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Lithuanian delicacies

Two special dishes dominate the dining scene in Vilnius. Cepelinai are thigh-expanding dumplings made from shaved potato, crammed full with mince or curd and smothered in sour cream. Kibinai are Cornish-pasty-like affairs, stuffed with mutton and onions and sold in pretty much every bakery. Both will cure a hangover in an instant. Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to leave without trying šakotis, or spitcake. This traditional pastry is cooked on a rotating spit over an open fire and is usually covered in chocolate and cute ornamental flowers.

Getting around

Walking is the best way to immerse yourself in one of eastern Europe’s largest medieval old towns. Take a scenic stroll around Vilnius’s Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and try out its array of specialty food shops, cafes and bars. Buses, trolleybuses and CycloCity bikes are also great ways to get around the city, and a Vilnian Card (Vilniečio kortelė) will get you access to all public transport at a reasonable cost. Vilnius trolley buses and buses start running at five in the morning and don’t stop until midnight. After that, simply hail a taxi.

Weather & When to go

June, July and August are the best times to visit Vilnius if you plan to walk the cobbled streets and take in some proper Baltic beauty. Long days and warm temperatures make being outside among all that baroque-ness truly blissful! June is the sunniest month and August is usually the warmest. May tends to be quiet with fewer crowds, and December can also bring cheaper hotel rates. If you decide to visit Vilnius between November and April, bring your woolly jumpers and prepare to be snowed on.

What to do in Vilnius for 3 days

They don’t make belfrys like they used to

As the main vertical landmark in the Old Town of Vilnius, the Bell Tower is a real symbol of this stunning Lithuanian city. A trip to the top will also give you the best views and a close-up look at the bells! Once part of a defensive wall, the belfry at the 13th-century Vilnius Cathedral has suffered massively over the years. It’s even gone up in flames more than once! Admire the blackened stones and Baroque architecture and listen out for the bells chiming out across the city every day at 17:00.

Get among some once-hidden church heritage

Step inside the mausoleum of the wealthy Sapieha family, and see some masterpieces crafted by the country’s top goldsmiths and textile artists. The Church Heritage Museum is the only place in the world to see the Treasury of Vilnius Cathedral, which was hidden in the walls of the religious building for almost half a century! Witness special items donated by rulers, magnates, and bishops - from crosses to chalices to reliquaries and other valuable objects hidden for protection on the eve of WWII, right up until 1985.

Put your feet up with a craft beer

Vilnius has gone all out on the craft beer bandwagon with a thriving scene that keeps locals and tourists feeling merry year-round! Check out brew-pub Craft & Draft, always popular with students. For a real Lithuanian experience, head to Alaus Namai. Their strange but tasty Širvenos ale is brewed using peas, and their beer tasting sessions are great value! Šnekutis is another popular hangout, famed for its murky amber Jovaru Alus. Vegan or booze-free and proud? No problem. Švyturys serves some surprisingly delicious non-alcoholic wheat beers and stouts.

Reclaim your independence in Uzupis

Don't fight, don't win and don't surrender. These are the three mottos of Uzupis, an independent republic that has separated itself from the rest of Vilnius’s more ‘conventional’ rules since 1997. Check out the incredible street art around the Vilnia River - you might recognize a certain U.S. president just calling for a new Instagram post from you. Count the flags on Tibet Square (Uzupis has its own flag!) and check out the republic’s constitution engraved in plaques on Paupio gatvė. Don’t miss the atmospheric Bernardine Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest graveyards.