The River Neris undulates through the heart of Vilnius, passing iconic attractions such as Gediminas Castle, the Lithuanian Parliament and UNESCO Old Town. Enjoy a weekend break in the Lithuanian capital and explore what these shores have to offer.
You can follow the curves of the river for a perfect stroll at any time of the year, but there are more than just picturesque banks to discover. This artery pumps life through the city with its many attractions on, over and along the river. Enjoy panoramic views from a hot air balloon at sunset or get close to the water in a kayak or gondola. If this temps you, then read our top tips for enjoying Vilnius from the river.
1. Tour the river
One of the best way to experience the river is to take a guided boat cruise and see iconic sights such as Gediminas Castle and the Old Town. Not only will you have a great vantage point from the river, you’ll learn about the city along the way. The tours run hourly, seven days a week and depart from the embankment near King Mindaugas Bridge, next to the National Museum.
2. Slow down the pace
Alternatively, slow down the pace with a romantic gondola cruise. Trips can be personalized with a photographer to capture the moment, a city guide or even a musician to set the mood. During the day, watch the stunning city architecture as you float by and at dusk enjoy the reflections and lights as you sail past.
3. Just you and the water
For the sporty, hire a kayak and stay out on the river as long as you like. You can choose from several tours lasting from one hour to a full day trip. Along the way, you can enjoy being part of nature and admire the old town, churches, a palace and other historic buildings, in contrast to the modern city.
4. Take to the skies
Nothing could be more romantic than treating your loved ones to a trip in a hot air balloon at sunrise or sunset. Absorb the bird’s eye view of the river, the city and beyond, whilst sipping on a glass of champagne. This really is a unique experience as only a few European cities offer such a treat.
5. Self-guided walk along the riverbank
Follow the paths along the edge of the riverbank and create your own guided tour. The paths allow you to admire the stunning architecture, parliament and bridges from a different perspective. For variation in your holiday snaps, why not take the tour at sunset and enjoy the illuminations of the city by night.
6. Viewpoints from Verkiai Park
Verkiai Park is one of the city’s most-loved recreational areas at any time of year with a nice outlook over the water. In the heart of the park is a complex of palaces. The surrounding forest is ideal for biking or walking around the paths.
7. Picnics at the summer beach
The summer beach is also situated in Verkiai Park and is one of the secret treasures of the city. It is the perfect location for picnics and barbeques, as well as relaxing or playing volleyball and basketball. Bring along your travel companions and soak up the local atmosphere. Alternatively, just pack a picnic and find a perfect spot anywhere on the riverbank.
The river is an important part of life in the city and in recent years has become a popular recreational space for cultural events, watersports and picnics. The Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius is located in the heart of the Old Town, just minutes from the water’s edge. Plan your next European city break in Vilnius and discover the beauty of the River Neris.
Top image: ©Marina_89/Shutterstock.com