Has anyone been to Vilnius?

Apparently a nearby airport is currently immune from the travel chaos and I note that they have cheap flights to Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s a part of Eastern Europe that I’ve not previously visited and we’re hoping to get a break in July. Has anyone been? We’re visiting as a couple (interested in art, architecture, history, green spaces) rather than a stag weekend.

It’s OK. Was my least favourite of the three baltic capital cities when we did our tour of Lativa, Lithuania & Estonia, but there’s a few things to do. Definitely join a free walking tour to familiarise yourself with the city. It’s very small so I don’t think you need more than a couple of days. We were there for two days and one of those days we caught the train out to Trakai Island Castle. Says it all really.

Thanks, I did wonder if there would be enough to see and do. I’m also looking at Riga.

Tbh all three Baltic capital cities don’t need anymore than a couple of days in each but they’re all individually unique. Tallinn was my personal favourite. Got a cool Scandinavian/Russian vibe going on.

Went for a week last November and had a great time, but we did have a local guide which helped. It was also good November weather, including snow so that helped the atmosphere.

It’s got a big sized old town to wonder around, and the independent republic of Uzupis which has a bunch of street art that’s fun to see and climb on, including these comedy river chairs.

There’s your standard array of castles, cathedrals museums etc. There’s a fun and rickety revolving restaurant on a TV tower that’s worth a lunch trip.

The classic day trip out is to Trakai, which has a pretty cool castle on a lake

We did a fun hike starting from town and going out along the river, up to a viewpoint looking back along the valley

Lithuanian food is ok, very potato and sour cream heavy, But the city was good for Restaurants, we had some great Japanese and Chinese food. Also lots of Georgian food including blessed Khachapuri. There’s a newish food court/market concept with a bunch of food from all over.

The nightlife was pretty good in a pub and bar sense, there’s a decent range of places and they tend to stay open late. Beer was pretty good, a mix of lagers, Lithuanian ales, craftish stuff and Grimbergen. Vodka and mead are also local specialities.

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Agree that it’s the worst of the Baltic capitals, but I wasn’t expecting anything from Vilnius and found it quite charming and a bit odd. Užupis is great fun and the KGB museum was interesting/harrowing. just do not eat pig’s ear gratin, it’s the worst thing i’ve ever eaten (after sour cream and chive Pringles).

it’s super easy to travel to Riga and then onto Tallinn using coaches. it’s about 3 hours on each coach and not expensive at all. just don’t leave your passport in your hostel and realise as you’re about to board the bus, leading to a frantic taxi goosechase around the city getting me back 1 minute after the coach should have left (but they waited for me because I’d booked a ticket and just chastised me a bit when I was boarding).

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That’s a good idea of splitting the trip between two capitals and getting the Flixbus - thanks for that.

God yes. So bland. Hangover from Soviet communism days, I guess.

Nice photo of a Khachapuri, btw. Georgian cuisine is just the best. In fact it largely inspired me a friend to travel out to Georgia. Absolutely stunning food.

Trains are great & cheap in the Baltics too. Vilnius to Riga is like €15 & Riga to Tallinn is €20

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Huh?

Unless train travel has changed beyond all recognition since our Baltic tour in 2018, it’s an absolute shambles, suffering from decades of Soviet era underfunding and neglect. It’s so cumbersome and time consuming when travelling between Baltic states. We would have done it otherwise.

This website pretty much sums it up:

Travel in the Baltic Countries: A Beginner's Guide - The Northern Vox.

You just have to buy two tickets & change trains at the border stations. By most European standards it’s admittedly a little bit of a faff but by UK rail standards (and prices) it’s an absolute breeze

Of yeah, I fully get what you have to do but, unless you’ve got time on your hands to get a train and then wait around on the border for the other train, I would recommend the bus everytime when travelling between Baltic capitals. They’re cheaper, quicker and, most importantly if time is at a premium, direct.

Yeah, I’m not a fan of buses. Always prefer a train if possible

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