Sitting quietly on the edge of mainland Europe, Lithuania was once a great powerhouse. Rewind 600 years and it formed one of Europe’s biggest countries, with land which is now part of Poland, Belarus and the Ukraine. After being taken over by the Soviet Union, the Lithuanians fought for independence, which they won in 1918. There are reminders of the Russian-controlled period in places like the Cold War Museum, which was a nuclear missile site and the Soviet Sculpture park. You can also visit the Hill of Crosses, where locals have laid crucifixes to commemorate those killed in battle. The Russians bulldozed them regularly when they had control, but the determined Lithuanians just replaced them. Life is a little quieter these days, with one-third of the country covered by forests, although most visitors come for the Baltic coast, and in particular the resorts around the Curonian Spit.