Upbeat and offbeat Vilnius is a quirky capital that has emerged from the shadows of occupation to become a European Capital of Culture, and deservedly so.
The Museum of Genocide, located next to the house of the former headquarters of the KGB, stands as a memorial to its darker past, but this is not the whole story of the city. The National Museum pays homage to the country’s cultural artefacts while the well preserved baroque Old Town stands proudly as a reminder of its cultural heritage. The incredible Contemporary Art Centre is one of the largest art spaces in the Baltic and frequently hosts world-class exhibitions. Don’t miss the oddball Frank Zappa statue that hides unassumingly is a small car park and the ‘Boy with a Big Shoe in His Hands’, a statue of a 9-year-old boy holding a shoe, depicting French novelist Romain Gary.
A climb, or funicular ride, to the top of the hill where the remains of the city’s 13th century castle rest, reveals a sea of spires that seem to reach for the clouds above. At the heart of these is Vilnius Cathedral, a stunning white 18th century icon with an impressive freestanding bell tower.
The Hill of Three Crosses, in lush Kalnai Park, is a symbol of the city’s national identity. It also boasts scenic woodland walks and views across Vilnius. TV Tower is another spot for breathtaking panoramas, with a cafe lovely and small museum inside.
When the wonders of the Literary Museum of Pushkin and the stately corridors of the Presidential Palace have been explored, it is time to get lost in beautiful Balsiai Mythological Park or the Park of Europe, a quite amazing open air museum filled with modern and contemporary art, surrounded by woods. Take advantage of free Thai Chi classes near the White Bridge or rid the wallet of unnecessary cash in the Greek named Acropolis or Helios City shopping malls.
By night, be immersed in the local culture be it the opera, ballet or drama theatres that make up just one side of this wonderfully off-the-wall city.
The following information is correct as of February 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Vilnius Airport is located 4 miles south of the city centre and can be reached by car in approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Regular trains operate from the airport terminal to the city centre taking just 8 minutes while a public bus service also takes 15 to 20 minutes from the airport to the main station in the city centre. Taxis are available for hire outside the arrivals terminal.
What you need to know
Currency: The Lithuanian Litas
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Lithuania. A passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is required or, in the case of EU nationals, a valid ID card. Nationals of other countries may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: Smoking is banned in all indoor public places in Lithuania including cafes, clubs, bars, restaurants and public transport as well as some of the outdoor public squares. The legal age for drinking alcohol in Lithuania is 18 years of age.
Best Time to Visit
On the Baltic coast, Lithuania has a temperate climate which means that summers are warm, spring and autumn mild and winters very cold. Those wanting snow and plenty of it should visit between November and March. July and August are the busiest tourist times with visitors wanting to make the most of the warm temperatures. Spring and early autumn are often still pleasantly warm and are much quieter than the summer.
The Vilnius Book Fair and the outrageous masks and costumes of the Shrovetide celebrations are tempting reasons to visit in February. In March the Kaziukas Fair with overflowing markets stalls and the International Film Festival draws the crowds. May is the month for Baltic Dance, Folklore and International Poetry while June kicks off with the famous Vilnius Festival. As autumn arrives, the city boasts more film, arts, theatre and even fire sculptures while December brings Christmas to the capital with markets, skating and music and lively New Year celebrations.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Vilnius
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.