With its ideal geographical location and rich culture and history, Lithuania is the perfect destination for travellers of any genre. Whether it's fascinating historical artefacts, the beauty and serenity of nature, relaxing spa treatments, or authentic traditions you seek, Lithuania has it all and more. And with a breathtaking and diverse landscape, the beauty of this country will surely captivate your soul. Before you plan your trip, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with regards to weather, health and other practical matters to prevent any unforeseen events during your stay.
The climate in Lithuania most of the year is pleasant; however winters can be quite brutal. Winter typically lasts from October through March, during which time temperatures can drop below a frigid -25 degrees Celsius. There's also a strong possibility of snowfall during these months. Protective, weather-appropriate clothing should be worn and you should avoid spending too much time outdoors. Driving during these months can also be hazardous and vehicles should be properly equipped for the extreme winter elements.
Before you head to Lithuania it's advised that you speak with your doctor to determine what vaccinations and immunizations, if any, you should receive. These medications typically take several weeks to effectively get into your system, so leave time for that. If you plan on spending time in forested areas, you may want to consider being inoculated for rabies and tick-borne encephalitis, both of which are common in the more rural areas and during the summer months.
Recent years have shown an increase in reports of Trichinellosis outbreaks in Panevezys. To the layperson, this is the medical term for roundworm. The outbreaks are believed to have been caused by consuming undercooked pork, namely wild boar which is popular in some areas of Lithuania. To avoid contracting this nasty food-borne illness, always make sure all food is properly cooked. It's also more prevalent in wild animals, so sticking with meat that's derived from animals raised specifically for eating is your best bet.
HIV/AIDS is not a huge problem in Lithuania, with only about .1% of the adult population living with the disease. Nevertheless, it's a potential threat and the proper precautions should be taken to avoid exposure and possible contraction of the illness. If you plan on romancing a local while you're there, by all means enjoy. Just be sure to use latex condoms.
The Lithuanian people are a friendly, albeit unique, bunch. The country has a long, emotional history and that has had a profound effect on a good many of those who live there. The suicide rate in Lithuania ranks among the highest in the world, so it's no surprise that you may see a lot of sad, forlorn looks on the faces of people you pass by. Avoid talking about wealth and happiness, as it is considered rude and the locals may take offense.
A big smile to greet people may be customary and welcomed in your culture, but this is not the case in Lithuania. To the contrary, an unsolicited smile on the street can make a local suspicious and feel like they are being made fun of. Smiles are reserved for friends, so unless you know the person keep your grin to yourself.
Female travellers, particularly those with a more progressive attitude, may find it surprising that Lithuanian men are extremely chivalrous. Opening doors, offering a hand to climb out of a vehicle and paying the bill at a restaurant or bar are all customarily male duties in Lithuania. Try not to take offense or consider it condescending. Just go with it. Similarly, male travellers should note that this behaviour pretty much expected by the women who live there, so if you're not the type to offer to carry a woman's bag for her, it's time to start.
Lithuania is a beautiful, welcoming country that offers visitors the best of all worlds. From medieval towns to tranquil beaches to lush forests, the culture is unique and the experiences unforgettable. Planning ahead for any potential health and weather concerns, and knowing how to best get along with the locals will ensure an enjoyable stay without incident.
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