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Lithuanian independence came swiftly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. By 1995, the transition to a full market economy had been more or less completed. The long-running border dispute with Poland was settled with the signing of a friendship and cooperation treaty in January 1992, and negotiations with Russia led to the withdrawal of the remaining Russian troops in Lithuania in August 1993. Such events led up to the country joining the EU in May 2004.

Practical Information

Area: 65 300 km² (25 212 miles²)

Capital: Vilnius. Population: 541 300

Population: 3.43 million

Currency: Lithuanian Litas (LTL) = 100 centas

Government: Republic. Gained independence from Russia/Germany 1918-1940, and then from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Tipping: Restaurant bills include a tip. Otherwise, tips are discretionary.

Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October)

Languages: Lithuanian

Additional descriptions

Lithuania: Social customs

Handshaking is customary. Normal courtesies should be observed. The Lithuanians are proud of their culture and their national heritage and visitors should take care to respect this sense of national identity.Read more

Lithuania: Food and local specialties

Waiter service is the norm in restaurants and cafes, but self-service restaurants, bistros and snack bars are numerous. The national specialties are: Skilandis (smoked meat). Salti barsciai (cold soup).Read more Vedarai (potato sausage) and bulviniai blynai (potato pancakes). Smoked eel is a famous Baltic delicacy. It is highly recommended to try the mild white curd cheese, best served with honey. Local brands of beer and imported drinks are popular. A famous Lithuanian spirit is midus, a mild alcoholic beverage made from honey.

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