With its lovely Baroque architecture, cobblestone alleyways, and hip bohemian enclaves, the Lithuanian capital makes an ideal city break, even more so when you realize it’s substantially cheaper than other European cities. Stroll along the charismatic streets of Old Town—a UNESCO cultural heritage site—and along the river into the creative hub of Užupis, known for the quirky fact that it boasts its very own constitution. Craft beer, castles, Soviet relics, and street art round out this ace destination, not to mention a flourishing hotel scene that includes, since the spring of 2018, the fantastic Hotel Pacai, a 17th-century mansion that has been transformed by a team of passionate local architects and designers into a bold, design-driven accommodation for the 21st century. And there’s never been a better time to visit, as 2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian independence. Rejoice!
1 – OLD TOWN
Europe’s largest Baroque Old Town also features many impressive Gothic, Renaissance, and classical buildings that have survived multiple invasions, occupations, and attacks over time. Be prepared to discover surprising boutiques, book stores, lovely flower shops, and much more. Historical Pilies Street is a must for traditional restaurants, while the latest in culinary happenings can be found on Saviciaus Street. Stikliai Street is famous for local fashion and jewelry boutiques, while Literatu Street is filled with local artwork.
2 – GEDIMINAS CASTLE TOWER
Located at the crossroads of Scandinavia and Central Europe, Lithuania is the southernmost Baltic State with a complex history that stretches back to the 13th century. Delve into this rich history at the last remaining part of Gediminas Castle, built by the Grand Duke of Lithuania after a prophetic dream and offering stunning views of Old Town.
3 – LINEN TALES
A boutique linen shop that carries only products made in Lithuania, Linen Tales follows the highest possible standards in design and craft.
Mo-Fr 10 AM-7 PM | Sa 11 AM-6 PM
Stikliu gatve 4
The name might be what captures your attention, but the candles, incense, and other aromatic delights will win you over at this place where natural scent, ecology, and perfumery are brought to vivid olfactory life.
Mo-Su 11 AM-8 PM
Mesiniu gatve 7
5 – HALES MARKET
One of the largest and oldest markets in Vilnius, the restored brick Hales Market was constructed in 1906 and today houses a sensory feast of smoked meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, locally-produced honey, and a panoply of other regional specialties.
Tu-Sa 7 AM-6 PM | Su 7 AM-3 PM
Pylimo gatve 58 | halesturgaviete.lt
This independent arts cinema offers a range of international and Lithuanian movies to enjoy in a quaint setting.
Šv. Ignoto gatve 4
7 – LA BOHÈME
Located in a former Jesuit Church next to Kino Teatras Pasaka, this viticulturally inclined restaurant has a selection of more than 150 wines.
Su-We 11 AM-12 AM | Th 11 AM-1 PM | Fr-Sa 11 AM-2 AM
Šv. Ignoto gatve 4/3
8 – DZIAUGSMAS
Local produce and techniques such as pickling and fermentation feature prominently at this local gem that takes a contemporary spin on traditional Lithuanian cuisine.
Mo-Sa 5 PM-11 PM
Vilniaus gatve 28
9 – VEJAI
This cozy, spirited bar offers Lithuanian and Baltic craft beers and spirits as well as a large selection of local and international ciders.
Su-Mo 5 PM-1 AM | Tu-We 5 PM-2 AM | Th 5 PM-3 AM | Fr-Sa 5 PM-4 AM
Vilniaus gatve 22A
10 – THE LOCALS
This affable boutique presents a handpicked selection of Lithuanian fashion, craft pieces, and works by local artists.
Mo-Sa 10 AM-8 PM | Su 11 AM-6 PM
Gedimino prospektas 9, 3rd floor
11 – REPUBLIC OF UŽUPIS
The neighborhood of Užupis was declared an independent state by local artists and even has its own constitution. The area impresses with unique street murals, eccentric shops, and cozy drinking dens populated by a colorful cast of locals.
12 – GRAPPERIA
This local watering hole offers one of the biggest grappa selection in the Baltics, as well as rare gins. Preserved baby pine cones are enjoyed with grappa tastings.
Mo-Sa 12 PM-8 PM
Užupio gatve 30
13 – BIRŽU DUONA
Baking traditional Lithuanian bread since 1953, this is a confectionery paradise, located in the heart of Užupis.
Mo-Fr 7:30 AM-8:30 PM | Sa-Su 8 AM-8:30 PM
Užupio gatve 38