Welcome to rainy Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and the final stop on our four country tour from Helsinki to Vilnius!
I’ll be honest, we were lazy in Vilnius. The weather was a bit drab, we’d been on the road nonstop for a few weeks and had had a very busy couple of days, by the time we hit Vilnius, we were just ready to stop for a minute. We took this city much slower, maybe didn’t do as much as we could have, but we did binge watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race: All Stars 2 in bed. I swear that series changed my life.
Click the jump to take a quick peek into the beautiful Vilnius!
The Three Crosses
The Three Crosses are one of Vilnius’ most famous landmarks. You’ll find these on the aptly named the Hill of Three Crosses in the centre of the city in Kalnai Park. According to a legend, seven Franciscan friars were beheaded on the hill. Similar to the Hill of Crosses, crosses have been present on the hill for quite some time and despite constantly being torn down, they reappeared stronger each time.
The current crosses have stood since 1989 and provide quite a unique viewpoint over the city. Sadly it was a bit rainy on the day we visited, but even in the rain Vilnius is a stunning city.
The Republic of Užupis
The Republic of Užupis is a neighbourhood in Vilnius long associated with artists and creative types, in recent years it’s become even more popular due to being a Republic and no longer ‘just’ the neighbourhood called Užupis.
Pictured above is the constitution, it’s both wholesome and fun – ‘Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation’
There’s a ton of street art that encourages your participation too. You’ll find a few independent stalls and cafes, but the true draw to this area is the constitution and art.
Vilnius Illusions Museum
The Vilnius Illusions Museum is the perfect way to spend a rainy morning, of which we had a few. Head down early for a completely empty museum in which you can play around in solitude and enjoy all of the weird exhibits. The staff were super friendly, showed us around and got us totally involved. It’s well fun!
Vilnius is known for boasting a few ancient graveyards. I quite like exploring old cemeteries, it’s pretty interesting seeing nature reclaim the places people were laid to rest and to learn about their live in the few short words chosen to represent them forever in the place their body lies.
Bernadine Cemetery is one of the oldest graveyards in Vilnius and completely fell into ruin during the 20th century, it’s been restored as best as possible, but the effects of ageing are still apparent. It’s a peaceful place to explore, a little morbid? Maybe, but also very serene.
It’s cliche to say that a city is just an enjoyable place to walk around, but I find most of them are. Vilnius is no exception, it’s clean streets, muted yet colourful buildings are all just a little bit intoxicating. Is it weird to describe a building as intoxicating? Maybe, but if you get a raging boner for beautiful buildings, you’ll have a good time.
Plus walking around aimlessly means you can encounter some really wonderful things, like this chirpy fella.
And that’s the end of my Eastern European mini series. Next we tackle Kew Gardens, Verona, Edinburgh, Nerja, Lisbon and multiple cities on Peru. It’s gonna be busy on here for a solid few months!
Catch up on the rest of the posts in this series: