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On this page you’ll find a brief Overview of Vilnius, and also our main Tips for your time in Vilnius
An Overview of Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital and largest city of Lithuania. It’s population sits at just over 500,000. The city is situated in the south of the country, close to the border with Belarus, and lies on the rivers Vilnia and Neris. Tourism in Vilnius is growing rapidly. The old town is UNESCO world heritage listed, and it was named the European capital of culture in 2009. It’s a lot less touristy than many European cities though, so it shouldn’t be too overcrowded.
There are plenty of sights and things to do in Vilnius. The old town is great to wander around. Gedaminas Tower has great views of the city. And there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can try some of the traditional Lithuanian cuisine. It’s also worth checking out Užupis, an independent republic in the old town complete with its own constitution.
Outside of Vilnius, there is quite a bit to see too. It’s well worth a day trip to the hill of crosses, which is a catholic pilgrimage site a couple of hours out of the city. Trakai Castle, a castle on an island that’s only 30 minutes outside of Vilnius, is also hugely popular.
We’d recommend spending 3-4 nights in Vilnius, depending on how much time you have and how many day trips out of the city you want to do.
Top tips and things to know for Vilnius:
- Do the free walking tour when you first arrive. It’s a great way to orientate yourself to the city.
- Uzupio Kavine is a great place to have a few drinks overlooking the river in Užupis.
- If you’re travelling to Vilnius from Riga, Traveller Tours runs a daily tour/transfer that goes via the hill of crosses. It’s a little more expensive at €55, but worth it if you’re short on time, and an easy way to see one of Lithuania’s most popular and important tourist destinations.
- For traditional Lithuanian cuisine that’s reasonably priced, head to either Busi Trekias or Forto Dvaras.
- You can download an offline map of Vilnius on google maps before you go. Zoom to Vilnius, search ‘okmaps’, and then download the area you have selected. This is particularly helpful in Vilnius for making your way from the coach station to your accommodation.
- Lithuania uses the Euro as its currency. Check the exchange rates before you go.
Where to stay in Vilnius
As long as you stay in or around the old town, you can’t really go wrong here. The majority of the hostels are clustered between the train / coach station and the old town, while the old town itself has more hotel style accommodation. Check out Hostelworld, Booking.com and Airbnb to see what’s available
- Tip: If you’re looking for a hostel here, Jimmy’s Jump House is the pick of the bunch amongst backpackers. Try and book early, as it can book out in peak times.
Getting around Vilnius
The best way to get around the city itself is walking. It’s small enough that you probably won’t need to use public transport. If you’re doing any day trips, read Country Overview: Lithuania where we’ve got some details on the best way to get around.
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