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Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 542,664. Vilnius is located in the southeast part of Lithuania and is the second largest city in the Baltic states.
The first known written record of Vilnius as the Lithuanian capital is known from Gediminas' letters in 1323.
Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies, and is known for the architecture in its Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its Jewish influence until the 20th century has led to it being described as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" and Napoleon named it "the Jerusalem of the North" as he was passing through in 1812.
In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz.
|TIME ZONE :||EET (UTC+2) Summer: EEST (UTC+3)|
|LANGUAGE :||Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other 4.4%|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Others 16.9%|
|AREA :||401 km2 (155 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||112 m (367 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||54°41′N 25°17′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 46.04%
• Female: 53.96%
|ETHNIC :||Lithuanians 57.8% , Poles 18.7%, Russians 14%, Others 9.5%|
|AREA CODE :||(+370) 5|
|POSTAL CODE :||01001-14191|
|DIALING CODE :|
Almost half of Vilnius is covered by green areas, such as parks, public gardens, natural reserves. Additionally, Vilnius is host to numerous lakes, where residents and visitors swim and have barbecues in the summer. Thirty lakes and 16 rivers cover 2.1% of Vilnius' area, with some of them having sand beaches.
Vingis Park, the city's largest, hosted several major rallies during Lithuania's drive towards independence in the 1980s. Concerts, festivals, and exhibitions are held at Sereikiškės Park, near Gediminas Tower. Sections of the annual Vilnius Marathon pass along the public walkways on the banks of the Neris River. The green area next to the White Bridge is another popular area to enjoy good weather, and has become venue for several music and large screen events.
The city was first mentioned in written sources in 1323, when the Letters of Grand Duke Gediminas were sent to German cities inviting German members of the Jewish community to settle in the capital city, as well as to Pope John XXII.
The fortunes of the Commonwealth declined during the 18th century. Three partitions took place, dividing its territory among the Russian Empire, the Habsburg Empire, and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the third partition of April 1795, Vilnius was annexed by the Russian Empire and became the capital of the Vilna Governorate. During Russian rule, the city walls were destroyed, and, by 1805, only the Gate of Dawn remained. In 1812, the city was taken by Napoleon on his push towards Moscow, and again during the disastrous retreat.
On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian SSR announced its secession from the Soviet Union and intention to restore an independent Republic of Lithuania. As a result of these declarations, on 9 January 1991, the Soviet Union sent in troops. This culminated in the 13 January attack on the State Radio and Television Building and the Vilnius TV Tower, killing at least fourteen civilians and seriously injuring 700 more. The Soviet Union finally recognised Lithuanian independence in September 1991.
The climate of Vilnius is humid continental.
The average annual temperature is 6.1 °C (43 °F); in January the average temperature is −4.9 °C (23 °F), in July it is 17.0 °C (63 °F).
Summer days are pleasantly warm and sometimes hot, especially in July and August, with temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) throughout the day during periodic heat waves. Night-life in Vilnius is in full swing at this time of year, and outdoor bars, restaurants and cafés become very popular during the daytime.
Winters can be very cold, with temperatures rarely reaching above freezing – temperatures below −25 °C (−13 °F).
Climate data for Vilnius
|Record high °C (°F)||8.5
|Average high °C (°F)||−3.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−6.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−8.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−37.2
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization|
|Source #2: Weatherbase (precipitation and humidity)|
Vilnius is situated in south-eastern Lithuania (54°41′N 25°17′E) at the confluence of the Vilnia and Neris Rivers. Lying close to Vilnius is a site some claim to be the Geographical Centre of Europe.
Vilnius lies 312 km (194 mi) from the Baltic Sea and Klaipėda, the chief Lithuanian seaport. Vilnius is connected by highways to other major Lithuanian cities, such as Kaunas (102 km or 63 mi away), Šiauliai (214 km or 133 mi away) and Panevėžys (135 km or 84 mi away). The city's off-centre location can be attributed to the changing shape of the nation's borders through the centuries; Vilnius was once not only culturally but also geographically at the centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The current area of Vilnius is 402 square kilometres (155 sq mi). Buildings occupy 29.1% of the city; green spaces occupy 68.8%; and waters occupy 2.1%.
Vilnius is the major economic centre of Lithuania and one of the largest financial centres of the Baltic states. Even though it is home to only 20% of Lithuania's population, it generates about one third of Lithuania's GDP.
Currently in Vilnius there are growing local advanced solar and laser technologies manufacturers centres.
Vilnius is dividen in 21 districts:
Verkiai — includes Baltupiai, Jeruzalė, Santariškės, Balsiai, Visoriai
Antakalnis — includes Valakampiai, Turniškės, Dvarčionys
Pašilaičiai — includes Tarandė
Fabijoniškės — includes Bajorai
Žirmūnai — includes Šiaurės miestelis
Grigiškės — a separate town included in the Vilnius city municipality
Vilkpėdė — includes Vingis Park
Naujamiestis — includes bus and train stations
Senamiestis (Old Town) — includes Užupis
Naujoji Vilnia — includes Pavilnys, Pūčkoriai
Paneriai — includes Trakų Vokė, Gariūnai
Naujininkai — includes Kirtimai, Salininkai, Vilnius International Airport
Rasos — includes Belmontas, Markučiai
There are abundant free wi-fi hotspots all over the city, including Gedimino prospect, Vokiečių street Gatve, Pilles street, Cathedral Square, and Town Hall Square. Free wi-fi is also available in some restaurants.
There are not many public internet terminals in Vilnius. The following offer access to a computer:
- Alderada, Pylimo str. 21, . 9-18. VOIP calls, Internet phones, cheap international calls Internet: LTL5 per hour.
- Omnitel, Gedimino prosect 12. 9-18. Internet: LTL2 per hour.
- Despina (within premises of Mokymo centras - Teaching Centre Kareivių St 2 (Žirmūnai district, NE corner at the Kalvarijų/Kareivių crossing; 1st floor), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 08:30-16:00 (lunch break 12:30-13:30). Cozy place to check your e-mails, chat, talk via Skype, learn and work. 3LTL/hr (8:30-12:30) and 5LTL/hr (13:30-16:00).
- Senoji raštinė ((Old Office))Pylimo St 54 (Close to the bus/railway stations at the SW edge of the Old Town, near Rūdininkai bus stop), , (mobile)fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-15:00. Shop of stationery and office products and services. Offer internet access as a part of office services: to receive and send e-mail, print, burn a CD or DVD. Web surfing 3LTL/hr.
- Taškas (Dot), J. Jasinskis St 1/Dainava St 8 (Centre, SW of Lukiškės Square, close to the Lukiškės bus stop; entrance from Kudirkos St, 2nd floor), . (mobile)M-Su 00:00-24:00. Internet cafe service.1LTL/10min; small fee for printing.
Vilniaus centrinis paštas operates 173 post offices in Vilnius, including the large central post office at Gediminas ave 7. These offices handle all postal services, money orders, and Western Union money transfers.
Prices in Vilnius
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.85|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€6.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€18.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€30.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€41.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.30|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€2.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€5.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€9.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.08|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€2.60|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.20|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€62.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€35.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€76.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.00|
40 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
115 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Vilnius International Airport (IATA:VNO), Rodunios kelias 10a, +370 5 273 9305, is the largest civil airport in Lithuania and is 6km south of the city center. There are flights to most major airports in the northern half of Europe and a few destinations nearby former CIS countries and some regular and charter flights to Mediterranean destinations. Over half of the destinations are served by either budget or charter airlines. A list of airlines can be found here.
- By bus: The bus ride to the center takes 15 minutes and buses depart from the airport every 10–15 minutes. Single one time tickets can be purchased from the driver for €1. Alternatively a Vilniečio kortelė can be bought for €1.5 at the Narvesen kiosk in the airport which provides the ability to buy time-based tickets. Also, the tourist-oriented Vilnius City Card can be bought at the Vilnius Tourist Information Centre in the airport. Only one piece of hand luggage the size of a single seat is allowed. For larger luggage, an extra ticket should be bought from the driver (€1.00).
- Bus #1 goes from the airport (Lithuanian: Oro uostas) to the central bus/train station ("Stotis").
- Bus #2 goes from the airport to the bus/train station, passing the football stadium at Liepkalnis street.
- Bus #88 goes from the airport to the City Business Centre (Konstitucijos avenue, Europa square), travelling through the Old Town first.
- Bus#3G goes to the north through the centre (Lukiškės square) and business centre (Konstitucijos avenue), continuing on to the Fabijoniškėssleeping district in the north, near the beginning of the A2 highway towards Riga (within the city limits the highway is called Ukmergė street). The bus number's trailing letter "G" on a green background stands for "Greitasis" which means "Express bus". It stops at all relevant stops in the centre, while skipping some regular stops before and after the centre.
- By train: Lietuvos Geležinkeliai operates trains from the airport to the main train station for €0.72. Tickets are bought in the train from the conductor. The train ride takes 7 minutes, but trains depart every ~60 minutes. For very large luggage (where the total sum of all three dimensions exceeds 200cm) an additional ticket for €0.22 should be bought.
- By taxi: It may be somewhat cheaper to book a taxi online before arrival or by phone once you have arrived rather than using the taxis waiting at the airport. Prices for trips within the city limits should be in the range of €5-30.
Kaunas International Airport (IATA: KUN) is the second busiest civil airport in Lithuania, located ~100km west of Vilnius in the small town of Karmėlava NE of Kaunas.
Transfers from Kaunas airport to Vilnius
- There are direct scheduled minibus journeys from Kaunas Airport to Vilnius railway station after each arriving flight. The same buses go to Kaunas Airport from the Panorama Hotel before each outgoing flight.
- Kaunas city bus #29 goes regularly from the airport to Kaunas railway station in the centre where you can transfer to a train or intercity bus to Vilnius.
Lietuvos Geležinkeliai operates trains from major destinations. There are daily train connections with Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Minsk. The line between Vilnius and Warsaw closed in September 2013 for track works, expected to be complete by summer 2016. The train station in Vilnius is located just south of downtown.
The bus station is located across the street from the main train station. A schedule of all regional buses is posted near the ticket window.
You can find some schedules for regional buses and trains here.
Motorways serve Vilnius from Klaipeda via Kaunas and from Panevezys. The modern four-lane motorways and main roads are of a very high standard, however, in the winter smaller roads are not cleared. The speed-limit is 130 km/h on the motorways (110 km/h in winter), but 100 km/h on the Vilnius-Kaunas sector, 90 km/h outside towns and 50 km/h in built up areas.
Transportation - Get Around
Although the Old Town is one of the largest in Europe, it can easily be explored on foot.
By bus or trolleybus
Vilnius Transport operates buses and trolleybuses in Vilnius. A single ticket for either bus or trolleybus use costs €1, purchased from the driver (cash only). A ticket bought from the driver needs to be stamped by putting it into the tiny red machine near the driver's cabin and pulling the rear part towards you to punch the ticket.
If you are planning to use public transportation more than a few times, buying aVilniečio kortelė smart card may be a significantly cheaper option. A 24-hour ticket costs €3.48, 72-hour €6.08, 240-hour €11.87, and 30-day €28.96. The ticket must be validated on your first journey by swiping the smart card at the yellow electronic reader on the bus. Seniors older than 70 years are eligible for a 50% discount, while European Union students studying in EU universities are eligible for an 80% discount. An ISIC and/or ID card (or passport) must be provided when prepaying the smart card and in case of ticket control during the trip.
For less frequent trips you can top-up your Vilniečio kortelė card with 30min and 60min (€0.64 and €0.93) tickets (students and seniors are eligible for a 50% discount). Validated tickets allow passengers to change buses during the trip.
The Vilniečio kortelė smart card can be purchased from Lietuvos spauda orNarvesen kiosks, Maxima grocery stores, Lithuanian post offices, or at the Customer Service Center (Gedimino pr. 9A) for €1.5. You can prepay this card in these locations and in PayPost offices.
Alternatively the tourist-oriented Vilnius City Card includes unlimited use of public transportation.
The official public transport route map can be found here.
Beware that trolleybuses and other buses each have their own overlapping but unrelated numbering systems - e.g. trollybus route 3 and bus route 3 are completely different routes.
There are several fast bus (not trollybus) routes called "Greitasis" (Express) - buses on these routes stop only at major stops and connect important parts of the city (residential districts - centre - airport and such). They have the route number with a trailing letter "G" on a green background; the schedules and routes are marked in green. Routes and numbers of the regular buses are marked in blue, and those of the trolleybuses are marked in red.
A regular cab may cost about €5-15 if you need to get from the periphery of the city to the centre, while the shortest trips will cost you ~€4. You should always call a taxi by phone, even if you see a taxi on the street nearby. Street taxis charge as much as twice the price of taxis called by phone. Good practice is to dial the number written on the vehicle you see, tell the dispatcher the address you're at, and you will most likely get the same vehicle for a lower price.
Somewhat higher priced and higher class taxi companies are Jazzexpress,Smarttaxi, and municipality-owned Vilnius veža. Every car is relatively new and equipped with a card reader so you can pay for the trip using your debit or credit card.
All taxi cars must have a yellow license plate starting with the letter T with an additional 5 numbers and a 'Taxi' sign on the roof. A detailed price list alongside the driver's taxi-operator license must be placed on the panel right in front of the passenger seat next to the driver.
When paying for the taxi service it is expected to leave a €0.50-1 tip for the driver.
Traveling by car is not advised during rush hours (7-9AM and 4-6.30PM) to and from the city center due to traffic jams. Parking fees can differ from 0.30€/h to 1.80€/h in the old town.
There are several well known foreign car rental companies as well as several domestic companies in Vilnius.
City-Bee operates a car sharing network where you can rent a car by the hour. There is no contract or monthly fee, you pay for the service only when you use the car, and there are no parking expenses when you are not using it. There are 13 pick-up points throughout the city, mostly in the centre and some relevant points in northern districts.
In the city centre you often find bike lanes; however, that doesn't mean they are well respected. The only "real" bicycle path leads along the River Neris north to Verkiai Nature park and the "Green lakes".
- Daytrip: If you go north to the "Green lakes" and have a decent map you can ride up to the "Europos parkas" outdoor exhibition of contemporary art, then carry on to the Geographical center of Europe.
Five reasonable bicycle routes within the city limits and Green Lakes area are presented in the bilingual leaflet Bicycle Routes in the City of Vilnius. Development of bicycle path connections and improvement of the existing network is scheduled to be completed in 2020. New paths to the most remote districts and recreation areas as well as densification of the network in the centre is scheduled to be completed in c.2027. So far development is fragmentary and carried out in relevant spots "step by step".
- Cyclocity Vilnius. A self-service bike rental system that features 36 stations in central locations operating annually during May-September. Every station has at least 9 bike stands. The stations require a Cyclocity Vilnius Card (obtained at Tourist Information Centers), Vilnius Citizen Card (the Vilniečio kortelė - public transport card), or a 3 Day Ticket card.Seasonal subscription: €19.90, 30-day subscription: €3.90, 3-day Ticket: €2.90. Service: 1st 30 minutes: free, second 30 minutes: €0.39, 3rd 30 minutes: €1.39, fourth 30 minutes and over: €3.39.
- Velo-City Vilnius, Pylimo g. 31, , e-mail:[email protected]. Daily from 10h to 20h (April to September). Bike rentals, including helmets, locks and lights. Daily bike tour at 11 a.m. (except Sundays). Bike rental €4; first hour, each following: €1, day: 9€.
- Velotakas, Gedimino av. 26, . Free delivery of a bicycle to all hotels in Vilnius city, free helmets and locks. No deposit needed. €13/day.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
ATMs are very common in Vilnius and most shops accept major credit cards.
Vilnius is famous for its amber, wool socks, hats and flaxware.
Upscale retailers present in Vilnius include Hugo Boss, Armani, Escada, Dolce & Gabbana, John Richmond, ZARA, United Colors of Benetton, H&M and Mango. There are also some young local designer butiques in Stiklių street. Pilies street is where you can find tourist souvenirs. Instead of going to the big stores, you can buy from the road side stalls, and you will have a very good deal on hand made socks, necklaces, earrings and other souvenirs.
- Akropolis, Ozo str. 25 (Šeškinė district), , e-mail: [email protected]. 08:00-23:00. One of the very first and still one of the largest shopping centers built after the independence in Lithuania. Has multi-hall cinema center Forum Cinemas and ice arena.
- Banginis, P. Lukšio St 34 (Žirmūnai district, Northern Town (Šiaurės miestelis) subdistrict). 08:00-20:30. The shopping mall name means "Whale". Has the one of the largest stores of the construction, exterior and interior decoration materials, tourism equipment and electronics Senukai. There are several other stores that can't be found in the centre, restaurant-tavern of Lithuanian cuisine "Katpėdėlė", Wine Room"Vynoteka" (has several Vynoteka's in Vilnius and other cities) and a grocery store "Iki".
- Centro pasažas, Gedimino av 16 (Edge of the Old town in front of Kudirka sq.).
- Europa, Konstitucijos av. 7A (City business centre on a northern bank of Neris river), , e-mail: [email protected].07:00-24:00, some stores have different working hours. The name refers to the opening date of 2004 when Lithuania joined EU, the square and all surrounding complex of buildings including the business centre tower was named after Europe to commemorate this event.
- GO9, Gedimino av. 9 (Old town), , e-mail:[email protected]. Shopping mall in the heart of Vilnius, home of biggest H&M store in Lithuania.
- Helios Centras, Didžioji g. 28 (Old town, next to the town hall).
- Ozas, Ozo str 18 (Šeškinė district, next to the aqua park Vichy and the biggest sporting and concerts venue in Vilnius Siemens arena]), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. 10:00-22:00. One of the biggest shopping malls in Vilnius, variety of different stores and services, including multi-hall cinema center Multikino and game park for kids X-Planet.
- Panorama, Saltoniškių str 9 (Saltoniškės district, west of city business center), , e-mail: [email protected].10:00-22:00. Panoramic view from the restaurant on the 3rd floor
- Parkas Outlet, Verkiai St 29 (Žirmūnai district, Ogmios Town), , toll-free: 8 800 29292, e-mail: info[email protected]. M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-18:00. Shopping mall for discount stores
- VCUP, Konstitucijos av 16 (City business centre, by Neris river near the White Bridge), . Stores 10:00-22:00, restaurants 10:00-24:00. Second oldest of such kind of shopping centres in Vilnius, operates since 1974
In addition to the restaurants listed below, almost all of the bars in Vilnius serve reasonably priced good quality food.
- Wok to Walk, Vilniaus str. 19, . Wok to Walk franchise in Vilnius, Asian takeout. Prices: €3-5.
- Čili Pica, Didžioji g. 5, Gedmino 23 and 8 other locations. Chain of restaurants offering pizza, pasta, salads. If you are after a good pica - this is a place to avoid. Better try one of upscale Italian restaurant offering pizzas at the same price. Medium pizza(30cm): €5-9.
- Jammi (Several spots across the all city). Chain of kebab shops that offers very good value. €2-3.
- Maxima. The largest Lithuanian supermarket chain. Sells prepared food.
- RadhaRane, Gedimino prospektas 32. Especially for vegetarians. Menu has Indian curries, fragrant rice and bread. Also for a smaller bite, they have baked samosas. €2-4.
- Amatininkų užeiga, Didžioji 19/2 (Town Hall square (Rotušės aikštė)), . until 5:00.Lithuanian and international food.
- Balti Drambliai (White Elephants), Vilniaus str. 41. Cozy vegetarian-vegan cafe, world/reggae music, live concerts in the evenings.
- Cozy, Dominikonų str. 10. Suave but laid-back restaurant upstairs, DJ-bar downstairs, serves hearty modern food with a few vegetarian options.
- Fortas (Fort), Algirdo str. 17. Pub-style traditional Lithuanian food.Main courses: €5-10.
- Mano Guru (My Guru). All of the staff are former drug addicts. Fresh food. No alcohol. Food is mostly vegetarian. €15
- Marceliukės klėtis, Tuskulėnų str. 35 (Žirmūnai district), . Hearty portions of traditional Lithuanian food. €15.
- Vapiano, Konstitucijos pr. 7A (Europa Shopping Center), . Italian style, fast casual restaurant. Tasty salads, à la carte pastas and pizzas are made in front of the guest.
- Zoe's Bar & Grill, Odminių str. 3, . Great Thai food, salads, soups, and cocktails. €25.
- Balzac, Saviciaus 7. Mon-Thurs 11:30-23:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-21:00. Traditional French cuisine, magnificently executed, great atmosphere. €15.
- Belmontas Outdoor Cafe, Belmonto str. 17 (Belmontas suburb within Pavilniai Regional Park, east of both Old Town and centre.). A recreation area with folk-themed eateries near an old French mill and beautiful waterfall. Beautiful setting suitable for various events. A 15 minute drive from the center of Vilnius. €25.
- Bistro 18, Stiklių str. 18 (Old Town). Small restaurant and wine bar with good selection of cuisine. Main courses: €7-13.
- Čagino (Chagin's), Basanavičiaus str. 11 (New Town district).Named after the famous Russian architect Nikolai Chagin. Live Russian music played on a guitar. Main courses: €7-13.
- Da Antonio, Vilnius str. 23. Excellent Italian food, more upscale than Čili Pica. €20.
- El Gaucho Sano, Pilies str. 10 (In Hotel Atrium). Argentinian-style food (lots of meat) in a spacious restaurant. Good service. €35.
- Ida Basar, Subačiaus str. 1 (In the guesthouse of the same name, at the southern end of Old Town), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. 12:00-22:00. Specializes in historical meals of Grand Duchy Of Lithuania, has a Culinary Heritage Museum.€30.
- La Provence, Vokiečių str. 22, , e-mail:[email protected]. French food. House specials include roebuck with cherry sauce. Popular among French people. Starters: €9; Main courses: €18; Extensive wine list: From €23.
- Lokys, Stiklių str. 8 (Old Town, block of artisan guilds), , e-mail: [email protected]. Medieval restaurant. Specializes in Lithuanian traditional cuisine and game meals. €20.
- Markus ir Ko, M. Antokolskio str. 11 (Old Town, block of artisan guilds), , e-mail: , [email protected]. Great steaks and live music. €30.
- Medininkai, Aušros Vartų str. 8, . Part of Hotel Europa Royale. 18th century Italian artwork and courtyard. Lithuanian fusion food. €30.
Coffe & Drink
The most popular local beer is Švyturys, meaning lighthouse. Available in lots of different styles but "Ekstra" is probably the best. The other brands of beer include Kalnapilis, Tauras, and Utenos. All of them are variations on the theme of bog-standard euro-lager. If you're a beer enthusiast forget Svyturys and other big brands - try Alaus namai (The House of Beer) and Bambalynė(see section Bars).
Lithuanian vodka (Lithuanian degtinė) is of excellent quality. The brand 'Lithuanian Vodka' is quite popular. The gold is the premium version. Cranberry is also nice.
There are plenty of cafés in Vilnius, including few coffee shop chains: Coffee-Inn, AJ Šokoladas, Šviežia Kava which are easy to find anywhere without any guidance. A proper café typically is not just a coffee shop but some sort of a restaurant which features certain café-like interior and has a rather democratic etiquette policy. During day time they often operate like simple eateries, in the evening they turn to the family style or youth restaurants.
- Buga, Asanavičiūtė St 17 (Karoliniškės district, not far from TV tower), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-Th 08:00-23:00, F 08:00-01:00, Sa 09:00-01:00, Su 12:00-22:00. Does not use semi-finished products. Hot chicken with chanterelles, hand-made dumplings, fresh kybyns, pizzas, carp steak "Ežys" ("Hedgehog"). Live music every Friday and sometimes on Saturday. Breakfast (until 10:30) up to €3.
- Chaika, Totorių St 7 (Centre, almost the Old Town), , e-mail: (mobile)[email protected]. M-F 10:00-21:00, Sa 12:00-19:00.Universally cozy café; the interior is contemporary but designed in 70s style, it is Vilnius’s seventies. Many authentic items from soviet times cause cheerful memories of childhood for the local visitors. Café’s Russian name, spelt in English manner, in this case is a pun with several layers of meaning visible only for locals – they would tell you a lot. Variety of tea and coffee; of course Soviet times tea served in Soviet times style is available. Has 2 halls, capacity up to 16 people.
- Fabai, Ateities St 21A (Fabijoniškės sleeping district (north of centre), by the main street), , e-mail: [email protected].M-Th 11:00-23:00, F 11:00-24:00, Sa 12:00-24:00, Su 12:00-23:00. Styled like a countryside tavern, has 5 halls: roaster, ballroom, bar, and 2 billiard halls. European and Caucasus cuisine. Day lunch (11:00-14:00) €3-4.
- Fėjų kepyklėlė (Little Bakery Of The Fairies), J. Basanavičius St 37(New Town, on a hill, at the corner with Švitrigaila St), , e-mail: (mobile)[email protected]. M-Th 07:30-19:00, F 07:30-18:00. Puff pastries, yeast dough buns, snacks, pizza, several kinds of kybyns, cookies, hot and cold drinks, ice cream, milk cocktails. Traditional menu of Lithuanian fairies. Cappuccino is almost the best in town. Fair price.
- Ibrahim (Café Ibrahim Passage), Kalvarijų St 24A (Šnipiškės district close to the centre: between the city business centre and Kalvarijos Market, within premises of a small specialized shopping center Ibrahim), , , (mobile)fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 08:00-18:00; on weekends only upon request. Offer some authentic Turkish drinks: Ayran, Sahleb, Salgam Suyu, Cola turka, Turkish tea. Organize parties (up to 60 persons), buffet (up to 80 persons). Terrace, capacity up to 24 people. Day lunch around €3; dishes around €1.50-3; festive parties (drinks not included) from €15.
- Lazdynų žibutė (Hazel Kidneywort), Šiltnamių St 38A (Lower part ofLazdynai district (Lithuanian for “district of Hazels” where the kidneywort is blooming every spring, hence the name), south of Oslo street, east of Emergency Hospital), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Su 10:00-22:00. Operates since 1969, never was closed. Has 3 halls. TV screen, fireplace, sauna. Day lunch 10:00-16:00. Suitable for seminars, conferences. Most popular speciality - Roast Chicken “Žibutė” (“Kidneywort”), several Lithuanian “vintage” dishes, such like rolls with mushroom sauce, herring tower “Metropolis”, and “Karališkasis tortas” (“Royal Cake”) for special occasions. Average price €5.
- Mažoji Ragainė (Little Ragnit), Įsruties St 22 (Pilaitė district: south of Pilatė av., between Pilaitė av. and Vydūnas St.), , e-mail: (orders)[email protected]. M-Su: summer season 11:00-23:00, winter season 09:00-21:00. Café-bar, a division of culinary-confectionery company. Has a confectionery shop next door, also has another shop at Žukausko St 26 in Northern Town (Šiaurės miestelis), Žirmūnai district. Apart from a large variety of cakes and pastries offers ~100 kinds of salads, homemade dumplings with various fillings, cold snacks and hot meals. Average price ~€3; family event ~€6, banquet ~€14 per person.
- Pas Metą (At Metas), Antakalnio St 86 (Antakalnis district, in the middle between the bus stops “Klinikos” and “Tverečiaus”, by the main street), , fax: . M-Su 11:00-23:00. Lithuanian cuisine; fresh juice, Lithuanian beer, also a Belgian beer Grimbergen; take-away food. Has a separate hall (up to 24 people) for the business and family events. Second course €3-5; day lunch ~€2 (11:00-16:00), business lunch ~€6.
- Pilies kepyklėlė (Castle’s Little Bakery), Pilies St 19 (Old Town), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-Su 09:00-23:00. Old time’s Ice Cream House; converted to a café-bakery, as the new owners had idea to bake the buns and serve them with a milk. During the restoration of the interior were uncovered excellent arches, this alone made the café very popular among locals. Assortment soon has become very rich: different types of cakes, cookies, sweets, curd desserts. The most popular are “Trapusis vyšnių pyragas” (Brittle Cherry Cake) and a“Karališkasis tortas” (Royal Cake), coffee of course. Also offer steaks, crepes, soups, salads. Has an outdoor tarrace in summer. Average price ~€5.
- Prie Neries (By Neris River), Žvejų St 2 (Centre, northern bank of Neris river between the Green bridge and Mindaugas bridge), , e-mail: , (mobile)[email protected].M-F 09:00-16:00; on weekends only upon request. Relatively remote location, easily accessible, good view through the large windows. Almost perfect place for business lunch, banquet or a private party for up to 80 people. Has 2 halls (spacious ballroom), sauna, outdoor café. Day lunch around €3.
- Sakwa, M. K. Paco St 1/2 (Antakalnis district, near St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, next to the parking lot by the roundabout), , e-mail: , (mobile)[email protected]. M-Su 10:00-23:00. Café in the new two-storey building with an attic, retro styled like a suburban house. Lithuanian, Polish and European cuisine.Day lunch 11:00-15:00 ~€5.
- Vegafé, Two vegetarian cafes: Totorių St 3 (Centre, close to Gediminas av., within premises of Ananda Yoga House and Augustijonų St 2-3/ Savičiaus St 13 (Old Town, close to Town Hall square – west of square towards Bokšto St, within premises of yoga ashram, , e-mail: (Totorių), (Augustijonų)[email protected]. At Totorių: M-F 11:00-22:00, Sa-Su 12:00-22:00; at Augustijonų: M-Sa 11:00-21:30, closed on Su. Vegetarian meals from natural products, adhered principles of ayurvedic food production. Represent lacto-vegetarian nutrition system. No microwave. Soup ~€2, salad and cold snacks ~€4, hot meals €2-7, tea, cacao €1.50-3, fancy sweets €2-4.
- Žaliasis bambukas (Green Bamboo), Latvių St 7A (Žvėrynas district), , e-mail: , (mobile)[email protected]. M-F 11:00-15:00, closed on weekends. Seminars and workshops on 2nd half of day (usually since 18:00) and weekends, advance registration via mail or phone is required, the price varies. Vegetarian and vegan café. Menu: five grain soup, kus-kus with vegetables and seeds, baked pumpkin, apple chutney, cake, thyme tea. Take away food: samosas with vegetable, apple, cottage cheese or caramel fillings; homemade unleavened bread, non-alcoholic wine, melted butter ghee. Day lunch €5, green cocktail €2.50.
- Mint VIntu, Šv. Ignoto 16/10, Vilnius, Lithuania, , e-mail: [email protected]. Monday to Sunday, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm. Mint Vintu is an independent bookstore, café and Internet hangout place in the heart of Vilnius' old town (the capital of Lithuania) where good people meet.
Sights & Landmarks
Vilnius Tourist Information has 3 offices in the old town and a kiosk in the airport where you can obtain maps and suggestions free of charge.
It is a district which has developed during Middle Ages as a city surrounded by a defensive wall. The urban structure reflects the development from ca. 14th century, the architecture of the buildings is mostly from late Renaissance to Classicism periods. There are 4 rather distinct areas of the Old Town: Castle complex with an old hill fort, Cathedral and newly reconstructed Ducal Palace, these all buildings and a Cathedral square form the very centre of the city; old Town Hall with its vicinity form the centre of the Old Town itself; "Užupis", a "subdistrict" separated by the Vilnia River (it reflects in its name, literally a "Place On The Other Side Of The River"); and the north-west area featured by Vilnius street, largely damaged during the WWII.
The most attractive part, historically known as a block of artisan guilds, in the beginning of WWII was turned into two Jewish ghettos, commonly known as Vilnius Ghetto. It operated until 24 Sept 1943. In 1994, the Old Town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Gediminas Castle (Climb up to it from the Cathedral Square or take the funicular on the other side of the hill, facing the river). The red-brick tower is restored from the Higher Castle erected in the 13th–14th centuries by Dukes of Lithuania. The top of the towers offer the best view of Vilnius.
- Three Crosses Hill. A monument to seven Franciscan monks that were tortured here by pagans before the conversion of Lithuania to Christianity. Also symbolizes the importance of Christianity to Lithuania. During night time it offers a great view.
- Vilnius Cathedral, Cathedral Square. 7:00-19:30. An original cathedral was built here in 1251. In 1387 a Gothic style cathedral was built. Now it is a classical style cathedral build by the project of Laurynas Gucevicius. The most beautiful part of the Cathedral, the baroque chapel of St. Casimir, was built in 1623–1636. The crypt shows a cross section of Vilnius through the ages, well worth seeing. You can also take a tour through the catacombs under the cathedral. 57m high belfry. Outside the Cathedral, in the square, look for a particular tile on which there is written a word "Stebuklas" (means "miracle" in Lithuanian). Stand on it, make a wish and turn around three times. Your wish should come true :) This tile also marks the end of the Vilnius-Tallinn human chain in the 1989 protest of the Soviet Union.
- Vilnius University, Universiteto street.3, , e-mail: [email protected]. 9:00-15:00. Vilnius University is famous for its library, 13 courtyards of various sizes, astronomical observatory, and the Church of St. John. Guided tour available in Lithuanian, English, Russian and Polish. Adult: €5.00, Student: €1.20
- Literatu Gatve (Street), Literatu str. (starts near the home No 32 Pilies St). 24/7. Small artworks, dedications mounted on the walls. Dedications to the literature workers: writers, translators, everyone who has link with Lithuania and is important for Lithuanian or world literature. Artworks crafted in various outdoor-proof techniques: ceramics, sculpture, glass, wallpainting.
- St. Ann's Church (near Uzupis District). One of the most beautiful churches in Vilnius and in Lithuania. Very small in size, but a very beautiful example of Gothic architecture. There is a legend that when during his conquests Napoleon came to Vilnius and saw this church he said he would like to take it on his palm and bring to France.
Užupis District used to be a largely unrestored area primarily occupied by artists, dreamers, squatters, and drunks; however, the neighborhood is developing with a wealth of small shops and cafes. In 1998, the residents unofficially declared the area to be an independent republic, with its own president, anthem, flag, and constitution. Great to visit on April Fools day, when mock border guards stamp passports and the entire area erupts into a party.
- Angel of Uzupis Statue, Uzupio & Malunu gatve. Statue of an angel blowing a trumpet.
- St. Peter's and Paul's Church (trolley #2 or #20 from the bus/train station). Another shockingly beautiful church. Not so special from the outside, but extremely beautiful inside, with all the interior overcrowded with baroque sculptural works.
- Artillery Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall. Currently closed for reconstruction.
- Belfry of Saint John Church, Sv.Jono street.12. From the top of baroque style belfry, which is the tallest building in the old town, you can see an amazing panorama of the city.
Monuments & statues
- Frank Zappa Statue, Kalinausko str. 1 (west of Old Town). The first statue in the world for honoring this great musician. Erected in 1995 by the local Frank Zappa fan club. A replica of the statue has been erected in Baltimore. Free.
Parks & cemeteries
There is an interesting Jewish cemetery in Šeškinė that includes the grave of Vilna Gaon, a very important rabbi. By the entrance to Vingis park is a war cemetery with Russian, German, Hungarian, Polish and Turkish soldiers from both wars. Oldest cemeteries are Rasų and Bernardinų. Also Saulės kapinės(Cemetery of the Sun) in Antakalnis district.
- European Park, Joneikiskiu k, , e-mail:[email protected]. 10-sunset. The sculptures, which are the works of sculptors from more than 70 countries worldwide, are exhibited in the open area of 55 ha. Sometimes there is a very bad mosquito problem here, though not in winter time. overpriced.
- Verkiai Regional Park, Žaliųjų ežerų St 53. One of the biggest parks in Lithuania, located almost entirely in Verkiai elderate in the north of the city. One can reach the park by bus #35 or #36. It is known for Verkiai Calvaries, which have been constructed exactly following the plan of Jerusalem, with the distances, water bodies and elevations being very close to the original Way of the Cross. Way of the Cross consists of 22 chapels, 7 wooden and brick gates, and two baroque church ensembles. It is advisable to visit this park for those who likes great panoramic views.
Museums & Galleries
- Museum of Genocide Victims aka KGB Museum, Aukų g. 2A, LT-01113 Vilnius, Lithuania, , e-mail:[email protected]. Wed-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Occupies the former KGB headquarters. The bottom bricks of the buildings have the names of those who were believed to be executed inside the building. Visit the former prisoner cells. Admission: 2€; 50% Discount for pupils, students and seniors. English-speaking Guide: 15€.
- National Museum of Lithuania, Arsenalo Str. 1, . Tuesday-Sat: 10-18. Biggest and oldest source of national cultural heritage in the country, which systematically collects, stores, displays, and popularises the history of the state. Adult: €2; Child: €1.
- Contemporary Art Center, Vokieciu str. 2. There are always many extremely interesting modern art exhibitions.
- Old Arsenal Building, Arsenalo Str. 3.
- Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (Grand Dukes’ Palace), Katedros a. 4, LT-01143 Vilnius, , e-mail:[email protected]. Tuesday – Friday 11 am – 6 pm Saturday, Sunday and before national holidays 11 am – 4 pm. Closed on Mondays and national holidays. Last visitors admitted one hour before museum closing.. In the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania there are two exhibition tour routes directly related to the historical functions of this residence. The first tour will show the historical and architectural development of the palace by highlighting the ancient ruins still in place, excavated artifacts and by using models and iconographic materials. The second tour route will bring the visitors into the ceremonial halls, which have been reconstructed in such a way as to show the evolution of architectural styles – from the late Gothic to the Renaissance to the early Baroque. Adults: 2,90€ Students, seniors: 1,45€.
Things to do
Throughout the year, there are a variety of cultural, music, cinema, theatre, art, and fashion festivals taking place.
- Lietuvos Rytas Basketball Games, Ozo str 14 (East of Šeškinė district,). The city's main team is named after one of its sponsors, Lietuvos Rytas Newspaper. It uses Siemens Arena for its home games in European competition, as well as high-demand domestic games, most notably the national derby against Žalgiris of Kaunas. Other games are held at the adjacent Lietuvos Rytas Basketball Arena.
Music and theater
- Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre, A. Vienuolio str 1 (Centre, near the Green Bridge (Žaliasis tiltas)), . beautiful ornate building. Three or four weekly performances. From €3 to €35.
- Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre (OKT), Ašmenos str 8 (Old Town).one of the most original modern theatres in Europe
- Lithuanian Russian Drama Theatre, Jono Basanavičiaus str 13(Very close to Old Town), . performances mostly done in Russian language. From €5 to €15.
- Super Segway, Vilniaus str. 45, . Take a cheap, guided, segway tour around the main attractions of the city. Note that the price is low because of insurance related issues. €20 per hour.
- Go Karts, Plytinės Street 27, . Try go karts in one of two tracks: open track at the outskirts of Vilnius or inside track with battery powered karts in Panorama Mall. ~€10 per 10 minutes.
- Hot air balloon tour. One of the favourite tourists' activities in Lithuania. It's an interesting way of sightseeing.
Drink carefully as most bars will politely ask you to leave if they notice that you appear drunk (staggering, yelling, grabbing strangers). Falling asleep in bars is not tolerated. If you break a glass, many places will expect to be repaid for it on the spot but it's usually a very reasonable price.
Smoking is banned in all public places. However, a number of nightclubs have internal smoke rooms; the ventilation can be of variable quality. If you leave a club to smoke outside, make sure you get stamped and get eye contact from the bouncers so you won't have problems getting back in. It can be a good idea to show the bouncer your cigarette or cigarette packet, before exiting the premises.
- BIX, Etmonų str. 6. Tarantino-style bar founded by the Lithuanian rock band of the same name. Live rock/hardcore/metal bands on Friday nights, karaoke on Thursdays, and rock music (all the time) on the dance floor, made in the vault. Nice food and drinks!
- Brodvejus, Vokiečių str. / Mėsinių str. 4 (Old Town). Until 5:00. Cozy bar/nightclub, playing mostly pop music. Popular among both tourists and locals. Courteous staff. No cover on weekdays. Beer: €1.50.
- Lindyhop.lt Klubas, Kalvarijų str. 294d-16 (5km north of the old town), , e-mail: [email protected]. Mon - Thurs: 18-22; Sun: 20-24. The coolest and oldest Lindy Hop club in Lithuania.
- Men's Factory Gay Club, 1 Zygimantu/16 Deveenkos. Formerly a gay-oriented venue, it now attracts a predominantly heterosexual clientele. Admission: €7.
- Salento Disco Club, Didžioji str. 28.
- Soho Club, Švitrigailos str. 7/16. Opens at 22:00. Popular with all sections of the LGBT community. Admission: Free until 23:00, €7 after.
- Alaus namai, Goštauto str. 8 (275 m north-west of the White Bridge), . Big saloon type bar with raw beer of smaller Lithuanian beer brands from countryside.
- Apuokas, Subačiaus str. 6. Heavy metal bar (especially in the underground basement). Friendly metalheads, memorable personnel, great beer and famous chenachai (Karaitian meat dish).
- Artistai, Kazimiero str. 3, e-mail: [email protected]. The large popular courtyard is a great place to relax and watch the sunset. Friendly service. Rock music.
- Bambalyne, Stikliu str. 7 (Just off Town Hall Square), . Located in a hidden underground cellar, this bar specializes in rare beers and meats from the Lithuanian countryside. Great atmosphere and cheap prices! sausage platter + a beer:€4.
- Būsi Trečias, Totoriu str. 18, . The first bar/pub, which started to brew its own beer in Vilnius. Besidel lager type beer, they brew dark black beer and also make various beer cocktails. Besides its main attraction beer, there are some good food. The food prices are rather low. Good place for communication.
- Cactus, Bokšto str. 7, , e-mail:[email protected]. Su-Th 11-02, F-Sa 11-04. Vilnius's only tequila bar, tucked away in the alleys of the city. A warm, cozy atmosphere with unbelievably friendly staff, and great food. Play Tequila Checkers on their game board. Free shots of tequila at midnight. Serves exotic dishes such as crocodile, shark, and pheasant
- Liverpool Indie/Rock Bar, Gynėjų g. 14, Vilnius, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu-Th 16-00, F-Sa 16-03, Su 16-01.Liverpool Indie/Rock Bar is a modern, smart musical bar. Implementing and sustaining the development of this style of music.
- Pogo, Vilniaus str. 12 (right in front of Cozy). Nice decoration and also serves good Italian food for a good price.
- Prie Universiteto, Universiteto str. (Old Town), .Rock/punk rock music, friendly stuff and cheap prices. Best place for students and other not so serious people.
- Savas Kampas, Vokiečių str. 4. Until 4:00. Cozy, friendly and always welcome place. In the summer,there is also a terrace to enjoy warm evenings.
- Šnekutis (Šnekutis užupiai), Polocko gatve, 7a, Užupis (Užupio gatve, 400m above the Angel), . 11:00-23:00 daily.Indoor/outdoor dive bar with an exceptional craft/farmhouse beer selection, seats with a view, and traditional Baltic food. Lunch/dinner 3-6€, beer 2€ for 0.5l draught, 3-6€ for 1.75l bottled. Menu in Lithuanian, Byelorussian, English and illustrated.
Safety in Vilnius
Taxis in tourist areas can overcharge 3 times the normal rate.
Vilnius is a relatively safe city; however, crimes do occur. Use typical common sense.
Try and walk with confidence and never look lost. Being drunk and acting obviously foreign in the middle of the night is a bad idea. If you have traveled by train to visit a nightclub or other venue, take taxis to and from your venue, and upon return to the railway station remain in the ticket hall, which is patrolled by security guards.
- The area around the central train station is particularly dodgy and frequented by prostitutes and their clients.
- It is recommended not to enter South Vilnius suburbs, including Naujininkai and Kirtimai, especially at night, as well as some parts of Šnipiškės which are located any deeper than its business district.
- The 148 train to Moscow is a noted target and many have reported having their baggage forcefully stolen. The police are also not very helpful.