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Telšiai is the chief city of Samogitia region in Lithuania, with a population of 22,261 in 2023. It's industrial but has preserved many buildings of its Old Town.


The city was named after Telšė the stream flowing into Lake Mastis; the name means "flowing water". Telšiai was first documented around 1450 and became the chief town of Samogitia region, and remains so. During the 1831 and 1863 uprisings against Tsarist rule, Telšiai was a centre for the Polish–Lithuanian insurgents; Russia crushed them and strengthened its grip. In World War I the town was occupied by the Germans then by the Russians, who withdrew to leave Lithuania independent. Telšiai grew and industrialised during the next 20 years then again found itself caught between those ruthless powers. Memorials to the massacres of 1941 stand in several places.

Major industries in Telšiai are the Orlen oil refinery, food, furniture, wood and metal-bashing. These have left the old town centre relatively unscathed.

Visit Telsiai is the Tourist Information Centre, at Turgaus Aikštė 21 in town centre. It's open M-F 08:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-15:00.

Get in[edit]

The town is off Highway A11 from Šiauliai to Kretinga and Palanga on the coast. From Vilnius take A2 to Panevėžys then A9 to Šiauliai to join A11. From Kaunas take A1 towards Klaipėda then cut north via Laukava and Route 160.

Five buses a day run from Kaunas, taking 3 hr 40 min via Raseiniai. Some continue to Mažeikiai or Skuodas. Bus lines are Kautra and Toks. For timetables and fares see Autobusubilieta.

One bus a day runs from Panevėžys via Radviliškis and Šiauliai to Telšiai, and continues west to Plungė, Kretinga, Palanga and Klaipėda.

1 Autobusų stotis the bus station is 500 m west of town centre.

Three trains run daily from Vilnius, taking 3 hr 15 min via Šiauliai, and continuing to Plungė, Kretinga and Klaipėda (another 70 min). For timetables and fares see LTG Link.

2 Telšiai railway station is 1 km north of town centre.

Get around[edit]

Telšiai is small enough to be covered by foot.

Taxi firms are Eurotax (+370 444 33333) and Revas (+370 444 67777).


  • 1 Turgaus Aikštė ((Turgaus Square) is town centre, with its distinctive clocktower. Most of the buildings around it are modern and nondescript.
  • 2 Telšiai Cathedral (Telšių Šv Antano Paduviečio katedra), Katedros a 2, +370 444 60500. This church was completed in 1794 as part of a Franciscan monastery, and re-modelled in the 19th when the monastery was dissolved and it became the parish church. It was promoted to cathedral in 1926. It'a mixture of Baroque and Neoclassical, with a two storey main altar and a gallery. The churchyard fountain is dedicated to Kazimieras Simonavičius (c 1600-51), the world's first rocket engineer. He wrote the first textbook "Artis Magnae Artilleriae" and invented the concepts of fin stabilisers, multi-stage propulsion, and packing bio-warheads with the saliva of rabid dogs, much more efficient than launching entire rabid dogs. Telšiai Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • Bishop Vincentas Borisevičius Seminary is north flank of the cathedral, partly in old monastery buildings but mostly in the new block of 1927. It's named for its first rector, later bishop of Telšiai. Like many RC seminaries it became unviable through dwindling candidates for the priesthood, and it closed in 2021.
  • 3 Church of the Assumption (Švč Mergelės Marijos Ėmimo į dangų bažnyčia), Šviesos g 2, +370 444 78840. This was built as the Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in 1867 on the site of a demolished Roman Catholic church. In the 1930s the RC diocese sued for its return, and it re-opened as an RC parish church in 1935. It's a mix of neo- Gothic, Baroque and Byzantine. Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Telšiai on Wikipedia
Great organ of the cathedral
  • 4 St Nicolas Orthodox Church, Žalgirio g 8. When the Orthodox community were ejected from what became Church of the Assumption, they built this second St Nicholas in cubist style: it's a 10m x 10m x 10m box with a dinky onion dome. Altar, iconostasis, icons and other sacral items were transferred from the original church. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox church, Telšiai on Wikipedia
  • Wooden synagogue (Buvusi Telšių Amatininkų sinagoga) is 50 m south of Turgaus Square at Telšės g 5. It's been turned into a furniture showroom, which has closed down, so it's in good repair but has lost its character. There are more atmospheric traditional wooden houses in the nearby streets, but they're rapidly succumbing to the developers.
  • 5 Jonušo Museum, Muziejaus g 88, +370 674 19308. 24 hours. Your search for Japanese pagodas in Lithuania is finally over. Jeweller and artist A Jonušas has created this pagoda and collection of other Japanese and Chinese artifacts, which you're free to wander.
  • 6 Žemaičių muziejaus Alka, Malūno g 5, +370 601 92417. Closed for reconstruction. Open-air museum with historic buildings, and exhibits of local archaeological finds, art and culture. It was formerly in town on Muziejaus g, but has moved to this more spacious site south of the lake and is still being re-built.
  • 7 Rainiai Chapel commemorates the massacre of over 70 political prisoners by the Soviets on 24 / 25 June 1941. They were being held in Telsiai; the Germans were advancing and would likely free them, so they were brought to Rainiai forest. Elaborate tortures were carried out before they were killed. Those responsible were protected by Russia, and it was only possible to build the chapel after independence.
  • Holocaust memorials stand in several places in the surrounding woods and fields, including one 500 m south of Rainiai Chapel. The Germans found it convenient to blame the Jews for the Rainiai massacre, so first the men were tortured then shot. The women and children were marched to Geruliai 10 km east, along with those from other towns, then at the end of August 1941 most were shot. Some 500 younger women still had a use as labour and sex slaves, so they were kept until December. Of the 2800 Jewish population at the start of the war, only 64 fugitives survived.


  • Žemaitė Drama Theater, Respublikos g 18 (50 m west of cathedral), +370 684 80101. Year-round programme.
  • Football: FC Džiugas play soccer in A Lyga, the country's top tier. Their home ground Telšiai Stadium (capacity 2400) is 500 m northwest of town centre. The playing season is March -Nov.
  • Lake Mastis has a walking trail along its north shore in town, and a park with water sports on its east shore. It's too grubby for swimming.
  • Lake Germantas is in the forest 10 km west of town. It's a quieter cleaner area than Mastis, with trails through the forest.


Church of The Assumption
  • Maxima supermarket is at Kęstučio g 20, 300 m north of central square, open daily 08:00-22:00.


  • Senamiestis, Turgaus a 11, +370 444 74744. M-Th 11:00-20:00, F Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 11:00-18:00. On the central square, going for Old Town atmosphere as the name implies, and often booked up for private parties. Pity about the food.
  • Harmony Lounge, Birutės g 1, +370 645 74776. Daily 09:00-23:00. Smart friendly restaurant by central square.
  • Picų Namelis is a pizzeria next to Harmony Lounge open daily 10:00-22:00.
  • Senoji Kvorta, Respublikos g 4, +370 604 52502. Su-F 10:00-22:00, Sa 10:00-00:00. Cellar restaurant by the central square.
  • Restoranas Ukrainiečiai, Respublikos g 37 (200 m west of central square), +370 639 30000. F Sa 11:00-22:00, Su 11:00-19:00. Ukrainian restaurant serving hearty trad specialties.


  • Vaigra is a sports bar next to Senoji Kvorta on Respublikos g, open Su-Th 11:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-00:00.


  • 1 Telšių viešbutis, Kęstučio g 21, +370 444 53292. Clean central hotel. B&B double €50.
  • 2 Bohema, Respublikos g 59, +370 689 44957. Restaurant which added rooms and spa facilities in 2023, so it's squeaky clean and eager to please. B&B double €50.
  • 3 Sinchronas, Turgaus a 24, +370 655 50313. Pleasant comfy place by the lakeside. B&B double €80.


Orthodox Church of St Nicholas

As of Jan 2024, Telšiai has 5G from Tele2 and Telia, with 4G along its approach roads, but no signal from Bite.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Telšiai is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.