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I’m a digital nomad in Lithuania. Here’s my advice on visas, wifi and living costs

Lithuania is one of the only capital cities in the world where hot air ballooning is permitted.
Lithuania is one of the only capital cities in the world where hot air ballooning is permitted. Copyright PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP
Copyright PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP
By Joshua Askew
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Lithuania is making a name for itself as a tempting destination for digital nomads. Here’s why.

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Lithuania. Where is it? What is it like? What’s daily life like there?

You may have these questions if you have not been to the small Baltic country – and chances are you haven’t.

COVID hammered tourism in the region, while the Ukraine war caused many tourists to cancel or postpone their trips to Lithuania, according to local media outlet LRT.

But now Lithuania is making a bid for a particular type of traveller: digital nomads.

Is it easy to get a visa for Lithuania?

Lithuania is part of the European Union and the Schengen zone. So if you are an EU citizen, you can stay for up to 3 months without registering in the country.

From the UK, US, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand or Japan? There is a fast-tracked, simplified visa which can generally be obtained in a couple of months after applying.

The requirements for this visa are that you must be employed or self-employed, have a clean criminal record, health insurance and earn the Lithuanian minimum wage which is €600.

Travellers from other countries should check Lithuania’s official website to find out what visas are required.

Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.
Children enjoy a light installations during the "Festival of Lights" celebrating the 696th anniversary of Vilnius city in Old Town in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Jan 25, 2019.Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.

But, in comparison to other European countries, it is quicker, easier and cheaper to get a visa in Lithuania if you are from a third country.

The country is hungry for labour to fuel its surging economy and it is not swamped with applications like other places in the EU.

An added benefit is that a Lithuanian Temporary Residence Permit allows you to travel within the Schengen Area, with your passport, for 90 days every 180 on a rolling basis.

What is the cost of living in Lithuania?

Lithuania is no Turkey, a place renowned for its cheap prices for those on foreign incomes. But it will seem good value if you are from northern Europe.

A good quality craft beer in a bar will set you back around €3.50, while a hearty meal with drinks for two people is upwards of €30, but no more than €60.

But prices are rising - and fast. The Ukraine war has fuelled one of the highest rates of inflation in Europe in Lithuania, hitting 22 per cent in October.

How much is rent for digital nomads in Vilnius?

Still, rent remains cheap compared to prices elsewhere in Europe.

A one-bedroom apartment in the dead centre of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, costs €600-800 a month, though cheaper options are available towards the outskirts of town.

Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
Temperatures dipped to 1 degrees Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.

If you fancy it, a room in a flatshare in Vilnius is around €250-350 a month.

Old soviet blocs can look a tad grim on the outside, but they were built for livability not profit, and have large and well-lit rooms.

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What are co-working spaces like in Vilnius?

Vilnius has a thriving digital nomad scene.

Love convenience and getting to know your neighbours? Vilnius has co-living spaces - self-contained blocks with shared workspaces, gyms, cinemas and sports facilities.

Think communism but for young professionals.

Co-working spaces are also hugely popular, with Vilnius having a wide variety of options.

Talent Garden Lithuania is the Mecca of co-working environments. Spanning two floors, it is home to a thriving community of more than 200 young professionals, offering flexible workspaces, digital skills training and events. Plus free coffee, most importantly. Membership fees start from €189/month + VAT.

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Other co-working spaces in Vilnius include Workland Didžioji, Rock it, AltSpace and Spaces.

Does Lithuania have fast wifi? Is it affordable?

It’s well known that Lithuania has really fast wifi. It takes fourth place in the EU and 9th in the entire world, with an average speed of 45.11 Mbps.

Free wifi is widely available in cafes and libraries. Home internet access costs between €15 and €20 for premium packages.

What’s it like to remote work from Lithuania?

If you don’t fancy a co-working space, there are plenty of other work locations in Vilnius. Cafes, dedicated working spaces and public libraries are all over town,

So there are a range of places to comfortably work and study either alone or with friends.

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Candles are lit during All Saints Day at the cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Working in Vilnius University Library is a particular treat. There is a small membership fee, but its 16th-century architecture, furniture, paintings and windows are simply beautiful.

Note: Lithuania is two hours ahead of the UK and one hour ahead of mainland Europe. This can give you more leeway in the morning if you have had a late night, but can hamper a quick finish to the day.

What is daily life like in Lithuania?

Life in Lithuania is what you make it.

Practically everyone speaks English, especially young people. So you don’t need to worry about learning Lithuanian, though making an effort to learn some is always appreciated by locals.

Lithuanian itself is an ancient, yet complex, language, sharing grammar and phonology with Sanskrit. It was first spoken between 1500 - 600 BC in southeast Asia.

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Even Lithuanians say they aren’t the friendliest people. Small talk is not in the culture and Lithuanians know they can come across as reserved at times.

But once the ice melts, people are kind and considerate. Like everywhere, there are friends and connections to be made.

There is a budding community of ex-pats in Lithuania and the Facebook group ‘Foreigners in Vilnius’ is very helpful.

Pack a coat because winters are harsh, especially from November to March. You might struggle a bit at first, especially if coming from a southern European country.

Dunking yourself in frozen lakes is a popular pastime here. Give it a try or watch in disbelief from the sidelines.

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Spring and summer are truly lovely though. Unique in European capitals, forests and parks are everywhere and always within a short walking distance.

What is Lithuanian food like?

Like in most cold countries, Lithuanian cuisine isn't well known outside its borders. It is perfect for winter, if not a little unforgiving on the waistline.

Potato pancakes, pigs ears and ‘Cepelinai’ are traditional dishes. Named after the Zeppelin airship, Cepelinai are potato dumplings stuffed with meat. They are one of the cheapest, most filling meals you’ll find so perfect if you’re on a budget.

Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
A boy eats ice cream during the warm evening at the Old city in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, June 25, 2021.Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Vilnius has a great array of restaurants, especially with food from former communist countries. Chačapuri is an excellent, inexpensive Georgian diner, while Viet.inės offers delicious, authentic Vietnamese food and quite an unconventional experience – you can sit and eat in the kitchen.

Is there good nightlife in Lithuania?

There really is something for everyone in Vilnius’s nightlife scene.

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The city is packed full of bars, pubs and clubs, ranging from young and trendy to old man haunts.

If you feel like dancing all night, Loftas, Tunelis and Opium often play drum and bass, psytrance and techno music, while Salento is ideal for world music and pop.

There are plenty of options for the LGBTQ+ community.

As for bars and pubs, Busi Trecias has a cosy vibe, with wooden interiors and board games. Make sure you try the beer cocktails.

Plus, Plus, Plus is the cheapest watering hole in Vilnius and is regularly packed full of young people and ERASMUS students.

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A very big bonus to Vilnius is it always feels safe, with women feeling comfortable walking home alone late at night.

What are Lithuania’s tourist attractions?

Lithuania has a fascinating history. Vilnius was once known as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’, owing to its large Jewish population.

Walking around the mediaeval Old Town is lovely, with the area packed full of beautiful churches, parks, shops and cafes.

There is also a quirky independent art republic in Uzupis, where people hold informal parties and gatherings by the river in the summer months.

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Lithuania's Hill of Crosses is a popular tourist destination.JOE KLAMAR/ImageForum

It is one of the only capital cities in the world where you can take a hot air balloon over the city.

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Outside of the capital, Kleapedia and Kaunas should be the first cities to tick off your sightseeing list.

Lithuania is in an interesting part of the world, surrounded by countries that have a lot on offer, meaning plenty of options for international travel.

Belarus, Latvia, Poland and Estonia are all reachable easily and cheaply by train or bus, where there is fun and sightseeing to be had.

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