Is Lithuania Safe? 4 Important Safety Tips for Travelers

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From petty theft and crime to places you should avoid, here's everything travelers need to know about personal safety in Lithuania.

Trakai, Lithuania Photo © Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

Nestled between Russia and Poland, Lithuania has been called Europe's best-kept secret.

Lithuania has a complex history that has shaped the people and culture experienced today. From Gothic, Renaissance and baroque architecture to stunning natural landscapes, Lithuania is an exciting destination to explore in the Baltic region.

Visitors are often surprised by the colorful landscape and natural treasures. Experience the beautiful countryside while learning about historical landmarks that paint eerie stories of recent events. It'll be a trip to remember. However, there are a few safety matters to consider before you take off.

Petty theft and crime in Lithuania

Pickpocketing and other forms of petty theft are common, so keep your personal belongings and valuables safely concealed and don't leave items unattended. Theft from vehicles is also a growing problem. If you have rented a vehicle and are driving, be cautious of people on the side of the road attempting to flag you down and get you to pull over. This is often a ploy to get you out of your car; meanwhile a second party either steals property out of your unattended vehicle or drives off with it. If you absolutely must exit your vehicle, for instance if you are involved in an accident, be sure to turn off the ignition, take the keys and lock the car.

Car theft is gaining popularity among thieves, so always lock unattended vehicles and make sure any valuables left in the car are hidden. Whenever possible, try to park in well-lit, guarded parking lots, especially if you'll be leaving the vehicle overnight.

There has also been a recent increase in bicycle thefts. These incidents are mostly isolated to the Vilnius area, but regardless of location anyone using a bike should securely lock it when leaving it unattended, just in case.

When traveling near border areas be certain that you have your passport and that it has been stamped. Officials will check it and then often demand "compensation" (read: a bribe) if you don't have the proper stamps. It's also worth noting that the general attitude toward homosexuality in Lithuania is a negative one. Open displays of affection between people of the same gender are often met with violent reactions. Even suspicion of same sex relationships, such as two heterosexual men sitting too close at a bar, can result in a confrontation so be mindful.

Drink responsibly

Lithuania has a large selection of premium beer, which is quite tasty but also happens to be quite strong. Vodka is also a popular drink of choice. If you plan on partaking, do so with caution. There have been a lot of recent reports of tourists becoming victims of crime after getting extremely intoxicated. Avoid drinking alone or with people you don't know. If visiting Vilnius is on your itinerary, be aware that it happens to be one of the most popular locations for stag weekends. Be on the lookout for groups of highly intoxicated men and stay out of their way.

Drink spiking is also an issue, with victims being given a drink laced with drugs that render them unconscious. Any number of bad things can happen to you after you've consumed a spiked drink so be extremely careful not to accept drinks from strangers, always watch the bartender preparing your drink and keep it with you (and in your sight) at all times.

Don't get ripped off

As with many travel destinations, in Lithuania foreigners are often targeted by dishonest locals hoping to overcharge them and make a little extra money. This often happens in bars where the price of drinks is grossly inflated when purchased by unsuspecting tourists. There is also the slight possibility that if you are paying with a credit or debit card, a shifty bartender will attempt to charge fraudulent transactions against your account. To avoid becoming a victim, always verify the price of drinks before ordering, only order (and pay for) one round at a time and double check your bill and credit card receipt.

Places to avoid in Lithuania

Lithuania is a relatively safe place to visit, with a low crime rate. There are, however, certain locations and areas where the risk is slightly greater, particularly after dark. Whenever possible, ask someone local that you trust, such as your hotel concierge, which bars and nightclubs are safest and which ones to avoid. In Vilnius, the authorities actually publish a list containing the names of clubs and night spots that have seen the highest rate of crime. The list is updated every six months so the information is pretty accurate. When walking around at night, avoid seedy neighborhoods, try to stick to the main roads and well lit areas and travel in groups rather than alone.

Lithuania is a lovely place to visit and offers much more to tourists than meets the eye. From fascinating architecture to beautiful landscapes to ancient culture, it's a place of adventure and discovery and leaves visitors with memories to last a lifetime.

And while a trip there is likely to be safe, it's still important to know what things to look out for and which areas to avoid so that there are no unwelcome surprises during your stay.

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  • Steve Allens said

    I think it is pretty safe and not a lot of crimes in this city so I look forward bringing my filipina girlfriend with me from Dubai. She definitely enjoy this quiet place and with a friendly temperature that is neither too hot nor cold

  • Jessica Sallison said

    I love the phillipenes

  • Maddie said

    Most Lithuanian people I have met are low mannered, liers and scammers! AVOID!

  • mile said

    @Maddie , we are not low mannered , we just dont kiss ass.We tell you how it is and we dont care if we hurt your feelings.
    You must be a scammers and a lair yourself cause you attract what you are or you get what you give!

  • Joe said

    While I don't agree all lithuanians are liars and scammers, there is something to be said about their manners. They can be downright rude, and then excuse this behaviour by saying " it's their way of life" "smiles are false" etc..
    Such a shame really, as the country has a lot to offer, but until they learn some manners, it really is an alien place for westerners.
    I am currently in kaunas and I have been made to feel as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit!

  • Tim said

    I was in Vilnius for a month ago with my friend and I think the people tjere were usually very friendly and helpful. The astmosphere in the city was really good and it was safe to be there. So I can't understand some comments what I read here. You have had bad luck or maby you have had bad manners yourself. I have only positive to say about Vilnius. The old town is fabulous, beer and food is great and cheap and there are beautiful women also.

  • Traveler said

    I have spent a couple of days in Lithuania and although the city is not as vibrant and vivid like other european cities it was quite safe. I walked really late at night taking night pictures in the Old Town and vinicities and nothing really happened. Lithuanians were also helpful when I needed any help or directions. This is coming from a black latino guy.

  • John said

    I think it depends very much what city you visit in Lithuania. Kaunas maybe not as friendly as Vilnius.

  • CM said

    As a Lithuanian married to a Britishman and living in Britain I am finding the comments amusing! But I also observe it at home :) (especially when mum visits). Lithuanians are a lot colder than English speakers in general and we do not impose please and thank you as strictly. Thus the immediate assumption of rudeness.
    Most Lithuanians absolutely appreciate foreign visitors because they want people to know of their country (I worked as a live interpreter many times so I know). However it all depends on the visitor as well. A lot of people think that French are rude and I think it is also related to their cultural lack of using please, thank you, and so on, however it is a cultural thing not an etiquette issue. There are many rules of Lithuanian etiquette that a foreigner may not know about and actually cause offence themselves (randomly starting a conversation in a bus stop is a no, no, physical contact should be kept to minimum at all times, never come empty handed as a guest, do not interrupt at any cost unless you are really familiar with the speaker, and god forbid do not open the subject of history unless you really read up because they will lecture you until turning blue). So they are annoying and miserable, answering the question how are you with so so as the best option, they will get on your nerves but there is little likelihood that they are super nice just to stab you in the back. Also there is a genuine hatred for stupidity especially in better educated circles. Remember such a high number of people have a degree in something they will be an expert in something or other.

  • ro said

    first of all, where did you find such a horrid picture of Vilnius?

    Lithuanians are not rude and they are certainly not scammers. The crime rate is low (as the article mentions) and it is absolutely safe. Lithuanians, just like other Northern Europeans are relatively cold on the outside. Take a look at Norwegians, or Danes. As one of the comments mentions, we suffer from an educational inflation, therefore it is difficult to find people without a university degree, and I have never met anyone who speaks only one language. Our people's education level is twice as high as the european standard, and people do find stupidity irritating. A lot of tourists that we get here are drunk brits on a stag do, so if women role theirs eyes at them its perfectly understandable, doesn't mean we are rude. Lithuania is a catholic country and slut shaming is very much a thing as well, so we are not ones to be sleeping with you after two drinks, like many expect. We get wrongly called 'eastern europeans', compared to Polish all the time, people ask if our language is russian etc it is difficult to open up to foreigners when they see us as poverty stricken leftovers of the soviet era, if you approach us without false preconceptions and ridiculous facts you'll be surprised the hospitality and welcoming you will receive. How can we not have a chip on our shoulders when we are educated, live in a beautiful country, have been fighting for it since FOREVER and people still assume that we are half polish, easterm, identity lacking slavic country who survive by sending their people to work in fish factories in England? It's absurd and completely inaccurate.

  • Viktorija said

    I'm from international university and I'm from Lithuania. Some of the travellers say that we might come off as rude but when you get to know those people you can find out that we aren't. We are honest and we mostly mind our own business. We don't smile in the streets and we usually don't do the small talk because we like to get straight to the point. Just try to get to know some locals and you will be fine.

  • Matas Pizzatas said

    I went here once, it had lovely scenery. Ignoring the fact that I got mugged on the streets of Šiauliai by a homeless man who lives in a telephone box.

  • bjarki elisabetarson said

    icelandic living in Kaunas Lithuania
    I have never felt as safe in any country including mine and I a from Iceland
    people are welcoming with good manners, they are also very helpful
    the food is very good and the food prices are very low
    I have been out at bars and drinking everywhere here and I never had any issues
    never been scammed or anything I promise you that you won't regret coming here
    I love living here I have traveled a lot this is the best country I have been in

  • Moses said

    I am Japanese and I am saving money because in the future, I want to travel to Lithuania. I am happy that I read the comments and article here!

  • Robinhood said

    I got introduced to this wonderful country in dec 2018. Since that day I’ am been travelling to Lithuania every 2 months. Place and People are the beauty of this little hidden gem.

    I am landing at 22:30 at Vilnius airport and I am looking for suggestions to travel to Kaunas:

    - Is there any economical late night travelling options from Vilnius airport to Kaunas?
    - Are there any carpools available?

    In my view "We reap what We sow" Lithuania is nice place. Please be kind to people.

  • Nedu said

    I want to know if Lithuania is safe for black people Because I’m thinking of coming to study there so I’m scared about the racism.

  • aaah said

    While the situation with racism is becoming better, some people aren't quite there yet. You most likely won't be confronted and at most hear whispers from passersby, middle aged people might avoid you. The younger generations are alright. There aren't many people of colour so confiding in someone could be hard.

  • Esther said

    English married to Lithuanian.
    I find the country stunning. Little awkward with language barrier but I will learn
    ... We are looking to leave England with our two babies and re settle very soon.

    I find my husband hard working but often a Little to passive on making decisions so it's my pushing that gets the ball rolling.

  • Grace Lett said

    i want to go to Lithuania and i want to know if i am from Lithuania i am not rude if i am

  • Erik Schultz said

    Conclusion; In Rome do as the Roman's do. You aren't the last Coca - Cola in the desert.

  • Ted Oliver said

    I am English and married to a lithuanian woman, I have been coming to lithuania and visiting Kaunas, Vilnius, Palanga, for the last 20 years, and I love the county and the people, we are now buying a property in lithuania and will live there as well as UK, I lived in USA for 20 years, and travelled to many countries, and would put Lithania, as one of the best places I have been to. Love the place. ❤️

  • Max said

    Well, I do not entirely agree with the comments above to be honest. I'm half Latino half European, do not speak Lithuanian (obviously) rather than some simple sentences and it is incredibly frustrating how little English speakers there are around. I mean, I do not expect it from older generations as I do not expect it from Latin American older generations either, but it becomes a problem when you're in the capital and cannot even slightly communicate. Most likely they won't give a single fuck about you, let's be honest. And I am not saying they are rude or anything! I've been living here for half a year and I haven't encountered any ugly situations really, it's rather annoying I'd say. I do agree with some comments speaking about the overall coldness of the people, the overall ego maybe as well. To be honest, I'd rather hang out with foreigners in Vilnius than Lithuanian people. Having a degree or an education does not prevent you for being an overall kind person now, doesn't it? That shouldn't even be a statement.
    As someone who lived in a very dangerous country before, I am happy to say that Lithuania is a safe country indeed. And that you have to be somehow pretty stupid and careless to get mugged or get pickpocketed.
    If you choose to stay here for a long time, they will absolutely look down at you if you don't try to learn their culture and language so take that into consideration.
    Work opportunities are pretty great. Most likely you will find a good job well paid and the rent and food prices are pretty low compared to other European countries.
    Just my opinion.

  • Andrius said

    I often forget to lock my home, i leave my car keys in the lock so i wont forget where inout them, my bikes and lawnmower are left outside for four years and nothing has been taken, if you dont drive a very expensive car or leave a rolex lying around, you are as safe as can be in Lithuania.

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