The best way to spend a day in Vilnius: a personal guide

cool view of Vilnius

Just recently, my husband and I spent a whole day in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. We have been there many times, so in this guide, I will share with you my personal experience on how to spend a busy day (and more) in this cozy city.


In Vilnius, we mostly traveled on foot, as we like to explore places this way. But sometimes we also took buses to the places we needed.

You can buy tickets for public transportation in two convenient ways. The first is to buy a Vilniečio kortelė (Vilnius Resident Card) at the nearest Lietuvos Spauda or Narvesen kiosk and refill it for 30- or 60-minute trips. The second way is to download the Trafi mobile app and, having linked your card to it, pay for a single trip or a travel pass at the same rates.

There are also the usual taxi ordering services in Vilnius—Uber, Bolt, and a couple of carsharing services: CityBee and Spark (these guys have electric cars).


In Vilnius, we stayed at the Irena Family House. One night’s stay cost us €45. In general, we were satisfied: We had a spacious room that was clean and comfortable. The toilet and bathroom were not in the room itself but in a neighboring room; however, this did not cause us any inconvenience. There is a bus stop 10 minutes walk from the house, from where you can easily and quite quickly get to both the city center and the airport. This was also a key point in our choice of location, as we had to leave for the airport early the next day.

In addition to this guesthouse, you can stay in a hostel or a hotel in Vilnius. Here are the ones we had in mind at the selection stage:

Downtown Forest (Paupio g. 31A) is a hostel and campground surrounded by a small, picturesque park on the outskirts of Užupis. In the summer, you can fit in perfectly here with your own tent or camper on the way to the festival, and in the cold season, you can stay comfortably in the bright rooms of the former manor house. Free tea and coffee are offered for breakfast, and fresh croissants are sold. In addition, visitors can use, in moderation, a free minibar. The price for a double room starts at €38.

One of the most budget hostels in Vilnius—Mikalo House (Šv. Mikalojaus g. 3)—is located in the very center of the city, within walking distance of the sights. The rooms here are minimalist but clean and bright. The price for a double room starts at €73.

Urbihop Hotel (Ąžuolyno g. 7) is a trendy hotel near the Akropolis shopping center. It has floor-to-ceiling windows and great views, and the restaurant serves excellent breakfasts in the morning. The price for a double room starts at €60.

Cultural program

So, like any other trip, we start with a coffee tasting at local coffee places. This time we chose a spot called Coffee circus piano. The interior of the coffee house is exciting and attractive, and the coffee itself can be rated a seven on a scale of one to ten. The cakes sold are fresh and quite tasty.

Immediately after that, we stopped by Bazilijonu Street with its charming graffiti and also saw the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, the only surviving Jewish house of worship out of more than a hundred that existed in the city before World War II.

Then we hurried to the “Unknown Vilnius” tour of the Free walking tour project (since we had already taken the classic tour on our last trip). The idea is that a local guide gives you a tour of the city, and at the end, you thank him with any amount of money; that is, there is a system of free donations.

We really like this project, and we try to get on such excursions in each of the cities we visit. By the way, booking such activities is highly desirable.

We met our guide in front of the Gediminas monument at the cathedral square and went for a walk around Vilnius.

City Hall in the center of Vilnius
center of Vilnius

This time during the walk, we saw several completely different districts of Vilnius: from still-preserved Soviet buildings to modern buildings. Plus, we walked through the private sector of the city, which is practically in the center.

Modern glass buildings in Vilnius

After the tour, we walked along the cozy Vilnius streets of Pilies, Literatai Street, and Stiklo Quarter. And then we went to see The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (Šv. apaštalų Petro ir Povilo bažnyčia) located in Antakalnis, one of the greenest areas of the city. Inside, this church looks simply inexpressibly beautiful.

Literatai Street in Vilnius
Literatai Street

A must-do on a trip to Vilnius is a visit to the independent Republic of Užupis, a neighborhood with a unique atmosphere that even has its own constitution.

Entrance in the Republic of Užupis
Sculpture of a cat in the Užupis district of Vilnius

Not far from Užupis there is a new Paupys neighborhood. Here you can stroll among stylish modern buildings and then grab a bite to eat at the Paupys turgus food court (Aukštaičių g. 7). By the way, the neighborhood is bursting with art: Take a look at this adorable gorilla carelessly enjoying a bath in one of the courtyards. 

Before going to the hotel, we still had time to look at Open Gallery—a street with unusual street art. The address is Vytenio g. 50. 

Here are some other sights I recommend visiting in Vilnius, based on our past trips to this city:

The observation deck on Mount Gediminas is probably the most famous attraction in the city. 

MO Muziejus (Pylimo g. 17) is a large museum of contemporary art and a significant cultural highlight. The stylish futuristic building houses about 5,000 works by local artists and is now the largest private museum in the country. You can purchase tickets in advance online.

While strolling between Gedimin Tower, Town Hall, Presidential Palace, and Ostry Brama (Aušros Vartai), don’t be lazy to check out Vilnius University and climb the observatory tower separately.

Ostry Brama in Vilnius
Ostry Brama

If you get tired of wandering around antiquities, check out The Energy and Technology Museum (Rinktines g. 2), located in the building of the first central power plant in Vilnius, with authentic, still recently operating equipment—steam boilers, turbines, generators, condensers and pipelines.

Another must-see place is Lukiškės Prison (Lukiškių skg. 6), which was founded in 1837. For more than a century, it has been working according to its original purpose, but a few years ago, the building was converted into a creative space called “Lukiškiska Prison 2.0.” Now it is a concert venue with bars, tours are organized here, and famous musicians rehearse and artists create in the former cells. By the way, the prison building was even featured in the TV series Stranger Things.

bridge in Vilnius


On this dinner trip, we went for excellent pizza from a real Italian oven in Užupio Pizzeria (Paupio g. 3), with a cozy interior and pleasant prices. 

Apart from this place, I can confidently recommend a couple more gastronomic spots for you to check out.

  • Bistro 18 (Stikliu g. 18) leaves you feeling like you’ve come to dinner with old friends. The bistro is located on one of the most touristy streets in Vilnius, and the prices here will be slightly above average. But once you try their specialty risotto, or “pasta of the day”, you will definitely want to come back here again.
  • In Cafe Pinavija bakery (Vilniaus g. 21), you can have a full meal with a couple of golden kibbins and broth or have tea with the most delicious cakes and pastries in the city.
  • Bukowski baras (Visu Šventu g. 7) is a spacious bar on two floors with a terrace, a good selection of local and imported beers, and free table soccer.
  • For modern European cuisine, go to Kitchen (Didžioji g. 11). The menu offers several types of steaks and kinds of pasta, Italian minestrone and Swedish salmon soup, French tarts, and a good selection of beer and wine. The Scandinavian interior and impeccable service only help you focus on the food.
  • Fried ribs can be tasted in the new resto-bar Distilerija (Vilniaus g. 28) with a good selection of Kraft and a cool cocktail list.

Other Vilnius coffee shops on my list include Taste Map (Čiurlionio g.8, Antakalnio g.17, Gynėjų g.14), Huracan Coffee and Caffeine. For a cool interior, head to Coffee circus piano, which I mentioned at the beginning, and places like Poniu Laime, Strange Love, Augustas and Barbara Love story café.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you. Share your favorite places in Vilnius in the comments.

Monkey sculpture in Paupys neighborhood in Vilnius
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