Lithuania: Weather Overview
Lithuania lies on the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It lies north of Latvia and is home to a 99km coastline. 38 kilometres of this coastline lies on the Baltic Sea. The rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula which is a long sand barrier that separates the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon. 61km of the coastline lies along the Curonian Lagoon which is home to various seaside resorts and popular holiday destinations.
At the north of the Curonian Lagoon, lying on the narrow mouth where the lagoon meets the Baltic Sea is the warm water port of Klaipeda. Klaipeda is the countryâs only seaport, and in recent years its popularity has been rivalled by nearby resort towns of Nida and Palanga. So much so that Klaipadaâs population shrank from 1992 to 2005, from 207100 to 187,442.
Klaipeda has a temperate climate which is moderated by the Baltic Sea. Despite the fact that it lies on the coast, it does see temperature extremes in winter and summer, with temperatures above 30°C or below -15°C not uncommon. However, the bay is ice-free year round hence its suitability as a port.
The average temperature in winter is just below freezing, with December to February seeing average minimums of -2°C to -3°C and daily maximums rarely reaching about 1°C. During winter there are about 7 days of snow on average per month and 7 to 9 days of rainfall. In winter the city can be battered by severe snowstorms or gale force winds. The extremity of the winters varies from year to year; some years are hit by significant snowfall and others seeing only a sprinkling.
Summers in Klaipeda is the warmest in July and August when average maximums are 21°C and minimums are 13°C, the average daily temperature in June and September is 14°C, while the average daily temperature in the peak summer months is 17°C. June is one of the wettest months with 11 days of rainfall, while July and August only see 7 days of rainfall making them the driest months. November is the wettest month, seeing 90mm of precipitation on average.
Another seaside resort is the town of Palanga which has grown in popularity in recent years to become the busiest summer resort in Lithuania. It has vast sand dunes, some of which are the highest in all of Europe, and an unspoilt natural environment. There are long sandy beaches, perfect for working on your tan during your summer holiday. Here August, September and November have a tendency to be the wettest months. The westerly winds blow and the warmth of the Baltic Sea meets the cooler temperatures of the mainland, producing rain - so best to visit in June or July for your summer break.
Lying inland, in the southwest, you will find Lithuaniaâs vibrant capital city of Vilnius. With just over half a million inhabitants, Vilnius is the countryâs largest city. Here the climate is humid continental, with hot summers and cold winters.
Summers in Vilnius is electric as the city is a cosmopolitan hub of activity with a young population. Like Budapestâs locals, Vilniusâ residents have built a reputation of being extremely inviting and friendly. The bars and cafes are full in the summer months, parties spilling onto the streets, everyone enjoying the long warm summers days. Temperatures are frequently over 30°C in the height of summer; be sure to pack light cotton clothes as the humidity and the heat can sometimes be uncomfortable.
Winters are bitterly cold and the thermometer rarely sees temperatures above freezing. The average high in January is -3°C, while the average daily minimum is -8. The cold winter lasts through until about early March, before reaching daily highs about 10°C in April.
The winters get so cold that the lakes just outside the city often freeze over completely. This makes perfect conditions for ice fishing - a popular Lithuanian pastime. Due to its inland location temperatures are not moderated by the ocean waters, so temperatures below -25°C are not unheard of during the coldest months of January and February.
The city is known for its beautiful ancient architecture. At 3.2 square km, the Old Town is one of the largest in Europe, and the 1500 buildings were built over a number of centuries so the architecture is representative of a variety of styles. While Vilnius is known as a Baroque city, as you stroll around the streets you can find Gothic and Renaissance buildings as well.
The former temporary capital of Lithuania is the city of Kaunas which sits at the confluence of Lithuaniaâs two largest rivers, the Nemunas and the Nevis. Weather conditions here are pretty similar to Vilnius, though slightly cooler due to its proximity to the rivers. Kaunas is home to the Pazaislis Monastery which is the largest monastery complex in the country and for the 3 months in summer it hosts the Pazaislis Music Festival- making it a great time of year to visit the historic city.
The Lithuanian terrain is split between flat lowlands and highlands. There are numerous lakes and wetlands scattered across the country and forest covers 30% of the land.