South of Northern Europe
Gabriel Orentas

South of Northern Europe

Welcome to the South Northern Europe, or as we fancy to call it: Lithuania. If you haven’t been here before, you probably have been missing out a lot and you simply didn’t know it. No worries, there would be more on that later on.

Now, you may be thinking, “But isn’t Lithuania in Eastern Europe?” and the answer is both yes and no. “Yes”, Lithuania was dragged into the Soviet Union back in the day when some people thought communism was a good idea, which is commonly why Lithuania, along with its Baltic brothers Estonia and Latvia, are perceived as Eastern Europe.

On the other hand “No”, primarily due to geographical location. United Nations has been referring to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as part of Northern Europe since 2002, granting that only this year it was made official. This actually means someone wrote it down on a piece of official UN stationery.

So, what do we have to offer at the South of the North? To get started: A vast, almost unlimited, natural beauty. Lithuania is a green country both ways metaphorically and literally. As a Northern territory, Lithuania was among those regions covered by ice sheets during the glacial periods. This left a great number of lakes and rivers of multiple shapes and sizes that conform most of the geomorphology of the country. Waters in lakes and rivers are singularly transparent and clean, which makes them ideal for swimming and take on a number of other aquatic activities.

At least 50% of Vilnius, the capital city, is constituted by green areas. The rest is mostly low rise buildings and a few high rises. With no exception, this is a fact for all other cities in the country as well.

From Spring to Winter and everything in between, Lithuania's nature is handsomely inviting. Summer in particular is one of the best, with delicate warm days followed by refreshing evenings. Having longer days makes it all so much appealing. At its peak moment sunset takes place only at around 11 pm spreading a beautifully warm amber colour for hours. And with more daylight hours there are more activities available to do, from gliding to paragliding, from aquatic ski to hot air balloon rides, and from cultural sightseeing to a spirited nightlife.

For the lovers of cool Lithuania has the Winter option, beginning in December with the Christmas markets and new years party. Nightlife is very active in this time, perhaps because night begins at around 4pm. Nature can be equally enjoyable with an offer of ski, cross-country skiing, hunting, ice fishing, and a lot more. During the months of January and February, snow precipitation is very common. Sometimes snow might fall intermittently from as early as November and sometimes might be no snow at all until January.

Regardless of the season, and this is perhaps the most important characteristic of Lithuania, is that the country is not overflowed with tourists. While some destinations in Europe are so crowded is impossible to enjoy anything at all, Lithuania still has the advantage of remaining relatively hidden away, thus providing three things which are missing of our everyday lives: time, peace and serenity.