As I mentioned in my January month in review post, I am kicking off February by taking a city break trip to Vilnius, Lithuania.
Visiting Vilnius has been on my travel bucket list since we first moved abroad. But, despite numerous cheap flight options, I just haven’t had a chance to visit. That is, until now!
This weekend, I’ll be popping across the Baltic and spending three days exploring the Lithuanian capital. I’m really excited to see the sights, learn the history and, as always, eat all the food! Read on for the top ten things I’m excited to see, do and eat in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Wander the Old Town
Vilnius’ Old Town earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage List thanks to it’s standing as one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in Northern Europe. The Old Town is made up of cobblestone streets lined with pastel colours buildings. It sounds amazing and I look forward to spending a few hours ambling along.
Explore Pilies Street
Pilies Street is the main, cobblestone thoroughfare that leads through the Old Town. Although it’s a rather short street, Pilies Street is the centre of a lot of action as it is lined with shops, cafes, craft stalls, markets and more. It sounds like the perfect place to pick up a Lithuanian souvenir or two.
Gates of Dawn
The Gates of Dawn is a city gate, and one of Vilnius’ most important historical and cultural monuments. Built between 1503 and 1522, the gates were originally part of the defensive fortifications of Vilnius. Of the 10 city gates, the Gates of Dawn is the only gate that is still standing.
The Gates of Dawn is also a significant religious site which attracts people from all over the world. Each year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the small chapel located within the Gates of Dawn seeking miracles from an icon of the Virgin Mary.
Sample Lithuanian Food
Food is an incredibly important part of travel, at least it is for me. It’s one thing to see and learn about a country, but another to taste it.
I’ve never had Lithuanian food, but after doing a bit of research to say I’m intrigued is an understatement. Sharing many traits with Hungarian, Ukrainian and Polish food, Lithuanian food features many hearty dishes which are perfect for warming any traveller up on a cold February day.
I’m particularly excited to sample Cepelinai, a potato-based dumpling dish and as many of the other local delicacies that I can get my hands on.
Explore the Green Side of Vilnius
Vilnius is known as one of the greenest capital cities in the world. Located at the intersection of the Neris and Vilnia rivers, Vilnius has a wealth of parks, squares, gardens and lawns, and is surrounded by rolling hills. Given that I’m visiting in February, I’m not sure how much green I’ll actually see, but I would love to dedicate a bit of time to exploring the green side of the city.
The KGB Museum or the Museum of Genocide Victims is located within the city’s former KGB prison. This museum provides visitors with a window into the past and shares the story of Lithuania during the Nazi and Soviet occupations.
Sip a local Lithuanian Beer
Lithuania has a vibrant and growing local beer scene, and I intend to sample a few of the local brews throughout the weekend.
Created by bohemians and artists on April Fools’ Day 1997, Užupis is an independent republic complete with its own flag, president, anthem and army (of 11). It is located across the Vilnia River from Old Town and is home to colourful art and attractions, quirky pubs, and so much more. Thanks to its laissez-faire atmosphere, Užupis sounds like the perfect place to while away an afternoon.
See the Dukes Palace
What is a visit to a European capital city without a visit to its palace? Home to the national museum, the Palace offers fantastic views of the city (if you’re up for tackling its many steps).
Check out the street art
Vilnius is home to some of the world’s most infamous street art, including a piece featuring Trump and Putin. The murals are dotted throughout the city, and I look forward to spotting them as I wander around.
Bonus: Trakai Castle Island
Trakai Castle Island is located in the middle of Lake Galvė, approximately 40 minutes west of Vilnius. The castle and its surroundings look absolutely stunning. Finger’s cross that the weather cooperates, because I would love to take a day trip out to see it for myself.
Have you been to Vilnius? What would you recommend I add to my list?
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