When is the best time to visit Vilnius?
Well, Lithuania in general has “extremes” when it comes to weather. The winter can hit -30, whereas the summer can hit 35...so I personally recommend Spring time, which is when Bradley and I visited.
Of course if you’re in search of sunshine, then summer is peak tourist time! May-July is a great time because before may some of the tourist sights are not open yet.
How do I get to Vilnius?
It’s super easy to get to Vilnius from the UK. Ryanair fly there for super cheap. Brad and I got return flights for around £45!
You can also drive to Lithuania from the UK via the ferry to France, or if depending on what area of Europea you’re from, it should only be a 1 or 2 day drive.
Flights to Vilnius are also possible from other locations around the world! Just search SkyScanner for the best deals.
How long should I stay in Vilnius, Lithuania?
I recommend a minimum of 3 nights. You could definitely do longer, but less than that won’t give you the true experience.
As I said before, it’s a perfect city break spot, and the perfect time frame for a city break is around 3 nights!
For help planning the rest of your trip, check out the guide Bradley wrote on the best places to visit in Lithuania.
How much should I budget for Vilnius?
For a capital city in Europe, Vilnius is SUPER CHEAP. I’m talking you can get beer and cider for $2-3, a litre of wine in a restaurant for $9 and food is around $4-12 depending on where you go!
Alcohol is cheap, but note that the sale of alcohol in stores stops at 7pm and 3pm on a Sunday. This was in a bid to reduce the drinking issue in Lithuania.
Uber, Grab etc are fairly cheap, as are buses if you choose to go local. I personally would say you could get by in Vilnius on a budget of $25-30 on the low end and $30-50 if you’re splashing out!
Top things to do in Vilnius
So here it is, the part you came for, the top things to do in Vilnius! Bradley and I did all these things (expect one or 2 which I’ll mention below!)
1. St Anne's Church
If you like gothic architecture (Which I do!), then you will love this beautiful church. It’s a masterpiece of the gothic era, and if you opt for a free walking tour, then this will definitely be on your list of stops. It’s survived 500 years and is an iconic sight of Vilnius.
It’s also free so great if you’re visiting Vilnius on a budget.
2.Catch the highest view in the City at St John's Church
St Johns Church is part of the university and definitely one of the top things to do in Vilnius if you're looking for a view.
It’s actually the highest point in all of Vilnius, which means if you want great views, then here will have them.
It’s 2.50 euro to the top, and if you haven’t already noticed, Lithuania is a flat country, which is why this is the highest peak!
3. Visit the Gate of Dawn
This gate was completed in 1522 and its significance is that it’s the only surviving gate of 5 which were part of the city wall.
It’s pretty cool that it’s survived, and it certainly fits well with the current architecture and cobbled streets.
Worth getting your picture taken at.
4. Explore Poetry Street
This a super cool street that has been dedicated to the literary gems of Lithuania, including the author of the very first Lithuania book, of which only has around 3 copies left in the world today, one of them being housed in a museum in the city,
It’s down some cobbled streets off the main “strip” and filled with little plaques to honour Lithuanian poets. At the very end there is a very nice restaurant with an outdoor area which is perfect for a glass of wine in the sunshine.
5. Enjoy the street art
If there is one place in Europe that does Street art well it’s Vilnius (and Berlin!), but Vilnius is great.
The best known piece is that of Putin and Trump (having cigarette blown into the mouth). It was previously them kissing, but some controversy changed that!
Again if you head on a walking tour of Vilnius, then this will probably be a stop too.
6. Visit Gediminas Castle Tower
This features the remains of what was once the upper castle! It’s on a hill and 100% one of the top things to do in Vilnius.
It gives you a great view of the “old town” and then the “new town” which is the small area filled with skyscrapers (I can see this expanding quickly!)
You can get a tram up for $1 each way. Good for those with mobility issues, or you can walk up which is free.
Once you get to the top, you’ve got your view. You can go inside the tower to the top for 8 euro (2019). Bradley and I decided not too, but I’m sure the views are even better another level up!
7. Explore Trakai Island Castle
This is probably the best thing to do in Vilnius, even though it’s outside Vilnius. It’s only 25 minutes away and Trakai island castle is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Trakai town in general is super cute and worth spending an evening to wander the shops and dine by the water.
You can pay to go inside the castle, but it closes at 5 pm. Bradley and I didn’t go inside the castle, as we went around 6-7 pm.
This was actually a perfect time, the temperature was cooler, the sun setting on the water, romantic couples taking strolls, and you can still rent boats out on the river.
There is also the option to take a 30 minute boat tour for only 10 euro, and you can bring your own booze on board...it’s one of the romantic things to do in Vilnius.
It’s also a great spot for using a drone, but be careful of the people and keep your distance. Speaking of drones, there are no drone restrictions as such in Lithuania, so have fun.
You can get to Trakai Island Castle via local bus for only a couple of euro from the Old Town, or you can get an Uber or Bolt car.
Or, you can use the CitiBee app to take a car for a couple of hours!
If you don't fancy getting there yourself, you can always take a tour.
8. Bar Hop
There are soooo many bars and cool clubs in Vilnius.
I think it helps that its a student town! I visited Vilnius over my birthday, so bradley and I hit up a few bars after my birthday dinner, in which we had already consumed a litre of sparkling wine, a bottle of prosecco and 4 shots. (and somehow my hangover wasn’t that bad haha)
The dirty rabbit is a cool spot, but it’s not busy on weekdays!
There is also a variety of sports bar which are pretty popular. Check out this tour for inspiration.
9.Relax at the Botanical Gardens
This is where I spent the day of my birthday, so it’s making my list of the top things to do in Vilnius.
I love botanical gardens, and these ones are run by the university. It was only a cheap Uber ride away and you’re transported into a beautiful garden with stunning tulips, roses, lakes and much more.
I packed a picnic (wine too) and we basically had the whole of the gardens to ourselves. We wandered around the whole thing for about an hour, then chose a spot and had a lovely picnic with the wonderful sunshine!
You can also get a bus to the gardens as there is a bus stop right outside, but I don’t know the price or how often it runs.
It’s only £3 entry and in the summer there is an outdoor cafe and ice cream shop.
10.Shop til you drop
There are countless opportunities for shopping in Vilnius. If you want high street classic then you’ve got all your great stores including H&M.
Or, if you seek designer goods, then you’re spoilt for choice with Gucci, Channel, and much more.
11. Enjoy a cocktail with a view at the Radisson
The Radisson hotel has a bar/restaurant on the hotel and this is located in what I call the “new area” of Vilnius, which is basically the skyscraper are of the city.
If you want a view of the lights and beauty of the city at night, then this is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail. You don’t have to be a guest to enter!
12. Ride in an army tank
This was one of the amazing activities organised for us by Tinggly. Just a short drive outside the city to a private army base camp and you have the chance to ride in an army tank.
You’ll also get to ride other vehicles and learn about the tanks, where they come from, how they operate, etc.
It was an awesome experience, and if you’re looking for a difference experience in Lithuania then I highly recommend this.
13. Ride quad bikes and buggies in the forest
This was another awesome activity organised by Tinggly. We did this the day after my birthday dinner, and it was so much fun.
If you love adrenaline based activities (Brad and I do!) then you’ll love this.
I actually thought I was going to be too much of a baby to try it (I love adrenaline once I’ve pushed myself to do something! Lol), but I did the Quad bike and I went full speed with it!
14. Visit the former KGB prison headquarters
Also known as the Genocide Museum, this is definitely worth a visit on your Vilnius sightseeing itinerary.
This is something in Vilnius, I didn’t do, but I wanted to. The reason I didn’t was because I already visited a holocaust site in another part of Lithuania and that really hit me hard.
I try to visit as many sites like this as possible because I think they are super important, but they do make me super sad about humanity.
The building was used by the Nazis, then by the KGB to imprison, detain, torute and execute anyone who resisted the Soviet rule.
Remember this is the actual location of where this all happened, which makes the experience even more harrowing knowing that these things happened exactly where you are standing.
15. Wander the cute republic of Uzupis
The “Republic of Uzupis” isn’t a “real” republic, but it's still awesome. You can sense a change of atmosphere in this quaint and cute town filled with cobbled streets, nice restaurants and it’s very own constitution.
The constitution is one of the highlights of your visit and it’s available in 14 different languages!
As far as constitutions go...this is probably my favourite...
16. Visit the Cathedral
The cathedral of Vilnius is worth a visit due to it’s pure beauty. You’ll often find this is included in the generic walking tour route, and the tourist information centre is right across the street.
It’s a great spot for photos too!
17.Catch a view at the 3 crosses on the hill
The 3 crosses on the hill aren’t all that exciting, but they do offer a beautiful sunset view, so my advice is to head there just before sunset, grab a blanket and relax for a while. It’s a perfect spot to read a book, or listen to some music.
Either way, it’s definitely worth a visit!
18.Dine and view Vilnius TV tower
This is another thing that Bradley and I didn’t do, simply because we didn’t know about it. Our hosts told us a day before we left that you could go up the TV and the had a 360 restaurant that spins ...well, talk about disappointed!
When I go back to Vilnius, I will definitely do this.
There is actually some historical significance to the tower too.
Local people died trying to defend it against the soviet regime, and there are crosses there to signify the loss. You can find out more about this event at the TV tower via photos and videos.
This is one of the best places to go in Vilnius.
19. Sample local Lithuanian food
Lithuanians food is one thing: stodgy, BUT DELICIOUS! Our hosts brought us out for a Lithuanian meal which meant they could select the best dishes for us to try...so I am going to recommend my favourites:
- Fried bread with garlic or cheese (perfect sharing starter)
- Cold beetroot soup (comes with potatoes). This is bright pink, and actually super delicious. It’s really cheap too.
- Potato pancakes (with or without meat). Super yum, filling and comes with sour cream
- Cepelinai which can be stuffed with meat or a vegetarian option...kind of like a stuffed dumpling..but not.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Vilnius, I can recommend the No.4 Bar and Grill and the Piano Man (which does great local cider, which is amazing).
You could take a food tour to ensure you don't miss out on anything good.
So there you go, my top things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s truly a fantastic city and it’s the cleanest city in Europe I’ve ever been to. Like crazy clean, not a single bit of rubbish in site.
Getting around Vilnius
Vilnius is super easy to get around which makes it a great city to visit. Below I discuss your main options.
Uber is available in Vilnius and so is Bolt. Bolt is the baltics version of Uber, but they are pretty much the same price.
You can get Uber and Bolt too and from the airport for around 6 euro, and the airport is only around 20 minutes from the Old Town which is great.
Electric scooter/electric car
Vilnius uses Citybee which is an app that allows you to rent electric bikes and cars for however long you need them.
You literally find a bike or car near you on the app, scan the bar code, then drive away. When you’re done, you can leave it anywhere in the city zone and then you’re card will be charged.
It’s really good for sightseeing or you just want to rent a car for a couple of hours without the faff of a rental company.
It’s so cool and it’s a fantastic idea!
Bike rental is available throughout the city and it’s very simple. You just download an app, or pay at the box and take the bike for however long you need it.
When done, you return the bike!
Vilnius is an easy city to bike and it’s a great way to get from sight to sight.
Get yourself some comfortable shoes and Vilnius is super easy to walk around. It’s easy to navigate and everything is within walking distance.
Where to stay in Vilnius
Our stay was “gifted” by the Tinggly team with a stay in their Tinggly Blogger House! It’s an awesome space just a few KM outside of the main town. You’re only 10 minute via Uber into the Old Town (and since Ubers cheap, you’ll be good!).
If you want to stay within the Old Town itself, then these are my top hotels in Vilnius.
I love the Radisson hotels, and since this one offers pretty spectacular views, I think it’s a great choice. It’s also in a good location.
2. Hotel Apia
A beautifully decorated hotel located in the heart of the Old Town. You can’t get much closer to the action than this. It’s only got 12 rooms so books up quick!
3. Congress Avenue
This 4 star hotel is located on the main street of Vilnius putting you in the perfect position for sightseeing. It’s luxurious, beautiful and well priced.
What is Tinggly?
Since it was because of Tinggly that Bradley and I had the chance to explore Vilnius, it’s only fair I mention them! Tinggly is an experience giving platform that allows you to give someone the gift of a lifetime.
Rather than giving someone a single experience and being unsure they won’t like it, you can give them a Tinggly gift that they can use around the world, wherever they want, on a whole range of activities.
This is a PERFECT wedding gift, birthday gift, or even Valentines gift idea, and it will be sure to give them that “tingly” feeling of excitement.
I think it’s an awesome idea, and Bradley and I already give each other experience instead of material things for our gifts, so it’s right up our street. You can find out more about it here.
Last few tips
- ATM withdrawals are free (at least for Revolut and Monzo travel cards)
- Lithuania uses the Euro
- If you are coming from the UK, it’s 2 hours ahead.
- Older generation Lituanians can come across as rude, especially when you are not in the tourist area, it’s just the way they are, stern, so don’t be offended.
- Coffee in Lithuania is good and cheap
So there you have it my guide on the best things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania, alongside some practical information that should help make your trip to Lithuania fuss free.
If you’ve got anything you think I should add to this list of what to see in Lithuania, then just pop a comment below.
For help planning the rest of your trip in the Baltics, why not check out ...