Language: Lithuanian (though they also understand English)
Best Time to Visit: April to September
Time Zone: EET (UTC+2)
Driving Side: Right side
Main Attractions: Old Town, Sharp Gate, Churches, castles and down town Vilnius
Vilnius is the largest city of Lithuania and also its capital. The place boasts of great cultural heritage and attracts a number of visitors from around the world. Vilnius offers its tourist a taste of the medieval history, in the form of its various tourist attractions and is also a savored pilgrimage destination for people at large. From the conventional to the contemporary, the city offers respite to people of varied taste. To know about the places to see and things to do in Vilnius, browse through the information provide below.
History at its Best (The Old Town)
Old Town is the main tourist attraction of the city. It is the largest surviving medieval old towns in Northern Europe. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, it is distinctive globally. Old Town spreads on a relatively small space (887 acres), encompassing in itself 1487 old houses, churches and other historical buildings. While the place has eye-catching beauty, it was resurrected to preserve its histrionic value. A taste of the bygone legacy imprints upon the traveler when he walks past the roads of this strikingly awestruck beautiful place.
Small yet Significant (The Gate of Dawn or Sharp Gate)
One of the most sacred paintings, for the Catholic religion, in Europe is also present in the Vilnius. The Sacred Gate of Dawn or the Sharp Gate is blessed with Virgin Mother Mary of Mercy painting in the chapel above. It was built, together with the city walls and other eight gates, between 1503 and 1522. The Gate takes its name from the historical suburb of Vilnius, named Sharp End. The place is a very sought after pilgrimage destinations, as every year it attracts thousands of pilgrims to pray at the Sharp Gate. If you enter the small chapel itself, don't miss the magical collage of silver votives, by Ferdynand Ruszczyc.
Time to Pray (Churches)
The churches of Vilnius give you an experience of eternal bliss. They offer an enriching experience to the traveler. While there are many churches, the most popular amongst them are the St Anne’s church, St Peter’s Church and St Paul’s Church. St Anne’s Church excels in its sheer beauty and complexity of the arches of its portico. The church is built in an unusual late gothic sacral building style and was designed during the Renaissance.
Thirty three different bricks were used in the complex construction of its amazing façade. St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church makes one feel like he is entering the world of Bible, because it envelopes in its walls more than two thousands stuccato sculptures, representing biblical and mythological figures. On a trip to Vilnius do not miss to catch up with such exotic beautiful churches!!
The Vilnius Cathedral stands on a place where centuries earlier, first important Catholic Church was built by the King of Lithuania Mindaugas. In 1387, when the country took Christianity as its religion, the big gothic cathedral was built there. The present neoclassical façade, beautiful in its simplicity form, comes from 1783. Inside the Cathedral, you may see the crypts of several Lithuanian and Polish royals. Two wives of the Polish King Sigismundus August: Elisabeth of Habsburg (†1545) and Barbara RadziwiÅ‚Å‚ (†1551), are buried here.
Time to Rewind (Museums)
The small city of Vilnius has an array of ten museums, which reflect the civilization and the era of the place. The National Museum houses an extensive ethnographic collection, with exhibits illustrating the history of the people of Lithuania, from the 13th century to the present. The other museums which would delight a tourist are Lithuanian Energy Museum, Kazys Varnelis Museum, Lithuanian Railway Museum, M. K. ÄŒiurlionis' House, Planetarium, Applied Art Museum and Pushkin Memorial Museum.
Royal Times (Castles)
The gothic tower of the Gedyminas Castle is often seen as a symbol of Vilnius and the Lithuanian independence. The castle also has a history of its own. This sober, gothic tower, rising on a hill above the city, has been restored in 20th century. While the Trakai Castle, also known as the “town of lakes,” is an area of tranquility and genuine beauty with storybook houses and old world charm. The stained-glass windows, murals and even an ingenious heating/cooling system for the middle Ages are all impressive sights to take in.
Up and High Above (TV Tower)
The Vilnius TV Tower is a 326.5 metre-high (1071 ft) building, in the one of the districts in Vilnius. It is the tallest building in Lithuania, occupied by the SC Lithuanian Radio and Television Centre. The tower is a little higher than Eiffel Tower and offers a picturesque view of the city and its surroundings. It also sports a rotating platform that revolves once every 45 minutes. High-speed elevators reach the cafe from ground level in 40 seconds. It also has activities like bungee jumping, offered from the roofs of observation deck.
It’s the time to disco (bars, discotheque and pubs)
There is an endless array of great nightlife options in Vilnius. They offer food, drink, DJs or live music and huge dance floors that stay packed well into the wee hours. A drift from the medieval history of the Old Town, the place offers a good respite from the conventionalism. While Café de Paris offers a great place to lounge in the early evenings, the metropolis offers sports bar and live concert music places as well. To experience the high of the pubs you need to visit it and have a first hand taster of what it is like!!
On a Shopping Spree (bazaars)
The city may not be able to match Milan or Madrid as a shopping emporium, but there are some superb national treasures to look out for. Females would love the linen and amber which the place has. While the place, following the recent mall culture, has Acropolis, AJ Sokoladas, Hawaii Express, Linen & Amber Studio which offer shopping delight. It also home to a pleasing myriad of small-scale niche shops like Cognac Boutique, Etmonu 4, amongst the rest, which offer interesting attires.