FROM THE BALTIC TO THE BLACK SEA
Published: 29 March 2019
Fabulous family holidays in Lithuania!
With the constant pressures of work and school, it can often be hard to carve out family time. A Summer holiday can be a great way of switching off, kicking back and spending some quality time together – but with so many options out there, and heaps of pressure to get it right, where do you start?
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone likes and needs different things and boy, do they let you know it. And the cost? Blimey. The bigger the family – the bigger the price tag. And with the unavoidable increase during the summer holiday period the total cost of a family trip can often leave you in the red and out of pocket. Having children of different ages makes things difficult when you’re looking at types of holidays and how to fill your time – and then throw in the varying interests and abilities… Pleasing everyone can be a tall order.
Lithuania might not be the first destination that springs to mind but when you look at what it can deliver, and how many boxes it can tick, it will soon be up there at the top of your list. (And if the box clicking sounds a bit clinical, trust me, once you are there you’ll unreservedly fall in love with the place). Easy to get to, incredible value for money, great weather and so much to do, read on for a bunch of reasons why Lithuania could be the perfect place for your next family vacation.
How do I get there?
It's so easy! Fly to Lithuania from many regional UK and European airports, with regular flights into Vilnius, Kaunas or Palanga. Your preferred flights will determine the best itinerary for you once you are there, but the possibilities are endless. Londoners are lucky to be able to fly in to Vilnius and out of Palanga which allows a one-way internal route, with lots of time to explore. With a flight time of only 2.5 hours from the UK, it is an easy journey to co-ordinate even if you have small children in your group. Short flight times also mean you can spend more time on holiday than in transit. Result.
What type of holiday can I enjoy?
One of the joys of Lithuania is that it can be anything you want it to be. For those wanting some relaxation time there are plenty of beautiful beaches to sunbathe and swim and family friendly spa hotels where parents and children can be pampered! Coastal resorts and inland lakes offer water sports and there are plenty of activities to please adrenalin junkies and outdoor enthusiasts. Forests and glades offer some great walking opportunities and there’s plenty of wildlife if you know where to look. Lithuania has a rich and diverse cultural history with castles, museums and churches to explore, inspiring architecture and charming towns and cities, just waiting to be discovered. You can tailor your trip to take in as little or as much as you like. Everything can be done at your pace.
Everyone likes different things; how do I meet everyone's demands?
With many interesting places to visit and adventures to experience, the sky really is the limit. A travel specialist will want to focus on what your family enjoys - do you want to travel around a lot or take a more restful approach? Do you want lots of sports or cultural activities? How old are your children? Do you have grandparents in tow? Teenagers could have their history learning brought to life by visiting an old Soviet missile base or KGB museum... Younger kids will love the open spaces, playgrounds and waterparks. Travel specialists will really know their apples. Ask and you will be rewarded.
How do we travel when we are there?
Driving in Lithuania is fine. It gives you more freedom to explore and a bit more flexibility on what you do and when. Lithuanians drive on the right side of the road and most of the road rules are the same as the UK. You can hire a car when you arrive but hiring through your travel operator might give you more control and peace of mind. However, not everyone wants to drive. There’s plenty of public transport if you want to explore independently but if you have booked a multi-stop stay, you might want to consider a private transfer between your accommodations. You can stop off and sightsee along the way or stop for a comfort break. This is a great way to learn more about Lithuania and get some inside hints and tips that will add to your holiday fun!
What accommodation is available for a family holiday in Lithuania?
Whether you like self-catering or want to treat yourselves to a stay at a forest spa hotel – there’s plenty of choice. Hotels, apartments, camping, farm stays or lodging with locals – there’s something to suit every family, whatever your size or needs.
So what highlights should we not miss?
Vilnius old town is one of the most laidback, family-friendly capital cities in Europe. Wandering the cobbled streets full of architecture, street entertainment, cafes, street art and local characters is enough to entertain anyone… for hours! Stopping for lunch, a drink or an ice cream is excellent value for money and there is something to cater for all tastes and palettes. Staying in the heart of the old town in an apartment or family hotel room means you have everything within walking distance. Although you don’t have to just explore on foot - take a cycle tour or even try your hand at kayaking through the old town! There are also some super parks in which to hang out and people watch.
Lithuania's second city is well worth a visit to explore nearby sights such as Rumsiskes open-air museum, and to enjoy a day of watersports at the lake. Experience local life and learn more about Lithuania by staying in a family guesthouse. The breakfasts are top notch and come fully recommended!
Farmsteads & Rural Retreats
The countryside is stunning - unspoilt rolling landscapes of forests and lakes with picturesque wooden villages dotted about. Every now and then you will see a reminder of the Soviet occupation - maybe a collective dairy farm or grain store... Escape from modern life and relax in natural surroundings. You might even persuade the kids to come off their tech and get dad to put down his smartphone.
Life’s a beach
OK, OK so it’s a Summer holiday and everyone needs a beach, right? The Baltic coast has surprisingly beautiful sandy beaches and the main resorts of Nida & Palanga have great family friendly hotels and activities close by. Who said you couldn’t have it all?
I'm in. Now let's talk specifics. What else can we see?
Mix and match these fab highlights to keep everyone happy throughout the holiday.
- Cold War Museum - nuclear missile bunker
- Forest fairytale walks
- Open-air ethnographic museum
- Cosmology centre
- Old towns
- Atomic bunker spy museum
- Visit a local village
- Hill of Crosses
- Narrow gauge railway
…. and there are plenty of designer shops dotted around Vilnius Old Town so keep those credit cards hidden from trend-setting teenagers.
If you have any little (or grown up) adrenalin junkies in your family then why not try out the following activities:
- Summer toboggan
- Indoor ski slope
- Barefoot Walking trail
- Rope parks
Or for something a bit less physical – but equally as fun – why not try out a craft workshop? There are loads of local artisans that demonstrate their discipline, offering you the chance to let out your inner ‘Blue Peter’ instincts and create something special.
Folklore and legends give a fairytale feel to many attractions. Watch out for wooden carvings, themed playparks and traditional statues whilst on your travels.
One thing that keeps Lithuania ahead of the game is its enthusiasm for throwing open air events such as fairs, festivals, street entertainment and art installations. There’s a full calendar throughout the year from song festivals to craft fairs, rally car racing to the sock knitting championships - so check out what is happening during your stay. A specialist tour operator will have all the latest news so let them know if there is anything that particularly floats your boat.
So, there you have it. Lithuania in a nutshell, family style. The perfect destination for a family holiday. There'll be laughter, there'll be tears, but it won't be because there's nothing to do! Try it. You’ll love it. And we guarantee you’ll be back for more.
At Baltic Holidays we can arrange the perfect family holiday to suit all tastes and budgets. All the Baltic Holidays' team members have families from tiny tots to trendy teens, so our family holidays are well and truly tried and tested. Let us know what you are looking for and we’ll shape an itinerary that’s unique – just like you and your family.
Contact the Baltic Holidays family holiday team; Phil, Sarah or Sally at [email protected]
Read Catherine Nelson's article in The Guardian for her take on a family holiday in Lithuania!
Published: 29 March 2019