1. Uzupis Republic
“The other side of the river” Republic, is the quirky, artisan area of the city. Originally one of the worst districts, it has been taken over by artists, poets and cat-lovers, to become its own, mock state. Complete with its own President, Ministers and its own constitution, this fun area is sure to delight with its jokey statues, dilapidated buildings and unique, relaxed atmosphere. Visit on the 1st of April to partake in their ‘Independence day’ celebrations and have your passport stamped by a ‘border guard’ dressed as a uni-cycling jester.
2. Bernadine Cemetery
This was the city centre cemetery in the 16th century, but was moved and expanded in the 18th Century. After the Second World War, it was left mostly abandoned and, although some minor restorations have now begun, its state is still one of disorder and decay. Due do the haphazard nature of the move, as well as frost and thaw of the ground, it is not uncommon to find human bones lying around the floor here.
3. St. Nicholas Church
Although not one of the more aesthetically inspiring churches the city has to offer, this church, dating back to 1387 is the oldest. Visit to see the original bricks, marked, with the notes and fingerprints of the 14th century builders who laid them.
4. Their Mayor
Few things are able to represent the unique energy of Vilnius than the man they chose to elect as their mayor. Artūras Zuokas is known and loved in the city for many things: using a segway as his primary mode of transport, drinking coffee perched on rooftops and perhaps most famously, using a tank to protect the cities cycle lanes from illegally parked drivers!
5. The Gates of Dawn
One of the cities gates during the 16th century the gates of dawn are more impressive for their cultural and historical significance than for their aesthetic value today. They are one of the most important religious monuments in Lithuania and pilgrims travel from far and wide to pray to the virgin Mary who is believed to have miraculous powers. Her image as seen here has served the symbol of the city for hundreds of years.
6. The view from the Castle
Every European city has its classic viewing point; Paris has Montmartre, Barcelona has Tibidabo, Florence has Piazzale Michelangelo . In Vilnius, it is the ruins of the city castle, located on a hill above cathedral square, near the centre and rising from the banks of the river Neris. While the skyline may not quite compete with the cities larger european brothers, it is the juxtaposition between the new city to the north and the old to the south, so clearly divided at this point, that makes the view here so special.
7. KGB Museum
Located in a building that at different times has been used by the soviets, the nazi’s and as a prison, few places would be better suited to be a museum dedicated to the brutality of totalitarianism.
8. Hostel Jamaika
Located in the centre of Vilnius old town, this reggae-style hostel is famous for its eccentric, colourful interiors as well as friendly, knowledgeable staff. The bar here is frequented by locals and backpackers alike, offering cheap drinks, a relaxed atmosphere and a great sound track. Spend the night or just visit for drinks, either way you’ll be sure to find one of the most chilled places in Vilnius.
9. Blusturgis Flea Market
You’ll have to ask a local to find the location of this market, open every sunday. A great place to hunt for interesting and original things, from vintage watches to folk-craft clothing. Prices are reasonable but bargaining is encouraged.
The eponymous feel of this place is not understated. With ever changing and unique photo displays and a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere, this is a great place to have a modern dining experience with a traditional Lithuanian twist. The locals hail it as the master of the tasty late night snack, but book on weekends to avoid disappointment.
11. Barbakanas Bastion
The main remaining portion of the 16th century city wall and defence is impressive in its own right, but twinned with the views of the city from the hill on which it sits and this a great place to come and enjoy a drink, read a book, or just soak up the city.
12. Uzupio Kavine
The most popular bar in the Uzipis district, this bar is frequented by artists, musicians and eccentrics alike. Come to enjoy a craft beer on the wooden terrace above the river Vilnele and spark up a lively discussion with some bohemian locals.
13. Cathedral Square
Located at the edge of one of the cities main parks, slightly below the castle and right on the edge of where the old town meets the new, the view from the centre of cathedral square offers unrivalled panorama of grandiose architecture, greenery and winding backstreets. The cathedral itself is an impressive building but relaxing with a coffee and people watching in the square certainly rivals the architecture.
14. Soul and Pepper
One of the finest restaurants in the city and famed for using only the freshest ingredients getting a reservation at this restaurant may be a challenge however with its open-air terrace and quality live jazz as well as its famous cuisine if you do manage to get in it will certainly be a night to remember.
15. Sv. Veita
Few places in Eastern Europe offer vegetarian food at-all so vegetarians will be delighted to know that Vilnius’ most popular vegetarian restaurant offers a wide selection of veggie staples rarely available east of berlin, while maintaining a super-chilled atmosphere and very reasonable prices.