Things to do in Vilnius + A Red Gothic Church

Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania.  As a matter of fact, the Medieval old town of Vilnius is a UNESCO site.  Here are a few things to do in Vilnius;

  • Town Hall
  • Vilnius Cathedral
  • Gate of Dawn
  • Vilnius Castle Complex and Gediminas Tower
  • Hill of Three Crosses
  • St Anne’s Church
  • River Neris

You’ll find hotels in Vilnius are excellent value, especially if you travel off season.

Vilnius Town Hall

Town Hall, Vilnius
At the center of Vilnius is the Town Hall which is located in Town Hall Square.  Today it’s a Neoclassical style building but its history dates back to the 15th century.  An interesting fact about the Town Hall is that Queen Elizabeth II has been on a state visit.  Additionally, the UNESCO buildings surrounding the square are very picturesque.

 

Vilnius Cathedral

Things to do in Vilnius - Cathedral

Vilnius Cathedral is the most important one in Lithuania.  In fact, it has an underground chapel and crypt area.  Historically important Lithuanians are buried within the Cathedral.  Today, it houses art and you’re welcome to enter and view it.

Gate of Dawn

Things to do in Vilnius - Gates of Dawn

The Gate of Dawn is the last remaining Vilnius city gate.  Essentially, it’s the southern entrance to the old city.  Vilnius used to be the fortified capital city of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.  However, this particular city gate is much more than a fortified entrance.  It contains religious artefacts with the idea of blessing travelers as well as protecting the city.  Finally, the most significant religious artefact is a painting called ‘Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn’.  Walk through the gate and receive your blessings!


Vilnius Castle Complex

Things to in Vilnius - Castle complex and Gediminas tower

The Vilnius Castle Complex and Gediminas Tower are a short walk, slightly uphill from cathedral square.  From the top are panoramic viewing points of the old town, river Neris as well as cathedral square.  As a matter of fact you can see many of the things to do in Vilnius from the Castle Complex.  From the 10th century, the fortress protected the city from invaders.  Despite being such a strong fortress it was eventually overpowered in the 17th century by Russia.  Much of the complex then became obsolete and was destroyed.  Today, Gediminas Tower is the last remaining structure and the rest now lies in ruins.

Hill of Three Crosses

Things to do in Vilnius - Hill of Three Crosses

The Three Crosses has become a famous landmark of Vilnius but what is it?  In the 17th century, seven friars were beheaded at this point and the crosses are here in their honor.  The crosses were originally a wooden structure which rotted therefore a more permanent monument was created.  Furthermore, there were seven more friars who were nailed to crosses and thrown in the river Neris.


St Anne’s Church

Things to do in Vilnius - St Anne's Church

The UNESCO old town of Vilnius is home to a must see red Gothic church.  It’s 500 years old but has recently been restored therefore looks exceptional.  You’re welcome to go inside and explore the picturesque interior.

River Neris

Things to do in Vilnius - River Neris

I highly recommend you take a walk along the adjacent banks of the River Neris.  You can easily walk across the pedestrian friendly King Mindaugas bridge, as well as the White Bridge.  Because the river was freezing over I managed to get a decent reflection photo of some of the UNESCO old town buildings.  In addition, you can get some decent shots of the castle complex from the far side of the river as well.


Vilnius Train Station

Vilnius Train Station

Vilnius train station is a point of interest in itself.  If you decide to visit Minsk, Belarus, it’s a 3 hour train ride from here.  Read about my journey from Vilnius to Minsk by train.  From Vilnius airport there’s a minibus for €1 to the bus station which is right opposite the train station.  Finally, there’s also a convenient McDonald’s opposite the station with free WiFi and clean toilets.

 

How to get from Vilnius to Riga by Bus

Bus from Vilnius to Riga

Lux bus and Ecolines offer direct bus services to Riga which take less than 4 hours.  The standard price is €17, but it is possible to find prices as cheap as €5 on some days.  Both companies offers services with an entertainment system on the back of each seat.  As a result, you can watch movies, listen to music, play games and view your current location via GPS.  You can also enjoy the free WiFi and charge your phone.  I also read that if you take a selfie next to the Ecolines bus and post it on Instagram with the hastag #Ecolines, they give you free ticket for your next ride.

Riga to Tallinn

2019-01-01T20:06:39+00:00December 17th, 2016|Lithuania, Northern Europe|9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Jen Morrow February 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Nice to see inexpensive transportation. I am not a big fan of snow and cold, but I prefer off-season travel to avoid crowds. The River Neris looks lovely iced over.

  2. Natalie February 23, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Love off season travel! When you visit hot spots in the heat and cold spots in the winter you see a totally different slice of life!! There are less tourists and everything costs less, too!

  3. Kelly February 23, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    I love traveling to places in the off season because I really hate crowds. And the view of the river and castle in Viliniud looks awesome. I think I would walk rather than take the tour because I loving feeling the heart of a new city. Thanks!

  4. Christina February 24, 2017 at 1:49 am - Reply

    I love seeing castles and old buildings with a dusting of snow. It’s great that old town is easy to reach and that it is walkable. I haven’t been to Vilnius but it looks like a wonderful city to explore. Great tip about the free wifi at McDonald’s.

  5. Daisy Li February 24, 2017 at 2:28 am - Reply

    Looks like it was freezing, beautiful nonetheless! It’s so true how much a city can change when you avoid the crowds and tourists, makes you feel like a part of it!

  6. carlinn meyer February 24, 2017 at 7:56 am - Reply

    It looks a bit chilly there haha! The bus sounds epic with free wifi and charging stations though. Then you are all charged up and ready for your adventure when you get to your next stop! 🙂

  7. Joanna February 24, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

    That’s really cool that a selfie can land you a free bus ticket between Vilnius and Riga. I have never visited these countries before but I would love to someday. Not sure I would be brave enough to go to Vilnius in winter though. I have lived all my life in a country with harsh winters, with temperatures reaching -28 and snow being as high as the house. So I try to avoid winter now if I can 🙂

  8. Tony February 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Vilnius looks fabulous. I have wanted to visit the Baltic nations for quite some time and all three look impressive and full of history. I think I would enjoy the city tour. Not only because it will be warmer, but it also takes the guess work away from seeing the majority of the points of interest. I am from Canada so the cold weather wouldn’t bother me to travel there. Plus you are right – the flights would be cheaper.

  9. Diana February 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I am hoping to do this exact trip this summer! I’ve found that McDonalds typically has reliable wifi and bathrooms. I would love to visit the genocide museum, although I’d have to mentally prepare myself for that one. And for 5 euro I would definitely take the bus into Riga! Great trip – really hope to go through your itinerary this summer.

Leave A Comment