Described by many as a highlight of the Vilnius experience, the Old Town offers grand, historic buildings with architecture to impress. Here is the list of top things to see and do in your new favorite old town.
Walk along the cobbled streets that have been basking in the glow of being on the UNESCO World Heritage List for over ten years. There are plenty of things to see and do in Vilnius Old Town, one of the largest surviving Medieval towns in Northern Europe.
A city of palaces
There is an impressive collection of palaces in Vilnius, making you feel like instant royalty when visit them. The grandest of them all must be the Royal Palace, or the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, built in the 15th century for future kings of Poland. During the 16th- and 17th century, the palace worked as the administrative, political and cultural center of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After being demolished in 1801, it reopened for the public in 2013. Today, guided tours can be pre booked with a fee of €20.
The Presidential Palace is the previous home of many wealthy bishops, funding the creation of this masterpiece. During the 17-1800s, however, the palace was damaged by war, but was slowly rebuilt to the stunning structure we see today. Make the best of your visit by taking one of the free guided tours of the grounds.
St. Anne’s Church is a masterpiece built from several different styles, dominated by the different varieties of Gothic architecture. The church lies on the banks of Vilnia River, built in 1394, and originally consisted of wood, later replaced by sturdier bricks. The structure impresses all visitors, and is said to be a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte himself.
The Cathedral of Vilnius is located on beautiful Cathedral Square and is the main Roman Catholic church in Lithuania, making it a natural center for a lot of social activity. The building itself is visually stunning and contains several historical pieces and gems hidden inside. Explore history and see the beautiful interior decorations in the Chapel of Saint Casimir.
The Three Crosses in Kalnai Park at the top of Bleak Hill does not only offer a piece of religious history but also stunning, panoramic views of the city. The three crosses were originally wooden, but it has been replaced twice by concrete structures, most recently in 1989.
Other churches and religious monuments worth a visit include St. Nicholas Church and All Saints Church.
Places to eat
You will find several cosy restaurants and charming pubs in the Old Town, where you can relax and take the time to appreciate the historical buildings and people walking by. The local cuisine is definitely worth a try as it consists of an unforgettable blend of flavors.
At Medininkai, you can enjoy delicious cuisine that not only looks amazing but also pleases your palate. Savor a lovely meal in one of three halls, with beautiful decorations and different styles, or in the 16th century summer courtyard where the skilled and friendly staff will cater to your needs.
Another place worth a visit is the hunter’s restaurant Lokys, which opened in 1972. The large restaurant has several spacious halls on the ground floor, in gothic cellars and in the charming backyard. Enjoy meals cooked to perfection and pair it with a bottle of fine wine from their extensive menu. If you want to taste even more of what their cellar has to offer, join one of their wine tastings for €144.
If you would rather enjoy a good pint of beer with your meal, the German restaurant, Bunte Gans, is the place to go. The warm and friendly interior is the perfect setting for a nice meal. Their menu is highly authentic and consists of many delicious choices, including a wide range of schnitzels, steaks and bratwursts.
You can spend hours exploring Vilnius’ Old Town and all of its hidden shops and boutiques, where you can find unique souvenirs or a good bargain. Stop by the Design House Zoraza, a creative workshop designing both interior items and fashion inspired by the old architecture and buildings of the area, fused with the inhabitant’s bohemian style.
Hales Market is a must-see for foodies of any kind, with it being one of the largest and oldest markets in the city dating back to 1906. Here you will find 8,400 square meters filled to the brim with fresh, local produce, organic fruit and vegetables, honey, as well as homemade and industrial goods. This is just one of many markets, or turgus, that lie in the area. Remember that haggling is common here, so you can really get yourself a good bargain!
After exploring this beautiful Medieval streets, you will appreciate sleeping in the serene, baroque surroundings at the five-star Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius, located in the heart of the Old Town.