The only good tourist trap I must tell you is: don't buy the crap from on the streets of Old Town. This is for the tourists. You will pay up to 3 times more as would from the store.
Unique Suggestions: Don't accept the price they tell you, even it it has a price tag on the souvenir.Tell them no!
Fun Alternatives: The alternative would be, find out the the local souvenir shop. You will get good stuff at reasonable price. Check out also art galleries for nice paintings of Old Town.
To take photos in Vilnius is really amazing thing. In day day there are almost no problem with photo quality, the night comes - problems appear. It is because of the lack of light. Photos become blurred and it is the main problem. It is even not so good taking photos by AUTO mode on digital camera.
One more problem with photographing in Vilnius is in some churches - it is too hight contrasts sometimes happen and interior of churches becomes kind of ugly thing.
Cars and people in old town sometimes do difficulties and to take photo without any confusion takes lot of time.
You can see my photo as an example of night photography without tripod.
Fun Alternatives: Take a tripod if you really want to have pictures at night. Moreover - stay more focused with photo-camera.
It is better to take photos at the morning, when not so much people and cars.
Good look taking excellent photos!
Generally speaking, the phone system in Lithuania is solid, Western-standard.
New phone-card phones are now the norm in the city center. Cards range in price from 9 to 30 litas. You can buy them at kiosks, post offices and some stores. Cards can be used for local, national or international calls. Calling mobile phones or international numbers will gobble up your credit very, very fast. If you have a lot of calls to make and want to save cash, ask for an IMK card for 35 litas. It gives you an access number and password and has cheaper per minute rates.
BBC World Service (95.5 FM): BBC in English 24 hours.
Radio France Internationale (98.3 FM).
M1 Plus (106.2 FM): Less talk, more music, no techno.
M1 (106.8 FM).
Radiocentras (101.5 FM).
Radiocentras 2 (100.1 FM).
Lietuvos Radijas (102.6 FM): Radio Vilnius, local news in English, starts at 21:00.
Znad Wilii (103.8 FM): An independent Polish and Russian station.
This is an area that is more catered to the foreign visitor of the world. In my experience I'm the type of peson that if I see something that catches my eyes, I buy right away no questions ask...but, with Grazina there she knew what was genuine and fake, expensive and cheap (price-wise)
Unique Suggestions: If you buy "Amber" which is worth it's weight in Gold, make sure you bite down on the pretty amber. If it sounds and feels like grass or rock on you pearly whites then is not genuine amber, because amber's makes a sound more like hard plastic to your teeth then it's authentic
Fun Alternatives: Don't get me wrong, do go into the Old Town. This is the one purpose for coming to Vilnius, it's a fun place to hang out all day and window shop as well as eating in fine diners which are set up all along the streets of the Old Town.
There is a particular square plate in the Cathedral Square which says Stebuklas on it, meaning "Miracle." The exact location of this square is never given due to superstition.
This is where, on August 23, 1989, a human chain started/ended. It stretched from Vilnius to Talinn, covering some 600km and including around 1 million people. This was in protest of the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which divied the Baltic between Stalin and Hitler.
You will see people stand on it, think for a second and then turn around three times. If you make a wish before you spin around and then don't tell anyone about it, it's supposed to come true.
More likely than not, you'll wait for half an hour to get your chance and then freak out and forget your wish and wish for something stupid and then end up telling everyone so it doesn't come true. : )
Unique Suggestions: It's kinda fun watching people do it, especially the mafia girlfriends wearing 3 inch stiletto heels.
Some beggars sitting in famous places in Vilnius, are only alcoholics, who want to get money for buing a bottle of beer.
Beggars like to be in some famous place as near the Cathedral, near castle and some other places. Photo shows the Cathedral at night.
Unique Suggestions: Maybe it's not very big trap. Some beggars look like alcoholics, some not.
Fun Alternatives: So, if you really want to help people in need, better buy to him something to eat in nearest shop.
Fire: telephone No. 01.
Police: telephone No. 02.
Ambulance: telephone No. 03.
Unique Suggestions: The easiest and the shortest way to call to emergencies from a local phone.
During my second visit (by a car) to Lithuania I visited a few off the beaten paths and I wanted to spend a night at Trakai - lovely town close to Vilnius - but there was NO vacancy at any hotel there. By the way it was Thursday, not weekend.
So, I had to drive to Vilnius. I marked a few hotels on my Vilnius map, hotels easy to get to by a car before reaching city centre and...
1. I didn't find two first of them marked on Vilnius map: "Mano kelia" - hmm... the area of huge apartments buildings around didn't look nice in any way, so I stoped to look for it, I couldn't find Joalina hotel as well (night and no signs),
2. No way, I had to drive to city centre. Hmm... there was no vacancy in the first two hotels: Velga and Revis. I started to get a little bit nervous. In the third hotel: Hotel Zemaites which looked very nice but was fully booked as well, I asked the receptionist to call to any other hotel. She didn't want to do it, I think but she finally called to 3 or 4 other hotels and replied that there was no vacancy in any. She explained that all hotels were usually empty but that day they were fully booked by groups from Poland. And she adviced us to drive to Europa City hotel.
3. In Europa Hotel a very nice guy - receptionist said: "sorry, no vacancy but please wait a minute". He started to call somewhere and finally he asked whether we accepted the special prize of approx. 270 Lt (lower than regular price) in another, very good hotel. When we said yes he asked us about surname and called again to that hotel to make immediate reservation. Well, he explained us how to get to Crowne Plaza hotel by a car. Well, the prize 270 Lt was really below the regular prize for that very good hotel.
Unique Suggestions: Don't be nervous like me in the 5th hotel haha, keep smiling and drive/call to 6th... 15th etc. There are many, more and more hotels in Vilnius.
Vilnius was mostly visited by thousands of Polish visitors during Polish long weekends that was close to:
- 1-3 May,
- in June when Corpus Christi catholic holiday is (always on Thursday, I was just that time!)
- in August (15th is catholic holiday).
Expect no vacancy and book in advance for these days!
Fun Alternatives: Book in advance! More in my Hotels & Accommodations tips.
Well, there were direction signs from Vilnius downtwn/centre to highway (signed as a freeway/motorway) A-1 (E85) to Kaunas although they were not repeated and along a few kilometers I didn't know whether I chose right way. Do NOT expect both in Vilnius and in Kaunas right put direction signs that is with distances and numbers of highways, put before, on and repeated after at least the main crossroads.
When I was driving to the TV Tower I got lost 3 times and it took me over 1 and a half hour! Finally with my limited time I had to skip it, more: I had to skip Trakai as well as it was too late to visit it.
There was one direction sign to the TV tower close to Vilnius downtown/centre and... nothing more. So, I tried to get there just looking at the tower. Well, I have only schematic map of Vilnius suburbs, my mistake. Next time...
Unique Suggestions: Hmm... at least I was lucky to see a few off the beaten paths more when I got lost... If it makes any difference for you, these things (signing roads) went worse (much worse) in the former Soviet Union and in Riga, Latvia even now in 2004.
Fun Alternatives: Buy detailed map of Vilnius with its suburbs and TV tower marked. And watch carefully your itinerary before you go. In case of problems stop and check your location on the map again and again. Keep smiling and... good luck :-) Try not to get to Belarus, it's only 35 km away.
Ups! You are in the traps! But Reda is very well wishing today and hurries to help you. Take this picture with yourself when you ward in the courts of Vilnius University. I hope it will help not to miss your way here.
Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in the Europe established in 1579. Buildings of the University are original with its architecture, cosy courts, decorations and frescos.
Everywhere you look, there are amber shops and stalls. Caveat emptor and stuff. I was hoping to buy a nice amber ring or earrings but I didnt see anything I liked unfortunately.
Unique Suggestions: Haggle and compare prices.
Fun Alternatives: http://www.russiantreasure.com/amber/baltic-amber.htm
There's lots of shopping to do in Vilnius, with stores of all types everywhere. As in other parts of Lithuania, westerners may be charged more, so get a Lithuanian to buy things for you at the market or anywhere else where the price is not clearly marked.
Not exactly a tourist trap, let's say 'local trap' and great place for shopping! :)
Biggest open air market in Baltics – Gariunai. You won’t believe prices of clothes there! It’s what in middle East is called “bazaar”. Exactly, so if you’re for some shopping experiences and tired of expensive designer clothes and shops in center or if you need clothes like jeans, simple blouses, sweaters, or just anything get your butt there on weekend, basically from sunrise till noon. Many people there, count your money carefully!
in the picture Fragment of the Old Town street.
Not worth the fee to ride the elevator to the top. Visit the site for the history but really the view is not worth the cost considering how inexpensive everything else is in Vilinus.
However, the trolly ride was interesting.
see all Vilnius member meetings