Although it is a relatively small country today, Lithuania was once an empire that stretched all the way to the Black Sea. It’s a land covered with dense forests and lakes, and is considered by some to be the most beautiful of all the Baltic States. It is predominately rural.
Its capital, Vilnius, a small city that can be explored on foot, has a beautiful Baroque Old Town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the city’s attractions are two museums – the State Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Museum – which detail the atrocities committed against the Jews in the past century. Another, The Museum of Genocide Victims, also known as the KGB Museum, reveals terrors under Soviet occupation. It’s housed in the former local headquarters of the KGB.
Not far outside Vilnius, is Trakai Island Castle which, on a small island in Lake Galvė, appears as if rising out of the pages of a fairytale book.
On the other side of the country, on the Baltic Coast, is Curonian Spit National Park. A barrier island that had its forests decimated in the 17th century, it soon saw massive sand dunes moved by the wind burying entire villages. The area, stabilized once again, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.