Vilnius: you may have heard of it but can you pinpoint where it really is? Maybe it’s in Turkey? No wonder you thought that – Vilnius is one of few capitals where hot air balloons can fly freely over it. But guess again. Somewhere next to Chernobyl? Well, Chernobyl was filmed in Vilnius but take another guess. Germany, right? Ah, glasses all over the city are definitely overflowing with beer, so Cheers! Close call – Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. Think you can pinpoint this soon to be not-so-hidden gem? Head to https://www.whereisvilnius.com/
Everything’s just a short walk away
Getting to most places in Vilnius is just a matter of walking for a few minutes. That’s why locals prefer walking even though the city offers many different ways of getting around. And you can’t blame them; walking lets you enjoy the spectacular architecture in detail, encourages you to discover new hidden spots, and last but not least, keeps you in shape. It’s a win-win.
If you don’t like to walk, you can fly
This city is beautiful from every point of view, but if we had to choose one, we’d prefer to see it from above. Vilnius is one of the few capitals in the world that allows hot air balloons to fly over it, so if you’re looking for the coolest alternative to walking, this one is unbeatable.
Live the Chernobyl experience without needing a Geiger counter
One of the best mini-series in history, most of HBO’s Chernobyl was filmed in Vilnius, which was made to resemble the now infamous Pripyat. Hop into a time machine and rent a perfect replica of a Soviet apartment in Fabijoniškės, the neighbourhood that was one of the show’s main filming locations. This is the closest you’ll get to living the Chernobyl experience without risking nuclear contamination.
You’ll find more shades of green than shades of grey
While most cities are an explosion of concrete with a few green oases around, Vilnius seems to be part of a huge green forest. You will soon find yourself crossing a sudden meadow, or slaloming through some old trees to reach your next destination. These are just some of the perks of visiting one of Europe’s greenest capitals.
To beer or not to beer, is a rhetorical question here
And the answer is: to beer. An abundance of craft breweries makes Vilnius a paradise for beer lovers and a great place to fall in love with beer if you haven’t already. Swim across every variety you can think of and listen to the strong voice of the pub culture as it lures you to every corner of the city.
You’ll walk through an art gallery, even if you don’t visit one
In 2008, Literatų Street was adorned with more than 200 works of art to give passers-by a dose of street art. But it didn’t stop there. Later, Millo, Os Gemeos, Tank Petrol and many other foreign artists decided to leave their legacies throughout the city, too. Discover impressive shapes, colours and characters while taking a stroll through the city and turning random corners. Always be ready to be amazed.
Because foodies gonna food
If you’re a fresh-oysters-with-champagne kind of person, then this is your city. If you’re more of the pulled pork sandwich with cold beer type, then this is your city too. And if you’re anything in between, this is also your kind of city. Vilnius’ vibrant food culture will satisfy any palate. Fancy restaurants, down to earth food joints, pub food and traditional homemade dishes all dance together as part of the city’s food landscape. And if you don’t like to complicate your life, just go to Hales Market to fill your bag with fresh goodies and then have a picnic at the park. Your stomach, your rules.
Get high in the city
Up to 326.5 metres high, to be precise. Vilnius’ TV tower is the 8th-tallest building in Europe and it even has a rotating restaurant to give you a different view of the city every minute. Perfect to satisfy the munchies.
Knocking on heaven’s many doors
More than forty church towers contribute to Vilnius’ cityscape, and it’s a real feast for the eyes. Each one of them guards ancient stories, legends, treasures and magnificent architectural details that will literally make your trip divine.
This city’s B-side is as good as it’s a-side
Once you finish exploring the main avenues and impressive landmarks, there’s still a whole other side of the city waiting for you: the courtyards of Vilnius. Hidden behind the main streets, they provide the perfect hideouts from the mainstream side of the city, and the perfect locations for an intimate picnic or some calm and well-deserved me-time.
Your in-depth visit can really go in-depth
Literally. Take a tour through the centuries-old catacombs and cellars that remain intact under the city centre and visit the burial place of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania under the Cathedral. It doesn’t get deeper than that.
Experience the joy of independence in your own skin
Live in the Soviet times with a Survival Drama just a few kilometres outside of Vilnius. Enter an old Soviet bunker and experience what it was like to be a citizen of the USSR for a while. Feel all the tension that the average inhabitant of occupied Lithuania felt, become one with history and appreciate the contemporary freedom that this beautiful country is happy to enjoy.
Less classics and more rock ‘n roll?
If you’re the type who’s not in love with dusty ruins and old boulders, then you can dive into the selection of museums of modern art that the city has to offer. The Mo Museum, the Contemporary Art Centre and the National Gallery of Art will give you a breath of modernity in the middle of this medieval bubble.
Friendships made of stone
You can make friends anywhere, but not these kinds of friends. When venturing around the city make sure to find the “talking statues” with QR codes on them. You’ll be able to make friends and chat with the likes of the Grand Duke Gediminas, the Angel of Užupis and even Frank Zappa. There are 15 new friends waiting for your call to tell you their stories.
You don’t need a license to have fun on wheels
Rollerblades, bicycles, skateboards, scooters…choose your favourite and test your balance along the long trails of Vingis Park, a forest embedded in the middle of the city. You can bring your own or rent something there, or if you prefer, just get a burger or a coffee and watch others sweat. Either way, it’s fun.
Float along the Neris River and under the Milky Way
Kayaking is fun, but kayaking through the city centre at night is like an experience from another dimension. Take to the Neris by night and watch the lights of the Old Town blend with the stars in the sky. Pro tip: take your favourite person with you – it doesn’t get more romantic than this.
Nice to not meat you
Vilnius is proud of its wide variety of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Some of the best local chefs have come up with plant-based meals that will make you and the planet happy.
Fulfil your secret Tarzan dream
Climb tall pine trees like a pro, slide gently from one tree to another on a zip line, or rappel with elegance to the ground in the adventure parks set in forested areas around the city centre. Conquer the forest with your abilities and return home totally empowered by your Tarzan-like prowess.
We love the way you move
No matter which of the 35 ways of moving around the city you prefer, we love them all. And you’ll love them, too. Bus, trolleybus, Uber, Bolt, City Bee, electric scooter, bicycle…even by Uperis, a floating platform to cross the river. Or you can just walk. But it’s good to have options, isn’t it?
Now that you’re here, visit another country
The Republic of Užupis is the smallest district of Vilnius, separated from the Old Town by the Vilnelė River. It’s home to various artists and intellectuals, and even declared independence in 1997…kinda. It has its own anthem, government, currency and a very unique constitution that you can find on one of its walls translated into several languages. No visa required.
You don’t need to pronounce it properly to enjoy it
Šaltibarščiai, Cepelinai, Balandėliai…you name it…if you can. These and many more local delicacies can be sampled at various traditional restaurants around the city. From homemade style to gourmet reinterpretations of the dishes, you can discover what the country has to offer your palate.
Great kisses deserve a worthy frame
On a bench at Bernardine Garden or crossing the Love Arch near Vokiečių Street, Vilnius has some ideal locations for the most romantic moments of your trip. Sitting down next to the Vilnelė River surrounded by art and trees in Užupis, or getting lost in between the cosy streets of the Glass Quarter, you will definitely find the right background for that perfect moment with your loved one.
Turn off airplane mode and get into jet mode
Feel all those megabytes hitting your face when enjoying one of the fastest internet speeds on the planet from the moment you land. Maps, messages, social media or any application you use will just fly in your hands. Worried about those work files you forgot to upload before going on holidays? Solved before leaving the airport.
No plane gets you closer to the centre
We can’t say that your plane will leave you at your hotel door in the city centre, but it’ll come pretty close. About ten minutes away, to be precise. That’s the time it takes you to find the closest metro station in other cities. But Vilnius is so compact that its airport, even though located on the outskirts, is still just a short drive from the Old Town. So if you miss your flight, you can’t trick us: we know it was on purpose.
Witness the night become an infinite canvas
As soon as the summer starts, hundreds of artists choose one night to paint the city with music, theatre, dance, cinema, photography and art installations, filling every corner of Vilnius with magic. Get lost in Culture Night – a maze of beauty and inspiration for your soul.
Watch the stars under the stars
If you come to Vilnius during the last month of summer, get ready to make your nights brighter. The Cinema Under the Stars Film Festival brings the movies outdoors so you don’t have to miss a second of the beautiful summer evenings, even if you’re in the mood for going to the cinema.
If the Christmas tree is this good, imagine the presents
The most beautiful Christmas tree in Europe is officially in Vilnius. And to make it better, there was no need to cut a real tree down. Made of a metal structure, pine branches and lots of lights and love, the Vilnius Christmas tree is always a visual delight. Charge your spirit and unwrap the present of a perfect Christmas in one of the most beautiful holiday settings around.
Find every size and colour of literally everything
From kitchen appliances to wooden sculptures, from dolls to edible necklaces – Kaziuko Mugė, a historical annual market dating back to the 17th century, has presents for every one of your friends, even for that one you think is impossible to surprise with something. Make like a local and peruse the many stands that take over the main avenues of the Old Town. Prepare for some extra kilos in your luggage on your way home.
Because food tastes better with a touch of sun
Summertime transforms Vilnius into one big open-air restaurant with tables invading the streets, making it difficult to know where one restaurant ends and where the next one begins. Take a walk around Savičiaus, Vilniaus, Islandijos, Subačiaus, Didžioji and many other streets to grab a bite under the summer sky.
Walk with shining armour in your mind and a bathing suit in your backpack
The medieval Castle of Trakai is just a few kilometres from Vilnius on an island located in the middle of a lake. The town is filled with great lunch and dinner spots with picturesque views of the historic castle. Accompanying the views are the famous kibinai, traditional stuffed pastries made by the Karaim community, which was invited to settle in Trakai to protect the castle in the 15th century. Rent a boat, take a swim and have a picnic with your friends to make the most of a perfect summer day in a historical setting.