I have to say this post was long time in planning (as most of my prospective posts are :-)), but what made me sit down and write about Vilnius was a recent post from one blogger I follow asking for some travel/food tips.
Last year in October we went for one of our favourite weekend city breaks, that time we had flight tickets to Vilnius.
I didn´t know too much about this Lithuanian capital, so I wanted to arm myself with a guidebook. Getting one turned out to be quite a challenge since there is not much choice on the market. I didn´t want to buy a joint guide for all Baltic countries and eventually I ended up with The Best of Vilnius from the Globetrotter edition. It wasn´t the best guidebook I´ve ever seen, but it did its job.
I also read some blog posts about Vilnius and even found one blog dedicated completely to this city – 50vilnius. It gave me some good suggestions, so check it out before you go.
In this post I will focus more on the travel tips, in the following one I will look more closely on food and drinks.
What I would recommend most about Vilnius is just to enjoy its atmosphere. The city is not large and it is not full with plenty of sightseeing spots, so a weekend there is totally enough.
To start with, these are two from many peculiarities you can see in Vilnius:
So what were the Vilnius highlights for me?
- the atmosphere of originality and creativity. Already the fact that there is a separate “republic of artists” inside Vilnius with its own anthem, constitution, president, etc. is quirky enough. It´s called Republic of Užupis and I definitely recommend going there just to stroll around the streets and see all these small unique things – like a swing hanging from a bridge over a river.
- after the above was said it goes without saying that you can expect lots of street art. You will see yarn-bombed trees, teapots built into a wall and other materializations of creativity – just be prepared and look around.
- food markets, but I will focus on that in my next post
- old arsenal building housing the Lithuanian National Museum
- white clock tower
- bastion with a view over old and new town
- The Hill of the Three Crosses – white sculpture on a wooded hill. We haven´t been there, but it´s just on a neighbouring hill from the bastion (on the picture above). It looked like a nice place with great views of the city.
- if you have an extra day (even a half is enough), there is a beautiful place called Trakai nearly 30 km westwards from Vilnius. You get there easily by bus from the main bus station. What you go for is a castle on an island in the middle of a lake Galvé. You will have to walk to the lake and then to the castle. The castle is renovated and you can see lots of exhibits inside. After the trip you can eat in one of the restaurants lining the lake bank.
- amber – you will find this fossilized resin everywhere in Lithuania, the region is famous for amber. There is even an Amber Museum and Gallery in the city centre. You can buy cheap fashion jewellery or spend some serious amount of money in one of many specialized amber shops in the city centre.
Have you been to Vilnius? What did you like? Did I forget to mention anything worth visiting/paying attention to in Vilnius? Let me know in comments.