Hip, Cosy and Creative
A Summer City Break to Vilnius
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as a gateway of sorts into the city’s stellar collection of museums and galleries. The street art, murals and installations dotting the city make
Vilnius an urban gallery on its own, and the numerous high-level art festivals and cultural events throughout the year give the city its unique vibe.
Summer highlights include: Street Music Day, Culture Night, Vilnius Burger Fest, the Street Theatre Festival and the Capital Days Festival.
2. From Famished to Stuffed: Traditional Lithuanian cuisine is comfort food done right, so forget about your beach bod and dig in. However,
like most artists, our city’s chefs are all about challenging traditions, and do so either by bringing something new to the table or taking an entirely
different direction. Don’t be surprised if you have your tastiest street food experience here, or a delicate sauce drizzled over a piece of meat that’s
so scrumptious it leaves you speechless. Lunch specials will knock your socks off with their flavours and price points, and there are also seemingly
endless vegan options, even a great selection of restaurants and cafes dedicated entirely to vegan/vegetarian cuisine.
3. Architecture for Days: Vilnius’ UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town is one of Eastern Europe’s biggest and most well preserved. It’s filled with
architectural jewels reflecting a number of different art periods, including the impressive Gothic St. Anne’s Church, a few perfectly pink Baroque
masterpieces, the Neoclassical Cathedral, and some really interesting public buildings and private residences. Feel free to just wander around and
let your curiosity lead the way – that’s what’s great about visiting such a compact city. Two things to keep in mind: keep an eye out for details and
get sneaky with courtyards and passageways.
4. Vilnius’ Bohemian Independent Republic of Užupis: If you feel at one surrounded by eccentric creative types that dance to the beat of
their own drum, then welcome to Užupis, a self-proclaimed independent republic turned hip spot. It even has its own constitution translated into
many languages that asserts ‘Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance’. It’s a place where art comes to life but where life isn’t
taken too seriously. It’s also packed with history, a number of restaurants, bars and cafes, and a bunch of outdoor chill spots that are perfect for
a picnic by the little Vilnia River.
5. Quick Like Espresso or Coffee Nice and Slow: Like most places, coffee is essentially fuel for humans in Vilnius; however, locals demand
quality. This has resulted in a crazy selection of specialty coffee shops offering endless preparation methods and varieties, and of course, all the
comfort snacks that go hand-in-hand with a fresh cup of brew. These cafes are perfect for getting the day started, chilling, getting connected,
people watching and even dog petting (yep, all cafes in Vilnius are dog-friendly, except maybe the Cat Café). If coffee’s your thing, you’ll be
6. Take to the Skies High Above Vilnius Old Town: People visiting Vilnius for the first time always notice the sky filled with hot air balloons
in the early evenings. Vilnius happens to be one of the few cities in Europe that allows hot air balloons to float directly above the urban centre, so
it’s a pretty common sight. What isn’t so typical is the view from these gigantic balloons: the red roofs of the labyrinth-like Old Town, the lush
forests in and around the city, and a few peculiarities if you look closely enough. If heights aren’t your thing but panoramic views still sound nice,
there are a number of hills surrounding the city and bell towers that reward dedicated climbers with magnificent views.
7. A Night on the Town: With late sunsets and early sunrises in the warmer months, it’s actually pretty easy to party from dusk ‘till dawn in
Vilnius, if you can keep up. The fact that there’s a part of the city centre known as the Bermuda Triangle – an area with a high concentration of
bars, clubs and party spots – should already speak volumes. However, there’s really a little bit of everything to suit a variety of tastes: the craft
beer scene is overflowing with local brews and other heavy-hitting European microbreweries, getting someone to make you an upscale classic or
contemporary cocktail is no sweat, and finding a club to dance the night away at shouldn’t pose any problems, either. Whatever you choose, don’t
forget to mingle with locals.
8. Only in Vilnius: One thing about Vilnius is that it doesn’t try too hard to be like the rest, and there’s a lot to love about that. You can
witness this in the longstanding food markets where people shop for local produce and eat either a pretty traditional lunch or something more
contemporary; or in one of the many boutiques, galleries and pop-up markets where local designers and artisans showcase and sell their latest
creations. It truly is a unique atmosphere and it’s also really welcoming. This kind of accessibility invites everyone to feel the pulse of
contemporary culture in the city while contributing a little to it, too.
9. Green, Clean and Pristine: The fact that 46% of Vilnius is made up of green spaces is a real source of pride, and something that every
visitor to the city is welcome to take advantage of. These natural spots include vast forests with walking trails, lush parks and well-kept squares,
and the city’s two rivers. It all makes for great leisure fun. You can take advantage of the city’s bike-sharing system and explore different parks
and districts, take a kayak along one of the rivers for an entirely new perspective of the city, or take advantage of the many walking routes that
lead you through beautiful natural landscapes sprinkled with historical landmarks.
10. Soviet Occupation: Those who have indeed heard of Vilnius before but don’t necessarily know it as the g-spot of Europe might be more
familiar with the fact that Lithuania was once part of the USSR. A visit to the Museum of Occupation and Freedom Fights, which used to house the
city’s KGB headquarters, will provide you with a harrowing glimpse into life under Soviet rule and also give you a whole new level of respect for a
city and country that have come such a long way in the relatively short time its been since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Read more: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/