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Why You Should Visit Vilnius

Why You Should Visit Vilnius

It’s not a stretch to say that Lithuania is an underrated country. Sandwiched between a plethora of more popular places, it’s easy to overlook.

It’s also impossible to forget if you do go, from the idyllic Curonian Spit along its Baltic Sea coast, to the capital Vilnius, which is the topic of today’s post. While Vilnius doesn’t have the maritime mysterious of Tallinn or Riga, it does have a certain je ne sais quoi.

Is Vilnius worth visiting? Yes, absolutely, although there are a few things you need to know before you book your ticket.

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Why So Many People Skip Vilnius

Vilnius, frankly, has not attracted the buzz of Riga—and certainly, not of Tallinn. This has likewise meant that Lithuanian remains the odd man out when it comes to the Baltic States; Latvia and Estonia have benefitted in a big way from the popularity of their capitals. In other words, most people skip Vilnius not because they’ve heard anything bad about it, but because they’re busy traveling somewhere else.

Running low on funds in advance of your trip? The good news is that Vilnius is among the cheapest capitals in Europe. The betters news? Visiting before you travel can ensure you pay no fee for deposits at online casinos, regardless of how you end up faring at your favorite games. Don’t worry—I’m crossing my fingers on your behalf!

My Favorite Things to Do in Vilnius

Say a prayer at Vilnius Cathedral


No matter how many days in Vilnius you have to spare, you have to visit the 18th-century Vilnius Cathedral. While not the most ornate church in Europe, it has a unique design, with the main spire a separate tower from the rest of the church building.

Enjoy the view from Gediminas Tower


The bad news? You’ll need to hike a bit uphill to reach Gediminas Tower, which is probably the best viewpoint in all of Vilnius. The good news? The walk to get to the base of the castle tower is downhill—and the view is more than worth it.

Eat a hearty Lithuanian meal


Lithuanian food is not world-famous, and I can sort of understand why. It’s meaty and starchy, and satisfying but not especially flavorful. On the other hand, whether you eat cepelinai (potato dumplings) or one of the many stews you find on local menus, you’ll definitely leave with more meat on your bones.

Take a day trip to Trakai


Even if you feel Vilnius is worth visiting, there’s merit in taking a day trip (or two). The most popular one is to Trakai, which is home to Trakai Castle. Built in the 14th century, this magnificent gothic castle is situated on a lake, which makes it look like an actual postcard.

Continue onward to Klaipeda or the Hill of Crosses


You can technically visit the Hill of Crosses on a day trip from Vilnius, but most travelers spend a night in Siauliai, the nearest large city. On the other hand, I certainly recommend you stay in Klaipeda for a night or two if you plan to visit the Curonian Spit, the most beautiful part of Lithuania’s Baltic Coast.

How Many Days Do You Need in Vilnius?

Vilnius is a small city, but can occupy as much or as little of your time as you’d like, depending upon what you plan to do there:

  • One day in Vilnius: A touch-and-go trip is plenty of time to explore Vilnius’ urban core, though you won’t be able to take any day trips.
  • Two days in Vilnius: With 2 days, you can explore the Old Town and take a day trip to either Trakai or the Hill of Crosses before heading somewhere else. 
  • 3 days in Vilnius: This is an optimal amount of time to stay if you want to make the very long day trip to Klaipeda, or want to make sure you can visit both Trakai and the Hill of Crosses.
Loving this Vilnius itinerary? Get even more inspired by my favorite photos I’ve taken of the Baltic States (including, but not limited to, Lithuania).

Other FAQ About Visiting Vilnius

How many days are enough for Vilnius?

You can see Vilnius in as little as a day, or as long as three days. How long you stay will depend upon: 1) How much time you have to spare; 2) How deeply you wish to explore Vilnius’ urban core; and 3) Whether or not you plan to take any day trips from the city.

Is Vilnius expensive for tourists?

Vilnius is one of the most affordable capitals in Europe. In most cases, you can travel there for €100 per person, per day (and often, much less than this), although you can of course greatly exceed this amount if you’re luxury-minded and in the mood for opulence.

Is Vilnius a walkable city?

Vilnius is extremely walkable, although it can also be quite a workout. From the train station, you’ll walk gently downhill until you reach the Gediminas Tower; when heading back up, this slope can be strenuous. This is to say nothing of the hike to get to the top of the tower itself!

The Bottom Line

Is Vilnius worth visiting? That depends, but the answer is generally yes. Obviously, if you plan to be in Lithuania (or, at least, the Baltic States) anyway, this makes the argument to visit Vilnius a lot easier to make. Understated (and underrated), Vilnius contrasts nicely with more “obvious” cities like Tallinn and Riga. If you have a lot of extra time, it makes a nice entry point into Lithuania, a country that on the whole is truly a delight to explore. Need personalized help putting your European adventure together? From the Baltics, to the Baltics, to the Basque Country, hire me as your Travel Coach!


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