After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the French National Geographic Institute determined that the Geographic Centre of Europe is located in Lithuania, specifically 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of its capital city, Vilnius. The method used for calculating this point was that of the centre of gravity of the geometrical figure of Europe.
Total Area: 65,200 km2 (25,174 sq miles)
Population: 3,190,070 (2012 estimate)
Officially known as the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, and together with Latvia and Estonia form the Baltic region with Lithuania being the largest of the three Baltic states. Lithuania is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark. It borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and a Russian exclave (Kaliningrad Oblast) to the southwest. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Currency 2009 is the Litas (LTL).
The Lithuanians are a Baltic people, and the official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages (together with Latvian) in the Baltic branch and two of the oldest languages on the Indo-European language tree. Lithuania's historical heritage is also strong - Grand dukes from the past conquered large tracts of land and converted their subjects from paganism to Christianity. One of Lithuania's most important monuments is Trakai Castle, a stronghold in the middle of a lake that symbolizes Lithuania's medieval authority.
Lithuania is a member of NATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. Lithuania is also a full member of the Schengen Agreement. Prior to the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union.
The country boasts a well-developed modern infrastructure of railways, airports and four-lane highways. Back in the years 2004-2008, the country was dubbed a Baltic Tiger cause of the impressive growth in its economy, reaching close to 8% growth per annum during tha era.
Structurally, there is a gradual but consistent shift towards a knowledge-based economy with special emphasis on biotechnology (industrial and diagnostic). The major biotechnology companies and laser manufacturers of the Baltics are concentrated in Lithuania. Also mechatronics and information technology (IT) are seen as prospective knowledge-based economy directions. The stated position of the Lithuanian government is that the focus of Lithuanian economy is to produce and export high added-value products and services. Hence, corporate tax rate in Lithuania is 15% and 5% for small businesses, coupled with the government offering special incentives for investments into the high-technology sectors and high value-added products and activities.
E-commerce in Lithuania is speeding up. Online shopping has grown to 28 per cent over the last several years as it was only 6 percent in 2008. Packages with various good are moving not only domestically but also to other Baltic countries. This flow and online trading activity encouraged shopping sites to provide multiple language interface in a bid to satisfy also an international demand for goods and services. Customer flow of online shops grew twice every year since 2006, both in Lithuania and in Latvia. Turnover of shops in Latvia increased by 47 percent through last year and a large part was the online purchase activities of both locals, locals living abroad and Lithuanians. Lithuanians usually buy cosmetics, clothing, furniture, furnishing equipment and goods for pets. However, the main groups of purchase items remain the same among both Latvians and Lithuanians: home appliances, laptops, car parts, leisure and tourism items.
The biggest trading partner of Lithuania is the European Union. The Litas, the national currency, has been pegged to the euro since 2 February 2002 at the rate of EUR 1.00 = LTL 3.4528 and Lithuania is expecting to switch to the euro on 1 January 2014.
Sources: lithuaniatribune, Wikipedia
The climate in Lithuania ranges between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and mildly hot summers. Average temperatures on the coastline are -2.5 °C in January and 16 °C (61 °F) in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are -6 °C (21 °F) in January and 16 °C (61 °F) in July. Over the Summer months, 20 °C (68 °F) is common during the day while 14 °C (57 °F) is common at night; some years back, temperatures were reaching as high as 30 °C (86 °F) or 35 °C (95 °F) with equally some winters being very cold. −20 °C (-4 °F) are the temperatures that occur almost every winter. In addition, winter extremes could reach a freezing -34 °C (-29 °F) in coastal areas and an even chilling -43 °C (-45 °F) in the east of Lithuania.
The average annual precipitation is 800 millimeters on the coast, 900 mm in the Samogitia highlands and 600 millimeters in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts just over 200 days in the western part of the country and around 170 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania but seem to be common enough in the coastal areas.
Sources: Sources: infoplease, Wikipedia, visitlithuania
Best Time to Go
Summer and spring (May through September) are far and away the best times of year to travel in Lithuania. In Spring, the weather is warm, the days are long sprinkled with idyllic scenes of flowery cottage gardens in full blossom and the cultural calendar oozes of activities and fun. April and May, when the land and its people open up after winter, convey a distinct real joy and zest for life, which is felt everywhere around the country.
Lithuania experiences a constant increase of foreign visitors. Lithuania attracts foreign visitors mostly from Russia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Finland. The best tourism numbers were achieved in 2008 and involved about 1,611,000 international arrivals (Nationmaster). As expected and further confirmed, the nationalities of the majority of overseas visitors staying in hotels and lodging houses originate from Germany, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Finland.
Almost a half of the foreign visitors are staying in the capital, Vilnius, that seems ot experience a gradual increase in the overnight stays in terms of its overseas visitors. As far back as 2006, more than twice as many foreigners had stayed in Birštonas' sanatories, compared to the previous year.
In more recent, years 2010 was a strong year for the Baltic tourism industry. In all three Baltic countries tourist arrival numbers rose sharply. Latvia welcomed the most tourists overall (5.04 million), with Estonia attracting 4.25 million and Lithuania 4.1million. These figures incorporate same-day and overnight arrivals.
Looking at trends in 2011, all three countries reported higher hotel occupancy rates over the key summer months, which bodes well for the full-year tourist arrivals figures. BMI forecasts growth in tourist arrivals of 12% for Estonia, 15% for Latvia and 10% for Lithuania in 2011. Looking ahead, it is positive about the outlook for all three countries, with a slight preference for Latvia's potential growth over the next five years.
BMI remains upbeat about the outlook for the Baltic region. Cruise travel is continuing to grow in popularity, with Tallinn's status as a European Capital of Culture bolstering what BMI expects to be a record year for tourism revenues in 2011. Riga will be a Capital of Culture in 2014, so it also expects this to draw in tourists and revenue for the country.
Despite the airline's cash flow concerns, passenger numbers continue to increase, airBaltic carrying 2,661,083 passengers during the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 6% year-on-year results.
Due to the former Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the country has many military sites left and may be very interesting place as a place of Militarism heritage tourism. This is a new market attracting overseas people for the Lithuanian tourism sector and has proven to be most interesting for every visitor interested in history of the warfare, or the Cold War.
Major militarism heritage sites in Lithuania:
• Former Soviet Nuclear launch site near Žemaičių Kalvarija in Samogitia.
• Kaunas Fortress, a massive system of forts built around Kaunas during the Russian Empire rule in the 19th century;
Sources: Researchandmarkets, BMI, Businesswire, Wikipedia, infoplease, lietuva.lt
Car Hire in Lithuania with MisterHire.Com
You just arrived and it’s springtime in Lithuania! Feel the surrounding green nature: meadows and hills are everywhere. Hear how the land is praised by singing birds. Five national parks are waiting for you. Travel through refreshing forests, see cultural monuments: castles, mounds, churches, crosses. Discover Lithuanian history and art and taste literally and metaphorically all that Lithuania has to offer!
The capital of Lithuania is one of the most visited cities in Eastern Europe. The Vilnius Old Town - a Baroque masterpiece as they say - was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Approximately 40 churches of various architectural styles stand here, and some authentic buildings with Gothic, Renaissance or Classical features have survived. Visit Lithuania and discover Baltic mythology and pre- Christian traits, distinctive music and dance traditions and more.
An unforgettable taste of summer, the soughing of the sea and hot sand - discover all this in the Lithuanian oasis, the Curonian Spit. Watch how quickly the wind covers your footprints in the sand. Close your eyes and feel free. “It feels like standing at the entryway to Heaven,” the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre described his visit to the Curonian Spit. Also experience fantastic scenery near a few of Lithuania’s 3,000 lakes, or paraglide from the Green Hills.
Lithuanian resorts and modern spa centres offer a wide variety of services and quality. Rest in nature, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the exceptional attention of spa workers, relaxing massages, remedial baths and the unique amber therapy. Healthcare specialists will assess your condition and prescribe relevant recreational and rehabilitation treatment procedures.
From small peugeot’s or toyota’s to the bigger and the tougher Jeep options, without forgetting the comfortable feel of our luxury sedans, there's bound to be a car for you at a competitive all inclusive price, whatever your destination in Lithuania. We supply hire cars in numerous locations in Lithuania where you may easily collect your rental car. Pick up points include Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga Airports and their railway stations, along with Klaipeda’s railway station. Whether you are travelling to Lithuania for business or a combination of business and pleasure, we offer a wide selection of rental cars for you to choose from. We did the hard work and we continue to do so many times over and constantly monitor and present to you the best inclusive car rental rates in Lithuania, so you don't have to by comparing and presenting the best prices from all the main suppliers like Avis, Hertz, Dollar as well as other carefully selected associates with local knowledge and support.
Our rates include insurance, collision damage and theft waiver, local taxes and unlimited mileage so there are no costly and hidden surprises when you have reached your pre-selected Lithuania rental car pick up location. If you would require some optional extras for your trip such as baby seats and/or extra drivers, these options are easily found and neatly presented to you during our secure Online Booking Process.
Speed limits in Lithuania are:
• Towns and cities : 50 km/h (31 mph)
• Open Roads : 90 km/h (56mph)
• Motorways : 110-130 km/h (68-80 mph)
Try not to exceed stated speed limits. There are a lot of speed cameras installed and police regularly patrol on roads, and speeding carries heavy fines.
Fixed speed cameras are frequent along country roads and motorways, usually near crossroads or pedestrian crossings, and in cities. These are usually announced by a sign. Many of them appear to be designed for even turning around from time to time, also monitoring traffic in the opposite direction.
The alcohol limit is 0,4, (2008)as per Lithuania's driving laws and conditions, however there are talks to halve it to 0,2, whihc is most probable (2012).
Sources: travel.lt, Wikipedia, europe.org