Most people don’t hear too much about the Baltic’s besides being associate with Russia. In fact, when people found out I was traveling to Vilnius for the weekend, the had no idea where it was located; they weren’t even sure Lithuania was a real place. Shame shame shame, because Vilnius is a beautiful, quaint town filled with an exotic and interesting history, some of the friendliest people and potato anything!
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We only had 48 hours to spend in the city, which is just enough time to enjoy it. From the tiny tiny tiny airport (we flew AirBaltic which I highly recommend), it is extremely easy to get to the city. Walk outside and look for the buses…find number 88 (tickets cost €1 and you can buy them from the bus driver) and that will take you into the Old Town. Ask the driver if you are unsure where to get off and they will gladly help you out. We stayed at Pogo Hostel and it was more than fabulous!
Depending on the time and weather when you arrive, my suggestion would be to head UP the hill towards Gediminas Castle and catch the sun setting over the Old Town.
While gazing over the Old Town and taking a glimpse from the other side of the New Town don’t forget to take a peak at the Hill of Three Crosses. It is also accessible by a short hike to see a different perspective of the city (we didn’t do this hike because we wanted to eat instead).
The Free Republic of Užupis
Cross the bridge over the Vilnia River and enter the Republic of Užupis, a self-governing free town, complete with its own constitution (read below some of their rules…they are so great!), president, parliament and embassies around the world. It is an area dedicated to artists and the ability to freely interpret their mind. If you go inside the Parliament bar you can get your passport stamps and a warm welcome to the Republic from a friendly bartender.
Free Walking Tour
I always somehow find the free walking tour since most cities offer them, it is a perfect walk to get educated about the city and snap some pretty fabulous photos. The free walking tour in Vilnius was amazing and Martina our guide was so informative and enthusiastic even despite the freezing cold. I would highly recommend it. It meets in front of Town Hall at 12:00 noon everyday; it is the group of people surrounded by a yellow briefcase.
The Churches of Vilnius
There are around 28 churches in Vilnius Old Town and each one is more amazing than the last. The detail and the color will leave your eye balls in a trance.
Church of St. Anne
Church of St. Casimir
Vilniaus Sv. Mikalojaus parapija
And so many moooore!
Don’t forget to order everything off the menu, potato everything, try the cranberry & cheese ice cream and the cottage cheese & chocolate candy bars. Wash everything down with a local Lithuania beer or some mulled wine. And for an afternoon pick me up, try the Vilnius coffee (from Stranger Love), it is quite tasty and made with love.
Lucky Lucky me got the fortunate timing of being in Vilnius for the beginning of the Christmas Market season! The last day we were there, we got to witness the lighting of the tree; it was freezing and yet magically warming.