In a city as diverse as Vilnius, there are so many things to do and see, from historical museums and Old Town sites to the burgeoning art scene.
Day One: Explore Vilnius Old Town
Start your exploration of Vilnius with a walking tour of Old Town to get a feel for the place. Start off at the Cathedral, visit the Applied Arts Museum in Lower Castle and then take the funicular up Gediminas Hill to Higher Castle for panoramas across the city and a peek into the armory museum. Enjoy a picnic with views, and then spend the rest of the afternoon wending your way back downwards to visit the Gothic delights of St Anne’s Church and the Baroque shrine of the Virgin Mary at the Gate of Dawn, before hitting the university and the Presidential Palace at 6 p.m. for the daily Changing of the Guard. Dine along Old Town’s main thoroughfare of Pilies Street for multi-ethnic cuisine and late-night clubbing.
Day Two: Vilnius at War
Understand the atrocities of World War II and the subsequent Soviet repression with a visit to the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum and Museum of Genocide Victims before breaking off for lunch at Delano for old-time Lithuanian dumplings, salads and pastries. In the afternoon take a trip out to the Paneriai Memorial Museum and the desolate memorial to the 70,000 Lithuanian Jews murdered and dumped into mass burial pits during the war. Once back in Vilnius, wait until dusk to scale Television Tower to its observation deck at 540 feet (165 meters) for fairy tale views over the city and its Soviet-era blocks of apartments before eating supper in the tower’s revolving Milky Way restaurant.
Day Three: Užupis and Europa Park
Spend the morning wandering the slightly anarchic streets of the graffiti-ridden, independent republic of Užupis. Rummage around the galleries and workshops, and choose one of the many street cafés for lunch. If it’s Thursday, pick up an organic picnic at Tymo Market and eat it by the riverside. In the afternoon, visit Vilnius’s extraordinary Europa Park, where sculptures from about 100 artists are exhibited against a backdrop of lakes, hillsides and forest pathways. By night sip a Mad Dog cocktail in the James Bond-esque Skybar on the 22nd floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, and treat yourself to dinner at Telegrafas in the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square.