Top 10 cycling routes in Europe

Top 10 cycling routes in Europe

Take to two wheels for your next adventure

When it’s time to get on your bike, Europe really offers something for everyone. There are mountain climbs for those who like a challenge (this is the continent that birthed the Tour de France, after all) as well as scenic flat-as-a-pancake rides along coasts and through bucolic landscapes, many of which are suitable for families. Here, Paul Sullivan picks 10 of the best cycling routes in Europe.

1. Alpe d’Huez, France

Best for: dramatic Alpine scenery
Distance: 13 km (9 miles)
Duration: 1–3 hours, depending on fitness levels

This iconic ascent, best known as one of the key sections of the Tour de France, offers 21 bends that corkscrew between Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez in the French alps. The scenic 3,670 ft climb is unrelenting, yet 1,000 riders per day – pros as well as determined amateurs – tackle it each summer.

The Alps

The Alps

2. Baltic Sea Cycle Route (Hansa Circuit)

Best for: fresh sea air
Distance: 7,980 km (4,958 miles)
Duration: varies

Otherwise known as Eurovelo 10, this route loops through the Baltic State countries (LatviaEstonia, Lithuania), as well as Germany, Poland, Denmark, RussiaSweden and Finland. Sticking to the Baltic Sea coastline pretty much all the way around, you can pick up the route from your town or country of choice, and enjoy the numerous long sandy beaches, picturesque coastal towns and national parks along the way.

Beach on the Baltic Sea, Saulkrasti, Latvia 

Beach on the Baltic Sea, Saulkrasti, Latvia

3. Camino Frances, Spain

Best for: spiritual reflection
Distance: 790 km (490 miles)
Duration: 8–20 days

Although it’s associated more with walking, this famous pilgrimage path is also set-up for cycling. Several routes lead to Santiago de Compostela, but Camino Frances, which starts at the village of Roncesvalle, is one of the most popular, passing through striking medieval towns, the vineyards of La Rioja and the memorable – and mountainous – landscapes of the Pyrenees.

Laguardia vineyards, La Rioja

Laguardia vineyards, La Rioja

4. Cornish Coastal Way, Britain

Best for: seaside vibes
Distance: 197 km (123 miles)
Duration: 3–6 days

There are two routes possible along this classic ride through some of the loveliest parts of Cornwall: one via Padstow, the other via St Austell. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed fresh sea air, classic British scenery – think quaint seaside villages where you can eat fish and chips on the beach – and the chance to say you’ve visited Land’s End.

Padstow harbour, Cornwall

Padstow harbour, Cornwall

5. Danube Cycle Path

Best for: riverside riding
Distance: 2,860 km (1,777 miles)
Duration: varies

Passing through no less than eight countries – including GermanyAustria, SlovakiaHungaryCroatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania – this long-distance route follows Europe’s second-longest river and offers a multitude of sections and experiences to choose from. In general, the western countries are better developed but the eastern European stretches are arguably more exotic and adventurous. Incredibly, the entire route is more or less hill-free.

Autumn colour along the Danube

Autumn colour along the Danube

6. Elbe Route, Germany

Best for: discovering Germany
Distance: 1,260 km (782 miles)
Duration: 14–28 days

The Elbe Route follows the famous river from Cuxhaven on Germany’s northern coast down to the striking sandstone mountains of the Saxon Switzerland National Park at the border of the Czech Republic. On this largely hill-free route, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an almost endless variety of scenery, from dramatic gorges to undulating vineyards, and visit famous German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden.

Fog along the Elbe

Fog along the Elbe

7. Ecovia do Litoral, Portugal

Best for: nature fans
Distance: 214 km (132 miles)
Total duration: 4–5 days

This route, which cuts across the Algarve from Cabo de São Vicente in the west to Vila Real de Santa António on the Spanish border, takes in twelve different municipalities. The name translates as “coastal eco-way”, which aptly describes the peaceful landscape of nature reserves and forests, peppered with marine and bird life.

Bikes parked near Praia do Zavial in the Algarve

Bikes parked near Praia do Zavial in the Algarve

8. EuroVelo Mediterranean Cycle Route

Best for: sunshine
Distance: 5,888 km (3,658 miles)
Duration: varies

Probably the most popular Eurovelo route, No. 8 passes along the Mediterranean coast, incorporating a non-stop parade of glittering sea and sand, and some of the most laid-back, sun-filled lifestyles Europe has to offer. Officially beginning in the Spanish city of Cadiz, the route also passes through a slew of famous and ancient cities, including Barcelona, Monaco, Nice, Dubrovnik, Venice and Athens.

Cadiz

Cadiz

9. North West Trail, Ireland

Best for: family fun
Distance: 326 km (200 miles)
Duration: 4–8 days

Sustrans’ North West Trail is a beautifully varied 200-mile cycle loop around Ireland’s rugged north-west. Passing through six counties – Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo – the route takes in mountain climbs, ocean views, friendly villages and more. Since the majority of the trail is on calm country roads, many traffic-free, it’s a fine option for families too.

Errigal Mountain, Donegal

Errigal Mountain, Donegal

10. Route du Comte Jean, Belgium and France

Best for: vineyards and villages
Distance: 220 km (137 miles)
Duration: 3–5 days

Part of the Flemish Cycle Route (Vlaanderen Fietsroute), this short but sweet path crosses from Antwerp or Bruges into northern France. Taking in the coast at Zeebrugge, it passes through Ostend before crossing the French border towards Dunkirk and Gravelines. The riding is pleasantly flat and there are plenty of scenic diversions, including vineyards, sand dunes and wetlands.

Oostende (Ostend) beach huts

Oostende (Ostend) beach huts


A Different Side to Europe: The Baltic Journey

If you’ve travelled across Europe and are looking for a slightly different experience, then exploring the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia may be for you. Situated on the Baltic sea, having a diverse history, there are a large number of interesting places to visit. I’ve put together a list of must-do’s that will help you decide to visit this amazing part of the world.

Key reasons to visit the Baltics:
1. Not overcrowded like the rest of Europe, meaning you can really take it all in, enjoy scenery and mingle with the locals.
2. Beautiful architecture: from Art Nouveau to Baroque, you are constantly looking up in amazement.
3. Medieval experiences: lots of castles with interesting history lessons.
4. Great place for nature lovers and is ideal for trekking, hiking and cycling.
5. Costs are cheap compared to the rest of Europe.
6. Great food and drinks!

Must Do’s in Lithuania:

1. Be sure to try cepelinas or “zeppelins” for an authentic Lithuanian meal.


2. Wander around the capital, Vilnius, while exploring the Baroque architecture.


3. A great day trip about 25km from Vilnius is Trakai, where you can experience a fairy tale like atmosphere with a castle on an island surrounded by a moat.


4. Located on the Baltic sea is the Curonian Spit, a 98km long sand dune spit that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


5. The Hill of Crosses located near Šiauliai showcases Lithuania’s long history of dedication to their faith. It’s truly worth it for the unique experience. There are estimated to be over 300,000 crosses, each representing a memory of a loved one who has passed.


Must Do’s in Latvia:

1. Explore the Old Town of Riga and take in the Art Nouveau architecture while walking along cobbled streets.


2. Check out the Riga Central Market and bazaar which is inside old German Zeppelin hangars. It has a vast selection of meat, seafood, cheese, bread, fruits, vegetables, spices, and flowers.


3. Do a day trip to Cēsis to see one of the most beautiful cities in Latvia. One of the biggest highlights is the Medieval castle dating back to the 13th century.


Must Do’s in Estonia:

1. Explore the charming Old Town in Tallinn and take in the medieval experience throughout. See various towers and a castle wall surrounding the city. It’s charming and unique but shares a similar history to that of Lithuania and Latvia.


2. There are a number of cathedrals in Tallinn, such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built in the 1900’s when Estonia was still part of the Czarist Empire.


3. The Town Hall Square is a great place to have a delicious meal outside on the patio. Restaurants and cafes here even have a blanket placed on each chair for the cool evenings.


11 Things You Need to Experience in Rome in 2017

While it might seem near impossible to conquer this impressive city in just a few days, we have created a list of 11 things you need to do in Rome, featuring the essentials to complete your Rome bucket list.

Basically, what we’re really trying to say is that Rome is jam-packed with history and flavour, and you’d be crazy not to totally fall in love.

1. Go underground at the Christian Catacombs


Seriously spooky, the Christian Catacombs in Rome are one of the first large-scale burial sites and home to some of the oldest burial underground tunnels in the world. Containing many frescoes and carvings with historic and religious references, the Catacombs are bursting with eerie history. Step below the surface for an alternative way to experience Rome.

2. Stick your hand inside the Mouth of Truth


This one is kind of strange, but stay with us here. Legend has it, The Mouth of Truth was said to bite the hand of those who lied. You can find this handsome marble face standing at the Piazza della Bocca della Verità, and while we don’t personally know anyone that has had their hand bitten off, we highly recommend a stop to brave the marble face – just shoot us a message if the legend fares true.

3. Discover aperitivo

The real question here is why has the world not jumped onboard the Italian ritual of aperitivo? The prelude to an indulgent meal, this is like the Italian version of Happy Hour. How does it work? It’s easy. Simply order a drink, ideally a spritz (prosecco with Aperol or Campari, served with ice and a splash of soda) and off you go, feasting on local food until the sun goes down.

4. Step out of Italy and into the Vatican City

Tick another country off the ‘places to visit before I die’ list with a stop at the Vatican City. How you spend your time here is up to you. Navigate your way through the whirlwind of local guides on hand to escort you through the Vatican, or go solo and explore at your own pace.

5. Eat, eat, eat gelato

Italy is home to some of the best gastronomic traditions in the world, with one of those being gelato – of course. One of life’s greatest pleasures, from the classic flavours to the out-there-crazy taste sensations, Rome is home to the best gelato in the world.

6. Spend all day in the Trastevere neighbourhood

Never, ever pass up an opportunity to visit the Trastevere area, tucked away on the edge of Rome and home to trendy restaurants, a thriving social scene and cobbled-streets. Ditch the crowds and take a break on the west bank of the Tiber River. Here, you will find typical dishes served the ‘right’ way – cooked in the same way for generations. Once you step into this hidden neighbourhood, be sure to clear your afternoon of sightseeing – once you sit down for lunch, the hours just slip away and before you know it, it’s time for another round of aperitivo and dinner.

7. Explore the Piazza Navona

Three fountains. Two churches. Swarms of tourists. But 100% worth it for the cafés that line the square. Touristy? Sure. Worth a visit? Absolutely. When you’re searching for a pizza break, make sure you visit one of the many traditional family-run trattorias tucked away in the side streets edging around the square.

8. Battle like a gladiator at the Colosseum

Rock your best gladiator pose and prepare for a supremely popular (but impressive) tourist trap that is well worth a visit. Top tip: rise and shine to beat the crowds for a dose of Roman history.

9. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain

Throw a coin. Make a wish. You know what to do. Just like the Colosseum, pack your day pack in the early hours and see if you can snap the holy grail of all selfies at the Trevi Fountain, sans crowds. After battling the crowds, be sure to grab something to eat and do NOT leave Rome without trying the essential dishes born out of this city, such as the Pasta Carbonara and Bucatini all’ Amatriciana.

10. Gaze at the Pantheon

First of all, the Pantheon is free to enter, instantly winning points for travellers on a budget. And while there may be a few more elbows to brush past through the crowds, when the sun streams through the gigantic hole in the roof, it will make you say ‘ahhhh’. Plus, the added bonus of impressive marble columns and grand architecture will satisfy your eyes.

11. Hang on the Spanish Steps

You must, we repeat must stop by the Spanish steps to complete your journey through Rome. A somewhat commercial side of town, the steps come alive at night and are truly magnetic.


St. John‘s Festival – where miracles happen

Have you ever heard about St. Johns’ festival? For your interest, it is also known as Midsummer Festival. There is no doubt – once in a lifetime, you must experience it! Baltic Tours team is more than sure that you will enjoy this magnificent event. To be honest, loads of our travellers are coming back for this festival again and again! IT’S INTRIGUING, isn’t it? Continue reading!

St. John‘s Festival

St. John‘s Festival

Who Celebrates?

The day of St. John’s or, also known as Midsummer Day, is one of the oldest and most joyful festival, which is more than widely popular among European countries including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Scandinavian nations, Finland and some other countries. Immerse yourself into spectacular traditional summer festival!

St. John‘s Festival

St. John‘s Festival

When?

St. John’s day is being celebrated on the 24th of June. The festival has such a special and an extremely important meaning for people. This night is kept as the shortest night of the year, so that means that after that night, the day time is getting shorter and shorter. Also, during this night people believe nature to have magic powers. What is more, St. John’s day is an official day-off in most of the countries mentioned. So many reasons for people to celebrate this terrific day, so everyone start it on the eve of the 23rd.

Why is it so special?

This Midsummer Festival connects all the people, who believe, that this shortest night of the year is as special, as the four elements – water, fire, earth and air! During this night, the air smells like freshly cut grass and bonfire smoke! Sounds spooky and mythical, right? From the pagan times till nowadays, this eve is transfused of culture and traditions, full of spells and magical atmosphere.

St. John‘s Festival

St. John‘s Festival

The most remarkable symbols of this St. John’s Festival are a big bonfire and the Fern Blossom. It would be a shame not to mention all revels and fun activities that make this summer night unforgettable. The traditions remaining the pagan times include singing folk songs and dancing until the sun set, telling tales, searching for the magic fern blossom at midnight, jumping over bonfires, greeting the rising midsummer’s sun and washing the face with a morning dew… Young girls float flower wreaths on the water of the river or lake. Just try to imagine this for a moment, can it be more charming?

What about the blossom?

Story tells that the fern shows its blossom only on this miraculous night, and those who will find it – will be lucky all their life! Maybe, you should try to find your own luck? Hit the road and visit magical Baltics, Fabulous Scandinavia, Poland and Russia! Midsummer festival is about to blow your mind away, so get ready to fill your luggage with unforgettable memories!

Explore Europe


National parks of Estonia

Are you ready to explore National Parks of Estonia?

There is no doubt that visiting at least one of Estonia’s national parks should belong to every visitors “must see” list. As you may have already known, Estonia is truly famous of its magnificent nature. Even if it is a small country, where are loads of parks and natural monuments to see and enjoy. Especially if you are tired of strolling around cities and you want to enjoy nature and wilderness calmly. Baltic Tours team has some great and tempting recommendations and suggestions for your future trip. So just grab your luggage and prepare to explore a beauty of one of the Baltic StatesEstonia!

National parks of Estonia

National parks of Estonia

Still thinking which park to choose?

It is hard to say which park is better and more worth to see… It’s a fact – all parks have spectacular places to visit. So if you have a chance, take a few more days off and visit as much as you possibly can. But if you want to visit most popular and more famous – these are the special advices for you.

Lahemaa National Park is known for its natural sights and cultural landscape. In order to make it easier for people to get around and get to know the national park, there are both hiking and study trails. Let’s continue! Would you like to see some wild animals? Silma nature reserve is a key nesting site for aquatic birds and an important resting place for migratory birds. Have you ever known that one of the best places to see bird destinations is in Estonia? Matsalu National Park covering over 400km² of land and coast, Matsalu is a first and foremost known as one of the best Europe’s bird watching destinations. Matsalu is a rural and laid back holiday destination, where you can find hiking trails for casual and serious hikers as well as several guesthouses great for relaxing in the nature. Visitors can explore and enjoy the compelling landscape of Matsalu National Park on foot, using a bicycle or a boat. Have never been in a cave before? So you have possibility to do it in Piusa Caves Nature Reserve. The purpose of these caves were mainly geological observations. Piusa caves have evolved into a popular site for hibernating bats. It is the largest known hibernation colony in Eastern Europe. It is possible to visit the caves with a guide and via the visitor centre. And this just a few National parks we promise everyone will find place for themselves.

National parks of Estonia

National parks of Estonia

Can’t decide whether to go or not?

We strongly recommend you to explore as much as you can. An incredible Estonia’s nature will give you unforgettable experience and the best memories.

Explore Estonia


Delve into the marvellous Palace of Rundale

Europe is famous for it‘s magnificent Baroque landmarks – the style began in the early 17th century in Rome and spread across most of Europe. One of the most outstanding architecture monuments in Latvia is the beautiful Rundale Palace. It‘s a beautiful baroque ensemble – a castle surrounded by an alluring garden – park. There are a lot of things to do when you visit this Latvian town, but you must find time to delve into the marvellous Palace of Rundale.

Biron and his wishes

In the early 18th century, a Duke Ernst Johann von Biron bought some land in Rundale, including an old medieval castle and all of its territory. The old castle was wrecked down, and a new construction began. The new castle was built following all of the Baroque trends and rules. Due to the Duke‘s fall from grace, the construction stopped, and the castle stood untouched until 1762 when the Biron returned from his banishment. The castle was finished in 1768 and decorated heavily following the duke’s wishes. The castle turned out to be a Baroque wonder – every room was decorated keeping in mind little details. Now some of the rooms are open to the public. When you visit the Rundale Palace, you can walk around the Golden Hall, the White Hall and the Main Hall. In the main housing there is the Duke‘s suite of rooms: built for the welcoming reception for guests and his private rooms, and on the West side of the house, there are the completely restored rooms of Duke‘s wife.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

Museum and its exhibitions

The museum holds quite a few permanent exhibitions – you can see the chance of styled from the Gothic to Art Nouveau styles in Latvia. Also, exhibitions are showing historical clothes of the Duke and the Dutchess. There are constantly new temporary exhibitions held that allows you to get acquainted with the Duke‘s family tree and the castle building process. The majority of exhibitions are held inside of the castle, but some of them, from time to time, have been detained in the gardener‘s house in the forest park.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

Wandering around in the park

Probably one of the most impressive things about the Rundale Palace is the garden surrounding it. The Baroque park is located on the south side of the castle. It is a French garden, that starts with beautiful alleys and turns into a forest garden. The garden used to be a hunting place of the monarchy. Some of the expositions of the museum are often held in the historical gardener‘s house. The park also contains three pools with fountains, a green theatre and an ornamental parterre. In 2005 a new Rose Garden was opened up to the public – the pleasant sweet smell lingers in the air and hypnotises you until you start wanting to move into the palace.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

Rundale palace, Latvia.

The Rundale Palace is a breathtaking place and will conquer the hearts of everyone that visits it. Beautiful baroque architecture takes you on a journey to the past lives of the Latvian aristocracy. Visiting Rundale and its beautiful palace is one of the biggest perks of taking part in the tours of Latvia.

Explore Latvia


Lithuania tours

Imagine yourself traveling in Lithuania! Surrounded by green pure nature you can feel the spirit of traveling and sightseeing around an old and inspiring country…

Don’t stop – visit Lithuania on your holidays, because hills and forests will blow your mind, lakes and rivers will refresh your soul, seaside and astonishing dunes will make you feel unique both naturally and culturally. Tours in Lithuania are about to be majestic, because a pocket-sized destination has more than loads to offer! This is the reason to get on an inspiring Lithuania tour and find out why Lithuania tourism is so special. Remarkable castles and churches, all religions of the past and nowadays’ traditions… Doesn’t it sound like an exciting history to find out more about? Visit Lithuania, take a tour and get ready for your holidays in Lithuania, make yourself involved in great exploring trip, traveling and visiting journey.

Lithuania‘s tourism and E.E.Travel Europe will inspire you by the Curonian Spit magic, power of incredibly beautiful dunes… Visit Lithuania with group, listen to our singing birds at Vente Cape, discover the amazing Unesco heritage complex of fort-hills in Kernave. Challenge your tongue and try to pronounce bizarre Lithuanian phrases, chat with locals, taste our legendary black bread at granny‘s, have a chance to look at the unique branch of Lithuanian folk art or cross-crafting… Traveling in Lithuania feels so right… Lithuania‘s travel guides are about to become your best friends… Shall we book the group tour and tour packages for you? Visit Lithuania and enjoy sightseeing!

Unseen Lithuania

Unseen Lithuania

If you are about to book one of the Lithuania tours for your holidays, get acquainted with some main information about Lithuania here. Since you are about to explore Lithuania with a travel guide, these memorized facts will help you tripping.

Capital: Vilnius
Language: Lithuanian
Border countries: Belarus, Latvia, Russia, Poland
Population: 2,9 million
Area: 65,300 sq km
Time Zone: EET (UTC+2)
Summer (DST): EEST (UTC+3)
Climate: Humid continental climate with warm, dry summers and fairly severe winters
Currency: Euro
Government type: Unitary parliamentary republic
Country code: LTU

Gediminas Tower, Vilnius, Lithuania

Gediminas Tower, Vilnius, Lithuania

Exceptional cuisine

Midus – it is said to be the most ancient Lithuanian alcoholic beverage made from honey. It is no longer very popular in Lithuania, thus its production is quite limited.
Šaltiena – aspic or meat jelly – many savory foodstuffs are presented in gelatin molds, especially herring or horse radish.
Cepelinai – a type of dumpling made from grated and riced potatoes, usually stuffed with minced meat, although sometimes curd or mushrooms are used instead. It costs from 4 to 6 EUR per portion.
Balandėliai – little doves. It is made from cabbage leaves stuffed with a minced meat, rice and onion filling. Go ahead and try it during your Lithuania tours.
Skruzdėlynas – an anthill. It consists of individual pastries stacked on top of one another, sprinkled with poppy seeds and glazed with honey and nuts. Yummy!

 

Cepelinai, Lithuanian dish

Cepelinai, Lithuanian dish

Unique souvenirs

– Amber accessories;
– Linen clothes or home decor;
– Clothes or jewelry from Lithuanian designers like Julia Janus, LABA DIENA, tashe tashe, OKIIKO, Sakuota.
– „TuTu“ lollipops and „Naive“ or “Ruta” chocolate;
– Mushroom cookies – „grybukai“ or weird looking cake with spikes – “šakotis”. You can get it for reasonable price in “Hales turgus”.

 

Beautiful Lithuania

Beautiful Lithuania

Strange habits

– Looking into a broken mirror means beauty loss.
– It is said that unmarried girls won‘t get married for 7 years more if they sit down at the corner of a square table.
– Spitting three times over left shoulder or knocking on wood prevents bad luck.
– Getting a blemish on nose means that someone has fallen in love with you.
– Whistling indoors brings bad luck or even Devil.
– It is believed that once you light a cigarette from a candle – a sailor dies.

Watch and enjoy

Make sure you watch this one before you travel to Lithuania! Extraordinary, isn’t it?

In case in you are interested in tailor made tour packages, do not hesitate to contact us! Tours in Lithuania will be even more interesting if you help us with your special must-see and -do list! Get ready for your holidays in Lithuania – special moment are on the way!

Dictionary for beginners

english flag                               lithuania flag
Hello                             Labas
Yes                                 Taip
My name is…              Mano vardas yra…
I am from…                 Aš esu iš…
Cheers                          Į sveikatą
How much is this?    Kiek tai kainuoja?
Sorry                            Atsiprašau
Where is the toilet?   Kur yra tualetas?
Thank you                   Ačiū
Goodbye                      Viso gero

Nida, Lithuania

Nida, Lithuania

Explore Lithuania

Lake Galve

Gothic castle (XIV-XVth century). Lake Galve, Trakai. Lithuania.

Gothic castle (XIV-XVth century). Lake Galve, Trakai. Lithuania.

When you come to Trakai, it’s impossible to overlook the big lake. It looks like water occupied more than half of the city. It’s called Lake Galve. It has 21 islands and one of them houses Trakai Island Castle. One of the best attraction here is to take an enjoying boat tour around this amazing castle. This lake is very popular during the summer, but even in winter, it attracts many people, for example, those who are coming here for skating. Trakai is famous not only for its historical aspect, but also well known for its traditional meal which is unique for this region. It’s called kibinai and you will be able to taste them in every café, but try to find the “Senoji Kibinine” where is the oldest kitchen in town making this meal. Moreover, you should recognize that some of the houses have three windows on the street side. These are Karaite houses and windows have a deeper meaning. Legend says that those windows are dedications: first one dedicated to God, the second one for the residents, and the third one to Vytautas the Great, who gave permission for them to settle in this city. Trakai became an inspiration source and was often mentioned in writers’ works. Book the tour from Baltic Tours and visit this magnificent city and its lake.

Lake Galve & Trakai castle

Lake Galve & Trakai castle


Trakai Castle

Trakai castle, Lithuania.

Trakai castle, Lithuania.

One of the best ways to get to know Lithuania is to start from its history and old cities that hold historical treasures. Trakai is one of the options. Trakai Castle is an island castle located in a small town, 30 kilometers away from Vilnius, current Lithuania’s capital. It stands on one of the islands in Galve Lake. Trakai has a remarkable and unforgettable meaning for Lithuania’s history. In the 14th century, it was announced as the second capital of Lithuania (Kernave was the first capital city). Are you lost? Yes yes, Lithuania had three official capital cities and we hope that Vilnius is the last one. Grand Duke Kestutis started to build a castle in Trakai and his son Vytautas the Great finished it around 1409. Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance. Knowing the history, Lithuania was a strong country and had enemies who were trying to occupy our most valuable objects. This castle is not an exception and was war-weary several times. The major portion of the reconstruction finished in 1961 and it became one of the main tourists attraction places. Go on a tour to this castle and feel a militant atmosphere!

Trakai castle, Lithuania

Trakai castle, Lithuania.


Kaziukas Fair – Vilnius spring signature

Kaziukas (St. Casimir’s) Fair is a large annual folk arts and crafts fair in Vilnius, Lithuania, dating back to the 17th century. The fair traditionally takes part in the down town Vilnius – its main squares and streets on the first weekend of month of March when the anniversary of Saint Casimir’s death is commemorated. Nowadays Kaziukas Fair attracts folk art, gastronomy merchants, music, dance, theater performers and tens thousands of visitors to enjoy and shop from craftsmen from across Lithuania neighboring countries as Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Russia.

Kaziukas Fair, Lithuania
Local vendor and his handcrafted spoons & plates.

Historically Saint Casimir Jagiellon (Kazimieras in Lithuanian) (1458–1484) was a royal prince of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After his death he became a patron saint of Lithuania and Poland. Saint Casimir lived and reigned with great dignity and possessed great charm and character. He was canonized by Pope Adrian VI in 1522 and became the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. In 1948, Pope Pius XII named Saint Casimir the special patron of all youth.

Nowadays Kaziukas Fair has over 300 years tradition. The arts and crafts at the fair include hand-made goods from local craftsmen, such as woven and knitted clothes, footwear, toys, ceramics, pots and jugs, jewelry, souvenirs, paintings, baskets, gastronomy, local beers and liquors, fruits and vegetables from local farms. Traditional foodstuffs include rye bread, Slavic bubliks, honey, sweets, cookies, beer, bread lemonade named gira, chocolates and candies. Crafts represented include wood carvers, blacksmiths, potters, weavers and knitters, wicker weavers.

Kaziukas Fair, Lithuania
Traiditional Lithuanian PatternLithuanian symbols, illustrated in a traditional patterns way

Easter palms (Verbos in Lithuanian) are the signature of Kaziukas Fair. They are made of colorful dried wild flowers and herbs, and tied around a wooden stick. Traditionally, Verbos were taken to churches on Palm Sunday. Verba has become a traditional symbol of spring and Easter. Making Verba is difficult and time consuming process.

Nowadays people visit Kaziukas Fair not to buy something practical, but more to find something beautiful and authentic, reflecting national Lithuanian spirit and culture for their home or surprise foreigners. Incredibly traditions of this fest remained very similar till nowadays. Come and enjoy three day colorful weekend in Vilnius!

Kaziukas Fair, LithuaniaKaziukas Fair – Vilnius spring signature – event to visit | Baltic ToursTraditional Lithuanian Easter palm twigs called VERBA. It is made of dried flowers


Cart

Search…

Product categories