Vilnius Travel Guide
Vilnius Old Town © Iulius
The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is somewhat unique compared to the major cities in the rest of the Baltic States, its old architecture being a hodge-podge of styles with Scandinavian, Russian and German influences. The mix blends well into a charming 'Vilnian Baroque', that fills the cobblestoned, winding streets of the old quarter. The city is further enhanced by its picturesque setting in a valley at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers, nestling beneath wooded hills in the southeast corner of Lithuania.
Overlooking the city from a central hill is the landmark Gediminas Castle (named for the medieval Grand Duke who founded the city) with its impressive tower, from which visitors can enjoy an unrivalled view of the old town and the shiny new section on the right bank of the Neris. Gediminas Square is the heart of the old quarter, featuring the splendid classical cathedral. The city boasts numerous other interesting churches, beautiful historic buildings, museums, monuments and parks, and the splendid University of Vilnius, one of Europe's oldest institutions of learning, chartered in 1579.
In its 'golden age' in the Middle Ages, Vilnius was renowned as the region's centre for culture and learning, and today it has reclaimed that reputation, with a packed programme of events always on the go, from classical music evenings at the Philharmonic Society Hall and performances at the Opera and Ballet Theatre, Youth Theatre and Academic Drama Theatre, to exhibitions in numerous art galleries and a vast modern art centre. The city also plays host to numerous commercial fairs and exhibitions annually.
Last, but not least, when the sun goes down Vilnius reveals the fun side of its nature, with a nightlife that is fast gaining a reputation as one of the hottest in Eastern Europe.