Lithuania is not a very popular destination for digital nomads. I think the reason is pretty clear: Poland and Ukraine are cheaper, and Estonia is the more touristy destination of the Baltics. Estonia also wins in some regards by offering a digital nomad visa allowing a year’s stay.
Still, I was very happy that I choose to spend over two months in Vilnius. It is a beautiful European city with good infrastructure that is cheaper than most other European centers. The people there are beautiful and friendly and most people freely speak English.
Lithuania very much has a crossroads feel. You can feel the Germanic, Scandinavian, and Russian/Slavic influences all mixing under the surface. You can still see the fading remnants of Communism. Unlike Ukraine, however, where the decaying Soviet infrastructure is still very much the infrastructure, in Lithuania the Soviet Union’s days are a mere shadow, with new buildings rapidly consuming what remains as the city grows.
I was not expecting the city to feel as lively as it does. Despite the fact that almost Lithuanian I talked to had spent years in other countries, they still felt a strong sense of culture. Wages are low by EU standards, but that seems to have spurned strong growth as businesses come to take advantage of talent at lower prices.
I brought a bike with me, and spent a lot of time running, and for that Vilnius was perfect. There was even a Velo Marathon and regular Marathon for me to race in quite happily. The river has a lovely path network which, coupled with a loop up north of the city, can make for a lovely hour and a half ride with few stops or cars. Air quality is great and there are lots of trees and green spaces. Traffic is pretty low for a city. Ultra Bike was the best bike shop.
Cafes in Vilnius are good and plentiful, but not amazing (I think Lviv and Kyiv had better). There are many coworking spaces. Bolt taxis and scooters make for easy transport. Wolt offers plentiful food delivery. The city is small enough to get from one side to the other without too much difficulty. I stayed north of the river and center, and that seems the best place for a long stay. Overall, my feeling for Vilnius is that is a good city with no cons (except perhaps cold weather in winter, but it is still warmer than my home in Minnesota). There were a number of major city festivals and events, even with covid still around. There are many lovely old streets with which to get lost in the old town. Vilnius is not exciting, but I wasn’t bored either.
Another city I visited was Kaunas. It is the second largest city in the country, a university town, and has an excellent 19th century fortress complex scattered around the city. It is easy to reach, by train from Vilnius or by a direct flight. My feeling is that it would be easier to integrate with the local culture in Kaunas that in the international and business-focused capital. However, I don’t think it would be as good for running or cycling. With museums and a nice old town, it is definitely worth at least a weekend side trip if you are near.
I got invited to a number of other stops and festivals outside the capital, all of which were fun. Music seems especially important in this country, and the scene is strong for a small country, so check out a performance of some kind if you have the chance. I really liked visiting Kernave, which is a Medieval archeological site. I think the average person would find it a bit boring, but for me a, fan of this historical period, I could really feel how powerful a prehistoric center this would have been.
By contrast, it takes no imagination to appreciate Trakai. This rebuilt castle and town close to Vilnius is very much worth a daytrip by train or car. Trakai, in fact, is probably the #1 tourist site in Lithuania. I never visited the coast, but many locals told me to visit Klaipeda and nearby areas, which is where many of them go for holiday in the late summer.
It is hard for me to come up with any reason that you must visit Lithuania. It is just is. However, I can’t really think of any reasons not to visit there either. I would rank it quite high in the “safe bet” and “beginner-friendly” categories of digital nomad destinations.