided we would explore the sand dunes instead. This was because we had limited time.
We stopped at random spots and walked different areas of the sand dunes. For sure, this is where you’ll find Lithuania’s best beaches. We also paid €3/person to enter the Kursiu Nerija National Park. This entailed a nice pathway and information boards detailing the varying types of sand dunes. You’ll then walk onto a flat area of sand getting close to the larger fenced-off dunes. The endpoint of the walk overlooks the coastline and is a nice viewpoint.
7. Trakai Island Castle
If you choose to travel to Lithuania, visiting this castle will be one of the highlights of your trip. After the three hour drive from Klaipėda, we were more than ready to stretch our legs!
Unfortunately, if you park near the castle, you’ll have to pay for parking. We parked in what seemed an unofficial off-shoot car park for around €3. We then walked about 10–15 minutes through the village, around the serene lake and across the wooden bridge to reach the island castle. Views of the castle over the lake and from the bridge are stunning. It’s one of the most picturesque castle settings in Europe.
Plenty is going on around the lake too. Boat rides, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants. However, we only had time to check out the castle itself which was worth the €8 entrance fee. The castle dates back to the 14th Century. The information provided inside details the history very well.
8. Hill of 3 Crosses
We decided to check out some of the main attractions in Vilnius as we would depart from there later in the evening. So, we decided to go to the Hill of 3 Crosses. Getting there involved walking by the Vilnia River and through peaceful forest-type surroundings.
After that, we arrived at the base of the monument. Certainly, this is one of the most Instagrammable places in Vilnius. The views are worth the minimal effort. We parked close by and paid around €3.
9. Gediminas Castle Tower
Given our flight back to London was quite late at night, we had enough time to enjoy the sunset. As a result, we walked the +100 wooden steps for sunset views from Gediminas Castle Tower. Of course, there are many different spots to enjoy a sunset in Vilnius. Yet, this spot was very nice and just happened to be close to where we parked.
FYI – if you have extra time in Vilnius, make sure to check out Vilnius Cathedral.
Lithuania Weekend Road Trip Recap
We hope that this road trip guide helps you explore Lithuania! Squeezed into just one weekend are all of the highlights to see in Lithuania. Of course, this itinerary isn’t for everyone. For sure, we suggest you to spend longer in Lithuania if possible. That’s because we really enjoyed our time there. But, for those in a similar position to us, who can only spare a weekend, use this guide to help plan your trip.
Additionally, for information on how to get to and around Lithuania, accommodation and gear essentials for a weekend trip, read below.
How to Get to Lithuania
Vilnius is easily reached from many European cities. Flying London to Vilnius return (departing Friday night, returning Sunday night) isn’t the cheapest airfare by Ryanair European weekend standards. But it didn’t break the bank either. For return airfares, we paid around €68.
Lithuania Rental Car Hire
To visit all of the places we wanted, driving in Lithuania was our only choice. We hired a car from Vilnius International Airport. Car hire for two days was about €42.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
Accommodation in Lithuania
To get a head start on the Lithuania weekend road trip itinerary, we decided to drive to Kaunas from Vilnius upon arrival on Friday night. The drive was around 80 minutes. Below, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options in Kaunas.
For Saturday night, we stayed all the way down the bottom of the Curonian Spit in a lovely Lithuanian holiday town called Nida. Indeed, the most popular accommodation along the Curonian Spit is in Nida. With this in mind, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options in Nida and elsewhere on the Curonian Spit.
Best Accommodation on the Curonian Spit
Otherwise, you may want to spend a night in Vilnius as part of your Lithuania road trip. Below, you’ll find the best accommodation options in Vilnius.
To check availability and prices, head to Booking.com.
Best Accommodation in Vilnius
Where to Eat in Lithuania
Supermarkets here are reasonably cheap in Lithuania. That’s why we stocked up at Lidl in Klaipėda. Admittedly, we mostly did our own cooking, except for morning coffees and one traditional Lithuanian meal for dinner.
The place we visited for traditional Lithuanian cuisine was called Viskas Lietuviška and it’s located in Klaipėda. The food was what you would expect of a Baltic nation. It was cheap and delicious cuisine full of starch! We tried Burokėlių sriuba (Beetroot Soup), Cepelinai (Lithuanian style dumplings), potato pancakes and some salad. You know, just for balance. With a beer each, the bill was no more than €15 for the two of us.
Travel Essentials For A Weekend Road Trip in Lithuania
For a comfortable time road trippin’ around Lithuania, we recommend these bits of kit.
Anker Portable Power Bank
Keep your phone, laptop and other accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker Portable Power Bank. We wouldn’t travel without this high-quality portable charger.
Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
The Sea to Summit DryLite Towel is the best quick-dry microfibre towel. This compact, lightweight and super-absorbent towel is perfect for travel.
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
Having an EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter is one of the best accessories to travel with, especially if you’re travelling to multiple continents during your trip.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly yet high-quality noise-cancelling headphones for travel, then look no further than the Anker Soundcore Space Q45.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite travel gear, camera gear and hiking gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Lithuania Road Trip FAQs
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about doing a trip to Lithuania.
Is Lithuania a Cheap Country to Visit?
Yes, relatively speaking and compared with other European countries, Lithuania is a cheap country to visit.
Is It Easy to Drive in Lithuania?
Yes, driving in Lithuania is straightforward.
Is Lithuania Worth Visiting?
Yes, absolutely. Lithuania is a fascinating destination to travel to. Indeed, Beck and I think that this Lithuania road trip is one of the best Baltic road trips on offer.
Bonus Tips For Your Lithuania Road Trip
- Research free parking for Lithuania travel: we were understandably a bit rushed to see Lithuania in just a weekend. So we parked quite close to some of the main attractions to ensure we didn’t miss out on seeing anything. In hindsight, researching more about free parking close to these attractions would have saved us more money during the trip.
- Book flights in advance: to travel to Lithuania, we booked our flights about 4–5 months in advance to score relatively cheap return airfares.
- Ferry tickets do not need to be booked in advance: we caught the ferry service to the Curonian Spit around 6pm on Saturday and left the next day around 11am. Neither of these times were busy. If you travel around these times, securing a ticket for the next ferry service available shouldn’t be an issue.
Did you find this European-based weekend guide helpful? Check out our other great Europe guides to help plan and book your trip.