About Lithuania (LT)
Lithuania (LT) is located in Northern Europe on the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea, bordered by Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and the Russian exclave, Kaliningrad Oblast. Its transitional climate varies between continental inland and maritime coastal influences, with generally wet and mild conditions year round. The geography of Lithuanian varies only slightly between lowland plains and rolling hills left by the recession of ancient glaciers. Although not considered a tourist destination by international standards, visitors to Lithuania are surprised to find a generally pleasant atmosphere steeped in traditional culture that’s been preserved over centuries of regional change that characterizes most Baltic nations.
Public transportation in the capital city of Vilnius is suitable for local commuter traffic, but the majority of destinations and natural attractions are only accessible to visitors who rent a car. Travel between secondary cities is facilitated by an extensive and modern highway system; however, minor roads in rural areas are of varying quality. All the standard European traffic rules apply in Lithuania, with a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility for motorists and pedestrians alike (see Tips & Advice). The Baltic Road (Via Baltica) cuts through the country on a north-south orientation, while the A1 is the primary link from Vilnius to Klaipėda on the west coast, the main center of Lithuanian summertime recreational activities. And unlike many neighboring countries, Lithuanian drivers are considered polite and respectful of road rules.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Lithuania are provided by the most reliable names in the business: Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty, Budget, Enterprise, and Avis. Be advised that most car hire companies in Lithuania are found at airports. Choose from economy 3-door hatchbacks and economy 4-door sedans, intermediate, standard, and fullsize sedans, estate wagons, SUVs, premium and luxury vehicles, 7-12 seater minivans, and specialty vehicles such as convertibles and 4-door pick-up trucks.
Tips and advice
There are no border controls between Lithuania and neighboring countries, with the exception of Kaliningrad Oblast. However, security checkpoints are common near border crossings. Make sure to keep your personal and car hire documents in the vehicle.
U-turn junctions on motorways are for emergency vehicles only — with the exception of those found on the A1 and A2.
Some Lithuanian cities feature a special type of “mini-roundabout” at intersections of regional highways, which may even be unfamiliar to visitors from countries with standard roundabouts.
Animal hazards are common on rural roads, but major highways are generally fenced to reduce animal crossings.
Lithuania’s traffic safety code applies to anybody who is using the road — motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. Although pedestrians generally have the right-of-way in zebra crossings, once they step onto the road, they are considered vehicles, and any accident caused by pedestrian carelessness will be their fault.
Unlike the vast majority of first world countries, when driving on two and three-lane motorways, you’re generally expected to stay out of the right lane, in order to make way for right-turning traffic. It’s also common for drivers to take advantage of the open right lane, and overtake on the right, which can be a bit of a jarring experience for first-time visitors.