Lithuania's emergence from the influence of four decades of Soviet rule is beginning to pick up steam. It seems like any day now parts of Lithuania are going to blossom into a Prague-like bastion of beauty and culture and start drawing needed tourists to complete their economic revival.

Lithuania is moving in that direction slowly but surely over the last two decades. They joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and joined the European Union in 2004. That economic resurgence is on its way, any day now, and surely the tourists will follow.

What to do

The Hill of Crosses at Siauliai is one of the most eerie and strangely powerful attractions in Lithuania. Built as a symbol of Catholic resistance to the communist way of life that the Soviets imposed, the Hill of Crosses is a hillside that has been completely covered in crucifixes-some bearing statues of Jesus' body, others not. Tourists can purchase a cross and contribute to the mess of crosses on the hill, or just walk through the monument.

Also be sure to tour the capital city, Vilnius, an interesting blend of Polish and Russian cultures.

Getting there

Getting to Lithuania got a whole lot cheaper recently when Ryanair began offering flights to Kaunas Airport in Lithuania. Most flights land at Vilnius International Airport, but now several countries around the EU can fly on the Irish airline for very cheap prices. Because Lithuania is now a member of the European Union, travelers from these countries do not need anything more than a Passport or identity card to travel.

Where to stay

Hotels in Vilnius and other major cities are abundant and relatively cheap. Hostels can be found in some of the smaller cities as well and cater to the independent traveler. Lithuania can be a strange and interesting place to travel. Check out the travel stories about Lithuania or ask a question about traveling on the message boards.