Vilnius City Breaks
A guide to Vilnius
As its capital, Vilnius is the place most people will head to when they travel to the Eastern European country of Lithuania. Located in the south-east, at the junction where the Vilnia and Neris Rivers meet, the city is in an area of stunning natural beauty, which makes for a superb cinematic backdrop. Vilnius has something mysterious about it; it is the least visited and least known of the three Baltic State capitals, and remains strikingly beautiful, eccentric and captivating. The baroque spires of Orthodox and Catholic churches dominate the skyline, adding to the picturesque charm, and the city has been recognised by UNESCO as Europe’s largest baroque Old Town, and a World Heritage Site.
A beautiful, historic Old Town
There’s plenty to do in Vilnius, with a trip up the TV tower affording the best views of the city and providing some amazing photo opportunities, and other fantastic sights including the world’s only statue of Frank Zappa and the Hill of Three Crosses, which were erected on the hill in the 17th century to crucify a group of monks. Vilnius Cathedral is worth a visit, and is a local landmark formerly used by the Soviets as an art gallery. For a somewhat bizarre experience, visit Gruto Parkas, which is a ‘theme park’ with Soviet-era statues of Stalin and Lenin, that have long since disappeared elsewhere in Europe. Many of the sights to visit in Vilnius are free, or cost next to nothing, making a day out sightseeing here perfect for those on a budget.
Unique city, lively nightlife
In terms of shopping, Vilnius cannot be compared to Paris or London, but nevertheless boasts a number of large western European-style shopping malls such as Europa, Konstitucijos 7a, and Akropolis, and Ozo 25, and the Old Town has an array of small niche shops selling antiques, bric-a-brac, cognac, and local goods. Come the evening, Vilnius’ nightlife is powered mainly by the lively student population, with a good number of cafes, bars and clubs, catering to an eclectic range of musical tastes.