Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is a bewitchingly beautiful city that seduces travelers with its enchanting Old World charm. The attractive Baroque cityscape hides the wonderfully eclectic soul of the capital, where a bohemian spirit reigns over courtyard bars, curious museums, quaint cafes and cobbled streets that lead to surprising sights, like a statue of psychedelic composer Frank Zappa. Eccentric and soulful, Vilnius is a true treat.
The brightest gem in the city is the Old Town, one of the largest in Europe. Cathedral Square is the heart of the district, dominated by the Vilnius Cathedral and its remarkable bell tower. Tourists and locals both pack the square at all hours of the day. There is so much beauty to see when you take in the square, but be sure to look down. The colored pavement tiles outline the castle that once stood on the site.
Gediminas Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare, branches off the square. There, visitors will find a myriad of restaurants, shops and cafes. Fairs and parades are often held on the street, featuring folk performances, dancing, local delicacies and plenty of beer. The nearby Pilies Street is another favorite for tourists due to its concentration of souvenir shops and stalls, traditional restaurants and posh cafes.
Old Town is also home to the city’s only surviving gate, the Gate of Dawn. Today, faithful locals consider the site holy and often pray there for miracles. The upper level of the gate is illuminated by the votives left by the prayerful and offers beautiful views of the historic city.
The most impressive sight in the Old Town is the Gediminas Castle and Tower. An icon of the city, the original building was constructed in the 14th century and was fortified with brick 100 years later. The castle’s museum is worth a visit, and the tower offers stunning views of the area.
While the Old Town is certainly fascinating, the rest of the city is just as endearing. The Museum of Genocide Victims is particularly interesting, housed in the former KGB headquarter’s basement. The walls are inscribed with the names of the many people who died in the building at the hands of the secret police, and visitors can wander through the interrogation rooms and underground cells. The execution wall outside is still pockmarked with bullet holes, giving visitors a terrifying glimpse into the city’s past.
Other impressive sights in the city include the National Museum of Lithuania, the shockingly beautiful St. Peter’s and Paul’s Church, the European Sculpture Park, the Contemporary Art Center, and the Old Arsenal Building. Fans of literature should also take a stroll down Literatu Street, dedicated to Lithuania’s writers, poets, playwrights and translators. Sculptures, murals and glass artworks line the wall in tribute to the country’s celebrated wordsmiths.
At night, head to one of the city’s many pubs to sample the fine local beers, of which Lithuanians are very fond and proud. No matter where you choose to imbibe, every pint is sure to be perfectly chilled and delicious. If beer is not your preference, sample a shot of Krupnikas, a sweet honey liqueur or have a tall glass of spiced mead, another Lithuanian specialty.
Vilnius Geographical Location
Vilnius is located in the southeast of Lithuania where the Vilnia and Neris Rivers meet. It is the largest city in Lithuania with a population of approximately 850,300 in the metropolitan area.
Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania and is spoken by the majority of the population.
Vilnius Predominant Religion
- 79% Roman Catholic
- 9.5% None
- 5.5% Other
- 4% Russian Orthodox
- 2% Protestant
The Protestant population has greatly declined since the Soviet occupation.
The Litas is the official currency of Lithuania.
The summers in Vilnius are cool while the winters are quite cold. Snow is common and sleet can fall in early or late summer.
Vilnius Main Attractions
- Vilnius Cathedral
- Gediminas Castle
- Gate of Dawn
Other Attraction in Vilnius
- St Anne’s Church
- The Park of Europe
- Vilnius TV Tower
- National Museum of Lithuania