With around 500,000 inhabitants, the city of Vilnius has the perfect size. When you stroll through the cozy cobblestone streets in downtown, you are not overwhelmed by chaos by rather fascinated by the harmonious environment the city is characterized by. From Vilnius International Airport it is best to take a Taxi or Uber towards the city center and the old town. A good starting point for your journey is the Vincas Kudirka Square, where you will find the impressive cathedral of Vilnius. From this point onwards make your way through the lovely old town with narrow streets, cobblestones, local shops and authentic restaurants and bars. A good place for having lunch and/or dinner is the “Kitchen”. To enter the hidden restaurant, you need to follow the path through a narrow street, then go up the stairs in an old apartment building and you will arrive in a big, cozy room. Food is amazing – however, a bit more expensive than the average cuisine in Vilnius.
During our trip, we spent around two days in the city, which is short but in my opinion sufficient to get a glimpse of the lifestyle and to visit major sights. The newly opened museum in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania offers a comprehensive tour through the countries dynamic past. Did you actually know that the Dukes of Lithuania used to rule a huge empire back in the 14th century? The museum stretches along the rise as well as the fall of the empire, leaving you fascinated about the country´s history. It makes you imagine how life was back then in the empire of Lithuania. In this regard, VR (virtual reality) glasses helped a lot. Each visitor of the museum has the chance to basically live through the rise and the fall of the empire in around 8 minutes of animated scenes. This was one of most extraordinary experiences I got to enjoy in a museum so far.
After a few interesting hours in the museum, we made our way to a Pub Crawl in order to explore what the nightlife of this northern city has to offer. One thing in advance, as Germans we are beer drinkers of course, however, due to the unfortunate lack of good beer in Vilnius we tried out the amazing Gin culture the city has to offer. A huge amount of variety in decent Gins, good music, amazing people and nice locations were the best things of that night. Pub crawls are always an effective way of getting to know people and the city. Although we did not meet many locals within the Pub Crawl group, we still had an amazing night out with the many foreigners that accompanied the Pub Crawl.
A famous location in Vilnius is the graffiti of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which has been in the news, as the illustration about some of the most powerful men in the world is very humorous and worth the 10 minute walk from the city center. Also consider visiting the countryside, especially the lakes around the Trakai castle, and the castle itself gives you a glimpse of the beautiful countryside of Lithuania.
When looking back on my trip to Vilnius, I vividly remember the calmness and friendliness of the city, the extraordinary past of the country and of course a great Pub Crawl. If these characteristics closely resonate with you, I can only encourage you to take a trip to this “hidden gem”.