A recent market study conducted by the KOG Research Institute for the Lithuanian Tourist Board in Israel shows around 300,000 Israeli tourists will visit Lithuania in the next three years. According to the study, Israelis are among the tourists who stay in Lithuanian the longest. In 2021, for example, a foreign tourist spent an average of 2.34 nights in the country, while Israeli tourists spent 3.8 nights.
The study further shows the reasons for the growing interest of Israelis in Lithuania is the incredible diversity offered by the beautiful country, from its vibrant cultural life to fine dining and more. However, the top reasons Israelis cite are Lithuania’s unique nature and many family attractions.
So what is there to see and do in Lithuania?
The capital city, Vilnius, is known for the cobblestone streets of the Old Town — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — but did you know it is the only European capital that allows hot-air balloon rides above the city? This means you can explore the city on foot or as the crow flies, with stunning views of its rivers, green parks, and beautiful architecture.
Vilnius also offers many museums suitable for families, such as the nostalgic, antique-filled Toy Museum or the mind-boggling Museum of Illusions, the most whimsical place for a memorable family photo.
While you’re in the capital, don’t miss out on the cozy Cat Café — the only coffee place in the country with 15 playful cats. Visitors may kick back and enjoy their food and drinks while the feline creatures sit in their laps or tug at their sleeves.
And if you’re spontaneous, Vilnius also hosts the country’s Gastronomy Week (April 25- May 1), with restaurants offering uniquely-crafted menus. This year’s theme is “22 colors,” exploring the many shades of spring.
Just 30 minutes away from Vilnius lies the country’s historical capital, the medieval city of Trakai. The main draw is the Island Castle — the film set for Gerry Lively’s 2005 film, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God. After visiting the meandering medieval paths around town, you can take to Galvė lake by yacht or paddleboard and explore its calm surface.
Another delightful attraction in Trakai is the chocolate café, where visitors can find a life-size chocolate jaguar, a pirate, and over a hundred more delectable sculptures.
Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city and European Capital of Culture for 2022, is well known for its youth culture and a rapidly evolving art scene. But families will also enjoy the city’s intriguing Art Deco buildings and green open spaces.
And while in Kaunas, don’t miss out on the Devil’s Museum, one of the world’s most unusual museums, with three thousand exhibits from around the world. The collection includes pieces of fine art, souvenirs, and masks, offering a unique opportunity to examine how the mythical creature is represented in over 70 countries, including Lithuania.
Wellness, ski, and nature
A more active getaway awaits at one of the UNO adventure parks, found outside Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, and Druskininkai. They are filled with treetop adventures and walking trails, both leisurely and challenging. The UNO park in Kaunas also features a zipline above the river, with stunning views of its sparkling surface.
Speaking of Druskininkai, Lithuania’s official wellness resort is the perfect destination for families looking to explore and breathe in the fresh pine forest air. Add some hiking trails, waterfall spas, outdoor gyms, meditation, and yoga terraces, and you can see the appeal.
If you enjoy winter sports, you can also ski or snowboard at the local indoor Snow Arena — the only one of its kind in the Baltics. Covering eight hectares, the indoor arena has three ski slopes that will almost transport you straight to the Alps.
For a hands-on approach to discovering nature, near the town of Rūdeikiškės is a Dear Spa with around 70 freely roaming deer. Why is it called a spa? Because the services are considered a form of therapy — watching, feeding, and petting the deer helps calm the mind and boost feelings of joy, letting go of worries. Deer Therapy is suitable for all ages and is especially popular with families looking to escape the city and reconnect with nature.
Another similar attraction is the 4.5-hectare Rabbit Valley outside Utena. Housing over 50 different breeds of rabbit — as well as deer, cows, goats, and sheep, to name but a few — the valley allows children to become acquainted with various animals, pet and feed them. Visiting families can also enjoy a little respite under a pergola with coffee, ice cream, and snacks, surrounded by the tranquility of nature.