Lithuania //

Travel essentials

Cost

DAILY BUDGET Basic €35/occasional treat €50; DRINK Utenos beer €1.70 FOOD Cepelinai (potato and meat parcels) €3.50; HOSTEL/BUDGET HOTEL €12/€40; TR AVEL Bus: Kaunas–Klaipeda €15; train: Vilnius–Kaunas €5

Crime and Personal safety

You’re unlikely to meet trouble in Lithuania; pickpocketing, car theft and late-night mugging are the most common crimes. You should be aware that a scam operates in Vilnius, whereby drunk foreign men are sought out by beautiful women who lure them into bars run by unsavoury characters, who then charge the men extortionate amounts for drinks and beat them up if they refuse to pay. The police expect to be taken seriously, so be polite if you have dealings with them.

Emergency

Fire t01; Police t02; Ambulance t03. For general emergencies call t112.

Health

Emergency health care is free but if you get seriously ill, head home.

Information

Most major towns have tourist offices, often offering accommodation listings and event calendars in English. Regional maps and detailed street plans of Vilnius are available in bookshops and kiosks.

http://www.inyourpocket.com The In Your Pocket guides to Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda (available from bookshops, newsstands, tourist offices and some hotels) are indispensable sources of practical information.

http://www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk National tourist board site with useful information.

http://www.tourism.vilnius.lt Vilnius tourist information.

http://www.muziejai.lt Portal for Lithuanian museums.

http://www.lietuva.lt General information about the country.

Internet

There are a few internet cafés in Vilnius and Kaunas; many cafés and restaurants also have free wi-fi.

Mail

In major towns, post offices (pastas) are open Mon–Fri 8am–6pm and Sat 8am–3pm; in smaller places hours are more restricted. Stamps are also available at some kiosks and tourist offices.

Money and banks

Lithuania’s currency is the Litas (usually abbreviated to Lt), which is divided into 100 centai. Coins come as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50c, and 1, 2 and 5Lt, with notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500Lt. The litas is pegged to the euro (€1= 3.45Lt). Bank (bankas) opening hours vary, though branches of Vilniaus Bank are usually open Mon–Fri 8am–3/4pm. If you’re looking to exchange money or get a cash advance outside banking hours, find an exchange office (valiutos keitykla). There are plentiful ATMs in all major towns as well as the Curonian Spit; credit cards are widely accepted.

Opening hours and public holidays

Opening hours for shops are 9/10am to 6/7pm. Outside Vilnius, some places take an hour off for lunch; most usually close on Sunday (though some food shops stay open). Most shops and all banks are closed on the following public holidays: January 1, February 16, March 11, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May 1, July 6, August 15, November 1, December 25 and 26.

Phones

Public phones operate with cards (telefono kortelė), which you can purchase at post offices and kiosks. Getting a prepaid SIM card for your mobile with either Bitė, Omnitel or Tele 2 is a good way of avoiding roaming charges, though using another European mobile in Lithuania is relatively inexpensive.

Student and youth discounts

An ISIC or an IYTC card will usually get you fifty percent discount on museums and sights, as well as on public transport and some long-distance trains during term time. A YHA card gets discounts at HI-affiliated youth hostels, while ISIC/IYTC cards are accepted at any hostel.