Health & insurance
Before You Go
There are no mandatory vaccinations for travel in Lithuania, but it's wise to make sure you're up to date with diphtheria, tetanus, polio and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shots. It's also worthwhile getting vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, serious illnesses carried by tainted water or bodily fluids.
Travellers planning to spend time camping, hiking or walking in forests should strongly consider a tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) vaccination. Compared to other European countries, Lithuania has a relatively high incidence of TBE, a potentially very serious illness that attacks the brain. If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it as quickly as possible using a clean pair of tweezers and wash the affected area. TBE symptoms may not appear until one or two weeks after a tick bite; seek medical attention.
At the time of writing, there had been no recorded cases of rabies in animals in Lithuania for a number of years, lessening the need for pre-exposure rabies vaccinations among travellers to rural areas. It's still recommended that you give stray animals a wide berth and seek immediate medical attention if scratched or bitten by any mammals.
EU citizens should acquire a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling, entitling them to free or cut-price state healthcare in Lithuania. Citizens of non-EU countries may be required to present proof of travel insurance after landing in Vilnius airport. If you can't produce proof of insurance, you will be asked to purchase a policy on the spot. If arriving in Lithuania from another EU country, you won't be asked to show your travel insurance policy – but it's strongly recommended that you secure one anyway.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Considering its population, Lithuania has a relatively high proportion of doctors and the standard of healthcare is good, especially in major cities like Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda. Hospitals in smaller towns are likely to be less modern, but there is usually a degree of English spoken.
EU citizens in possession of an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be able to access Lithuania's state-funded healthcare for little to no cost, including GP and emergency services. Otherwise, if you're travelling with insurance – and it's highly recommended that you do – your insurer should recoup the costs of private hospitals and healthcare practitioners. Private healthcare tends to be a well-oiled machine, in particular because of Lithuania's popularity as a medical tourism destination: English will be spoken and standards will be high. Inform your insurer as soon as possible and keep all receipts and prescriptions issued.
In most parts of the country, tap water originates from underground sources that are repeatedly tested for their quality, so it's very safe to drink. Major cities like Vilnius and Kaunas have perfectly potable water. However, water may have an unpleasant chlorinated taste closer to the coast. If you know you have a sensitive stomach, bring a portable water purifier.