Europe has no shortage of summer destinations—the French Riviera, Mykonos, Capri—these are probably the places that come to mind when you think of a summer in Europe. However, consider heading Northeast this season. Lithuania is home to stretches of sandy Seaside beaches, funky clubs and trendy dining. Keep reading to find out why you need to visit Lithuania’s seaside this summer.
Getting to Lithuania
Lithuania is surprisingly easy to get to. From many major cities in the US, the easiest route is via Lufthansa through Frankfurt and then onto Vilnius. Lufthansa lounges have reopened, hot food is being served in their Frankfurt hub and in-flight service is nearly back to normal. Door to door from Boston to Vilnius, travel time can be as short as 12.5 hours. And if you splurge on Business Class, expect lie flat beds, upgraded food options and attentive service. The best part is since they are a part of the Star Alliance, you can earn points on United, SWISS and a number of other popular airlines if you aren’t a frequent traveler on Lufthansa.
Where to Go on the Lithuanian Seaside
One challenge about visiting the Lithuanian seaside is that there are lots of options. However, they aren’t swarmed like their Mediterranean counterparts.
When you fly into Vilnius rent a car at the airport and then drive 3 hours West to Palanga. This resort city is the most sensible starting point. From there you can head further West to the Curonian Spit. This peninsula is accessible via an affordable car ferry that runs every 15 minutes a short distance from Palanga. After you cross the lagoon, you’ll want to head South to Nida. Nida is quickly becoming the Tulum of Eastern Europe—complete with stylish beach clubs, festivals in the forest and more.
Where to Stay
In Palanga, the most luxurious place to stay is the Palanga Life Balance Hotel & Spa. There are two buildings “Design” & “Luxury”—both are worthy of a stay but the Design building is much newer so choose a room here if it is available. The rooms are funky, but the true highlight is the onsite spa, sauna and outdoor space. Also, there is a great onsite restaurant in the Luxury building, be sure to book a dinner here and check out the breakfast buffet for lots of modern interpretations of Lithuanian favorites.
In Nida, accommodations are more difficult to come by so book a room at the Spa Nida as far in advance as you can because it tends to book up on the weekends, otherwise you’ll need to go for an Airbnb.
What to Do
Starting in Palanga, the must-do attractions are the beach, dining and nightlife. The beach is over 11 miles long so you will never feel crowded. And afterwards, expect a unique set of nightlife options. RĄŽĖ and Basanova are where you will find the cool kids after the sun (eventually) goes down—which in the middle of the summer isn’t until 10 or 11pm.
In Nida, it’s all about getting out into nature. It feels reminiscent of Cape Cod in that once you get off the ferry from Klaipėda you’ll notice a whole different set of flora. Driving through the forests on the way down the Curonian Spit is such a beautiful way to start this next part of your trip you’ll surely breathe a sigh of relief because it truly feels like something out of a fairytale. Some of the must-dos are: hike up the Grey Sand Dunes, take a boat out to Šturmų Švyturys across the lagoon for dinner, check out the Narushi pop up in the harbor and spend a day or night at Kupolas Beach Club.
The best part about visiting the Lithuanian seaside? You’re only ever 3-4 hours from Vilnius so it is completely reasonable to get in some beach tine alongside your cosmopolitan adventure in the nation’s capital.