The Baltic countries begin to waken from their wintertime slumber during the spring months of March, April, and May. Lithuania, as the southernmost of the three countries, may see slightly better temperatures than Latvia or Estonia, particularly when capitals are taken into consideration. Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius is well inland, escaping the colder coastal climate seen by cities such as Klaipeda and Palanga, while Riga and Tallinn may still be in the grips of colder winds and chances of snow.
Middle-to-late spring is an excellent time to visit Lithuania, particularly if you’re up to bracing temperatures and don’t mind a little rain.
What to Pack
Each springtime is different in Lithuania. Sometimes winter lingers well into April, though other years may be blessed with signs of warmer weather in March. Keeping an eye on general weather trends will help you plan what to pack, but it’s important to be versatile in your choices no matter what the weather prediction estimates. Forecasts can change very quickly in this region of the world, making any type of weather guarantee impossible. Furthermore, wind and rain can make even moderate temperatures unpleasant while sightseeing, so consider your personal tolerance for variations in weather conditions.
While winter-weather gear won’t be necessary, lighter versions of accessories such as gloves, hat, and scarf will be good additions to practical, layerable clothing and a jacket that can withstand a rain shower.
In late spring, boots may be overkill, but it’s still smart to pack one pair of good walking shoes and another pair that will serve if the weather suddenly turns sour.
If you decide to visit the coast or the Curonion Spit, keep in mind that temperatures there are typically significantly cooler than in the capital or Kaunas, and that wind is also more of a factor than it is well inland.
Lithuania also tends to be a humid country no matter the season, meaning that breathable clothing is the best option. Pack natural fibers or synthetics that are well-designed for airflow and temperature control.
The biggest event for Lithuania, which happens in Vilnius in March, is Kaziukas Fair, which fills the old town with vendors from Lithuania and neighboring countries, entertainment, and games. This event is ideal for picking up handmade souvenirs, watching traditional dances, listening to folk songs, or trying local food favorites. Speak directly with artisans to learn about their craft. This fair happens the first weekend in March in celebration of St. Casimir’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day is also a large event in the Uzupis district of Vilnius. A green river and an out-of-doors party draw interesting people to this neighborhood on the Saturday closest to April 17.
March may also see the celebration of Uzgavenės, Lithuania’s Shrovetide celebration or carnival. Entertainment and games accompany this interesting holiday with a decidedly pagan twist.
Finally, Kino Pavasaris, the annual film festival, takes place at various theaters. This two-week celebration of international cinema, films by Lithuanian directors, and a focus on the Baltics and Scandinavia movie culture means that you’ll be able to check out films you might not have the opportunity to see otherwise.
In March or April, depending upon the calendar, Easter comes to Lithuania. Through the coloring of margučiai, or Lithuanian Easter eggs, and the purchase of verbos, or Easter palms, Lithuanians make this holiday colorful and lively. Lithuania, as a country with a majority of Catholic believers, ranks Easter highly on the holiday calendar. However, regular Easter markets have yet to come to Vilnius as they have in other parts of Eastern Europe.
Two strange holidays occur in Vilnius in April. The first is April 1, which is Uzupis’ Independence Day. Of course, this also being April Fool’s Day means the holiday is all in good fun. Be sure to check out the Uzupis Constitution while you’re in this part of Old Town Vilnius. The second holiday is Physics Day, when the Physics Department of Vilnius University constructs a dinosaur to parade through the town in search of philology students.
Lithuania is a land of song, and in May, the Skamba Skamba Kankliai folk song festival fills the air with the sound of haunting traditional melodies. A market selling handicrafts accompanies the entertainment.