Lithuania’s Instagram Hotspots: From Maximalist Cafés to Otherworldly Dunes
Lithuania is a country dense with picture-perfect landscapes and unique travel experience one would want to share with their followers. Whether it’s a restaurant in a teal greenhouse or an alien-like desert of dunes, travelers can rediscover the country by going picture-hunting.
April 18, 2023. Lithuania is a small country, but searching its name on Instagram leads to a plethora of delightful visuals popping up on the feed: from vast, white dunes reminiscent of a desert to bright pink soups against a backdrop of cobbled-street Old Town. The plethora of experiences in this Baltic gem — some natural, some man-made, some otherworldly — guarantee that every photo will turn out fantastic.
Experiential travel is one of the key trends influencing the tourism industry in 2023, as an increasing number of tourists seek to discover a destination’s history, culture, and cuisine instead of pure leisure or material purchases. Experiences are also becoming more popular due to the increasing role of social media, which encourages people to capture and share the unique and off-the-beaten-path locations they encounter. Below are a few examples of why Lithuania is so Instagram-worthy.
Lavish interiors for #decorinspo
Instagram is brimming with examples of luxurious restaurants and innovative architecture, but none match the authentic character of Lithuania’s cozy, eclectic, and colorful interiors. The aura of love that pervades the coffee at Augustas ir Barbora café in Vilnius — the capital city — is reminiscent of the famous love story of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Sigismund Augustus, and Barbora Radvilaitė, while symbolized by the cascades of pastel flowers exploding out of the forest-green ceiling. Not to mention their fresh-brewed coffee, champagne breakfasts, and stunning desserts.
Lithuanians have never been ones to shy away from quirkiness, and no spot better personifies this taste for the curious than the Klaipėda-based ToLi nuo klasikos, aptly named for its all-out rejection of restaurant norms and expectations. No visit is ever the same, as the unique menu and interior are constantly reimagined through different regions and cultural themes from around the world as part of the one-of-a-kind gastronomic theaters that take place here. Visitors can take in the sun while sitting in a jewel-like blue greenhouse, peppered with eccentric paintings, bright bouquets of flowers, and a collection of ornate chairs any vintage lover would fawn over.
Picturesque panoramas from above
There is no better way to take in the lush nature of Lithuania than from a bird’s-eye-view, where crystalline rivers, majestic hills, and green forests carve a unique mosaic into the landscape. One spot where this image can be taken looms over the Anykščiai regional park. The Treetop Walking Path rises up to 34 meters above ground, offering sweeping views of the romantic Anykščiai Pinewood, the Šventoji River, and the imposing tower tops of the St. Matthew’s Church.
Out on the Zarasai Lake Observation Bridge, visitors may take in the picturesque beauty of small islands floating on the gentle surface of lake Zarasaitis and the almost-futuristic circular walking path constructed along the coast. Walking this path lets visitors hover above the shimmering waters, providing an excellent backdrop for a springtime Instagram update.
The Sudargas Hillforts near Šakiai amazes sightseers from the heights of 5 castle mounds with a wide-open, azure view of the river Nemunas belt. J. D. Salinger’s — the author of the groundbreaking 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye — grandfather hails from Sudargas, and a small monument to him was unveiled on the hillfort complex in 2020. The enchanting sculpture – a hollow silhouette of a man – stands at the beginning of the mounds as if on the edge of a precipice. It directly references a sentence in the book: “I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff.”
Views from a different planet
Although compact, Lithuania presents ample opportunities to sneak away in a myriad of spots that differ greatly from the rest of the region, even feeling extra-terrestrial at times. Built by the wind and sea, the Lithuanian Baltic seaside offers swathes of sandy, migrating dunes that, at first look, seem like a snapshot taken in Venus. Uninhibited views crown the vast solitary beaches in the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO-listed peninsula where nature is strictly protected. One of its most enchanting spots is Parnidis Dune in Nida. Towering at 52 meters, it is one of the highest dunes in Europe, unveiling an awe-inspiring panorama of boundless sandy beaches which blend into fragrant pine forests.
The Čepkeliai Marsh is unique and mostly unaffected by human activities, and its mystical, fog-filled atmosphere harkens back to the Dead Marshes from Lord of the Rings. The elevated bog is bordered by thick pine trees that cover most of the region, creating the impression of wetlands completely disconnected from the rest of the world. The elevated bog in the south progressively transforms into a fen with sedges, reeds, and osiers — a mysterious sight that would make anyone perusing social media do a double-take.