Vilnius – hidden gem of the Baltic

Vilnius – hidden gem of the Baltic

Travelling to Vilnius is literally a journey directly into Europe’s navel. And what a navel it is. Lithuania’s small capital contains everything you could wish for taking a city break.

In the 18th century Vilnius was Eastern Europes third largest city. That fact may explain the extravaganza of buildings from different centuries you will find in Vilnius old town. Communities from all over Europe immigrated through centuries to Vilnius making it a melting pot of cultures.

Vilnius Cathedral
Vilnius Cathedral

In the old town you will find more than 1500 buildings from different centuries and today Vilnius has the largest baroque old town I Europe.

In 1994 Vilnius was included in the Unesco World Heritage List and we totally get why.

Guided by locals

Even though  Vilnius is a small capital we didn’t know where to get started when we first arrived. Therefore we signed up for a free walking tour through the old city with “ Like a local “. We got great inspiration and after the tour, we knew exactly where to dig in. 

Vilnius backyard
The local guide took us to hidden places like fascinating backyards, known for their charm and authenticity.

We walked through that little beautiful wonder of a city and got more and more enchanted. The cobbled narrow alleys, the high amount of magnificent churches, the charming courtyards, the small squares with restaurants and cafes, the smiling, friendly people makes Vilnius worthwhile. 

During world war 2 Vilnius was heavily damaged but is nowadays beautifully restored and in recent years there has been added new housing areas, skyscrapers and gigantic malls to the city.

Old city Vilnius
Walk down the old city’s characteristic narrow streets and have your lunch at one of the authentic, cozy restaurants.

discouraging past

But Vilnius is also history and the city has had its share. The Museum of Genocide Victims is a must when in Vilnius. The museum is situated in the former KGB building and tells the story of how the crimes of the Soviet regime was planned and executed. It gave us a chill down our spines, but the horrific truth is important to be told.

Former KGB headquarter
A view through the corridor in the basement of the former KGB headquarter. Here you will be witness to some of the cruelty the Soviet regime brought to the political prisoners. The audioguide is recommended.

The Republic of Uzupio brings back your smile 🙂

After a nauseating experience like that, you really need something that can tickle your smile buds. Go visit the self-proclaimed Republic of Uzupio 😀. Uzupio was in 1997 declared by the residents and have its own flag, currency, president, a cabinet of ministers and even own army numbering approximately 10 members. The proclamation came on April Fools day and sometimes one of the public wells is flowing with beer that day.

Two times at the 1. of April, beer has been flowing from this well in Uzupio. Take walk and enjoy the craziness of this charming part of Vilnius.

Uzupio even has its own constitution with 41 articles. We especially love number 16 ( everyone has the right to be happy ) and number 11 ( everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies ) both closely followed by number 24 ( everyone has the right to understand nothing ). Copies of the 41 articles in the constitution can be found affixed to a wall on Paupio street. We left Uzupio in a VERY good mood.

Parlament of Uzupio.
Take a swing under the bridge, and afterwards relax with a coffee or a beer at the Parlament of Uzupio.

Time for a break?

If your feet gets tired and your mouth dries out, there are many cozy cafes and bars, where you can fix these problems. Our favorites were The Sky bar at the Raddison Blu hotel, with the most astonishing birds view over Vilnius,  and The Grill Terrace at VCUP next to Neris river, also with a fantastic view over the old city. Try one of the very delicious Lithuanian beers, our favorite ended up being Svyturys, try not to break your tongue pronouncing that, especially after 5 🍻😀Do you have a sweet tooth, the city’s many bakeries produces the most fantastic cakes. What’s not to like!

Sky view bar Vilnius
Besides the beautiful old town, Vilnius also is a modern developing city. From The Sky Bar at Radisson Blu Hotel you will get a great view of this modern part of Vilnius.


And what makes you even more fond of Vilnius and what makes you wanna stay just a bit longer are the very low costs of living compared to many other Countries. Vilnius is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe. Here you can pamper yourself without ruining yourself.

traditional Lithuanian food
At some restaurants, it is possible to get a plate of traditional Lithuanian food to share. Combine it with a selection of the tasty local beer. And let’s be honest – there was quite a bit left on the plate as we left, eg. the stripes of the rubberlike pig’s ears.
We stayed at

Hotel Europa City Vilnius, booked through www.booking.com The hotel is a basic middle classed hotel with nice clean rooms and comfy beds. They serve a varied and rich breakfast with several Lithuanian specialties.

The hotel is situated only 200 m from Gediminas Boulevard and 20 minutes on foot to the old city.

The hotel offers bicycle rental. The staff is attentive and very friendly.

Vilnius international airport is only a short drive away.

Value for money

 


Gallery Vilnius –  just enjoy or click to go to next image


Useful links 

The Museum of Genocide Victims

www.local-life.com/Vilnius

Wikipedia – Vilnius

www.wizzair.com             

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