Lithuania; has it ever made your list of possible photography destinations? Do you even know exactly where it is?
I may be ignorant but i’ll blame it on coming from the opposite side of the world to Europe and plainly say that I had no idea where exactly Lithuania was or much about it until a few years ago.
Enter Carlos Almagro (a raving Vallerret fan), during the past winter we chatted whilst solving his urgent need for warm hands as he spends his winters photographing in Lithuania. My ears perked up and I thought, “Lithuania, now there’s a place that doesn’t come on the radar much” so I dug deeper with Carlos into the attractiveness of Lithuania, and if it could rank amongst Europe’s best photography destinations.
Carlos: As it’s not one of the most popular destinations in Europe, i find in Lithuania (especially out of the big cities) a perfect chance to relax and feel as if you I was the first person taking photos of a certain location. To say more, I have never met with any other photographers. Water is always present in the Lithuanian landscape. Lakes and rivers, together with big forests are the main attraction of the Lithuanian landscape.
Carlos: There are some very interesting places to visit in Lithuania. If you are visiting the country for just a few days, there are some places you don’t want to miss. To say a few, Vilnius historical city centre, Trakai with its beautiful castle, the Curonian spit by the Baltic sea or the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai.
Vallerret: Sounds great, what are some tips to travelling around Lithuania? What about the cost of things, is it a cheap place to visit?
Carlos: Travelling to Lithuania (at least for me) was not so easy until a few years ago, when a few low cost airlines started to fly direct from Spain and some other countries to Kaunas and Vilnius, the two main Lithuanian cities.
I guess it helped a lot that Lithuania totally integrated into the European Union as well, and has helped to increase the number of visitors in the last years. The Vilnius airport extension or new rental car companies operating there are a proof of that.
The cost of travelling in Lithuania is not expensive; at least not any more expensive compared to the popular destinations in Europe. In comparison with Spain, I would say that the accommodation and transportation is slightly cheaper; Supermarket prices are similar; the biggest difference could be restaurants, which i find cheaper than Spain. By the way, i love Lithuanian food.
The people are also a big factor and are so nice, they will help as much as you need. I have never had a problem, though in certain places you and your camera can look like a little bit out of place 🙂 Talking about the language; they speak Lithuanian which is not at all similar to any other language. In the big cities you can speak english almost everywhere, but out of the cities it’s a bit harder, though the young people still usually speak english.
Vallerret: In a lot of places you see the same shots being taken, usually because they are amazing spots. Are there still landscape locations that are not overly photographed that provide unique photo opportunities?
Carlos: Yes there are. The country is full of small and big lakes usually surrounded by beautiful forests. For some of those locations, I have never seen photos before. For some others, there are just a few snapshots in Panoramio or similar platforms. In fact, these are my favourite locations to shoot when I visit Lithuania. I love how the light changes so slowly in comparison to Tenerife island where I live. It gives you the time to enjoy not only the photographic part, but to also sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the moment. By visiting the lakes in the early morning, you can get the chance to capture the always beautiful fog over the lake.
Even in the most visited places of Lithuania, as in Vilnius or Trakai, you can always get a unique shot.
Vallerret: What are the best cities for street and architecture photography?
Carlos: Though it’s not my favourite field and I don’t shoot that genre often, I guess the best cities for such kind of photography are the big ones like Vilnius, Kaunas or Klaipeda. There are probably other interesting cities which i still don’t know.
Vallerret: What is the appeal that keeps drawing you back to Lithunaia every winter?
Carlos: The main reason why every winter and almost every summer I visit Lithuania is that we have family there, but apart from that I really enjoy the photography in the beautiful environment.
– Carlos M. Almagro
Thanks to Carlos for chatting with me, you can find more of his work from Lithuania (and other destinations) via his website, carlosmalmagro.com , or on 500px.
The new, unknown, un-treaded path intrigues me in many areas. I’m confident Lithuania ticks these boxes for photography, with an outstanding landscape and not mention a cultural experience, I think I just added Lithuania to my list of destinations. What about you?
Carl van den Boom.