Vilnius is the largest city and capital of Lithuania. Name of the city comes from River Vilna. Lithuania is one of the Baltic countries along with Estonia and Latvia. Lithuania, one of the Soviet Union Socialist Republics (USSR), achieved independence in 1991.
A city of long history, notable architecture, an authenticity, a diverse feeling that you can easily get when arriving, especially when being in the old town.
When visited Vilnius I had the idea to join a walking tour. Two hour and a half free walking tours, are organised by Vilnius with Locals Tour, start every day, all year round, at 10: 00 am and 12:00 pm (noon) from Town Hall.
Raminta, our tour guide, a lovely Lithuanian girl provided us with so much information of the history of Vilnious and lot of useful tips.
Our tour included most popular landmarks of the capital, as Užupis district, the cathedral, Gediminas Hill, Literatu street, Pilles street, soviet and german buildings street, St. Virgin Maria’s Church, old town and more. What impressed me the most is that, as Raminta said, Vilnious has 70 churches !!!
Tour is free but donation is welcomed and deserved, as I experienced it and I can say definitely worth joining.
Sugamour was my next stop. Sugamour, is an elegant patisserie and restaurant, vegetarian friendly, with gluten free options, decorated to impress, with a great variety of desserts, macaroons, cakes, serving coffee and hot chocolate as well.
I admit a little pricey, but high quality taste. Ordered a crêpe with curd, stuffed creamy filling, crème brûlée, white chocolate sauce and fresh berries and a cappuccino. Total cost per person 9,50 €.
Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, previously known as the Museum of Genocide, is situated in the former KGB building, where the crimes of the Soviet regime were planned and executed.
Your visit starts from the basement, where you can see the former KGB prison, which, as said, was repainted up to 18 layers of paint. Exhibition on the ground floor displays photos and videos by the nine year long partisan war and Lithuanian history back in 1940. In the first floor displayed photographs, documents and videos related to deportees and Lithuanian history, when part of Soviet Union. Entrance to the museum is 4 €, paid only in cash.
Best part of my visit to Vilnius is definitely Gediminas Hill and Tower. Simply you can not miss best view of the city, especially if you visit on sunset. View is totally breathtaking and in short walking distance from Cathedral Square. Be prepared for a short climb to the top of the hill, totally worth it. Entrance to the hill is free. If you fancy entering the tower price is 5 €.
One of most popular best deal eats in Vilnius is Forro Davras restaurant. A popular restaurant with friendly staff, central situated. A queue always to be expected for about 10- 15 min, especially Friday night and the weekends. What the locals eat? Potatoes !!!
Potatoes filled with meat, fried potatoes, potato pancakes, potato- meat dumplings, potatoes with bacon, potatoes with pork and beetroot, and more. Starter was beetroot soup with wild mushrooms and slices of pork meat. Soup was lovely and amazingly tasty. Main dish was roast bacon with horseradish sauce, potato mash and beetroot salad. As waitress recommended I was about to taste a popular Lithuanian dish. Not sure how Lithuanians prefer to cook their bacon and mash, but I felt there was no taste. Nice ambiance, friendly service, great price and a great variety of choices. Ordered with bread and hot red wine, total cost per person 13 €.
Cathedral square is the main square of the old town, right in front of the Cathedral. Cathedral is a popular meeting point and one of the most important religious venues in the city. If you fancy shopping, major shopping streets are Gediminas Avenue, clothing and souvenir shops street, Pilies Street, Didzoji Street.
As has been said, Lithuanians are not of those super smiley people. What I realised is that they do smile but need to get to know you a little better. On the contrary, in Užupis, an independent free spirit republic in Vilnius, is clearly stated that primary requirement to enter the community is to smile and if you don’t you are not welcome.
Užupis, is an artistic neighbourhood, means beyond the river, and was created by 12 Lithuanians artists. What impressed me the most that Užupis has it’s own constitution and you can get your passport stamped.
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