So you're taken the plunge and decided to make Vilnius your party base – Good choice! Here’s a bitesize guide to the city streets, the transport and a quick guide to the really unmissable stuff going on in the Lithuanian capital.
Flights are cheap and plentiful with budget airlines and so flying is certainly the most convenient and simple way to get a big group over to Vilnius. Flights will take around 2 and a half hours and once touched down, it’s easy to get into the main city via a 7 minute train ride, an express bus (it will show the letter ‘G’) or, even simpler, book up transfers when you sort out your stag with us so there’s no stress and no worry when you arrive. Taxis are a good option too, but it’s important to make sure that you pick up an official city taxi to avoid rocketing fares and shady drivers – book online or by phone before you go.
The bus or ‘trolleybus’ (a kind of trackless tram system) can be caught at various stops throughout the city. Buy a ticket from the driver and then make sure to punch it yourself at the machine located further down the bus to make it valid. ‘Greitasis’ buses are express and those bearing a ‘G’ travel to the airport. Plus, it’s worth noting that trolleybus and bus numbers aren’t one and the same. It’s a lot less complicated than it sounds, we promise!
Taxis are a good way to get around, especially if you’re in a bit of a rush and don’t fancy battling the crowds for the trolleybus, but always call up the number written on adverts or waiting cars to get the fairest price – you have been warned!
Vilnius is such a looker that wandering around on foot is a treat in itself. The old town may be the biggest in the whole of Europe, but it’s still manageable without using public transport and you’ll get some quality sightseeing in along the way too.
You’d be a fool to miss out on all the fantastic sightseeing which Vilnius has to offer. Here are the big ones.
Yes, we keep banging on about this one, but the old town really is one of the real highlights of Vilnius. It’s been inhabited since the middle ages and has now become the largest old town in Europe and is recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The architecture is renaissance and gothic and it’s possible to see remains of Jewish ghettos from WW2. Simply incredible.
This red-brick castle was erected by the city’s Dukes and offers the best views of the city around.
Classical and baroque style cathedral which is a real icon of the city. Painted in pink and white, it’s an important historic landmark and a picture outside the front with all your mates is a real must. Be sure to make a wish and turn around three times on the ‘Stebuklas’ tile – it’s Lithuanian for ‘miracle’!
Technically a part of the old town, this district is absolutely worth a visit if you’re ready to embrace fully the inherent dotty mentality which characterises the spirit of the city of Vilnius. It’s occupied by a wonderful community of artists, dreamers, squatters and drifters and in 1998, the city’s residents declared it a republic by itself! Visit on April fool’s day when mock border guards will stamp your passport and the whole area breaks into one massive party. Uzupis even have their own president, anthem, flag and constitution. Only in Eastern Europe…
Frank Zappa Statue
Yep, we told you Vilnius was a little bit wacky. The city’s Frank Zappa fan club erected it in 1995 and at the time, it was the only one of its kind in the world. Just west of the old town.
Lithuanians love basketball. A lot. Their national team is rated 4th in the world! The main team in Vilnius is BC Lietuvos Rytas who play in the Baltic League regularly at the massive, modern Siemens Arena in the city.
The biggest team in the city is VMFD Zalgiris Vilnius and they play in the A Lyga, a league specific to Lithuania. They play at the LFF arena and dress in green.
Now this might be one you haven’t heard of – bandy is a winter sport much like hockey played on ice which is really popular in this often frozen and decidedly chilly country.
This dish can confusingly be named a variety of different things, but just look out for a bowl of steaming dumplings and you’ll be on the right track. They’re filled with meat, mashed potatoes or a variety of other delicious stuff. So damn good.
Yes, it’s unpronounceable, but it’s also very delicious. Pączki are small sugared doughnuts which are filled with sugary jam, orange zest or stewed plums. You’ll see them everywhere and they make a good traditional gift to bring back home.
You may well have heard of the blintz, but when in Vilnius, you’ll be right in its homeland and they’re more delicious than ever here! Thin, yummy pancakes made from an unyeasted batter, they make the perfect edible plate for butter, honey, jam cream or caviar… or just about anything come to think of it!