True Lithuania

Accommodation in Lithuania

Accommodation options are the most extensive in the Lithuania’s main cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda). It may be wise to anchor your trip there as the selection is great indeed: from youth hostels with shared bathrooms to five-star chain hotels. Take note, however, that the stars are awarded to the hotels based on them having certain amenities and not on the quality of such amenities.

Under the Soviet occupation, such functionalist hotels were built in every city and large town to become some of the largest local buildings (Lithuania's tallest building used to be a Soviet hotel in Vilnius). Most are now refurbished in varying quality. The picture shows Hotel Šiauliai. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Resort towns are another good option to stay at. There are the most hotels in Palanga, followed by Neringa and Druskininkai. Some of the hotels in the seaside resorts close in winter, but many remain open. In the summer, they are joined by hordes of local people renting out their apartments or rooms. In Palanga or Šventoji such people line up the roads leading to the towns and are also present at the bus stations. Moreover, the resort towns have a growing array of spa hotels that offer various supposedly healthy procedures, saunas, and pools, and are typically open year-round.

There are hotels in many smaller non-resort towns as well, but there you might be limited to a single option or a choice of two places for spending the night. Motels are available on the major roads, such as Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipėda or Panevėžys-Šiauliai-Palanga.

A motel at A1 highway. Lithuanian highway rest stops typically include just a single small cafe-motel like this. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Another option is the so-called countryside tourism sites. These ranges from basic farmstead accommodation to elaborate hotels built in the countryside rather than cities or towns. The possibilities there may include horseback riding, a traditional sauna and so on (but check in advance what is available). Lithuanians like to hire such farmsteads for celebrating various events.

B&B (Bend and Breakfast) is a term that even lacks Lithuanian translation, although you may find similar deals going by other names (usually "hotel", "villa" or something like that). Hostels are limited to the main cities.

Campgrounds are scarce by European standards so it is better to check in advance the locality you plan to stop at if you need one.

The accommodation in Lithuania is less expensive than in the northern Europe but more expensive than in many eastern countries. VAT adds to this.

Kempinski hotel near Vilnius Cathedral square. After post-independence tourist surge many derelict city center buildings have been converted into hotels, some of them belonging to worldwide chains. This particular building used to house telegraph, discontinued in the 2000s. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Hospitality Club, Couch Surfing and similar institutions of exchanging free stays with locals are popular among Lithuanians. Air BnB takes off as well, although its offers are often not any better than those at hotels.

Except for the resorts, apartment rental is generally more useful for longer periods (i.e. months). Downtown rental tends to be 25%-40% more expensive than the Soviet districts rent and Vilnius rent is 25%-40% more expensive than Kaunas or Klaipėda rent. Free apartments may be hard to come by in the largest cities in August-October (when the university students move in). Lithuanian law is generally favorable to the tenants (e.g. allowing to cancel the deal easily), but you may find it hard to defend your rights if you won't sign a written contract (which some landlords avoid for tax reasons or to ensure easier eviction).

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