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In winter, Lithuania usually rests underneath a white blanket of snow and it is the time of the year perfect to explore the country in a different way. Through unique traditions and signature activities, you will surely fall in love with the snowy landscape of Lithuania. We’ve gathered some of the most interesting activities that will allow you to experience the country to the fullest. Here’s our top 5.
Horse racing near Sartai, a Lake in Northeastern Lithuania, has started way back in the XIX century. Traditionally, at the beginning of February, a dozen chariot racers used to compete on the frozen surface of Sartai Lake while being cheered by thousands of spectators. Nowadays it’s a spectacular cultural event that attracts tens of thousands of visitors and consists of a race in a special Sartai hippodrome, near the lake, a large traditional crafts fair and traditional music. Combine that with the fascinating beauty of nature near Sartai and you will be sure – the race will be something you remember for a long time!
For the large part of Lithuanian winter, the Curonian Lagoon becomes covered with a thick layer of ice. Ice fishers gather on its surface and an ice connection between the mainland Lithuania and Curonian Spit is established. The frozen surface of lagoon enables to witness the beauty of Curonian Spit from an especially unique perspective. Be sure to travel in a group with an experienced tour guide for the maximum safety. The tour of spectacular coastline can be done on foot, while if you’re looking for something more extreme, the mild wind on the lagoon surface allows riding a special type of sleigh, powered by wind.
Kernavė, the medieval capital of Lithuania attracts thousands of tourists because of its spectacular man-made hill valley and traditional craft fairs. However, in winter it can become a site for one of the most fascinating dog-sleigh rides! You will get acquainted with the history of Alaskan Huskies and other breeds of racing dogs, get to know the dog sleigh gear and experience a few kilometer ride in a real dog sleigh! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Užgavenės is a traditional Lithuanian festival, celebrated in all cities simultaneously, similar to Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday in Western Europe. It is celebrated 7 weeks before Easter – usually, this time is in February. During Užgavenės, locals dress up in various intimidating clothes, puts on scary grotesque masks, looking to intimidate winter, so the spring would come faster. The festival features tons of pancakes being consumed and a variety of fun traditional Lithuanian activities. One of them is the most anticipated of them all – the burning of Morė, the effigy of winter. Once the Morė is burnt, the winter should gradually leave the country and spring come to live. If you’re visiting Lithuania during February, Užgavenės day is an absolute must to witness.
Although Lithuania cannot boast of impressive skiing resorts and high-rising mountains, it makes the most of its hills in an impressive way. Liepkalnis, the highest summit of Vilnius, situated just a few minutes ride away from the historical city center of the Lithuanian capital is probably the best example of it. Open during the larger part of the winter, Liepkalnis offers convenient skiing activities and facilities that might add some active flavor to your staying in the Lithuanian capital. Be sure to check it out, as the panoramic views are amazing too!
Craving for some winter experience? We are more than excited and waiting for you to visit Lithuania in winter!