Living in LithuaniaIyna Bort Caruso
The northern European republic of Lithuania on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea is a short flight from all major European cities.
Lithuania, a member of the European Union, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU. Its capital, Vilnius, is also one of the EU’s least expensive cities for expats, according to the 2016 Mercer Cost of Living Survey.
In the 15th century what was then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest state in Europe covering vast stretches of land that included parts of present-day Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. Modern-day Lithuania was the first Soviet Republic to declare sovereignty in 1990.
Vilnius is the capital, both politically and culturally. Its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the Europe’s largest centers of baroque architecture. It is also one of the most prestigious for luxury residential real estate. Although Old Town dates back centuries, luxury residences feature 21st century finishes and appointments.
Other desirable districts are Valakampiai, situated on the left bank of the River Neris, and Antakalnis, a suburban neighborhood northeast of the city center. Home ownership is high in Lithuania. The high end of the market features homes with spa zones of saunas, pools and lounges as well as private elevators. Scandinavians represent the largest segment of international buyers.
Kaunas is Lithuania’s second largest city and home to a respected international jazz festival that was established at the time of the Lithuania’s independence. An icon of the city is a fortress complex built in the 19th century when the city was part of the Russian Empire. Later battle-tested during the First World War, the fortress is visible from virtually all points of the city.
Beyond the cities are national parks with 200-year-old pine trees, scores of lakes
and breathtaking landscapes. Curonian Spit is a 60-mile long strip of sand with some of the largest sand dunes on the continent. For resort living, residents escape in warm weather to Palanga, a town on the Baltic coast considered the country’s summer capital and known for its beautiful seaside cottages.