Vilnius travel guide

The capital of Lithuania is also the smallest of the Baltic states. Vilnius has some beautiful buildings, but what is especially striking are the hundreds of churches that you see all around the pace. The small and huge buildings provide a unique spectacle inside and out. Orthodox, Christian, Catholic, ... Almost all religions seem to find a place in Vilnius.
Vilnius clearly has something to do with religion, because throughout the city you regularly find other attractions too that have to do with it. In fact, this is not so obvious, because religion wasn't allowed under communism! By the way: communism is also something that you're guaranteed to come into contact with when you explore the city.
Vilnius is tiny, but pretty cozy. For a short city trip I can whole heartedly recommend Vilnius!

vilnius st anna church

Churches, churches, churches… Everywhere you see churches! This is the St. Anna church of Vilnius.

  Average costs in Vilnius

Stay – Vilnius is dirt cheap and you’ll find very affordable accommodation throughout the city. Yet the cheapest isn’t always ideal… I personally had a bad experience with the ‘five euro hostel’, so I wouldn’t recommend going there.
Five-star hotels are only available in small numbers, and the cost of all this luxury starts at around €100 per night. Four star hotels are much more affordable. From €45 to €50 per night.
The best 3-star hotels also cost something like this per night, but the cheapest ones only cost €30 to €35 per night. Hostels start at five euros, but as I mentioned before: paying a bit more is not necessarily a bad idea… A budget room for one person costs about twenty euros per night. If you are with two people, it’s therefore cheaper to immediately opt for a three or four star hotel!
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Eat – Fast food is not expensive in the Lithuanian capital. For a Mc Donalds or Burger King menu you pay between five and seven euros. Personally, I didn’t think the restaurants in Vilnius were great, but they are of course slightly healthier than all that fast food. In a normal restaurant you pay between five and ten euros for a main course and a drink.

Transport – The buses in the city center cost one euro per trip. From the airport to the city center also costs only one euro.
From Vilnius you can travel to the Trakai Castle by bus. This costs you €1.80 per ride.
The comfortable trains are also not expensive. For a two-hour ride (Vilnius to Siauliai) you only pay eleven euros.

vilnius cross hill

The Cross Hill in Vilnius. The sculpture is almost invisible because of the thick snow!

  Saving money in Vilnius

Bus from airport – Don’t take a taxi from the airport to the city center. For one euro per person you’ll be met by a bus just in front of the airport and you’ll be dropped off at the central station of Vilnius. There you can take another bus to your accommodation or take a taxi from there. You’ll immediately save many euros!

Organize your excursions yourself – Close to Vilnius there are some popular sights such as the Trakai Castle and a bit further there is the famous hill of crosses in Siauliai. An excursion to Trakai costs at least €30 per person. If you take a bus from the bus station to Trakai and from then on arrange everything yourself, you’ll only pay €3.60 for the bus tickets and €5 for the castle. If you travel with several people you can save a lot of money by doing so!

Drink tap water – The tap water of Lithuania can be drunk without any problems. Reuse your bottles and drink for free during your city trip to Vilnius.

Trakai Castle Vilnius

Not far from Vilnius lies the enchanting Trakai castle.

  Things to do in Vilnius

Visit churches! – You can’t go to Vilnius without entering at least one church. To view them all from the inside and outside, you would need a lot of days, so I’ll briefly tell you which churches you should definitely see: St. Anne’s Church, St. Peter’s and Paul’s Church, St. Theresa Church, St. Casimir’s church and Bernardinu Baznycia.

Gedinimas tower – The Gedinimas tower is the only thing left of a once powerful castle that stood on the Gedinimas mountain . From almost everywhere in the city you can see this remnant building towering over the city. Inside the tower there is a museum, but the most beautiful part of this monument is actually just the view you get from this location.

Cross hill – Right across the hill where the Gedinimas tower is on, you can see the Cross hill. Three large, white crosses surrounded by beautiful nature. To see the crosses you don’t necessarily have to climb the mountain, because you can already see them from many places in the city. Yet the hill on which the monument is located is a very beautiful park and it is certainly worth a visit for nature lovers or hikers.

Gedinimas avenue – The central street of Vilnius is the Gedinimas avenue. Here you’ll find hundreds of shops, shopping centers and restaurants. Perfect for a shopaholic or to escape from the overflow of churches.

Uzupis – Within the Lithuanian capital, there is a completely independent city: Uzupis. During the Soviet regime, this was one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Vilnius. But in the meantime it has become the district that attracts all artists and bon vivants. This alternative part of Vilnius is very nice to go see, because they laugh a bit with all rules and obligations.

Trip to Trakai – By car, Trakai is about twenty minutes from Vilnius and by bus you are there in an hour. The Trakai castle is a gigantic medieval fortress that was completely rebuilt in the 1980s. After a long neglect, it was decided to restore the castle on the island. And with success! Because now it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Lithuania.

cathedral vilnius

The cathedral of Vilnius.

   Things to avoid in Vilnius

Getting annoyed by grumpy people – Is it because I am a tourist or because I look a bit ‘foreign’? I don’t know, but I didn’t find the people in Vilnius very friendly. They rarely said a ‘thank you’ or ‘my pleasure’ and very often I noticed some rude yawning looks. Perhaps recent history has something to do with this. This country was under a strict communist regime not so long ago!

Going to the area around the station at night – The neighborhood around the station and the central bus station is not the best place to be when it gets dark. Avoid walking too long (only) in this neighborhood in the evening. I heard from other tourists that there are often fights here.

Long stay – Vilnius is very small. In one day you can easily see everything there is to see. If you plan to make some trips you can of course stay a little longer, but I recommend not to stay too long and simply move on to some other Baltic cities.

vilnius travel guide

On the other side of the river you’ll find the more modern, economic center of Vilnius.

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