Lithuania tourist information
Lithuania attracts many tourists from neighbouring countries and all over the world. Lithuania experiences a constant increase of foreign visitors. As of the first half of 2006 the number of visitors (except from the EU Member States and EFTA Member States) has risen 11.1 percent compared to 2005 and reached 985.7 thousand. Lithuania attracts foreign visitors mostly from Russia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Finland. Druskininkai and Bir┼ítonas resorts experienced around 50 percent increase of occupiers in 2005 compared to 2004; while the increase of arrivals staying in Neringa and Palanga averaged 22 percent. The majority of visitors staying in hotels and lodging houses come from Germany, Poland, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Finland.
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From January to September 2006, Lithuanian hotels have experienced a 13,7 percent increase of occupiers compared to 2005, 51 percent of them being foreign visitors (nearly 620 000). Among them, a number of foreign occupiers in Druskininkai has increased 25,7 percent and 27,5 percent in Palanga. Almost a half of the foreign visitors were staying in the capital, Vilnius, that experienced an increase of 10,6 percent. More than twice as many foreigners had stayed in Bir┼ítonas' sanatories, compared to 2005.
Agrotourism has also gained extreme popularity in the country among the locals as well as foreigners.
Lithuania's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are Ôłĺ2.5 ┬░C in January and 16 ┬░C (61 ┬░F) in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are Ôłĺ6 ┬░C (21 ┬░F) in January and 16 ┬░C (61 ┬░F) in July. During the summer, 20 ┬░C (68 ┬░F) is common during the day while 14 ┬░C (57 ┬░F) is common at night; in the past, temperatures have reached as high as 30 ┬░C (86 ┬░F) or 35 ┬░C (95 ┬░F). Some winters can be very cold. Ôłĺ20 ┬░C (Ôłĺ4 ┬░F) occurs almost every winter. Winter extremes are Ôłĺ34 ┬░C (Ôłĺ29 ┬░F) in coastal areas and Ôłĺ43 ┬░C (Ôłĺ45 ┬░F) in the east of Lithuania.
The average annual precipitation is 800 millimeters on the coast, 900 mm in the Samogitia highlands and 600 millimeters in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania but common in the coastal areas.
The longest measured temperature records from the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show that there were warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then.
Lithuania experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires. The country suffered along with the rest of Northwestern Europe during a heat wave in the summer of 2006.
The Port of Klaip─Śda is the only port in Lithuania. Vilnius International Airport is the largest airport. It served 2 million passengers in 2008. Other airports include: Kaunas International Airport and Palanga International Airport.
Lithuania has an extensive network of motorways. The best known motorways are A1, connecting Vilnius with Klaipeda via Kaunas, as well as A2, connecting Vilnius and Panev─Ś┼żys. One of the most used is the European route E67 highway running from Warsaw to Tallinn, via Kaunas and Riga.
Lithuania received its first railway connection in the middle of the XIX century, when the Warsaw ÔÇô Saint Petersburg Railway was constructed. It included a stretch from Daugavpils via Vilnius and Kaunas to Virbalis. The first and only still operating in the Baltic states Kaunas Railway Tunnel was completed in 1860. Lithuanian Railways' main network consists of 1749 km of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5Ôüä6 in) broad gauge railway of which 122 km are electrified. They also operate 22 km of standard gauge lines. The Trans-European standard gauge Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki ÔÇô Tallinn ÔÇô Riga ÔÇô Kaunas ÔÇô Warsaw and continuing on to Berlin is under construction now and by the end of 2013 will reach Kaunas.
Art and Museums
The Lithuanian Art Museum was founded in 1933 and is the largest museum of art conservation and display in Lithuania. Among other important museums is the Palanga Amber Museum, where amber pieces comprise a major part of the collection.
Perhaps the most renowned figure in Lithuania's art community was the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas ─îiurlionis (1875ÔÇô1911), an internationally renowned musician. The 2420 ─îiurlionis asteroid, identified in 1975, honors his achievements. The M. K. ─îiurlionis National Art Museum, as well as the only in Lithuania military Vytautas the Great War Museum are located in Kaunas.