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Vilnius

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Travel Guide Europe Lithuania Vilnius

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Introduction

Vilnius' Old Town

Vilnius' Old Town

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and is also the largest city in the country with about 600,000 inhabitants. The site where Vilnius is located today has been inhabited for about 700 years and together with its turbulent history during more recent times, it always has been an interesting place. For travellers, this has all been mixed in an appealing setting of old building styles, cultural sites and dozens of churches. Add to this the fact that Vilnius is not too big to only use your own feet as a way to get around, and it is not hard to see why this city has been booming with travellers during the last decade or so. The historical centre on the other hand is not small at all and is one of the biggest in Europe with a mix of buildingstyles. The medieval part of the city probably is the most attractive. The city has good facilities as well for all types of travellers and in general is relatively cheap to visit.

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Neighbourhoods

Užupis is a famous neighbourhood of Vilnius. It's name translated to English means "on the other side of the river" and the neighborhood is situated aptly on the other side of the river Vilnia to Vilnius Old Town. The area is well known for its artists and its declaration of Independence on April Fools day 1997. You will find lots of little galleries, cafes and a sense of a Bohemian lifestyle.

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Sights and Activities

Old Town

Vilnius' Old Town was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994 and originally much of the Old Town was the Jewish ghetto. It's one of the largest Old Towns in Eastern Europe and the biggest Baroque area in the world, with also Gothic and Rococo styles mixed into it all. The hart of the Old Town is the University with its 13 courtyards and the adjacent St. John's Church where you can up in an elevator (5LT) for an outstanding view across the Old Town and further beyond. There are also numerous other churches including the beautiful Gotchic style St. Anne's Church. Pilies Gatve is where all the action takes place, with restaurants and bars. It's a pedestrian area with some nicely restored houses and cobblestoned pavement. From there, the main throroughfare goes south towards the Gates of Dawn, the only remaining original entrance to the Old Town. Other highlights include the Basilian Gate and the Presidential Palace opposite the University.

Basilian Gate, Vilnius

Basilian Gate, Vilnius

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Vilnius Cathedral and Belfry

The Vilnius Cathedral and Belfry are just north of the Old Town, below the Gediminas Tower. Inside the Cathedral is the baroque chapel of St. Casimir. Outside the Cathedral, at the square, there is particular tile on which there is written the word "Stebuklas" (meaning "miracle" in Lithuanian). Stand on it, make a wish and turn around three times. This tile also marks the end of the Vilnius-Tallinn human chain in the 1989 protest of the Soviet Union. It's not signposted, because that would mean bad luck! The Belfry is one of the characteristic photo shots in the city and 57 metres high.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Gediminas Tower is a symbol of Vilnius. It is on the hill in the heart of the city near the Cathedral. Gediminas Tower is the remains of a castle. The castle here first time was build in 14th century by Duke Gediminas.
  • Museum of Genocide Victims - located about 1 kilometre east of the centre along Gedimino Prospektas, this museum (also called KGB) museum decribes the horrors that took place here during the Sovjet period (with a brief interval during WWII when the Nazis housed here as well).
  • Uzupis District - just east of the Old town, this area primarily is occupied by artists, dreamers and drunks. 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.
  • St. Peter's and Paul's Church - extremely beautiful inside, with all the interior overcrowded with baroque sculptural works.
  • Artilery Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall
  • National Museum of Lithuania
  • Frank Zappa Statue
  • Romanov Russian Orthodox Church - west of the Old Town, with its typical green onion domes
  • Cemeteries
  • Dozens of other churches, including St. Michael's, Church of the Holy Spirit and St. Teresa's.

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Weather

Vilinius, like the rest of Lithuania has a rather mild climate, although it can get pretty cold in winter. Usually, it is fairly warm from May until September with temperatures usually around 18 to 22 °C. This is also the time when there is more rain, although this comes in downpours rather than days of rain on end. Winter temperatures are below zero on average, but have been milder during recent years. Still, temperatures way below -10 °C are still possible so dress accordingly.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-3.5 °C-1.7 °C3.3 °C10.7 °C18.2 °C21.1 °C22.1 °C21.6 °C16.4 °C10.2 °C3.5 °C-0.5 °C
Avg Min-8.7 °C-7.6 °C-3.8 °C1.6 °C7.5 °C10.8 °C12.3 °C11.5 °C7.7 °C3.4 °C-0.9 °C-5.2 °C
Rainfall41 mm38 mm39 mm46 mm62 mm77 mm78 mm72 mm65 mm53 mm57 mm55 mm
Rain Days191413131214161316151822

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Getting There

By Plane

Vilnius International Airport (VNO) is where most travellers arrive by air in Lithuania. It is located about 6 kilometres from Vilnius. Air Baltic operates a number of flights to European destinations including Copenhagen, Paris, Riga, Rome and Tallinn, and seasonal to Antalya, Dublin, London and Munich. Low-cost airline Wizzair flies to/from Barcelona, Cork, Eindhoven, Sheffield London Milan, Rome and Stockholm from April 2011 onwards. Some of the other airlines serving Vilnius are Lufthansa to Frankfurt and LOT to Warsaw. Some other destinations serve cities like Kiev, Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Prague, Berlin, Helsinki, Oslo, Rhodes, Heraklion, Varna, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Tenerife, Tel Aviv and Moscow.

To/from the airport

  • Train: Direct train services between Vilnius Airport Railway Station and the central station of Vilnius started in October 2008, taking about 7 minutes from the airport to the centre. It is the fastest way and train run daily from about 6:30am to 7:30pm. Trains go about 1-2 times per hour and the one-way price is 2.50 Lt (€0.73).
  • Bus: buses 1, 1A and 2 all connect the airport with the city centre.
  • Car: taxis and car rental facilities are both widely available at the airport.

By Train

Lithuanian Railways has services from Vilnius to Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai. There are up to 15 trains daily between Vilnius and Kaunas and several overnight sleeper services to the Baltic coast. Ignalina (for the lakes and forests in the northeast and Trakai (a popular daytrip from the capital) have frequent departures as well from Vilinius.

By Car

Modern motorways connect Vilnius with Klaipeda, Kaunas and Panevezys.

By Bus

Kautra is one of the main bus companies but there are lots more. Buses go to all main cities from Vilnius, like Kaunas and Klaipeda.
Eurolines has many international connections, among which are services to Riga and Tallinn.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

There is plenty of public transport within the city that should get you to any suburbs or districts you want to visit. In general the average visitor will get around without the need for buses.

By Foot

The Old Town of Vilnius is very easy to navigate on foot. Just pick up a city map and you are off on your way. There a few hills around Vilnius but none are too much for the average walker. The Old Town area is not over run with traffic so you can feel free when taking a stroll.

By Bike

In recent years bikes have become more common on the streets of Vilnius but you must still be aware of drivers. Locals are not the most relaxed of drivers and so you should take care on the roads. You will find some bike paths around Vilnius as well as some bike rental points. As with most cities riding around by bike is one of the best ways to get to know a new place.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
A HostelSodu str. 8 Sodu str. 17Hostel72
A-Markis Guest HouseStikliu str.6-1Guesthouse-
Algirdas City HotelsAlgirdo str. 24Hotel-
Amicus Hotelstr. Kaminkelio 15Hotel-
Apia HotelSv Ignoto str. 12Hotel-
Auksine AvisPupines str.5,VilniusGuesthouse-
B&B FlorensSodu str. 4-4GUESTHOUSE80
Bernardinu B&B HouseBernardinu St. 5GUESTHOUSE90
Centrum UniquestayVytenio 9/25Hotel-
Comfort VilniusGeliu str. 5Hotel82
Donatas ApartmentsVokieciu str.7-12Apartment-
Ecotel VilniusSlucko Str. 8,Hotel81
Filaretai Youth HostelFilaretu street 17Hostel81
Florens BoutiqueAusros Vartu str. 29Guesthouse81
HostelgateMikalojaus Street 3/1Hostel89
Hotel Panorama VilniusSodu str. 14Hotel81
In Astra B&BJ.Basanaviciaus St. 3GUESTHOUSE86
IrmarentAusros vartu/Smelio Auku,3Apartment-
JNN HostelKonstitucijos avenue 25Hostel82
Ligonines Street ApartmentLigonines 4-11Apartment-
Litinterp Guesthouse VilniusBernardinu Street 7-2 VilniusGuesthouse87
Mano KeliasSavanoriu 222Hotel84
MGH ApartmentsVokieciu str.10-9Apartment81
OksanaRentJogailos,12 Boksto,10Apartment-
Old Town Apartments-VilniusPilies 23, VilniusApartment-
Paupio NamaiPaupio str. 31a VilniusHostel85
Rinno HotelVingriu str.25Hotel-
RunMiS HotelPanevezio 8AHotel-
Stasys ApartmentPilies 23Apartment-
Hotel Telecom GuestA.Vivulskio 13aGUESTHOUSE83
Tilto ApartmentsAuku 3-13Apartment-
Apartment VilniusTilto Str. 6 - 4aApartment-
Vilnius Old Town ApartmentsPilies 12Apartment-
Vilnius Old Town HostelAusros Vartu 20-10Hostel72
Downtown Market Guesthouse57 Pylimo St.Guesthouse80
Hotel Rudninku VartaiRudninku str. 15/46, VilniusHotel87
MikotelPylimo str.63Hotel88
Hotel KarolinaSausio 13-osios Street 2Hotel88
Grybas houseAušros Vartų 3aHotel-
Bella VillaGineitiškės Atzalyno 7Hotel-
Embassy hotel BalatonasLatvių g. 38Hotel-
Vilnius hostelSodu str. 8Hostel74
Hotel City GateBazilijonų str. 3Hotel90
Hotel AlexaPylimo 53/ Sodu 2Hotel-
Natalex ApartmentsSv. Stepono 29Apartment-
Fortuna HostelPelesos str 61/ Liepkalnio 2Hostel80
Jimmy Jumps House/HostelSavičiaus gatvė 12-1Hostel92
Hotel TiltoTilto str 8Hotel90
Hotel MartialisBistrycios str. 13Hotel-
Velga HotelGelezinio vilko g.3Hotel81
Europa City Hotel - VilniusJ.Jasinskio St. 14Hotel-
Come to Vilnius HostelSv. Stepono 15Hostel85
Hotel Park VillaVaidilutes str. 6AHotel-
Hotel SimpleJeruzale Str. 21HOTEL-
Home Made HouseRudninku 13 - 5Hostel91
Ramada-VilniusSubaciaus 2Hotel-
The Monk's Bunk VilniusJ. Basanaviciaus 19-2Hostel-
Center Stay HostelAusros Vartu g 16Hostel78
Hotel Vilnius EuropolisSvitrigailos Street 11DHotel82
Le Meridien - VilniusHighway A-2 19th kmHOTEL-
Pogo HostelB. Radvilaites str. 3-1HOSTEL85
Le Meridien HotelEeraicio c., AvizieniurHotel-
Domus247 - Zemaitijos 2 Bedroom ApartmentZemaitijos Street 5 Apartment 11APARTMENT-
Domus247 - Kudirkos 2 Bedroom ApartmentV. Kudirkos Street 18A Apartment number 19APARTMENT-
Domus247 - Gedimino Avenue 2 Bedroom ApartmentGedimino Avenue 64 Apartment number 106AAPARTMENT-
Visiting RegvangaVytenio g. 3-2APARTMENT-
Nesė Pramogų BankasPamėnkalnio g. 7 / Stulginskio g. 8GUESTHOUSE-
AirInn VilniusRadunios kelias 8HOTEL-
Apartment for Groups VilniusTraku 8-13APARTMENT-
One Bedroom Traku ApartmentTraku 8-12APARTMENT-
Vilnius Guest HouseS. Staneviciaus 79GUESTHOUSE-
LEU Guest HouseA. Vivulskio str. 36 , VilniusGUESTHOUSE-
Backpackers hostel in VilniusGedimino pr 2 Vilnius LituaniaHOSTEL-
Fabrika Hostel & GalleryA. Vienuolio g.4HOSTEL-
Slippers HouseNaugarduko g. 27HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

Lietuvos Paštas is the national postal service of Lithuania. Postal services are generally not very fast, but fairly reliable. That is, most of the postcards and letters will eventually arrive on the foreign adress, albeit after some days or even weeks. If you want it to be sent the fastest possible, go for courier instead of ordinary (domestic post) or for airmail instead of surface (international mail).
Post offices are usually open from 8:00am to 6:00pm on Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 2:00pm on Saturdays, although these opening hours may vary depending on the office, with big central offices keeping longer hours, while small villages might have shorter opening times. Stamped mail (both national and international) can be dropped in the yellow post boxes for collection. Stamps are available at post offices and kiosks.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 54.689855
  • Longitude: 25.269265

Contributors

as well as Riga James (13%), Agne (3%), delind (3%), Hien (1%)

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This is version 33. Last edited at 10:05 on Jun 14, 13 by Utrecht. 23 articles link to this page.

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