What to do on a 3 days vacation to Vilnius, Lithuania
I just finished my list of Baltic Countries, Lithuania was the missing piece of my Baltic puzzle. I always wanted to visit Lithuania because I love to explore, unexplored places. Believe me, you will never regret to take a break to Vilnius.
It's easy to reach, if you are in the Nordics even easier. If you are more far away, I would recommend you to try out a Baltic trip, visiting 2 or 3 countries at the same time. There is thousand of reasons, keep reading and you will figure it out.
I would highly recommend you to visit Vilnius during spring or summer, because you have great experiences to try out such trekking, swimming, spend a day in Trakai, have a picnic somewhere and much more. But of course, you can visit any time of the year as the city has much to offer all year around.
Vilnius it's the capital and the biggest city in Lithuania, I would love to have visited Kaunas too. My friends who went there said it's smaller but more younger city, well, maybe next time. :)
Vilnius it's a destination for everybody, a perfect long weekend for couples, a great place for families or if you traveling with kids, a great party/bar place for friends and also cool for solo travellers.
Lithuania currency it's euros, it's hard to say it it's a cheap place to eat/go out because everything depend of the currency you have. I can give some examples, a meal costs around 6-10 euros (depends where you are eating of course - fine dining menus costs around 30-40 euros), Uber rides around 2-3 euros, water at supermarket less than euro, beer and drinks at a bar around 6 euros.
So here we go, I just came back from a 3 full days in Vilnius and I would love to share all the amazing stuff we (me and little sister) found out in the capital of Lithuania.
How to get from the airport to the city:
We got picked up by VNO Transfer - it made us to safe, because our flight was delayed for more than two hours, we woke up early and just wanted to be "taken care of" when arrived in Vilnius. I highly recommend you to book a transfer with them, the driver was so sweet - he spent the journey until the hotel showing some pictures of the places we should go and gave us really good tips about what to do in the city.
WHERE TO STAY:
The fabulous Mabre Residence Hotel
I've been traveling for many years now but I must admit at this was one of the best hotels I have stayed, Mabre it's a dream paradise just in the Old Town in Vilnius. It's close to everything, all the sites worth to see. Plus it's an oasis in the middle of the city. It's so calm and chill - I seriously can't believe they managed to have such a calm place like this. The garden just by the entrance make you feel safe and calm, it's impossible to be stressed here.
Our room was just explendid, it felt like we had a dorm in a castle. With a big living room, bathtub and comfortable bed.
They have a private SPA and I loved the concept, when you rent the SPA you have it all just for you. How fancy?! You don't need to share it with no one else, you have sauna, pool and relaxing area just for yourself. I wish I could live in Mabre Residence, this place was paradise.
Food at the hotel it's also a great choice, their steakhouse called Hazienda (same place where they serve breakfast) was very good. I was so happy to have a steak from Brazil, I recommend the Lithuanian cheese plate as a starter, it was delicious. Don't forget to save room for dessert, you will never regret it.
In collaboration with Mabre Residence we parted up as I feel everybody must visit this hotel once in life (and come back, for sure) so if you contact the manager and say you saw this post, you will get a very good special place, entrance to the SPA and a welcome champagne in your room. I can guarantee it will be a lovely experience, the staff is completely friendly and the manager Vytaunas was the best guide ever! Thanks to him I found out a lot of good places, by locals in Vilnius. Don't excitate to ask him about the city too, he is an expert!
firstname.lastname@example.org You can write direct to Vytautas Jonėnas and he will make sure to find the best for you.
Time to take a walk in Old City - this was what I call like "familiar walk" the first walk and view you have from the city you are visiting and getting to know the streets, how to get around and so on. For me this first "meeting" with the city it's so cool, where you have the first look of the city you are visiting. This feeling it's what it makes me wanna travel more more and more all the time, this seeking for the new.
Vytautas followed us and pointed the best restaurants and places I feel blessed we have him as a guide, because of him we got to see many cool things, like try out the best Lithuanian food, finding the right place for shopping and much more.
The name "Literatai" was named only at the second half of 19th century in the honour of Adam Mickiewicz who lived here. The poet Adam Mickiewicz lived at the beginning of this street, what is witnessed by three plaques on the building in the Lithuanian, Russian and Polish languages. From 2008 a group of artists had an idea to revive the street and to decorate it with artworks related with litterateurs. There is a big chance you will love this street if you are a reader lover, writer or just a truly hipster (or Instagram friendly). Artworks mounted on the walls are dedicated to the literature workers: writers, translators, everyone who has link with Lithuania and is important for Lithuanian or world literature.
WHERE TO EAT:
Namas Ertlio because it's always all about great food - I had the pleasure to visit Lithuania’s most famous restaurant during this trip. Ertlio Namas was one of my best food experiences, amazing opportunity to try unique recipes from Lithuanian heritage. Every single dish came with a history behind, this four course menu had a dish from every century starting from 16th- century. The chef Tomas Rimydis reinvented historic dishes with such artistic . As each course was presented the waiter would tell us a story that related to the ingredients and why they are so important for Lithuanians history and economy. If you asked me what to do in Vilnius, this restaurant it will be on the top of my list.
Good place for Lithuanian food, we liked it so much we ended coming twice to this place, for dinner at the first day and lunch on the day after. Because it was good, also good price and great atmosphere. I really liked the fact as it looks very touristic restaurant as the waitress are wearing traditional Lithuanian outfits, but it's actually a place for locals too, I would say 80% of the guests at the restaurants were locals. The ambient was great and kind cozy, it makes you chill out and enjoy your food. I tried different things, the dumplings, potatoes pancakes and the traditional potatoes dumplings stuffed with meat. I like it all, but I can tell why all my Lithuanian friend were concerned about the potatoes with stuffed meat, it wasn't bad but I don't think I would order twice. Well, worth to try if you are a first time visitor, I did it.
JURGIS IR DRAKONAS
Very modern Lithuanian cuisine, it's a very trend spot in the Old Town - it feels like a Fast Food kind of place but with a special touch of Lithuania. They have pizzas, but I would recommend their starters and salads.
We were curious to see a bit of Lithuanian brands and stores, as two shopaholics we had to check it out. But also because a very non relevant fact: every country has a different "fashion culture" even for big chains like H&M, Forever 21 and so on, you have the same products but sometimes the sizes changes accordingly with the country "body" I would say. For example, it's very hard to me to find jeans in Sweden because the average height of the girls, they are taller (much taller) than in Brazil. So every jeans looks big on my legs, haha So I'm always buying jeans in countries that the girls are same size than me for example Spain, Italy.. and Lithuania. (?) This Europa shopping mall was bit small, but worth to check if you are fan of big brands and great designers.
The 'climbing' wasn't too hard as it seems, it took us around 20 minutes to get to the tower and then maybe 15 minutes or less to get to the top of the tower. Very great view, we could see the whole city and also to take great pictures.
VILNIUS STREET ART TOUR:
For me this was the best attraction, I really wanted to see Os Gêmeos (twin brothers from Brazil, world famous grafitti artists) and many more. There is actually an official Vilnius Street Art Map from their Tourist Boarder, check it here. They are pretty close to each other so you can do your own "walking tour" and get surprise from the pieces of art on your way.
Address: Kauno g. 1 Arklių g. 5
By Lithuanian artist and director Aušra Bagočiūnaitė depicts people going to see a play at a theatre.
Address: Pylimo g. 56
By the Italian artist Millo on his work on the building opposite Halės Market.
Address: Pylimo g. 60
My favourite artists in all around the world, the twin brothers from São Paulo are among the top names in street art. They dropped by during the Vilnius Street Art Festival to pay respect to their Lithuanian grandfather, who’s pictured sitting in the palm of a giant in this mural.
MINDAUGAS BONANU, DOMINYKAS ČEČKAUSKAS
Address: Pylimo g. 66
This one I would guess it's the biggest star in the grafitti world of Vilnius. Originally, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shared a kiss, but the initial painting was vandalised and later changed. You may have seen it in the New York Times or in one of many other international media outlets, but seeing it live is well worth your time, too.
Keulė Rūkė Bar: While we were taking pictures outside we just figured this wall belongs to a bar, so we decided to get in to have a beer and this was one of the best decisions I made so far during this trip, because the place ended being on my list of favourite bars around the world. The atmosphere it's chill, hippie, it's just my kind of place. You can buy burgers and chicken wings, grab a IPA beer and sit outside in the sun while hear some people doing gratifies at the walls. How cool, right? You MUST check it out, if this is your type of place too. I wish I could bring this bar with me home, because it would be my favourite place ever.
DAY TRIP TO TRAKAI ISLAND
We got picked up by our amazing cool driver from Jdrive. Since Trakai it's outside Vilnius, get a driver it's the best option to have freedom to go and come back any time you want without struggle. Many people asked the best way to get to the island, so here it's the answer. Our driver picked us at our hotel, and her was waiting for us during our visit to the castle and the island, we felt safe about having someone there waiting for us, so we could just got home whenever we wanted.
Trakai Island it's the perfect day trip from Vilnius, I would recommend you to book an extra day, just to make sure you can make it to Trakai. I really liked the island, because it's so calm. There is a lake, street market, cozy cafés and restaurants and of course the Trakai Castle, which it's worth the visit. (Plus great pictures, if you are this kind of people like me).
We wanted to make it for lunch in Vilnius, as the weather was still pretty cold we decided to go back to Vilnius (we spent around 4-5 hours in total in Trakai). Take some food with you for a picnic if it's a good weather, you can also have a boat trip. I saw many boat guys selling a tour for 5euros per person, it seemed cool actually, I haven't tried because of the weather (it was pretty cold for a boat tour).
This was a bit of my experience in Vilnius and I must say it's a very cozy country with a lot of great cafés, stores and much to do. I'm very looking forward to go back soon and also to visit Kaunas. Have you been to Lithuanian? Tell me your experience and share your tips here.