We always enjoy getting to know new destinations, and were always drawn to the Baltic states. When we received an invitation from Vilnius tourism board to travel there, we felt that this was an excellent opportunity to explore a new city, as well as expose a less known destination to the Israeli public.
The capital city of Lithuania. It is a city that feels like a small town because everything is green there, there is almost no vehicular traffic, it is very peaceful and you can reach anywhere on foot. It is full of impressive architecture, interesting history, parks, museums, markets and much to do and see.
Is also a surprisingly culinary destination, because there we ate at restaurants that were among the best we had eaten at in the world (a detailed post about all the restaurants we visited in Vilnius)! And not only that, if you decide to visit it during the summer months like we did, then you can enjoy the almost endless daylight. The sunset was at 22:40 at night and the sunrise at five in the morning!! We found ourselves leaving a restaurant at ten in the evening and there was still light outside and it was a pleasure. Oh, and the taxis there are really cheap inside the city, we paid between 1.5 euros to 3 euros.
In short, the city of Vilnius turned out to be an amazing city that we were happy to reach. Next time we will also rent a car and explore all of Lithuania (the city of Kaunas is an hour away, I got to explore it in October 2018 and had a great time there).
How to get to Vilnius
Now it is possible to reach Vilnius by a direct flight. We flew with WizzAir. A flight of about three and a half hours. The flight was on time and we arrived at the city at five in the afternoon. As usual, I used the flight time to work on the blog and read a book.
Where to stay in Vilnius?
We stayed at Hotel Vilna (compare hotel prices and additional reviews) a new four-star hotel in a central and quiet location. We really loved the hotel and the room we were in was excellent as well, pampering and spacious with a balcony overlooking the park.
For more information about our experience at the hotel.
Transportation in Vilnius
The truth is that most of the time we walked in the city, because it’s very fun to walk around and everything is close by. When we were a bit exhausted from walking then we took a taxi, because prices are really cheap. We ordered the taxi on the Yango app and there is also a local app called ETaksi (Though we booked using Yango every time and we were very satisfied).
In addition, we took the Hop on and Off bus twice, which is a great way to hear about the history of the city by bus and also to reach places you might not have reached. We discovered the Beltamons this way, which is an amazing area of nature, waterfalls, bridges and walking and cycling routes (10 Minutes from the city). There is also public transportation by buses that can be used within the city.
Sim card in Vilnius
The SIM card is really cheap and very simple to find so I recommend buying a local SIM card instead of getting an internet package. The Sim card cost 4 Euros for 4gb of data and we bought it at a convenience store in the city center. Every time you encounter a convenience store called Narvesen, know that you can find a SIM card there.
The city has many museums and things to do, and if you’re planning on getting a lot of them done – you might want to purchase the Vilnius card for either one, two or three days. The card will give you discounted or free entrance to many attractions.
For example, a gondola ride cost us a euro instead of eight, and the Hop on and off bus was free for two routes with a third route for 3 euros. In short, it’s very advantageous to get the card if you want to explore the city in depth. You may also purchase the card that includes free public transport.
Our Vilnius itinerary
Detailed route in Vilnius – Recommendations for things to do in the city
Day 1: Tour of the city, Georgian restaurant, walking around town, orange juice at the hotel, Chef’s restaurant
We started the day with breakfast at Hotel Vilnia
Then we went on a tour of the city, this was the first time we had a tour in Hebrew abroad, because we usually join free tours, which are based on tips, but this time we took a private tour of two hours with the guide Danny. The tour was fascinating and we learned a lot about Judaism in Vilnius and about the lesser aspects of Lithuania during World War 2.
If you want a tour in Hebrew in the city then you can book a private tour through his company Jerulita and if you are looking to join a group tour then there are companies offering free tours in the city such as FreeTour.
Lunch at Georgian restaurant
After the tour we wanted to have lunch, and had consulted Danny on where we should go. He recommended Georgian house and said it was the best Georgian restaurant in town, so of course we listen to his advice. The restaurant was great and I especially enjoyed the Khinkali with mushrooms.
Walking around town
After the restaurant we decided to walk around town by foot for a bit. It was great fun to see the city and just roam it aimlessly.
We decided to go back to the hotel to rest and noticed an orange juice stand next to it. We decided to get some and bring it back with us. We asked the hotel restaurant for a glass with ice and enjoyed our orange juice on our room’s balcony.
Dinner at chef’s restaurant
On our trip we visited two incredible chef’s restaurants. The first was Amandus and the second was Sweet Root. Both offered delicious meals. If you’re looking for a high class restaurant to celebrate an specific event or just treat yourself, I highly recommend either of these (Or both if you can manage it), as they’re considered among the best restaurants in town and you’ll enjoy a unique culinary experience there.
Day 2: Bike ride in the part, Gondola ride, a Portuguese and Indian restaurant, Illusions museum, coffee break, street food complex
We started the day as usual with breakfast at the hotel
Bike ride in the park
After the meal we decided to rent bikes from the hotel for 3 euros an hour and went to Bernardine park, in front of the hotel. The park is really beautiful and we had a great time there. If you don’t enjoy biking as much, just go there for a walk.
We went over the benefits awarded by the Vilnius pass card and saw a 50-minute gondola ride in the city. We decided to buy cherries at the grocery store on the way there and went to the starting point for the ride.
The ride is a single euro with the Vilnius pass, instead of the usual 8 euros (It’s important to bring the coupon pamphlet that comes with the card as well). We were four people in the gondola, and enjoyed some excellent weather and delicious cherries. If you’re looking for a fun, light attraction this is a great choice.
Lunch – Portuguese restaurant with Indian influences
Before the trip I saw some recommendations for a restaurant called Gaspars and decided to give it a chance. It turned out to be one of the best restaurants of the trip. Those who love seafood will enjoy it very much and even those who do not, will find really good dishes.
Before the trip I did some research on the city and saw that there are many recommendations regarding the Museum of Illusions. The cost of admission is 11 Euros or only 5 euros with a Vilnius card. We were in the museum for about two hours and really enjoyed it. It is suitable for adults and children, and there are lots of illusions that will astonish you. I really recommend this museum and think it’s a must when you visit the city.
Then we went around the city and stopped in a cafe to have a cold coffee. We sat at Post Scriptum. I do not have a special recommendation about coffee in it, but it was fun to sit outside and the coffee was great.
After a rest at the hotel we continued to the area of street food trucks called Open Kitchen. It’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays so if you happen to be there during the weekend, don’t miss out on this food court. It’s great for lunches or dinners. There are music and seating, as well as various food trucks like Vietnamese, Turkish, hamburgers and more. There is also a beer stall and a juice stand.
Day 3: Bus tour, Trip in Belmontas, grill restaurant, another bus tour, local restaurant
We started the day with breakfast at the hotel
Hop on and Off Bus Tour
We saw that there was a possibility using the Vilnius ticket to take a free bus tour and we decided it was a good option, because it was another good way to see the city and I was also a bit tired (that’s what happens when traveling whilst pregnant). We went to the station where the bus leaves and it turned out that we missed the bus we wanted. There are three routes and we wanted to take the red route, but because it was already out, we settled on the green track. It turned out that our delay was excellent because thanks to the Green Line we reached a magical place.
We rode the bus for about half an hour and listened to the audio and heard information about the places we saw. Then we arrived at Belmontas. From the description of the place on the audio guide, we realized that we wanted to stay there a while, rather than continue the bus ride.
For those who want to continue on the bus then there is a possibility to go out for a 10-minute break for a picture and then continue the bus tour. We decided to stay there and just return by taxi (the distance is 10 minutes to the city center).
The area itself is really beautiful and there are waterfalls, bridges and walking and bicycle paths. At first, we took photographs and just explored the area.
After that, we took a walking route of about an hour walking and saw people picnicking along the way (there are lots of trees and plants so it’s shaded and pleasant to sit there) and also families who took their small children to the shallow waters of the river. There is also the possibility of a slightly longer walk.
When we had finished walking, we decided to sit down for lunch. There are four restaurants in the area, and we chose to sit at the one opposite the river and the waterfalls and there was a professional grill there. The Belmontas Waterfalls restaurant is a grill and local cuisine restaurant. Roman ordered a great ribs dish there and we also ordered Greek salad and sausages.
Red route Hop on and Off Bus Tour
After lunch, we booked a taxi with the Yango app and returned to the hotel (costing about 4 euros). After a rest at the hotel, we decided to take another bus tour and this time we took the red route. We took a tour of about an hour where we stayed on the bus and just listened to the audio and heard about the points of interest we went through.
Dinner and local restaurant
This time for dinner we went to the local restaurant Leiciai. Roman made a mistake having ribs that day because we had a full tasting meal with plenty of local and satisfying food and Roman had no place for it anymore. The restaurant had a medieval design and there was also a band that played Lithuanian music. There was a great atmosphere and if you come for a tasting dinner there which costs 25 euro per person you should come with plenty of room in your stomach. The meal also includes tasting of 5 different local beers.
Day 4: Tour to Trakai city with included a castle tour, a restaurant by the lake, a pedal boat and on the way back – a Chinese restaurant in Vilnius
That morning we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and go to Augustas ir Barbora café, which was recommended to me on Instagram. This is a perfect café for taking pictures, as well as delicious food. I had a healthy breakfast there with Muesli, fresh juice and coffee and Roman only had juice as he was still full from the previous day.
Tour of the city of Trakai
After breakfast we went to the station from which the tour bus leaves for Trakai (there is a tour with only audio, without a tour of the castle, for 20 euros and tour with a tour guide which also includes a tour of the castle for 35 euros, there is a discount for both types of tours with the Vilnius pass).
We did the tour with the guide. This is a half-day tour to the former capital city of Lithuania (a journey of about 30 minutes to the city). Our tour included a ride to the city with a tour guide who told us in English about the city. After that there was a tour of the castle itself with the tour guide for about an hour and then there was an hour or so of free time in the city. We quickly realized that an hour and a half would not be enough for us, so we informed the instructor that we would not join the return ride and would return independently.
There is also a possibility to arrive by car or by public transport (there is a bus coming from Vilnius to Trakai but it stops at a station 2 km from the city center, then you can walk to the center or take a taxi).
Tour of the castle
After reaching Trakai we went for a tour of the castle, which was built in the 15th century and has since been reconstructed several times. The castle is quite large and it’s recommended to have a tour guide with you, otherwise it’s difficult to understand what you see in each room. If you come to Trakai independently, try calling the castle in advance and seeing if it’s possible to arrange a guided tour in advance.
After the castle tour, we walked around town for a bit and visited the Bona restaurant. We sat right by the lake and ordered Kibinai, a local dish, a type of pastry with different fillings, as a starter. I had the cheese and dried tomato filling which was really good. For mains I had fish and Roman had clams, we enjoyed ourselves a lot, especially with the view of the lake and castle.
After the meal we decided to rent a pedal boat. The rental costs 10 euros an hour and is a really fun activity. It was hot outside and we were bummed not to have brought swimsuits, as many people had swimsuits on in the boats and went into the waters outside the castle, where it’s shallow. It’s recommended in general to bring swimsuits, so you can go in the lake on the hot summer days.
In the afternoon we wanted to go back to the hotel and preferred getting a taxi rather than waiting for the bus, but couldn’t find any available taxis on the app, so we ended up coming back with an Italian tour for the elderly.
Dinner at Chinese restaurant
We came back quite exhausted from our day In Trakai, as it was really hot as well and we decided to have dinner at a restaurant near the hotel. A Chinese restaurant named Mian. I ordered noodles and Roman had soup, we were both pleased.
The next day we came back to Israel.
You could summarize this trip as a very enjoyable experience! We discovered a peaceful and beautiful city with many things to do. Before the trip we were asked if five nights wasn’t too long and we honestly felt like it wasn’t long enough for everything we wanted to do. We wanted to visit some churches which looked very impressive from the outside, to visit a large park in town, go to other museums and a few markets.
There are also two vantage points which require climbing stairs which we skipped due to my pregnancy. In short, I recommend at least four days in the city, and the more the better.