Vilnius: Lithuania’s Capital – The Top 10 Places of Interest
Vilnius is Lithuania’s capital. It isn’t only the capital and, thus, its economic center, but it also possesses a lot of culture and history. From baroque to modern, you’ll find the most diverse architectural styles in Europe here. In addition, there are many exciting activities in store for you!
Some travelers may not be aware of the city’s uniqueness, but it’s well worth the trip. We’d like to introduce you to Vilnius and its top ten places of interest in this post, so you can make the most of your next visit.
Vilnius in a Nutshell
Lithuania is one of the three Baltic States and borders Poland, Latvia, and Belarus. The country was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Its capital is situated on a hilly landscape in the south-east of Lithuania on the Neris River, which drains into the Vilnia River here.
It’s as though history has come alive in the city. Vilnius is known as the “Rome of the North” for a reason. Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings can be found here. This mixture of architectural styles gives the capital a special flair. Small medieval alleys await you in the old town, and you’ll hardly believe you’re in north-eastern Europe rather than the south at times.
We recommend the months of May to August for a stay here. There’s little rain and pleasant temperatures during the summer months. In Lithuania, the days are also longer, allowing you to get the most out of your visit to the city and its sights.
You have to try the culinary delights of Lithuanian cuisine, with one of them being cold beet soup. It’s seasoned with dill and served with boiled eggs. For dessert, you can have a piece of šakotis. This cake’s dough is poured onto a spinning skewer, making it look a little bit like a tree, or the German Baumkuchen.
These specialties are also eaten on July 6, the day of Lithuanian statehood. Many locals spend some time in the Old Town, go to the theater or attend the opera. There’s music everywhere, which adds to the festive atmosphere. The event also attracts many bands and artists to the city.
Vilnius has excellent public transportation – you can get around by bus, bike, shared taxi, or on foot. There’s even an app called Trafi that allows you to plan your routes and use all public transportation.
The Top 10 Places of Interest in Vilnius
Are you ready to learn more about the top 10 places of interest in Vilnius? Then follow us on this tour through the city!
The Cathedral Square
Our first stop is the Cathedral Square. This is one of Vilnius’ most important squares, situated where the rivers Neris and Vilnia meet. Trade routes used to run through this area. Today, Cathedral Square is a lively place, with many restaurants in the area. In the center of the square stands a statue of the city’s founder, and other sights are visible from there.
Cathedral of St. Stanislaus Kostka
A worthwhile sight in Vilnius is the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus Kostka, which can be seen from Cathedral Square. It dates back to the 13th century, but due to many historical events, it’s been renovated several times. But that doesn’t detract from its beauty. It’s also worth seeing from the inside, and climbing the bell tower of the cathedral provides a unique view of the city.
Church of St. Anne
Speaking of churches, the Church of St. Anne’s is a must-see. The structure, which dates back to the late Gothic period of the 15th century, stands out with its splendid red brick. It’s also a true masterpiece from the inside, making it worth a visit. You have to see it with your own two eyes!
Gediminas’ Tower is a real model among sightseeing pictures in Vilnius. It’s a remnant of a former castle from the 15th century. In fact, the capital was founded on the very spot where the tower stands. The locals say that the tower is full of secrets. Why don’t you try to find out more about them during your stay?
Republic of Užupis
The Republic of Užupis is an absolute must for all fans of alternative art. Artists settled in this part of the city and declared a republic in 1997. It has its own flag, anthem, and president. You can get here by crossing a bridge over the Vilnia River. You’ll discover some funny works of art here. Take a stroll through the district if you want to see graffiti, sculptures, or paintings – or just immerse yourself in the special atmosphere of the place.
This attraction is located on an island just outside of Vilnius, but don’t forget to add it to your itinerary! The beautiful castle, which was built with the cooperation of several states, had important strategic significance in Lithuania’s history. Especially in summer, the romantic place turns into a venue for various music and cultural events.
University of Vilnius
You may be wondering what could possibly be exciting about a university, but Vilnius University has it all! Just like in the city, there are numerous buildings from different eras and styles on the campus, including Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance. Pay a visit to the Institute of Lituanistics. The ceilings of the building are decorated with many magnificent paintings. Did you know that Vilnius University is the oldest university in the Baltic States? We think it is also the most beautiful one.
Bastion of the Vilnius Defensive Wall
If you want to learn more about the history of the capital of Lithuania, this is the place to go. At this museum, you can visit the underground cannon rooms, or simply relax on the bastion’s terrace and take in the city’s unique panorama. This is a place where the country’s past really comes to life – after all, you are walking through where soldiers once defended the city.
Gate of Dawn
Vilnius’ city walls had five gates when they were built between 1503 and 1522. Today, there’s only one left – the so-called Gate of Dawn, which commemorates the city’s protection. It’s also a cultural monument dedicated to the goddess of luck and a place of pilgrimage for many believers. At the chapel’s gate, you’ll also come across an image of the Virgin Mary. In fact, it’s one of Lithuania’s most important Renaissance works.
There are many merchants and artists in bustling Pilies Street. Therefore, there’s a wide range of souvenirs, culinary specialties, entertainment, and handicrafts waiting for you. Amber is highly popular in Lithuania, so you’ll definitely see a lot of it on Pilies Street. Even if you have no intention of purchasing anything, simply strolling down this street is a wonderful experience that brings you closer to Lithuanian culture and life.
As you have read, there’s a lot to see and do in Vilnius. The Stanislaus Kostka Cathedral or the Gediminas Tower, for example, are ideal for those interested in culture and history. Or perhaps you simply want to take in the city’s unique charm on Pilies Street? In either case, you’ll get your money’s worth.
We think Vilnius is as worthwhile a destination as any other, if not more so. So, let’s go and visit the “Rome of the North”! We hope you have fun!