Favorite thing: I finally got the chance to meet up with my good friend Rasa along with her very good friend Milda also a VT member. They made me feel very welcome in Vilnius and it was fun at Gracas. Shame I missed the cocktail party the following day. Thank you ladies I hope its not to soon before you invite me back..?
A complete contrast to the baroque Old Town of Vilnius is the so called New Town which was created after Lithuania's break from the Soviet Union.
Besides a modern shopping centre it is also home to the tallest skyscraper of the Baltic States.
The Europa Tower has a height of 148 m and was officially opened on the 1st May 2004 which was the day when Lithuania joined the European Union.
Another building which dominates the skyline of the New Town is the newly renovated 22-storey Reval Hotel Lietuva. It is the largest hotel in Vilnius and includes a Sky Bar which offers panoramic views of the city.
The New Town is situated on the right bank of the Neris River in the Snipiskes district of Vilnius.
Uzupis is a bohemian district of Vilnius where, since the last couple of years, artists dreamers and writers have settled down. During Soviet times it was one of the most run down areas in the city, with many buildings in decay.
After Lithuania's independence, Uzupis also declared itself as an independent republic (Uzupio Respublika) with its own constitution. The people of Uzupis even celebrate their unofficial independence day on the 1st of April.
The most famous sights in the district are the mermaid statue by the river and the Uzupis Angel at the main square, but you definitely shouldn't miss having a closer look in some of the courtyards of the run down houses.
Unfortunately there are already rumours that Uzupis will sooner or later be turned from an alternative to a trendy district. So better visit it right now ...
Uzupis is located on the Eastern side of the Vilnia river, therefore the name of the district is literally translated as "on the other side of the river".
This might seem a strange tip for some, but I just had to add it.
Cashpoints in Vilnius are all over. So you need never worry about running out of money, as wherever we walked we saw absolutely stacks of ATM's, so you need never run out of money, they are out there...
ATM is called BANKOMATAS in Lithuanian language and marked as on my picture. Just in case you are looking for any...
By the way, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are going to introduce European currency Euro, Lithuania in 2009 but the exact date is still not known (in 2004).
It's possible to pick up a Russian visa within 24 hours by using a travel agency in Vilnius. It cost me $110 US, but they did everything, and Vilnius was on the way from Warsaw to St Petersburg. I used Kelvita travel agency in the main Vilnius train station.
They also do visas for Belarus and Ukraine.
Favorite thing: St. Anna's church, a real jewel in Gothic brickwork. Innumerable different sorts and sizes of bricks made this possible. When Napoleon saw it he wanted to transport the whole church to France.
Strolling through Old Town from the Gates of Dawn to the Cathedral and Gediminas' Hill.
Fondest memory: I was lucky enough to work for several months in the northern part of the country (Mazeikiai) where I met several people form Vilnius. Before I left, I spent a week in Vilnius, mostly hanging out with the friends I made and their friends. We didn't always congregate in the regular places (pubs, nightclubs, etc.).
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.
Fondest memory: 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.
I am always admired about a lot of green areas in Vilnius. Even historical places, banks of river Neris, some regional parks and oldtown's squares remained green.
For example, green banks of Neris is a good place to do air-baloon championships, just to walk and so on.
Another admirable thing is people living there are really helpful and quick.
Fondest memory: It's interesting to get into old city (especially churches) and see a friendly atmosphere and mixed styles of architecture. It's enjoyable to have a free time in various Vilnius bars and coffes.
According to legend, during a campaign against the crusaders, Gediminas camped in the area of what is now Vilnius. He dreamed of an iron wolf howling at the top of a hill. The sages interpreted the dream to mean that he was to biuld a invincible city at the site of his camp.
Fondest memory: I really enjoy reading Vilnius legend and would be gald to know legends of more cities.
Sometimes I try to foresee the place where Gediminas camped, but it's impossible.
Maybe it's a top of mount where is a castle of Vilnius?
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.
Before I went to Vilnius:
1. I read some pages on Vilnius on Virtual Tourist here
2. I used the tool "Find Hotel Deals" on the above page to check the prices of accommodations (hmm... I couldn't book any as I wasn't sure my dates).
3. I read latest discussions on Vilnius in VT Travel Forum here.
4. I bought a travel book in Polish: "Wilno. Barok z kamienia i oblokow" (192 p.). My recommendation: up-to-date practical info, great info on history and great description + maps of 8 walking tours (+ trip to Trakai). Hmm... still 5 to do including very interesting tour around Jewish Vilnius!
5. I bought Polish version of Rough Guide travel book to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Kaliningrad district and a map of these countries.
1. I bought travel guide to Vilnius by Tomas Venclova (Polish version: Wilno, 214 p.) at the Gediminas Tower. It was available for sure in English and Lithuanian as well - my recommendation! Hmm... 42.00 Lt was a little bit much but... I found inside: a lot of lovely pictures and well written, with some passion info on history of Vilnius and point by point on its 78 tourist attractions. No practical info there.
On the web I found tons of info on the following portals:
Vilnius City Paper
Vilnius in your pocket
Vilnius City Municipality
When I was in Vilnius it was the Lithuanian Archaeology exposition in museums. I remembered my archaeologies past (I studied history and I had the practise of archaeology in Latvia) and took this picture.
If you go to Vilnius you have to learn one man’s name. It is Gedeminas. Sorry, I haven’t exact information about this person, but I understood that hi was very important king of Lithuania. In the picture is the museum of Gedeminas.
Fondest memory: The great view of Vilnius is from gedeminas Museum's tower.
see all Vilnius member meetings