1. The Hill of Crosses
This attraction is not in Vilnius itself, but in Siauliai. Another ‘big’ city of Lithuania. Although it’s located two hundred kilometers (124 miles) from Vilnius, I recommend to plan a day trip to this major sight. The Hill of Crosses is one of the most exceptional and beautiful monuments that I ever saw. Hundreds of thousands of crosses, gigantic or petty small, adorn a hill in the middle of nowhere. The closer you get to this monument, the more impressive it becomes. Climb the stairs between this strange collection and be amazed by the beauty and serenity of this place. From Vilnius you can arrange a day trip for about €50. Do you prefer to arrange it yourself? Then also read this blog post.
2. The St. Anne’s Church
Churches are plentiful in the Lithuanian capital! But if there is one that I have to mention, it’s the St. Anne’s Church.
This Roman Catholic church is a wonderful example of a brick Gothic building. The inside is actually not special, and so it’s not such a big deal if you stand in front of closed doors. The outside on the other hand… Wow!
The church was already built in 1495, and to this day very little has changed on the exterior.
3. The Cathedral of Vilnius
If I mention one church, then I must also describe some other gems, right?
A gigantic snow-white cathedral stands on the Katedros aikštė. The building seems to have been taken away from the Vatican (or maybe it even reminds of the Parthenon in Athens?)! Gigantic pillars surround the building, and on the roof there are life-size statues that spread the word of God. Opposite this very special church, you’ll also see a very impressive clock tower. You can visit it for €4.50 per person and get an amazing view over Vilnius.
During Christmas there is a cute Christmas market on the square where this cathedral is located.
4. Other churches
Since we’re already planning a round trip along the many churches of Vilnius, let’s give a couple more to admire.
The Church of St. Peter and Paul (St. Apastalu Petro ir Povilo Baznycia) is highly regarded by many people. The pastel yellow building is in any case different from the others, and the architecture is also quite unique from most other European churches. It’s mainly the inside that looks very special. The pristine white interior with beautiful and lavish images guarantees beautiful photos.
With the Soviet past of Lithuania, an orthodox church can’t be missed here. The Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit is a beautiful example of this. From the outside the church isn’t very special (again this building was given a pastel shade), but the inside is … Quite amazing!
Did you ever see a church with a green interior and all of that daubed with gold leaf? Probably not! You won’t believe your own eyes when you see this church.
5. The Gediminas tower
Just like in Kaunas, Vilnius used to have a gigantic fort that towered over the city. This castle (formerly made out of wood) was built in the fifteenth century by the Grand Duke of Lithuania: Gediminas.
Now only a tower is left, but that’s more than enough to imagine the once huge castle! From the place where this tower is located you get the best possible view over Vilnius. You can get on top of the hill by walking, or by using a funicular.
If you don’t mind paying a small contribution, you can also go inside the tower. There is a museum about the former castle.
From the hill you also get a good view of the three crosses (Trys kryziai – not to be confused with the hill of the crosses!); one of the other attractions of Vilnius.
6. The money museum
Are you crazy about money? Then you have to go to the money museum of Vilnius! In this small museum you learn more about the history of money.
There are two floors. The top floor deals with Lithuania’s old currency and the switch to the euro. The basement is talking about ways that were used in the past to pay for goods or services, and also some more technical aspects of money.
On a special scale you can even see how much you’re worth in euros!
The best of it all? To see all that money, you don’t need to pay a cent yourself, because the access is free.
7. The artworks of Literatu Street
Literatu street or Literatų gatvė is located right in the center of Vilnius and must be one of the nicest things to see in Vilnius. Almost everyone who is important in Lithuanian literature, and even some international writers, have a work of art here. The whole street is full of separate pieces of art (more than 100!) which you can visit for free.
On the walls you can see ceramics, small sculptures, glass sculptures and painted art. The street has been used for this cause since 2008 and every year some new pieces are added.
8. The Trakai castle
Half an hour from Vilnius lies the imposing Trakai castle. The original castle dates back from the fifteenth century, but soon fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that this phenomenal fort was restored.
During a visit to the Trakai Castle you can visit the inside, where you can see all kinds of exhibitions about past times. You’ll learn how such a castle was defended, which weapons were used for it, which clothing was then in fashion, …
Don’t forget to look at the surroundings of the Trakai castle as well. This chateau stands in the middle of an island, and because of that a quite spectacular view is created.
From Vilnius you can arrange a trip for barely €20. Want to read more about this castle, or find out how to get there by public transport? Read this blog post too.
9. Gediminas Avenue
If you haven’t only come to Vilnius to do some sightseeing, then you should also visit Gediminas Avenue. In this long street you’ll find many nice shops and shopping centers where you can completely let go.
Next to the shopping street you’ll also find the national theater of Lithuania and the aforementioned money museum.
At the national theater, be sure to pay attention to the beautiful sculpture that floats above you. It looks a bit scary, but I especially liked it.
10. The TV tower of Vilnius
For the best view of Vilnius and its surroundings, you have to go to the Vilnius TV tower. This building, which is 326.5 meters (1071 ft) high, offers the most magnificent panoramic views of the Lithuanian capital. Nowadays it’s used for Lithuanian radio and television, but tourists can also visit the tower up to 165 meters (541 ft) altitude. Besides spectacular views, you also get the possibility to have a drink while the platform is slowly revolving. In very good weather you can see about 40 kilometers (25 miles) far.
Excursions and tours in Vilnius
Would you like to plan a guided tour of Vilnius? Or maybe a visit to the Trakai castle or the hill of the crosses? From Vilnius you have many possibilities! Curious? Look at these options:
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.