Weather: Lithuania, Belarus

Most of Lithuania is only a few hours' drive from the Baltic coast, but the inner parts of this country – including the touristed areas of Vilnius and Trakai – experience more of a dramatic change from summer to winter than their closeness to the sea might suggest. Winters are cold nationwide, though distinctly less so along the Baltic coast, where thaws are more frequent. Points along the southwest coast of Lithuania (along with an adjacent fragment of Russia) average more than 2°C/4°F warmer than Vilnius in the winter. Dustings of snow occur every couple of days in winter, with a few bouts of rain along the coast. Spring warms and brightens up quickly, and it can get quite showery and thundery as early as May across parts of the east. Summers are mild across the nation, with a few days of heat possible in July and August. It cools down quickly in autumn, and the rains become lighter as well (except along the coast, which can get doused into November). To the south and east, Belarus is prone to somewhat greater extremes than Lithuania – more intense winter cold, a more persistent snowpack, and a few more thunderstorms and hot spells in the summer.