A land of wood and water, proud, independent Lithuania (Lietuva) is fast being recognized as one of Europe's gems. Southernmost of the Baltic states, it's a pocket-sized republic that's a nature-lover's delight, yet lacks nothing in urban excitement.
Lithuania's foremost attraction is its stunning Baltic coastline, especially the unique sliver of white sand known as Curonian Spit. Lonely coastal wetlands lure migrating birds by the tens of thousands while inland, lush forests watch over burnished lakes.
The capital, Vilnius, is a beguiling artists’ enclave, its timeworn courtyards, cobbled streets, and baroque churches animated by the vibrant, optimistic culture of today.
Further afield, remnants of Soviet times – a disused nuclear missile site (now a museum to the Cold War) and a Soviet sculpture park – are reminders of a dark recent past, while the Hill of Crosses and Orvydas stone garden stand testament to the land's enduring faith.
So, welcome to Lithuania!