Located in the Baltic Region, Vilnius, Lithuania was once ranked by Business Insider as a “must-visit” destination in 2015. From more than eight centuries ago, this place used to be the largest kingdom in Eastern Europe. Along with Latvia, this is an attractive destination with low cost but still lesser known to many tourists. In my opinion, Lithuania tourism in general and Vilnius capital in particular is worth visiting. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Vilnius for the first-time? Let’s check out our Vilnius travel blog (Vilnius blog) with the fullest Vilnius travel guide (Vilnius guide, Vilnius tourist guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer! Let’s try to find out!
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Vilnius travel blog: Where is Lithuania?
This will surely be the question many people ask when hearing the name of this country. Indeed, before that, when I heard about Lithuania, I only knew it was located on the eastern side of Europe and bordered with Latvia. As for the visualization of its location on the map of Europe, I’m sure I could not point it out. So the answers to questions like what country is Lithuania, what continent is Lithuania located, and where is the country of Lithuania… the best answer will be on the map as shown below.
Lithuania, also known as Litva, is one of the Baltic Sea countries, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. In addition, Litva shares borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and the Kaliningrad Oblast province (the westernmost federal subject of Russia).
Lithuania’s population in 2021 is nearly 2.8 million people. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius and also the largest city in Lithuania. The official languages are Lithuanian and Latvian.
The most typical destination when it comes to Lithuania tourism will definitely be the capital Vilnius – a city highlighted by countless architectural works with both modern, quaint and ancient styles. It also preserves many ancient buildings built from the Renaissance period. Most of the houses were built between the 13th and 19th centuries. The old town in Vilnius was once recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage and is the largest old town in Europe. The architectural works here are not massive or monumental, but very ancient and solemn.
A modern Vilnius with its skyscrapers, shopping malls and boutiques is located in the north of the Neris River and across the bank is mainly the old town and other historic buildings. In my opinion, Vilnius also has a lot of attractions. All the prominent attractions are gathered quite close to each other and are within walking distance. Personally, I prefer this place than other Nordic capitals (except Stockholm of Sweden).
Vilnius blog: Getting around Vilnius
Like Latvia, the cost of traveling and eating when traveling to Vilnius is quite cheap. Public transport costs €1/one-way, €5/day and €8/3 days. Taxis are also extremely cheap, €1/km. The day I went from the hotel to the central station to get to Kaunas city, it only costs €2.3 for a distance of 2.5km.
Traveling from the airport to the center of Vilnius also costs €0.7 if you take the train or €1 if you take the bus. Too cheap!
Vilnius travel blog: What to eat?
The supermarket chain here is also quite dense such as Lidl, MAXIMA, Rimi, Iki….But in my opinion, the cheapest one is probably Lidl and Maxima… Maxima is a very big supermarket chain, selling all kinds of things and prices are quite good. Rimi is available in a lot of places but the price is much more expensive and it’s like a small grocery store. However, in general, the price in Vilnius is also quite cheap compared to other countries (fruit: €1/1kg, sweet bread: 35-50 cents, meat €3-5/kg, salmon €6.5/kg…).
There is also Kalvariju Turgus market which is the central market of the Lithuanians with the same type of sales as the Vietnamese market. Here prices are usually cheaper than supermarkets.
There are many Chinese restaurants in Vilnius, but the dishes are often similar, such as fried noodles, rice with fried chicken… The price is usually €4.5/serving.
For some restaurants in the old town such as Italian restaurants, Lithuanian restaurants, a meal costs about 8-10 euros, there are some cheap dishes of 4-5 euros but it is just an appetizer, so it is not enough to eat. You can walk around the old town, there are many restaurants to choose from and many places they place menus outside the door for you refer to.
Vilnius travel blog: Where to stay?
As always, I still often book via Airbnb.com, Agoda.com or Booking.com when traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania. I booked a room quite late 1 week before the trip, so I didn’t have too many options, but I have to say that I am very satisfied with this apartment. My stay is just a few minutes walk from the center for €37/night (for an entire apartment). This place is very close to tourist attractions, most of which are only 500m away. Overall, I was extremely satisfied. You can see more apartment information here, Kesminta Apartments (Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hilton Garden Inn Vilnius City Centre (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Artagonist Art Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Shakespeare Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Novotel Vilnius Centre (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Comfort Hotel LT – Rock ‘n’ Roll Vilnius (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Vilnius blog: Where to go, what to do?
In the old town, there are many churches, museums, restaurants… But the most prominent is the central square of Vilnius, located right next to the old town.
Gates of Dawn
As the only remaining gate of the defensive wall of the city that once surround Vilnius in the 19th century, the Gates of Dawn is also has its own story. It was built between 1503 and 1522 and become one the the Vilnius’s symbols.
Address: Aušros Vartų g. 14, Vilnius 01303, Lithuania
In the square, there are 3 prominent places you need to visit: The catholic church and bell tower, National Museum of Lithuania and Gediminas Castle Tower.
The large square in front (Katedros aikštė) represents the center and vitality of the city and is usually crowded with people and tourists.
This is the main Catholic church of Lithuania located in the square. This is considered the place to represent an excellent spiritual center for Catholic Church in Lithuania and next to it is a 57m bell tower built in the 17th century. This church was built in the Neoclassical architecture which is similar the same architectural style in Athens I’ve seen. Not the pointed roof like the surrounding churches. Looks strange and beautiful! In general, if you has been to Vilnius, you should absolutely not miss this place.
Address: Šventaragio g., Vilnius 01143, Lithuania
Gediminas Castle Tower
Behind the church is the hill of Gediminas. On it is the iconic castle tower of Lithuania, dedicated to Grand Duke Gediminas – the founder of the city and the Lithuanian ruler. The Gediminas Castle Tower is the only part that integrates the ancient castle of Vilnius, which was destroyed by the Russian army in 1802. From the top you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city. There is a cable car going up to the top, but I encourage you to go around the side of the road right next to the river and then walk to the top (about 5 minutes). Here, you will see the whole city without going to the TV tower across the river, but you also have to pay the entrance fee of 6 euros.
Another option for a panoramic view of Vilnius city is the Hill of Three Crosses – Also near Gediminas Castle Tower but you have to across the river. In general, they are all located in the tourist central area of Vilnius, so you can try to come if you want.
Address: Arsenalo g. 5, Vilnius 01143, Lithuania
Height: 48 m
National Museum of Lithuania
Right next to the church is the National Museum of Lithuania – the largest museum and holds documents and artifacts from each period of the country’s development. Entrance ticket price: €3.
Address: Arsenalo g. 1, Vilnius 01143, Lithuania
Hours: 10AM–6PM/Monday: Closed
St. Anne’s Church
The city of Vilnius is full of religious buildings. Must say a lot. I walked around the city center and counted no less than 10 churches. But perhaps the most prominent and most well-known is the church of St. Anne. This church is also located in the center and about 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral square. The church has a history of more than 500 years. St. Anne’s Church was built in the classical gothic style. It has many spires surrounding the main bell tower and was built mostly of red brick, which is prominent and impressive. This place has been voted by many magazines in the top 10 most beautiful churches in the world.
Address: Maironio g. 8, Vilnius 01124, Lithuania
Hours: 11AM–6PM/Monday: Closed
There are also many other churches in the old town and around St. Anne’s Church such as Church of St. Catherine, Church of St. Constantine and St. Michael, Church of St. Casimir…
The Uzupis Republic
Užupis is a small neighborhood in the capital Vilnius right next to St. Anne’s church, just across a tiny river. Like the old town, this place is also recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage.
Užupis was formerly predominant by Jewish. later, it was devastated and almost abandoned until Lithuania’s independence (1991). The most interesting thing is that on April 1, 1997, its residents declared the Užupis district as an independent territory called the Republic of Užupis! The Republic of Užupis has its own flag, anthem, currency, president, parliament, constitution and army. So special, isn’t it?! Besides the Vantican, now I know another small country located right in the heart of the city Vilnius in Lithuania. Užupis is known as the smallest country in the world with a border of less than 1km.
Address: Paupio g. 3A, Vilnius 01201, Lithuania
In addition, if you have time, you can strolling along Gediminas Avenue — the largest avenue in Vilnius where fashion shops, shopping centers, restaurants and museums are concentrated.
Some other places you can visit are the Presidential Palace, Vilnius University…
Vilnius travel guide: Traveling costs
As I mentioned earlier, the cost of traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania is very cheap. Maybe only 1/3 compared to Nordic, Netherlands and 1/2 compared to other countries. You can estimate the cost based on my summary below:
- Hotel: €25/2 nights if accompanied by someone
- Meals: €15/day
- Traveling: All places to visit are right in the center, so there is no cost to travel, if there is cost to take the bus to the airport, it will be €2/round trip.
Total cost of traveling to Vilnius for 2 days 2 nights: 25+ 15*2+2=€57.
P/s: I estimate the cost of €15/day is mid-range, but if you choose to eat at restaurants in the center or old town, the price is around €10 for a meal. So if you want to travel comfortably, around €70 per day is fine. One more thing is that Vilnius has an extremely majestic Akropolis shopping center with all kinds of brands. Tourists often come here. If you are a shopping fan, you can try it out.
Vilnius travel blog: Summary after the trip to Vilnius, Lithuania
Overall, I am completely satisfied with this trip. If you want to explore other parts of Europe, then visit Vilnius, Lithuania. Not a bad choice. This trip I went through 2 cities Vilnius and Kaunas in 4 days but only €300 for 2 people including airfare, accommodation costs.
- People are friendly but speak English not very well, 5 people I meet, 4 people can’t speak English.
- People here are cute, tall, handsome, and pretty.
- Cheap price.
- Many beautiful places to visit.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Vilnius you can refer to
- Vilnius Private Walking Tour
- Vilnius City Pass
- Eurail Pass for Lithuania (3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 Days)
- Trakai Private Half Day Tour from Vilnius
- Vilnius Private Food Market Tour
- Kaunas Private Day Tour from Vilnius
- Curonian Spit Private Day Tour from Vilnius
- Private Nuclear Power Plant Day Tour from Vilnius
Read more Europe travel guide here.