Trakai Castle and Grūtas park

Trakai Castle - One of Lithuania's former capitals, Trakai, located just 28km west of Vilnius, is a charmingly small settlement, strategically placed in the middle of five large lakes. It is a popular destination for locals seeking a little rest and relaxation by the water and tourists hoping to storm the infamous castle. There must be reason all roads seem to lead to Trakai in the summer.

The highlight of any trip to Trakai is the castle. Dating from the 14th century, the place was destroyed during the war with the Russians (17th-18th centuries), with restoration work only starting again as recently as 1955. Inside find a museum tracing the history of the castle and its significance as one of the holiest of holy Lithuanian sites.

Grūtas Park - Several Stalin’s and loads of Lenin’s litter this bizarre, mildly controversial sculpture park near the spa town of Druskininkai. The brainchild of local mushroom millionaire Viliumas Malinauskas, come and gaze upon row after row of retired communist sculptures, collected en mass from their former positions of importance throughout Lithuania. There is a small exhibition in memory of the Lithuanians deported to Siberia after WWII as you come in, an information centre featuring a galaxy of disparate paraphernalia and a path that cleverly evokes what it must have felt like to live surrounded by barbed wire and observation posts for almost 50 years. A small zoo is thoughtfully provided with wild boar in the cages and if you’re hungry there’s a restaurant too.