Vilnius, Lithuania - Stein Travel
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The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is somewhat unique compared to the major cities in the rest of the Baltic States, its old architecture being a hodge-podge of styles with Scandinavian, Russian and German influences. The mix blends well into a charming 'Vilnian Baroque', that fills the cobblestone winding streets of the old quarter. The city is further enhanced by its picturesque setting in a valley at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers, nestling beneath wooded hills in the south-east corner of Lithuania.

Overlooking the city from a central hill is the landmark Gediminas Castle (named for the medieval Grand Duke who founded the city) with its impressive tower, from which visitors can enjoy an unrivalled view of the old town and the shiny new section on the right bank of the Neris. Gediminas Square is the heart of the old quarter, featuring the splendid classical cathedral. The city boasts numerous other interesting churches, beautiful historic buildings, museums, monuments and parks, and the splendid University of Vilnius, one of Europe's oldest institutions of learning, chartered in 1579.

In its 'golden age' in the Middle Ages, Vilnius was renowned as the region's centre for culture and learning, and today it has reclaimed that reputation, with a packed programme of events always on the go, from classical music evenings at the Philharmonic Society Hall and performances at the Opera and Ballet Theatre, Youth Theatre and Academic Drama Theatre to exhibitions in seven art galleries and a vast modern art centre. The city also plays host to numerous commercial fairs and exhibitions annually.

Last, but not least, when the sun goes down Vilnius reveals the fun side of its nature, with a nightlife that is fast gaining a reputation as the hottest in Eastern Europe.

Information & Facts


With a continental/maritime climate, Vilnius has vast discrepancies between its summer and winter temperatures. In summer the mercury can reach as high as 86°F (30°C), bringing holidaymakers and locals alike into the outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the long, light evenings. Usually though temperatures are more moderate. Winter, by contrast, is bitterly cold with temperatures dropping below 32°F (0°C) and the rivers often freezing over, making ice-fishing a popular pastime. Rainy days are possible all year round, but most rain falls during mid-summer.

Getting Around

The central old quarter of Vilnius is compact and most of the sights can be visited on foot. Those who prefer to save their shoe leather can make use of the city's efficient network of buses and trolleybuses; fares can be paid on boarding or tickets bought at a discount from newspaper kiosks. Most visitors prefer to make use of taxis, which are relatively cheap, although it is wise to ensure the driver has switched on the meter before leaving on the journey. Taxis can be hailed on the street, or found at ranks at strategic spots in the old town. They can also be ordered by telephone. Self-driving is not recommended in the city, which has heavy, undisciplined traffic, but all the large international car hire companies have offices in the city and at the airport.


Lithuanian is the official language, but Russian and English are widely spoken.


The official currency is the Litas (LTL), which is linked to the euro at a fixed rate of 3.4528 Lt to EUR1. ATMs are found in Vilnius on the Cirrus and Visa networks, but are rare in smaller towns. Most retailers, hotels, restaurants and the like accept credit cards, and banks and hotels will cash travellers cheques.

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