Vilnius has earned a reputation for itself as one of Europe’s hottest destinations in 2019. We are pretty sure it will be still the place to go in 2020 because it has a lot to offer. However, for those who visit this beautiful city for the first time, this guide will help you experience Vilnius to the fullest.
Vilnius is also known as “The Rome of the North” because of its rich historical and religious treasures. Plus, they have the oldest Baroque old town in northern Europe.
However, Vilnius is not all just historic places and treasures, it has much, much more to offer.
From the growing gastronomic scene, awesome nightlife and art centres Vilnius is the place to be. If you are travelling from Europe, then you should get there cheap because of the low-cost flights.
Nextravel recommends visiting these notable places:
Vilnius Old Town
The old town in Vilnius is part of the UNESCO World heritage. The reason why is simple – it looks like a fairy tail town – impressive palaces, cobblestone alleyways, baroque churches, vast squares and lots of history. Even though the old town is huge, you can easily get from one place to another by foot. This is the place where you will notice a lot of crowds, but not as much as a crowd in Dubrovnik.
As you explore the old town, you are mesmerized by the medieval architecture. However, the Vilnius Cathedral (Ch. of St Anne) will trap your mind and soul in its beauty. Located in the magical Cathedral Square, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Church of St Anne is a masterpiece that even Napoleon wanted to take it piece by piece and move it to Paris. Next to the church, you can find Gates of Dawn. It is a city gate that is regarded as the most religious, historical and cultural monument in the country.
The Hill of Three Crosses
Three white crosses on top the hill located near the Kalnu Park stand guard and protect this city. Legend says three monks placed them to honour the fellow monks who were killed there in the 14th century. However, the ones that stand today are not the original version. The old ones were taken down by the Soviet forces in the 1950s. Even though getting to The Hill of Three Crosses will tire you a lot, we highly recommend experiencing the view from there. The best time for a visit would be near sunset time. Watching the sunset fall and night emerge is a magical experience!
Užupis is the bohemian district and it is more than an art quarter – it is a self-proclaimed republic. It broke off the rest of the city in 1997. This district has its own president, ministers, anthems and constitution. In Užupis, you can relax in the hipster cafe’s, pubs and can do your shopping in the unique boutiques.
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Food and Drinks:
Lithuanian cuisines rely on root vegetables (potatoes and beetroot), dairy and meats. Lithuania is limited by its climate, but they create tasty and healthy food with a lot of heart in it. Our favourite traditional dish is Cepelinai (Zeppelins)! It is a national dish that is basically dumplings made from raw and cooked potato filled with pork and doused with sour cream and bacon sauce. Familiar, yet made differently! You can find this Cepelinai in nearly every Lithuanian restaurant. Other good traditional foods we recommend are Fried Bread (Kepta Duona), Beetroot Soup, Grybukai and Potato pancakes.
Nearly all restaurants and bars price their food reasonably and won’t rob your wallet as the French restaurants can. Restaurants open from 11 am and work till midnight, while cafes work from 8 am until 3 am. Beer is the most popular drink in Vilnius. Local brands such as Švyturus, Utenos and Kalnapilis will add that precious experience so you can level your world beer tasting adventure. Honestly, the beer is alright, but when I compare it to the best beer in the world – the Local Belgium beer(sorry Lithuania!) they are mediocre.
Clothes and Weather: As we said before, Vilnius is a cold city that requires warm clothes! The colder and damper weather starts in November and lasts till April. From May till June it is a little warmer, but remember to pack an umbrella and a raincoat because it rains a lot. The ideal time to visit would be in summer, but if you want to get a good deal for a hotel, then visit in the winter!
Hotels: Compared to other European major cities, Vilnius offers a decent price. I am not saying that they are cheap, but you can find a good hotel for only $40 per night. If you want to go luxury, then you can pay up till $500 if it is an offseason.
Nightlife: All the bars and restaurants in Vilnius copy the American and Irish models, but you can always find a traditional Lithuanian joint with a more relaxed atmosphere. If you want to have a good time, we recommend visiting Bambalyne. It is a bar that has a huge selection of beers and a relaxed atmosphere. If you want to party hard then visit Vilnius Pub Crawl. Nice crowd and lots of drinking games for all the guest to enjoy/get drunk!