Vilnius Tourism Information:
3 Beautiful buildings in Vilnius: Bell Tower, Vilnius Cathedral and Gediminas Tower Castle in the background
The Neris river flows between the city of Vilnius and divides the new and old Vilnius, together with its medieval tower castle and open parks make it a city full of contrast, style, rich in history ready to be explored! One minute you feel deep in the forest isolated from all civilisation and the next minute you can be surrounded by quaint little shops and modern restaurants or bars enjoying the Lithuanian cuisine and relaxed scene. Vilnius is full of universities making it an ideal city for nightlife entertainment, open terrace bars, clubs and restaurants to suit everyone's tastes, giving the crowds a full array of options to go out. Nevertheless the city is suited for all ages and around Pilies Street you will find all the tourist restaurants with local cuisine, elegant Hotels with fine dining and plenty of late night bars with a cosy stylish atmosphere but with a contemporary feel.
Arriving in Vilnius is very simple. If arriving at the airport, leave the main terminal building and on the right hand side there is a bus stop. Bus 1 and 2 take you to Vilnius Main Station (Stotis), where you can connect to other busses or trains. You can also take the fast bus 3G which takes you into the city centre at Gediminas Prospektas in about 15 min. Alternatively take bus 88 to the old town. (Also N88 works throughout the night). Prices are €1 for a one way ticket. There is also a Train station at the airport, it operates every 35 min and takes you to the main train station for also €1, the trip takes 10 minutes.
Within Vilnius you can buy the city card, which only costs a €1.50 and you can top it up with 1 day,3 day, 10 days or monthly unlimited usage pass, which include busses and trolleybuses in the whole city. Also in Vilnius transport runs day and night having recently introduced night busses (additional charges apply) For more info please refer to Vilnius transport
Vilnius local busses are now modern and with wifi
Trolleybuses are a common way of moving around Vilnius
Vilnius train station offers trips to domestic cities as well as international cities like Minsk or Moscow
What to see and do?
Vilnius is a small city and all tourist attractions can be reached by foot or a short ride by trolleybus. Exploring the city by foot is highly recommended as you will discover lots of side streets and places of interest not accessible by car. There is the option to join a city tour bus, though the price is expensive when you can do it yourself by foot.
A visit to Vilnius would not be complete without visiting some of these very important landmarks in the city:
- Gediminas Tower Castle, from which you can see a good panoramic view of the city including the old town and the more modern financial area. The Castle Museum was opened in 1960, and in 1968 it became a subdivision of the Lithuanian National Museum. The exposition displays reconstruction models of Vilnius castles of the second part of the 14th and the beginning of the 17th centuries, armament and photographic material of old Vilnius.
- Grand Dukes of Lithuania Palace, the reconstructed Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, was one of the most famous in Europe in the 15th-17th centures but was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. This Palace is located in the heart of Vilnius, within the confines of Lower Castle. Nowadays the rebuilt building acts as a multi functional Museum.
- Vilnius Cathedral, located next to the Grand Dukes Palace. The Cathedral was granted the title of ‘Basilica’, by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Many key figures in Lithuanian history are buried in the Sovereigns’ Mausoleum, which is located beneath the chapel of St. Casimir. Its vaults contain the remains of Vytautas The Great, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and King Alexander of Poland. The cathedral’s original temple dates back to between the 13th or 15th century.
Gediminas Tower Castle
Grand Dukes of Lithuania Palace
- Pilies Street, it's the oldest and most flamboyant street in the Old Town of Vilnius. The street appeared in place of the former road from Vilnius Castle to the south, towards Poland and Russia. This was the main road to the castle. The broadest parts of the street were occupied by markets: the so-called Great Market near the Town Hall and the fish market next to St. Paraskeva’s Church (Pyatnickaya). The street is distinguished for its architectural variety: Pilies 12 and 14 are Gothic, Pilies 4 is a Renaissance building of an episcopate college; and the pediment of the Church St. John is Baroque. Today you can find many typical Lithuanian restaurants, Hotels, cafes and souvenir shops all keeping in trend with the historic styles or the era.
- Bell Tower and University Tower (st John's Tower), two look-out towers to take a view at Vilnius like a bird. (Charges apply). The Bell Tower is located next to the Cathedral whilst St John's Tower is located in the University grounds.
- The KGB Museum, (Museum of Genocide Victims), it shows the darkest side of Vilnius' history. Its bloody history began when this former gymnasium became the headquarters of the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania in 1941. It was then re-occupied by the Soviet Secret Police, the KGB, when the Nazis left in 1944. The KGB stayed until 1991. The museum is divided into two parts, the upper two floors document the Lithuanian partisans’ resistance against the Soviet occupiers, the deportations and day-to-day life. The other part of the museum are the prison cells, and execution and torture chambers in the basement. The cells are exactly how the KGB officers left them when leaving Lithuania in 1991. It's a must see Museum to understand what happened in Vilnius and Lithuania before it gained independence in 1991 after its turbulent history.
Pilies Street is full of restaurants, souvenirs shops and hotels.
You can climb the Bell Tower to see the great views!
- St Anne's Church, it's a beautiful Gothic Church which is a key symbol to Vilnius and the city constructed entirely with red brick. The church of St Anne is a masterpiece of the late Gothic period. The church, which has survived to the present day without changing for over 500 years, has become one of the most popular tourists attractions.
- The Gates of Dawn, one of the most visited shrines in Vilnius. This is the only surviving gate of the first original five gates in the city wall that was built between 1503 and 1522.
- The Bastion of Vilnius, City wall, this is part of the Vilnius Defensive Wall, it's a Renaissance-style fortification characterised by its original construction. It consists of a tower installed in the city defence wall, underground gun ports and a connecting corridor, which turns into a 48-metre long tunnel. The Bastion was built in the first half of the 17th century.
St Anne's Church is made all out of brick
The Gates of Dawn and its chapel
The Bastion of Vilnius
- Three Crosses Hill, The monument has changed many times, and the current one was built in 1989 at the beginning of the Rebirth movement. It was built to replace the one that had been removed by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, pieces of which still remain on the far side of the slope. The Hill of Three Crosses is also known as Kreivasis Hill (the Crooked Hill), Plikasis Hill (the Bare Hill) or Tauro Hill.
- Užupis, located east of the city and surrounded by the river Vilnia, this bohemian and artistic neighbourhood is full of charm and artistic influence and is being renovated at present to offer full potential for local new shops and residential housing. Once over the bridges, you will find that you have technically stepped into a different "republic", with its own constitution, flag and special independence day (April 1). Numerous, colorful works of street art decorate the streets and river side paths. It's also a great place to grab a drink or evening meal!
- The Presidential Palace, called “Prezidentūra” (President’s Office), built in the square of Simonas Daukantas. Dating back to the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century: a former nobleman’s house and the present-day Office of the President. In 1997, the building was renovated. The flag of the President of Lithuania, which flies above the building, is lowered when the President leaves the country. Three national flags are hoisted in front of the building; two of them can be replaced by the flags of high foreign visitors. Every day at 18.00 you can see the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace. Every Sunday at 12:00 a solemn flag hoisting ceremony is held (5–10 min.). Participating in the ceremony are soldiers of the Honour Guard Company of the Lithuanian Armed Forces dressed not only in ceremonial uniforms but also in medieval armament. (Free tours of the Presidential Palace are available on Fridays at 16:30 and Saturdays from 9:00 to 14:30. In summer, guided tours are also offered in English on Sundays: 9:00-14:30. Prior registration is required at email@example.com )
It takes 15 minutes walking uphill to reach the Hill of Three Crosses
Užupis, is known for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere.
The Presidential Palace
- TV Tower, The Vilnius Television Tower is the tallest building in Lithuania at 326.5 metres high, the Television Tower played host to the January Events in January 1991 as Lithuania fought for its independence from the Soviet Union. During the affair, 14 unarmed Lithuanian civilians were killed, while another 700 were injured as Soviet troops seized the tower. A small museum dedicated to them is on the ground floor and crosses in their memory are by the main entrance. Today, visitors can go up to a revolving circular observation platform, which on clear days, provides spectacular views across the whole city as well as Elektrėnai, a city 25 miles west, which powered much of Vilnius’ electricity during the Soviet days. To get there take bus 54 or trolley-bus 16 from the main station. ("Stotis").
- Vilnius Town Hall, In 1387, Lithuania became a Christian state and Vilnius needed headquarters for the city authorities. As the main square of the city was located here, it was decided to build the Town Hall in the same place. The building housed the magistrate (in other words, the city councillors) as well as court rooms, the treasury, archives, an arms and ammunition warehouse, and rooms for preserving standards of measurement. A prison was established in the basement. In the 19th century, the Town Hall was transformed into a city theatre. In the 20th century, an art museum was housed in the Town Hall. Today Vilnius Town Hall is a representative building. Many different events are organised at the Town Hall during the year: concerts, exhibitions, festivals etc.
- The National Museum of Lithuania, it's the largest and oldest museum in Lithuania, dating back to 1855, when the Museum of Antiquities was established in Vilnius. Authentic exhibits help to recall the history of Lithuania and its national culture and customs.
The TV Tower viewed from a Hot Air Balloon!
Vilnius Town Hall
The National Museum of Lithuania
Suggestion, take a Hot Air Balloon ride!
If you want to add extra excitement and thrill to your trip, why not take a Hot Air Balloon ride over Vilnius or Trakai? There are numerous companies offering hot air balloon rides in Lithuania. The experience is one of a kind for any person who enjoys flying and viewing the sights from above! In fact in Lithuania this experience is cheaper than many other European cities, making it more affordable for many more visitors. The flights take place from the 15th April to the 15th October, when the weather is warmer and skies are clearer. To be able to fly, there has to be certain conditions to be met, preferably sunny clear days and little or no wind. Summer's are the best time to fly, however bookings are only confirmed 24h before, or on the same day of the flight, to ensure a safe and smooth flight.
The flight experience in a Hot Air Balloon is completely safe and reliable. Professional pilots with many flying hours are always on hand to answer any questions you might have during the flight. Apart from monitoring the flight, they provide interesting facts about the flight itself, point out look out places to photograph and can tell you about their passion for flying and their hot air balloon career. The flights normally take one hour, however, this can be extended depending on the wind conditions and finding a suitable spot for landing. Prices start at €100 per person, when sharing the flight with other people (up to 16/24), or you can pay €500 if you would like a VIP experience or a hot air balloon for 2 people only. The cost includes pick up/drop off at your selected hotel in Vilnius, flight preparation and inflation, safety briefing and the 1 hour minimum hot air balloon ride. At the end of the flight there is a nice touch, when you are presented with a first flight certificate and a glass of champagne to celebrate the experience! To book your flight and find out more information, click the following link at Hot Air Lines
Preparation of the flight takes around 30 minutes!
The hot air balloon flies with Propane gas.
They can rise up to 750 meters above ground and carry up to 24 people!
The city of Vilnius at 500 meters above!
View of a bird! With the TV tower and other balloons in the air
Landings can take place just before sun set making for great photos!
Suggestion, visit Vilnius during "Street Music Day"
This is a festival of music, professional musicians and amateurs come out into the streets, parks and squares.
Armed with all possible kinds of musical instruments they play jazz, rock, vanguard, folk, beat African rhythms and sing poetical verses.
This is a day involving all Lithuanian cities and towns in a festive event of free creativity, musicians and contact with the public.
Vilnius has many shopping and leisure centres around the city. The city centre and the old town have many stores and shops, some of which are at the higher end of the market with those hefty price tags. However if you are looking for a more casual style without breaking the bank then it's a good idea to visit some of the shopping centres which can be reached by bus in less than 30 minutes.
- Panorama Shopping centre, located next to the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences at T. Narbuto G. (Street). You can reach there by bus 4G ( Edukologijos Universitetas stop) and TrolleyBus 19 or 9. (Panorama stop). It offers two floors full of different shops including fashion, perfume, electronics, sport, stationary, communications and travel amongst others. It also offers many dining options and the Rimi Supermarket. Open till late.
- Europa Centras: Located crossing the river at Konstitucijos pr. 3 (Avenue) ; reachable by Bus 3G, 4G, 43, 56 or by Trolley Bus 9 and 19. (Europos aikštė stop). This centre offers 3 floors of good quality shops including, fashion, accessories, perfumes, luggage, gym, house-ware etc. It also has many eateries and a supermarket.
- Akropolis: Located at Ozo g. 25 (Street). You can easily get there by bus 53 from the train station, get off at Šeškinės kalvos stop. Alternatively bus 3G at bus stop Šeškinė and walk about 7min. This mega complex hosts many shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. It's a good option to spend any wet day as if offers Bowling, Cinema and even an Ice skating ring in the centre of the mall, surrounded by restaurants.Open till late.
Panorama Shopping Centre
Europa Centras Shopping centre
There are plenty of Hotels and Hostels within Vilnius, the nearer you get to the old town the more expensive they will be, however there are many non-chain Hotels within 10-15 walking distance to the centre and they offer reasonable prices from €25-40 per night. Private accommodation is becoming more available thanks to sites like Airbnb.
A recommended Hotel is Corner Hotel, a 3 star Hotel, located well in reach to the city centre (15 min walk) and in excellent reach of public transportation to the city and the airport. It offers private rooms with bathroom/shower, Fridge/freezer, satellite TV, free WiFi and a good quality breakfast. You can get discounts if you are staying for longer periods. Contact the Hotel directly for more info. Corner Hotel Vilnius
Visiting Vilnius would be ideal during a long weekend, 3 to 4 nights would be enough time to see all the highlights of the city. During this time take the opportunity to visit other places like Trakai and take time to unwind, stroll around the many parks in Vilnius, do sports or simply enjoy shopping, dining out or entertainment options at the many shopping centres around the city.
Vilnius Winter Photo Gallery 📷:
Suggestion, visit Trakai:
A beautiful town 30 km away from Vilnius. It used to be Lithuania's old medieval capital, however now a days the star of the show is a restored Medieval Castle surrounded by a lake in a breath-taking scenery backdrop. Recommended visits are both in during the summer being able to rent a pedal boat and in the winter when the lake freezes and you can Ice-skate. To travel there you can take a train or a bus from the main station in Vilnius, the trip will only cost €2 one way and takes 30 min. Once you arrive take a right turn from the bus station in Trakai and walk during 15min till you reach the Castle.