Azuolyno str. 7, Vilnius, 7171, Lithuania
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Radisson Blu Lietuva Hotel, Vilnius
The entrance to the St Casimir Chapel.
From a nearby street
Day trip to Minsk?
Thinking of a visit to Vilnius next month, and the possibility of a day trip to Minsk - if that's possible!
Has anyone done that?
Do you waste a lot of times at border crossings?
Do you get a visa on entry, or does it have to be in advance?
Does anyone in Vilnius offer organised transport there/back (presumably easier than taking a rented car in/out)?
It might seem an odd request, but I've been to Vilnius countless times and although Minsk is just along the road, I've never been! Just curious.
Re: Day trip to Minsk?
Been to Minsk because of job matters. Doable. Visa only in advance, doable within 1 day, but will cost. Best option - „Kelvita“ agency at the Vilnius train station (ticket offices 29, 30), www.kelvita.lt
, there is EN version but not sure if it works (it's a recent improvement), they do communicate english. Read www.inyourpocket.com about Minsk, booklet has a good map in latin (if you don't know kirilitsa). All tips in the „Minsk-in-your-pocket“ (as for the sights, „musts“, etc) should be taken into account. I used the public transport, but the car would be much better choice: streets are wide, straight, city is wastly spread, comfortable, clean and safe. Apart the political regime it's quite good city in very beautiful country (at lithuanian viewpoint, as it's quite similar to LT, but more spacious).
Border crossing was smooth, except on the way back I've been checked by customs with metal detector because i had too much currency (because of job matters), so I had to turn back to Minsk, leave the money so far, and then everything turned OK. I.e., I was allowed to enter my homeland, hehe ;).
I took a regular bus early in the morning. There is a schedule in Vilnius bus station hall – on right side if you face the ticket office. There are trains too, www.litrail.lt
All writings in Belarus are in Belarussian, though people in Minsk mostly communicate in russian even among each other.
Re: Day trip to Minsk?
i speak a bit of russian so the language bit will be OK...
Re: Day trip to Minsk?
A day trip to Minsk is really not very practical. There are frequent trains from Vilnius to Minsk. It does not cost much, 22 Ltas (about $10) each way. But the trip takes about 4 hours. So you will spend 8 hours just going back and forth. A Visa is a must, depending on your citizenship they can be expensive and a bit of a drudge to get.
Also, Minsk is a very big city, so you really will not see much in just a day. But Minks is a very nice city, particularly in Summer. So it is worth the trip.
To see more about traveling to Minsk, check out this site:
For more discussions about Lithuania, try this Lithuanian discussion forum:
Travel Tips for Vilnius
Place for entertainments
When I was 15 I started to think, that I don't have a lot of information about my city Vilnius and surroundings. I started to be interested in Vilnius history, architecture, famous people and more things I can to provide now. Just in this I thought - Vilnius is really clear and nice city. There are a lot of conviniences, prepared for tourist, entertaining clubs, discos bars and so on. Everytime when I do excursions for my friends in Vilnius oldtown they become amazed with saign "wow, is it really true what I saw this city's beauty only now, I never thought about this earlier".
so, I like sence of knowledge and everytime when I go for a walk in my city I get to know more and more.
Safety and wrong prejudices
I found Vilnius a safe city although maybe I was too short there to catch accurate opinion. There were not many police seen in Vilnius but I felt there as safe as in any other European capital.
Well, I had wrong prejudicies on low personal safety in Vilnius. That's why I, at least at first, was more careful: I avoided dark backstreets at night, areas around bus and railway stations, I watched my valuables all the time etc. Well, I would be scared to enter alone districts full of huge, Soviet style apartments buildings esp. at night although looking for accommodation at night I had to do it once and nothing bad happened.
Forget about car thefts but...
I was warned many times not to travel to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by my car because of high risk of car thefts. Haha, I do NOT believe in it although I don't know any official police statistics. Maybe it could happen in the past... maybe if I drive top class Mercedes car.
Well, there was something wrong about car alarms in Vilnius and generally in all Baltic states. I could hear their loud alarms many times although nothing bad happened to the cars. Low quality of alarms or what?
I saw one Lithuanian car with plastic wrap instead of glass window at my guarded hotel parking lot. Does it prove anything?
I drove quite new, small (but enough for two) Toyota Yaris (similar to American ECHO) which was equipped in some good (top secret :-) alarms and insuranced against thefts. And... I didn't wash my car during my trip haha. In Vilnius I parked on unguarded but mostly paid parking lots and at guarded (and additionally paid) parking lot of my hotel at night.
The first what you may notice...
The first what you may notice in Vilnius streets – a lot of models warding forward and backward along Gediminas Avenue, really like on the podium. So seriously, proudly, nice dressed, without smile (hungry?). Don’t be mistaken, they are not models at all. But listen to the judgement of the international: “Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are allegedly fertile grounds for girls with the right look. According to one French fashion journalist “It's the eyes, the long necks, the high cheek bones...Baltic girls have something that girls from other countries don't.””
And this is an opinion of our men:
“Lithuanian girl – like flower of beautiful meadows,
As if gold is the colour of your hair.
Your eyes are like the blue of the sky,
Like the boundless horizons of Lithuania.
Lithuanian girl, I am dreaming only about you,
Your eyes fascinated me so much.
Lithuanian girl, I am your slave,
My heart belongs to YOU!”
This is a ditty singed by our men since the last century (mainly between I and II world wars).
Leonard Cohen in Vilnius :-)
I saw few young guys singing various songs on streets of Vilnius old town. Most people didn't pay them but some visitors did :-).
Well, this guy on my picture stood at the main street of the old town - Pilies gatve (Castle Street). He was playing a guitar and singing a song by... Leonard Cohen (Canadian from Montreal born 1934) "Dance Me To The End Of Love" which was for some reasons my favourite song in the past :-))). Read here. Well, Cohen was quite popular in Poland in 80'.
Majority of Vilnians (is it correct name in English?) live in the suburbs in mostly huge Soviet-style apartment buildings in small or very small apartments/flats.
Problem No 1 for young Vilnians
I was talking about it with young couple of locals who asked me how it works in Poland. Each of them lived together with their parents in 5 or 6 person family in a small flat - just 2 or 3 small rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. They both started to work in 2003 (after University) and complained that they would never earn enough to buy own even the smallest flat/apartment or to hire it in Vilnius where prices were very high (in relation to their salaries). Hmm... in my country, Poland it works similar. Young folks and even not so young have the same problem and no way to leave their parents.
This is NOT America
My friends from the USA asked me how many bathrooms, how many living-rooms etc. my house or apartment had. Haha, it was quite different world. Typical, small Soviet-style flat/apartment ALWAYS have 1 bathroom and 1 living room and 1 sleeping room. And when more than 2 people live inside (= almost always) it's difficult to say which room is a living room which a sleeping room (both). And that's why we always define the size of a flat/apartment by putting number of rooms (usually 2 or 3) and its area in square meters. Their prices are given just by square meter.
Well, it seems that housing problems started to change very slowly in that part of our globe. At least in Poland, young folks complain a lot but more and more (still minority and usually with strong family support and/or bank credits)... buy their first own small flat/apartment. Hmm... in my hometown it costs approx. minimum 40-50 total average monthly salaries just for 2 small rooms in huge Soviet-style building.
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