You arrived in Vilnius… took a taxi to your hotel or hostel… You checked in, took a nap… What to do now? If you are one of those travelers who forgot to plan your first day in Vilnius, don’t worry! We are here to help you! Here we offer TOP 5 things to do in Vilnius ☺
- Join Vilnius free walking tours to get an overview of Vilnius and it's history
- Explore the courtyards of Vilnius Old Town
- Admire panorama of Vilnius from different view points
- Taste the best of traditional Lithuanian cuisine in local restaurants
- Visit Vilnius museums to increase your knowledge
A group of happy travellers at the beginning of Vilnius free walking tour around Old Town & Uzupis ready to explore Vilnius
One of the best things to do in Vilnius at the beginning of your stay is to join professional local guides from our team to get a perfect introduction into this beautiful city. We have been running Vilnius free walking tour since 2009. During those years we squeezed most of the highlights of Vilnius Old Town, Užupis (a district of artists) and stories from local peoples’ lives into approximately 2 – 2,5 hours walking tour. It will give you a great introduction to the city, the local guides will tell you stories that you won’t find in Vilnius guide books and later you can come back to the visited places and explore them yourself. Vilnius free walking tour of Vilnius Old Town & Užupis starts every day at 10 AM & 12 PM (midday) from Vilnius Town Hall (Didzioji g. 31). The timetable might change, so always check our website for the newest information.
We also realized that travellers are eager to explore not so touristy parts of Vilnius. We created free alternative Vilnius walking tour for this. The alternative tour starts every day at 3 PM from Hales Market (Pylimo g. 58) during the summer season. The timetables might differ depending on the season, so check before coming to the meeting points ;) Look there for our great guides with a yellow sign/bag or name tag.
If you have done those Vilnius free walking tours already, but you are still interested in learning more about Lithuania and Vilnius, check out other tours we organise. Our professional local guides in Vilnius will give you the best experience in the city!
One of Vilnius with Locals tours guides telling the story of this lady riding a bear on Vilnius free walking tour
Vilnius old town is full of beautiful courtyards so don’t make a mistake making circles around 3 main streets of Vilnius Old Town! There was a time when you could cross almost the whole area of the current old town only walking from one backyard to another. Today is not possible anymore, but some of the courtyards are still open for locals and travellers to unveil a different side of Vilnius Old town.
Make sure you complete all the tasks from our list of “Things to do in Vilnius courtyards” below:
- Find a lady riding a bear
- Have a chess match in the backyard of the Presidential palace
- Feel Italian spirit in Alumnatas Courtyard
- Say hi to Leonard Cohen
- Take a selfie with Martin Luther
- Find a man reading a book
- Try not to get lost in 13 courtyards of Vilnius University
- Enjoy contemporary art in CAC courtyard
- Find a sculpture of Virgin Mary
Let us know in the comment section if you have succeeded to find them all!
Panorama of Vilnius from the TV tower
Even though Lithuania is a pretty flat country and you cannot find actual mountains here, Vilnius is a hilly city. You can find a few hills that provide a lovely panoramic view. Probably, the most popular one is Gediminas hill with Gediminas tower on the top. A legend says that the founder of Vilnius, Grand duke of Lithuania Gediminas, started building the city exactly from this point. Now the place is popular among both locals and foreigners. It is definitely a must see attraction in Vilnius. To go up the tower costs 5 EUR, but you can go up the hill for free. By the way, locals actually call this hill a mountain!;)
One more option for you is the hill of three crosses. It is said that the first crosses appeared there to pay a tribute to Christian monks that came here in the 14th century to spread Christianity and who were brutally killed here by local Pagan Lithuanians. Today it is a popular viewpoint of Vilnius to watch beautiful sunsets. You can get there through Hills’ park free of charge.
Hills are natural places for panoramic views, but there some cool spots that humans created. Our favourite one in Vilnius Old Town is the Bell tower of St. John’s church – a 68 meters in height, it is the tallest building in Vilnius old town. It is situated in the very middle of the Old town. From the top you can admire the narrow winding streets of the old town, the courtyards and even more. Just check the opening times as usually the tower is open from May till October (thanks to elevator from glass which does not like our Lithuanian weather:/)
We feel like looking at Vilnius from the top is one of the must things to do in Vilnius. If you feel the same, check our blog post about the best viewpoints in Vilnius to find more cool places in Vilnius to admire a panoramic view.
A bowl of 'cepelinai' - the most famous traditional Lithuanian dish every traveller should try
You did Vilnius free walking tour, wandered around courtyards, went up the hill to see a panoramic view. It is time to refresh and check out some cool local dishes so you would have energy to keep exploring Vilnius. Tasting local food is one of the best ways to experience Vilnius. Not sure what to eat?.Check our blog post about the most popular traditional Lithuaian dishes. You should definitely put trying Cepelinai as one of your things to do in Vilnius.
You can find a bunch of traditional local restaurants in Vilnius Old Town. Unfortunately most of them are a bit touristy and overpriced even though the food is still good in most of them! If you do not mind walking a bit, we really recommend checking Žemaičių ąsotis not too far away from Vilnius Old Town (around 15 min walk). The portions are huge and the prices are good! Avoid getting there during the lunch break during weekdays as it gets pretty busy with locals working close by.
If you are not so much into trying traditional Lithuanian cuisine (as it might be quite heavy & fat ), you can check our blog posts about the best burger places in Vilnius or restaurants for vegetarian & vegan dishes.
Vilnius has quite a few museums to offer. However, you should note that most of the museums in Vilnius are closed on Mondays and some on Tuesdays as well.
Probably, the most popular among travellers is a museum of occupation and freedom fights (aka KGB). Visit a building that was the headquarters of the KGB in Lithuania during the Soviet occupation and take an opportunity to learn about what Lithuania went through under the Soviet regime.
MO museum is probably the most popular museum in Vilnius among locals. Opened just two years ago it offers temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Check their website to see what exhibition is on during your visit.
However, there are a lot more. If you want to learn more about medieval history, check out Grand Dukes palace. Interested in art? National Art Gallery is for you. Finally visit slightly random museums like Museum of Illusions, Money museum or Toy museum. You can find more detailed information about these museums here.
We hope those top 5 things to do in Vilnius will help you to get the most of the city during your visit. However if you want to do more things in Vilnius, you can check other blog posts about events in the city: things to do in Vilnius in July, things to do in Vilnius in August, things to do in Vilnius in September, things to do in Vilnius in October. If you are travelling on a budget, learn about free things to do in Vilnius during your stay.