Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is one of the most attractive cities in Eastern Europe. It draws attention, not only because of its unique architectural character, but also because of its cultural events and attractions. During the first ten years of Lithuanian independence, the city began to draw in visitors. The number of tourists has consistently increased during those ten years and tourist infrastructure and services developed greatly at the same time.
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Over the centuries, Lithuanians have created a unique array of dishes, influenced by the culture of various nationalities. A distinctive trait of Lithuanian cuisine is the preponderance of potato dishes. The most impressive of these are the cepelinai ("zeppelins"), large boiled potato dumplings made from grated raw potato with fillings of minced meat or cottage cheese. Other traditional potato dishes are various types of kugelis (potato loaf) and potato salad, potato pancakes made from grated raw potato or boiled potato (sometimes with meat filling), and small potato dumplings with mushroom or berry filling. Perhaps the most exotic Lithuanian dish is vėdarai or potato sausages – pork intestines stuffed with grated raw potato, baked in a wood stove or electric oven.
Soup is very popular in Lithuania. One of the most interesting Lithuanian soups is šaltibarščiai (cold beetroot soup), which is made from beets/beetroot, kefir (a fermented milk product), greens, and boiled eggs. This dish is most popular when served on a hot summer day.
Vilnius has a staggering array of outstanding places to dine, offering the best in French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Mexican, Indian, Russian, German, and Kosher food, as well as many cutting-edge international restaurants. And of course, no visit to Vilnius could be complete without experiencing one of the city’s many welcoming Lithuanian restaurants.
With an extensive menu of Lithuanian food and drink at rock-bottom prices, Šnekutis is hard to beat. It's an essential stop for travellers on a tight budget, with an abundant offering of local specialities, which turns increasingly into a buzzing bar as the night progresses.
Adresse: Šv. Mikalojaus g. 15, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 656 99459
The restaurant is established under the open sky and calls together up to 600 guests. Here, apart from eating and drinking, you get to enjoy the fresh air and nature and listen to something that no other restaurant is in possession of, the sound of brawling waterfalls.
Adresse: Belmonto g. 17A, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 68 61 46 56
Åpningstider: Daily 12–11pm
Etno Dvaras was the first restaurant in Lithuania to offer certified meals from the Gastronomic Heritage Foundation. These are meals made in the traditional way, using products of local origin. You can hear Lithuanian music playing in a cosy atmosphere of an old estate, decorated with elements of the old graphics and pictures from authentic books.
Adresse: Pilies g. 16, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 65 61 36 88
Åpningstider: Daily 11am–12am
“Lokys” opened in 1972 and is one of the oldest restaurants in Vilnius, located in an old merchant’s house where restaurant cellars, decorated with hunting trophies, remind us of the 15th century. In addition to the attentive service, game roasts (boar meat, roe dear, venison meat roasts, quail and even beaver meat stew) made according to traditional recipes help create a unique atmosphere.
Adresse: Stiklių str. 8, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 52 62 90 46
This could be the most mouth-watering choice in the Old Town. La Provence is leagues ahead of competition. Savoury fish choices include red mullet, monkfish and fresh, hot and smoked halibut. But if you really want to throw caution to the wind, take on the lamb knuckles or roebuck fillet with cherry sauce. La Provence also houses the most uncompromising wine list in town.
Bunte Gans churns out excellent German and world cuisine in the Old Town. The imaginative, good value food on offer includes schnitzels, bratwurst, bangers and mash, lamb, boar, beef steaks, fresh fish and the house special: dish of goose with fried potatoes and a host of other vegetables. There’s live music during the weekends and an extensive range of drinks including Riesling, Grauer Burgunder and the recommended German beer Zoller-Hof from Schwabia.
Adresse: Aušros vartų str. 11, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 52 12 83 12
The restaurant first opened in Vilnius in 2001. Its name is associated with the famous Russian academic, talented architect Nikolay Chagin. At Čagino, you will enjoy an authentic atmosphere of 19th century Russian nobility and dishes of Russian cuisine based on old national recipes.
Restaurant Imperial is set in the heart of Vilnius Old Town at the five star Ramada Hotel & Suites Vilnius, owned by the biggest network of American hotels. This gourmet restaurant offers the ultimate fine dining experience, from its sophisticated décor to mouth-watering food. The menu is impressive and includes legendary foie gras pate and other dishes like duck liver and fresh seafood like oysters, lobster and scallops.
Ida Basar is the first and the only Restaurant/Museum in the Baltic States which, besides presenting forgotten culinary heritage, invites you to enjoy more than 6000 exhibits. Ida Basar introduced the menu of the Great Duchy of Lithuania grandees of the 17th and 18th centuries and international cuisine.
Nightlife in Vilnius caters to every budget and taste. You can enjoy a beer at one of the many pubs here or hit one of the clubs. Make sure you dress well as face control is very much enforced.
This is the place that started the wine-boom in Vilnius and it is still avant-garde. The tapas menu is extensive, and even by Spanish standards the real deal. This place is a long-time favourite for many, from artists and actors to hard-boiled business people and even an odd merry politician.
This little wine bar, situated right in the heart of the Old Town, is a real gem. All the wines served here are carefully selected and brought directly from vineyards by the owners themselves. This is an exceptional wine bar standing for high quality, uniqueness and exclusivity, not to mention its cosy interior and live jazz evenings.
The art factory Loftas is a place well-known to local bohemians. This venue is based inside a fabulous old factory in Vilnius Newtown and offers creative opportunities, outlets and events including parties, fashion shows, educational seminars, film screenings and much more. Loftas is popular for big music shows with world-famous bands and DJs.
Artistai is a lively place with a youthful vibe that has been on the Vilnius’ party scene for a long time. This place is especially loved by students and draws in crowds with a mixture of popular hits and timeless pop classics. This place has a courtyard too where frequent live music concerts take place.
The Portobello is not only a place with live music (which is played almost daily) but also tasty and affordable food. This place has a soulful interior and is claimed to be one of the hottest spots in town.
With its friendly staff and a carefully selected beer menu, this bar stands out. The free wireless internet and table football only make it better. Live soccer matches are broadcast on the screen and draught beers including Guinness and Stella Artois are served to go with it.
Cozy is a café, restaurant and a DJ-bar. The charming old premises date back to 1536 and offer a warm interior with delicious food and friendly staff. This is a great place to sit back and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
The Old Green House is established only a few steps away from the Cathedral Square in a 19th century house, which is one of the few wooden houses remaining in Vilnius. Here you can have a refreshing glass of beer, with 14 types of Lithuanian and imported beer on tap to choose from, or taste The Old Green House light, special, strong or brand beer brewed according to a special recipe.
Vilnius is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is not hard to see why with all the wonderful historic sights found here. The city’s extraordinary appearance of historic continuity is all the more amazing when you consider its turbulent history. Vilnius is now back where it rightly belongs, at the heart of Europe, and this most quintessentially European of cities has quickly gained a reputation as being a charming, delightful and, it has to be said, magical place.
It is no wonder that Vilnius has become such a popular tourist destination in recent years for the simple reason that few people can resist its magical charms. The city is large enough to explore, but small enough not to get permanently lost in, Vilnius is an architectural dream come true, a city soaked in atmosphere, and alive with history.
Despite its reputation as a Baroque city, Vilnius is rich in other architectural forms. There are some stunning examples of classicism, eclecticism, brick gothic and art nouveau in the city centre, especially along the showcase Gedimino Avenue. The city abounds with quirky architectural flourishes, from mysterious masks to mischievous gargoyles. Quite simply, you just cannot take your eyes off the place.
Most of the buildings in Vilnius date from the periods immediately after the great fires of 1610, 1737, 1748 and 1749, when the city’s wooden buildings were done away with. Amazingly, however, the Old Town’s street structure is virtually unchanged since medieval times.
The best way to see Vilnius is on foot (just follow the cobblestone road). The city is also a dream for cyclists with clearly-marked cycle lanes covering virtually the entire city centre, and bringing all the city’s sights within easy reach.
There is, of course, much more to Vilnius than the Old Town. The city centre is filled with beautiful parks, and majestic buildings standing proudly atop steep, hilly streets. It is also a delight to walk along the banks of the river Neris as it serenely snakes its way through the city centre. The riverside path offers spectacular views of the Old Town on one side, and the imposing skyscrapers of the New District on the other.
Do & See
No trip to Vilnius is complete without a visit to the self-declared Republic of Užupis, just across the sparkling river Vilnia, and behind the spectacular red Gothic façade of St. Anne’s Church. Just be sure not to miss the prominently displayed constitution (it is in Lithuanian, French and English) which states, among other things, that: “Every dog has the right to be a dog.”
Other places of special interest include Vilnius University, the Hill of Three Crosses, the Gates of Dawn, the Presidential Palace, the Town Hall, Ponar Memorial, Kalvariijų market, not to mention countless other museums, galleries, churches and statues. Just one thing is certain when it comes to Vilnius: one visit is never enough.
The city's much-loved Bernardine Park dates back in to as early as 1469. Take a walk through the greenery, marvel at the musical fountain that plays classical and modern tunes and see Vilnius' oldest oak tree, which is reportedly over 300 years old.
Adresse: M. K. Čiurlionio g. 100, Vilnius
Åpningstider: Daily 7:00 - 22:00.
Cathedral - Basilica
The Cathedral Basilica is Lithuania's most important sanctuary and a witness of the nation‘s baptism in 1387. This is also one of the greatest architectural examples of classicism in Vilnius. In the Cathedral's catacombs you can find a museum of its history. Visitors can book an excursion (in the Cathedral`s parsonage) and be professionally guided.
Adresse: Katedros sq. 1, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 261 07 31
Gediminas’ Tower of the Upper castle
The tower, a long standing symbol of Vilnius, is located on the 48 metre-high hill. It is named after the City’s founder, Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania. This is the only remaining part of the Upper Castle, which stood here from the 10th until late 14th century. There is an observation deck on the top of the tower, a great place to appreciate a magnificent panorama. Gediminas’ Tower can be reached by foot or a funicular.
Adresse: Arsenalo str. 5, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 261 7453
Vilnius University Ensemble
The impressive Vilnius University ensemble was established in 1579 and represents different architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classicism. The ensemble consists of thirteen enclosed courtyards, St. John's Church and the highest viewing point of the Old town. The 68-metre high campanile offers a breathtaking view of the Old Town.
Adresse: Universiteto str.3/ Šv. Jono str. 13, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 219 3029
The Amber Museum-Gallery offers informative displays on the "Baltic Gold" as well as temporary exhibitions of amber jewellery. The museum hosts a unique collection of inclusions and narrates the entire history of amber, from its formation to its possible applications. Exhibits are presented in an interesting and modern manner.
Adresse: Šv. Mykolo g. 8, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 610 04258
Åpningstider: Daily 10am–7pm
Pilies Street is the oldest and most vibrant street in the Old Town of Vilnius. It has preserved its old and unique look and you can see traces of old architecture everywhere: small yards, arches, arcades, original steps and basements. Nowadays it is also a place where you can find numerous cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Adresse: Pilies str., Vilnius
Ensemble of St Anne's and Bernardines Churches
The St. Anne's and Bernadines Churches are a fine Lithuanian Gothic ensemble located right next to each other. St. Anne’s Church, constructed with 33 different kinds of clay bricks, is the most outstanding and enchanting Gothic building in Lithuania. It dates back to the late 15th century and remains largely unchanged.
Adresse: Maironio str. 8 - 1, 10, Vilnius
Telefon: 370 68 240 216
St Peter and St Paul's Church
This church is a masterpiece from the 17th century and one of the most significant Baroque monuments in Lithuania. It is famous for its exceptional interior where one can see about 2,000 stucco figures.
Adresse: Antakalnio str. 1, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 234 0229
Republic of Užupis
The Užupis district is sometimes compared to Montmartre in Paris or Christiania in Copenhagen. It is a self-declared republic of artists. The district has its own president, constitution (displayed on the wall in Paupio Street), anthem, military, day of celebration (April Fool's Day) and a guardian (the bronze angel). Užupis stands for creativity and uniqueness.
Adresse: Užupis district, Vilnius
Hill of Three Crosses
Once you reach the top of this hill, a terrific view of the city opens up before your eyes. Three white crosses standing on the top symbolise Lithuanians' mourning and hope. The first crosses were erected in the 17th century in memory of the martyrs, but were removed during Stalin’s rule and then rebuilt in 1989. A journey to the top of this hill makes for a lovely hike through a peaceful and green area of the city.
Adresse: T. Kosciuškos str., Vilnius
This lovely street is like an open-air gallery. Its walls are decorated with small objects made of metal, wood and glass as tributes to writers who have influenced Lithuanian literature.
Adresse: Literatų str., Vilnius
Gediminas Avenue is the main street of Vilnius, where most of the governmental and cultural institutions of Lithuania are concentrated. Nowadays it is also a very popular shopping and dining street. It is partially a pedestrian street in the evenings when traffic is prohibited.
Adresse: Gedimino ave., Vilnius
Museum of Genocide Victims (KGB)
This museum is set up in the former KGB headquarters where Soviet crimes were planned and committed over the course of fifty years. Here you can go see modern expositions acquainting its visitors with the loss of independence, repressions of Soviet authorities and information about the genocide victims.
Adresse: Aukų str. 2A, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 249 8156
Åpningstider: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery is a modern multi-functional centre of art and culture. Visitors become acquainted with a permanent exposition, presenting Lithuanian modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, objects, installations, and video art. Here you can also take part in cultural events, lectures and educational programs.
One of the most impressive contemporary art museums where art and nature merge is situated 19 kilometres from the centre of Vilnius. The Park of Europe was founded in 1991 and seeks to give meaning to the geographical centre of Europe in the language of art. About 100 sculptures created by different world artists are displayed there.
Adresse: Joneikiškių village, Vilnius region
Telefon: +370 52 37 70 77
Frank Zappa Statue
This monument is dedicated to an eminent American composer, guitarist and singer Frank Zappa. His music and iconoclastic character earned him a spot on the Soviet‘s list of banned artists, which impelled locals to build a statue for him right after the independence.
Adresse: Kalinausko str. 1, Vilnius
The main shopping areas in Vilnius can be divided neatly into the two areas of the Old Town (pedestrian streets where you can find antiques, amber, linen, books old and new, some nice pieces of art, handcrafts) and parts of the city’s classiest retail street, Gedimino (designer clothes, fashion shops, more charming crafts). In the Old Town, the very heart of the city, you can find excellent shops, prestigious boutiques and street markets specialising in local art, crafts and souvenirs. The most well-known areas for shopping in the Old Town are Pilies and Didžioji streets.
The city’s markets are also well worth a visit for an authentic, blast-from-the-past experience. Large shopping and leisure centres have been popping up increasingly around city fringes. There you will find clothing, footwear, food and other numerous shops. These are usually open from early morning until late at night.
Wares guaranteed to please anyone are local linen and amber. According to a local legend, amber originates from the tears of the sea goddess Jūratė and the stones from her castle, which was destroyed by Perkūnas, the pagan god of thunder, when he discovered her passionate love affair with the mortal fisherman Kastytis. Ask most people and they will tell you amber is a dark honey colour. However, visit anywhere selling the stuff and you will soon see it come in such diverse colours as blue, black, white and yellow. White amber is called royal amber and is widely available in Lithuania. Meanwhile the other good linen is woven from the fibres of flax plant, a completely natural resource, perhaps the most ecologically sound fabric of all. This fabric that really breathes, is available for just about any part of the body or home.
The (AV17) gallery, established in 2011, is one of few Lithuanian galleries that exclusively exhibit contemporary objects, sculpture, installations and conceptual jewellery art. The gallery collaborates with well-known conceptual sculptors in Lithuania and abroad, while also showcasing works by young and promising artists.
The (AV17) gallery is one of the few spaces in Lithuania that consistently exhibit works by sculptural object creators, offer contemporary sculpture or object art and sketches. One-of-a-kind, high-quality art pieces are created with modern materials and reflect innovative artistic decisions and ideas.
This is a place worth a visit if you want to shop around for decadent antiques. Here you can find opulent silverware, inlaid walnut furniture, pottery, elaborate hand-blown glass and gilt-framed religious paintings as well as a wide selection of other curiosities.
Adresse: Dominikonų g. 16, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 262 6476
Åpningstider: Mon–Fri 11:15am–6:30pm
This is a family company from 1992. If you are in need of a gift that represents the country and reminds you of your stay in Vilnius, you will definitely find something here. There is even offer of more Lithuanian souvenirs such as wooden flatware, wooden toys, ceramics, plates, cups and T-shirts with Lithuanian motives, national dolls and candles.
The name means linen dunes, which sounds like a laundry nightmare, but is actually a fair reflection of the range and beauty of creations made exclusively from this versatile natural fibre. The design studio is the shop of the Lithuanian fashion designer Giedrius Šarkauskas, who creates designer garments for everyone. Giedrius label is absolutely unique to Lithuania. His collections include cold season outerwear.
A huge place full of shops and the flocks that visit them. In case shopping isn’t your thing, you can try ice-skating, bowling, or seeing a film. There’s also a good range of restaurants, a supermarket and free car park. Not very central, find it about 3km north of the city centre.
Adresse: Ozo str. 25, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 52 492879
This place is located in the heart of the business district just north of the river. Spread over three floors, you can find mostly clothes shops, a couple of restaurants and a handful of little pods for drinking coffee in.
The large Ozas shopping centre offers gargantuan shopping and restaurant options. Here you can find a veritable cavalcade of shops selling everything from designer clothes to food. A cinema and entertainment for children can also be found here.
At Panorama you can find loads of retail outlets, entertainment centres and restaurants close to the centre in Žvėrynas. This shopping centre contains many high street names, with a wide assortment of outfits and accessories under one roof.
The beautifully restored brick building dating from the 1900s is more than worth a look inside. A trip through the doors rewards visitors with a fragrant blast of several tonnes of smoked meat, which can be bought in here along with a few other specialities including fresh fruit and vegetables plus a nice range of locally-produced honey.
Kalvarijų Market features everything from old ladies selling garlic bulbs and carrier bags to the occasional bargain goat (cash only). This is one of the best places in town for meat, locally-produced honey and cameras manufactured in the USSR, Minsk bicycles and cheap cigarettes from the Roma girls near the main entrance.
Ramunė Piekautaitė has been appreciated for the distinct character of her clothing, described as romantic, sensual, reserved, but luxurious, aristocratically elegant and confident. For many years, Piekautaitė has faithfully maintained the style and philosophy of her fashion home, but each collection still surprises with its new design solutions, which never miss the global fashion trends.
Åpningstider: Mon–Fri 11am–7:30pm, -19.00, Sat 11am–6pm, Sun 11am–4pm
Lithuanian designer Julia Janus offers a range of off-the-peg clothing for women of all shapes and sizes available at reasonable prices. Applying a soft touch with stunning effect, Julia is the sort of designer who would like to get to know her customers before dressing them. Julia’s works cherish the mature woman, respecting every curve of her body, blending simplicity and grace for an effective look.
Juozas Statkevičius is the most prominent Lithuanian fashion designer, well-known far beyond the borders of the Baltic States. In fact, he is the first designer from the Baltics to present his haute couture collections in Paris (in 2001 and 2002). His designs are like exquisite dreams, acted out in garments, with every elaborate and evocative detail telling its own story.
Zoraza Design House is a creative workshop with art, fashion, and interior design. Most of the works are inspired by the past centuries, famous artists and different styles and cultures.
Adresse: Stiklių g. 9, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 640 33588
Åpningstider: Mon–Sat 11am–7pm
Passport / Visa
Lithuania can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Best Time to Visit
Vilnius is a pleasant destination all year round, although it can get rather cold in the winter. The best times to plan your trip for are the summer months (June-August), along with the shoulder season (May & September).
Vilnius International Airport
Vilnius International Airport is located on a plateau to the south of Vilnius. It is located only 5 kilometres away and the journey takes approximately 15 minutes. You can get to and from the airport easily by train, bus, minibus or taxi. Car rental companies are represented at the airport.
A special scheduled train runs from the airport to Vilnius Railway Station. A covered pedestrian walkway (located just outside the airport terminal) connects the airport terminal with the railway stop. It runs roughly once an hour and the journey takes about 7 minutes.
City buses 1 and 2 also provide a service to and from the airport.
A minibus is another mean of transport that connects the airport and the city centre.
The city can be reached by taxis and there is no fixed price, but the journey should cost a few euros at most.
Adresse: Vilnius International Airport, Vilnius
Telefon: +370 5 230 6666
Vilnius trolleybuses and buses start running at about 5 am and finish at midnight. single-ride tickets may be purchased directly from the driver. If you're staying in the city longer, it might make sense to buy a reusable transport card, which can be used both for single and monthly public transport tickets.
If you have mobile internet, the easiest and cheapest way to get a ride is to use the local competitor of Uber: the eTaksi app (available on the App Store). Payments can be made by card via the app, or to the driver directly.
There are multiple taxi companies on call as well.
You can easily find a post office or post box in Vilnius. Look for the yellow signs.
Adresse: Gedimino pr. 7, Vilnius
Telefon: +37 8 700 55 400
Åpningstider: Mon-Fri 7.30 am-7 pm. Sat 9 am-4 pm. Closed on Sundays.
There are numerous pharmacies scattered throughout the city. Eurovaistine can be found in several locations throughout the city.
Adresse: Mindaugas g. 11/T.Ševčenkos g. 2, Vilnius
Åpningstider: Mon-Sun 8 am-11 pm
Country code: +370
Area code: 5
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