Lithuania Country Report
While the majority of trips to Lithuania, a small Baltic republic (population 2.89 million), are carried out under good conditions, travelers should nevertheless take certain common-sense precautions, particularly in urban areas.
Despite a low crime rate, petty and violent crimes are possible. Purse snatching and pickpocketing are not uncommon in population centers. Travelers should be vigilant in tourist areas, restaurants and bars, train stations, hotel neighborhoods as well as on public transportation.
Some neighborhoods in the capital Vilnius should be avoided after nightfall: near the train station, Snipiskes, Naujininkai, and the artists' neighborhood in Uzipis. Foreign citizens are sometimes targeted after nightfall. Avoid isolated areas such as parks, small streets, secondary streets, parking lots and all places with poor lighting.
Travelers should refuse invitations from strangers to go to small local bars, as it could be part of a known ploy where the tourist may be forced to pay a large amount of cash, supposedly for drinks, under the threat violence. Credit card fraud is common. Always keep an eye on your credit card and use ATMs inside banks when they are open to withdraw cash.
Violent xenophobic and racist acts have been reported in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipeda. Though less frequent, homophobic crimes have also been reported. In Lithuania, the LGBTQ community is not well accepted yet.
Thefts onboard night trains to neighboring countries have been reported. Car burglary is not rare; do not park your car in a remote area and keep your personal belongings out of sight.
During the summer, the crime rate increases due to an influx of foreign visitors.
On a final note, police officers are typically underpaid and occasionally attempt to coerce bribes from individuals, particularly those stopped for traffic infractions. Never give money directly to a police officer.
Occasionally, social movements (e.g., strikes, protests, etc.) occur. It is advised to avoid all social and/or political gatherings, even peaceful ones, as they can quickly become violent.
After suffering a significant recession in 2009, Lithuania's economy has been in recovery since 2011. Lithuania became a member of the Euro Zone on January 1, 2015. It is also part of the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area.
The next presidential elections will be held in May 2019.
It is essential to take out a health insurance policy before departure that covers healthcare abroad as well as medical evacuation and repatriation.
The country's hospital infrastructure is of average quality, but outside major cities the quality and breadth of medical services can be limited. Emergency services can take time to answer and arrive.
Foreigners should take note of certain diseases present in Lithuania, including tuberculosis. Those traveling to forested areas should also be aware of the risk of contracting Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. It is strongly advised to take precautions while in wooded areas: cover your legs, arms, and feet and inspect your entire body after the outing. If a tick is found, use tweezers to remove it as quickly as possible with steady, even pressure, making sure not to sever the mouth-parts, or go directly to a doctor.
Although they are in good condition, Lithuania's roads are among the most dangerous in the region. In 2012, the European average for road deaths was 55 per million residents; in Lithuania, it was 100.
Vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires from November 1 until April 10. Studded tires are allowed during this period only.
Roads in remote areas can be in bad condition and dangerous. Extreme vigilance is advised at night due to the lack of proper street lighting. Horse-drawn carts, cyclists, and vehicles without taillights or reflectors often use roadways. Moreover, drivers can be very aggressive.
Reliable and regular bus networks connect the country's major urban hubs.
Taxis are inexpensive. Riders should check for a meter and ask for a price estimate before using the taxi. It is recommended not to use informal taxi companies. Official taxis have a logo and can generally be found at taxis stations or in front of famous hotels.
Train services operating in the country tend to be slow, aging, and uncomfortable. The fleet of trains is currently being updated, so there is an equal chance of riding on a brand new train or an old one.
Always carry proper identification in case an identity check is necessary.
The climate is continental in the interior of the country, tempered along the coast thanks to the influence of the Baltic Sea. Summers are relative hot and winters are cold, even harsh, with temperatures sometimes falling to -30°C. Precipitation is frequent in winter but the summer sees higher levels of rainfall. Snow falls for 3-4 months every year and the spring thaw often produces muddy conditions.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: 370 Police: 112 Fire Dept.: 112 Ambulance: 112
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz