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Top 6 Things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the most populous and capital city of Lithuania and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 due to its well preserved baroque style Old Town. The history of this city is incredibly interesting considering how much of an identity it maintained even while being under control by either Poland, Russia , Poland again, briefly Germany, and then later by the Soviet Union until it finally gained independence as the capital of Lithuania.

Skyline of Vilnius

There are many beautiful buildings and museums to visit while staying in Vilnius that couldn't possibly be entirely seen unless you're spending significant amount of time exploring. Below I have listed my top 6 things to do while in Vilnius, Lithuania if you're visiting for a quick stay and trying to see some beautiful highlights.

 

1) Cathedral Square


  • Vilnius Cathedral

Vilnius Cathedral

Built in 1783, this Catholic Cathedral is dedicated to the Christian saints Stanislaus and Ladislaus. It is the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania and has an interesting history that is displayed by its various artifacts displayed.


Vilnius Cathedral

Don't forget to check out all of the side rooms that circle the cathedral, especially in the front right. The cathedral is open to the public for visits from 7am-7pm each day.


Vilnius Cathedral

  • Bell Tower

Vilnius Bell Tower

This bell tower stands at 57 meters high and is one of the oldest brick buildings in Vilnius. Their are some bells that are displayed within the tower that date back to the 15th century.


Vilnius Cathedral Square

The main reason to climb the tower for most visitors is for the view of the city and the Cathedral beside it. The Tower is open to visitors from 10am-6pm and has an entrance fee of €6.


  • Monument to Grand Duke Gediminas

Vilnius Monument

The bronze sculpture of Duke Gediminas faces the Cathedral Bell Tower and holds a sword in his left hand and blesses the city with his right hand. Duke Gediminas is a ruler of ancient Lithuania and ruled over a Lithuania that was twice the size due to his diplomatic skills.


  • Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

Vilnius Palace

This palace was constructed in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the future Kings of Poland in the style of the Renaissance. It is open to visitors Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm (8pm on Thursday) with an entrance fee for adults as listed:

Full price (routes I-IV) – €12.00 

 Route I – €5.00 

 Route II – €7.00 

 Route III –  €3.00 

 Route IV (exhibition) – €  4.00 


2) Gediminas Castle Tower


Gediminas Castle Tower

Gediminas' Tower offers the absolute best view available of Vilnius Old Town and Vilnius Central Business District from the viewing platform beside the tower.


Gediminas Castle Tower

The tower itself is the remaining part of the Upper Castle on top of the Gediminas Hill. If visiting between 10am-8pm you could enter the tower itself for the museum that displays various items including some from the 14th and 15th centuries. The entrance fee is either €6 or €8 depending on the time of year you visit.


Vilnius Skyline

Their is a lift up the hill but as of the writing of this blog, it is closed. The hike is fairly steep and includes quite a few steps on concrete before reaching a wooden staircase for the rest of the climb.


Gediminas Castle Tower

Whether you visit the museum or not, the scenic view from the top of the hill is the main highlight and was without a doubt my favorite part of my time in Vilnius!


Vilnius Skyline

3) Vilnius Town Hall Square


  • St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas Church

This Roman Catholic church is the oldest remaining church in Lithuania having been built near the end of the 14th century and for sections of years was the only church in Vilnius that held mass.


  • Vilnius Compass

Vilnius Compass

This is a popular tourist attraction that is used as a meeting spot for tourists and locals alike. It was created in 2009-2011 as a historic reconstruction of M. K. Radvila-Našlaitėlis’ trip around the Mediterranean Sea over 400 years ago opening trading doors to the rest of Europe through the ports.


  • Town Hall

Vilnius Town Hall

This building has been around since the early 1400's and been rebuilt various times until it was rebuilt for the final time in 1799 in a neoclassical style while the cellars beneath are kept in the gothic style from its past which can still be visited.


  • Chapel of Saint Casimir

Chapel of Saint Casimir

The Chapel of Saint Casimir is decorated in a baroque style that was built in 1623–36. It was dedicated to Saint Casimir after Prince Casimir was canonized as saint.


4) Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit Vilnius


Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit Vilnius

This Orthodox Church is a Russian Orthodox Church located in Vilnius Old Town that originally opened in 1597 but was rebuilt in 1749-1753 in the style of Vilnian Baroque architecture. The exterior is painted in a distinct light pink color.


Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit Vilnius

This was my personal favorite church located within Vilnius that I visited. Photographs were allowed as long as it was done respectfully to avoid people who were there for prayer.


Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit Vilnius

The most interesting relic located within the church was the memorial with the remains of the Vilnius Martyrs, Anthony, John, and Eustathios. There is a sign just to the right on the wall that tells the story of these 3 who lived in the 14th century.


5) Church of St. Theresa


Church of St, Theresa

This roman catholic church is located within the outskirts of the old town near the Gates of Dawn. It was completed in 1650 and has a beautiful interior with a baroque style architecture.


Church of St, Theresa

The interior is kept with minimal lighting for a gloomier ambiance but is decorated with various items that are worth taking a look at. The chapel is open to visit from 7am-7pm and has a list of various mass times listed.


Church of St, Theresa

5a) Gates of Dawn


Gates of Dawn

This gate is an arch that is a section of the Church of St. Theresa that was built in the 1500s and houses a chapel with an icon of the Virgin Mary on the second floor above the arch. It is free to visit inside (photographs are not permitted within) and you reach the chapel by entering from the side of the Church of St. Theresa and then climb the stairs to the right.


Gates of Dawn

6) Bastion Hill


Bastion Hill

Bastion Hill is located just south of the Old Town of Vilnius and provides a nice view of the town from a distance. I personally would say that the view of the Old Town is not as spectacular as the view you will get from the Gediminas Castle Tower, but it is worth the visit, especially if you decide to enter the museum located within. The museum has an entrance fee of €6 for adults (included with the Vilnius Pass) and tells the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania's weaponry and defence practices.


Bastion Hill

Thank you for reading this blog and if you have any questions at all, you can email me at www.travelinggibson@gmail.com or message me on Instagram @travelinggibson. Best of luck with your travels!

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