Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania, known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. With so much to see and do, planning your trip can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this 3-day itinerary with travel tips, recommended routes, and highlights of the most important places in Vilnius. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we hope this guide will help you make the most of your time in Vilnius.
Day 1: Old Town and Castle Complex
- Gediminas Tower: Start your day at the top of the hill, where the iconic Gediminas Tower offers panoramic views of the city.
- Cathedral Square: Walk down the hill to Cathedral Square, the heart of Vilnius Old Town, and admire the beautiful neoclassical Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and St. Vladislav.
- Pilies Street: Stroll down the charming Pilies Street, lined with colorful buildings, cafes, and shops selling local crafts.
- The Presidential Palace: Admire the elegant neoclassical facade of the Presidential Palace, home to the President of Lithuania.
- Gediminas Avenue: Walk along the bustling Gediminas Avenue, the main shopping street in Vilnius.
- Gediminas Castle: Finish your day at the Castle Complex, where the remains of the medieval Gediminas Castle stand proudly atop the hill.
Day 2: Užupis and Artistic Neighborhoods
- Užupis: Start your day in the bohemian neighborhood of Užupis, known for its colorful street art, quirky cafes, and independent art galleries. Don’t miss the famous Užupis Constitution, a tongue-in-cheek declaration of independence written by local artists.
- Republic of Užupis: Explore the Republic of Užupis, a self-proclaimed independent state within Vilnius, complete with its own flag, anthem, and president.
- Gediminas Hill: Hike up to Gediminas Hill and take in the stunning views of the city from another perspective.
- Contemporary Art Center: Visit the Contemporary Art Center, one of the largest and most important contemporary art institutions in the Baltic region.
- Bernardine Cemetery: Take a peaceful stroll through the Bernardine Cemetery, a historic burial ground that is now a popular park with beautiful sculptures and memorials.
Day 3: Parks and Museums
- Vingis Park: Start your day with a visit to Vingis Park, a beautiful green space in the heart of Vilnius, perfect for a morning jog or picnic.
- Museum of Genocide Victims: Learn about Lithuania’s turbulent history at the Museum of Genocide Victims, located in the former KGB headquarters.
- National Museum of Lithuania: Visit the National Museum of Lithuania, which houses a vast collection of artifacts that showcase the country’s history and culture.
- St. Anne’s Church: Admire the stunning Gothic architecture of St. Anne’s Church, considered one of the most beautiful churches in Lithuania.
- Trakai Island Castle: Take a day trip to Trakai Island Castle, a picturesque castle located on an island in Lake Galvė, just 30 minutes from Vilnius.
Travel Tips in Vilnius
- Wear comfortable shoes as the old town and castle complex involve a lot of walking uphill.
- Bring warm clothing as the weather in Vilnius can be unpredictable.
- Be prepared for some steep hills and stairs, especially when visiting the castle complex.
- Use public transportation to get around the city, as it is cheap and efficient. You can buy tickets at kiosks or on the bus.
- Don’t forget to try traditional Lithuanian dishes, such as cepelinai, potato pancakes, and kugelis.
Where to Sleep in Vilnius
There are plenty of accommodation options in Vilnius to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some of our top picks:
- Hotel PACAI: This luxury hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 17th-century palace in the heart of the old town.
- Artagon Hotel: Located in the trendy Užupis neighborhood, this boutique hotel features unique art-inspired decor and a cozy rooftop terrace.
- Hostelgate: For budget-friendly accommodation, Hostelgate offers clean and comfortable dorm rooms and private rooms in a central location.
- Mabre Residence Hotel: This elegant hotel is located in a historic building near the Cathedral Square and offers spacious rooms with traditional decor.
- Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel: This 5-star hotel is located in a beautiful neoclassical building in the heart of the old town and features luxurious rooms and a spa.
For more options and to book your accommodation, visit the official tourism website of Vilnius here.
Where to Eat in Vilnius
Vilnius is known for its hearty and flavorful cuisine, with a focus on potatoes, meat, and dairy products. Here are some of our top recommendations:
- Lokys: This traditional restaurant has been serving Lithuanian cuisine since 1972 and is known for its game dishes and cozy atmosphere.
- Siltnamis: Located in Užupis, Siltnamis offers vegetarian and vegan dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Bernardinai: This upscale restaurant is housed in a former monastery and offers contemporary Lithuanian cuisine with a focus on seafood.
- Kūnefe: For something sweet, try kūnefe, a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with shredded phyllo dough, sweet cheese, and syrup. You can find it at Pilies kepyklėlė in the old town.
- Keulė Rūkė: This casual restaurant specializes in smoked meat and has a cozy beer garden in the summer.
For more recommendations and to explore Vilnius’ food scene, check out the official Vilnius Food Guide here.
Free Tours in Vilnius
If you’re on a budget or want to learn more about Vilnius’ history and culture, there are several free walking tours available. Here are some of our top picks:
- Old Town Free Tour: This 2-hour tour covers the highlights of Vilnius’ old town, including Cathedral Square, Pilies Street, and Gediminas Castle.
- Užupis Free Tour: Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Užupis on this 1.5-hour tour, which covers the Republic of Užupis, street art, and local culture.
- Alternative Vilnius Free Tour: This 2.5-hour tour takes you off the beaten path to explore Vilnius’ alternative culture, including street art, independent art galleries, and underground music scenes.
- Jewish Vilnius Free Tour: Learn about Vilnius’ rich Jewish history on this 2-hour tour, which covers the Jewish Quarter, the Great Synagogue, and the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum.
For more information and to book your free tour, visit the official website of Vilnius Free Tour here.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best time to visit Vilnius? The best time to visit Vilnius is from May to September, when the weather is mild and the city is bustling with outdoor events and festivals.
- How do I get from the airport to the city center? You can take a bus, train, or taxi from Vilnius Airport to the city center. The bus is the most affordable option and runs every 10-15 minutes.
- Is Vilnius a safe city for tourists? Yes, Vilnius is generally a safe city for tourists. However, as with any destination, it’s important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
- What currency is used in Vilnius? The currency used in Vilnius is the euro.
- Do I need a visa to visit Vilnius? If you are a citizen of the European Union or the Schengen area, you do not need a visa to visit Vilnius. If you are from another country, check with the Lithuanian embassy or consulate in your home country.