Jazz and blues clubs, gourmet restaurants, and lifestyle festivals are a common occurrence in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, while the country’s seaside spas on the Baltic coast still preserve their historical charm. These ten things to do and see will certainly be worth your time and make for great memories.
Situated next to the beautiful confluence of the Nemunas and Nemėžis rivers, this 17th-century architectural ensemble is a refreshing stop along the beloved Panemunė route. Raudondvaris is one of the most prominent Renaissance-era manors in the country.
The main building of the ensemble is the castle-palace with a tower. The castle estate was owned by a number of famous people, who filled it with huge paintings and other works of art, rare books, and collections of exotic plants and animals. The reconstructed stables now house a theatre and concert hall with seating for 500 guests as well as residences and working spaces for young artists. Find out more at raudondvariodvaras.lt.
Film location tours
The capital of Lithuania is becoming an increasingly popular shooting destination among filmmakers globally. The biggest foreign production shooting in Vilnius before the pandemic was the Netflix series Stranger Things. Other recent hit shows have also been shot in Vilnius, including War and Peace, Chernobyl, Catherine the Great, Young Wallander, and Tokyo Trial. Some of these picturesque settings are readily available to the public, and special guided tours can also be arranged. More information at govilnius.lt.
Neris Regional Park
Locals say that Neris Regional Park has a mystical, mysterious aura. What visitors see with their eyes, however, is indescribably beautiful nature. The park is located along the most beautiful section of the Neris River in order to preserve the distinctive landscape of the river valley. And let’s not forget about the mythological stones! Between Dūkštai and Airėnai, near the Kernavės road, sits the Airėnai Stone carved with enigmatic signs that are sometimes called runes. The park also contains one of the largest and oldest surviving oak forests in Lithuania where pagans used to worship their gods.
Republic of Užupis
Užupis, a district in the Old Town of Vilnius, is a creative hub known for its strong artistic community. A few decades ago, the residents here founded the fictional Republic of Užupis and have given it as a gift to the world. The Republic of Užupis is often compared to Montmartre in Paris, but it has its own distinctive philosophy and even an art-inspired ideology as well as a seasonal cycle of celebrations, a famous constitution translated into more than 50 languages, its own flag, and easily granted citizenship.
Here you can do some proper gallery hopping, not to mention relax by the Vilnia River, enjoy the famed craft coffee, taste Lithuanian cuisine prepared in the most innovative way, or just roam around this small republic until something interesting catches your eye.
Treetop Walking Path
This is the first path in the Baltic states and all of eastern Europe where people can walk high above the ground – in fact, higher than the treetops. The Treetop Walking Path, located in the Anykščiai Pinewood, is 300 metres long and gradually ascends to 21 metres above the ground. This relatively small forest is one of the most famous forests in Lithuania.
It was immortalised by the prominent Lithuanian poet Antanas Baranauskas (1835–1902), who wrote the poem “The Forest of Anykščiai” in 1858–1859. While strolling along the Treetop Walking Path, visitors also encounter excerpts from this poem. Definitely a sin to miss it.
Museum of Ethnocosmology
The Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology is one of the most unusual places in the country. This unique museum, established in 1990 next to the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory, is both a sky observatory and museum dedicated to highlighting humankind’s cultural relationships with the cosmos.
Even the architecture of the museum, which takes the shape of the mythological World Tree, is unique. The exposition includes almost everything related to cosmology, from ancient meteorological instruments and astronomical and astrological calendars to works of music and fine art connected with cosmology.
This special place is worth your attention. More information at etnokosmomuziejus.lt.
Discovering the history of Vilnius through its culinary heritage is a must. The streets of its UNESCO-listed Old Town are filled with aromas from all over the world, hinting at contemporary flavour combinations and modern food preparation techniques.
The outdoor cafés in the city centre make it easy to spend quality time here. Most of them have remained open for almost the entire lockdown, some with mannequins wearing designer clothes to ensure safe distances between the real guests! So, you know you’re in good hands here.
If amber is Lithuania’s most valued and esteemed gemstone, then the Curonian Spit could easily be considered the country’s most gem-like masterpiece. This curved 98-kilometre-long seaside region pampers visitors with forests, dunes, plains, a lagoon, and other landscape elements that seem slightly otherworldly yet connect the most gem-like small settlements, all of which have something marvellous about them.
A single road runs the entire length of the Curonian Spit, so it’s tempting to just follow that to the end, but be sure to make some long and dedicated stops on the way – those tiny settlements are truly worth your while.
As modern as it can possibly get, the innovative, fresh, and at times edgy museum in the capital’s Old Town was founded by Danguolė and Viktoras Butkus, Lithuania’s most respected art collectors. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, MO Museum is itself a work of modern art that has won several architecture prizes.
Photo by Rytis Seskaitis
The exhibitions of modern and contemporary art change regularly to reflect different artists and themes. The museum also hosts film screenings, educational activities, and concerts. See mo.lt for more information.
Cold War bunker
During the infamous Cold War years, many defence vaults were built underground in Soviet Vilnius to protect citizens from looming threats.
Now, curious visitors can explore these literally captivating spaces under Vilnius – you can even take an independent solo tour with the relevant props, authentic challenges, and detailed audio guidance. See coldwarbunker.lt to book your adventure.