26 May 2019

My Guide To: Vilnius

Vilnius, the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe, increasingly popular for its warming sense of history, offbeat elegance and cool neighborhoods.

Got up at the crack of dawn, eager to explore all the sites this city had on offer.

Because it was Good Friday, the city was quiet. Camera in one hand, ice cream in another, I was one happy bunny.
The city’s Old Town, UNESCO-protected, is a pebbled labyrinth of parks, boutiques, bars, and cute cafes, full of Soviet-style architecture with Baroque and Orthodox churches.
The city’s major attraction is The Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Vladislav, which looks much more like a museum than a cathedral.

Lithuania’s history is complex and quite harrowing. For two centuries, it was the co-capital of then Europe’s biggest empire – the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Later, Vilnius withstood Soviet occupation and gained its independence in 1991.

Baltijos Kelias (Baltic way) was a peaceful political demonstration that occurred on 23 August 1989. Approximately two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometers (419.7 mi) across the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The protest was designed to draw global attention by demonstrating a desire for independence from Soviet Union and illustrated solidarity among the three nations.
Quirky, creative and super compact city full of varied architectural styles.
Taking a stroll through its winding cobblestone streets, you’ll discover many markets with traditional linen and wooden crafts, art and amber jewelry.
The sea has sent amber to the Baltics for thousands of years, and it is very noticeable all around the city. Apparently, amber is the fossilised resin of pine trees that died more than 20 million years ago (what?!) And they say Baltic amber (succinite) is at least 30 million years old.
Gate of Dawn Church in the former city wall hosts famous Madonna, gleaming in radiant gold and silver, believed to have miraculous powers drawing pilgrims from afar. There are copies in Saint Peter’s in Rome, in Paris, Venice and South America.
The Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall was built in the early 16th century to protect Vilnius from attacks fro the East. It consists of towers, underground gun ports and connecting corridors full of cannons, weapons and amazing archaeological discoveries such as wooden and ceramic objects from the Stone Age!  Very impressive collection.
'Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe. Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.'

A claim from a tourist, not me, Vilnius is now famous for.

Tourism Board
More information on Vilnius Tourism here

Direct flights from London to Vilnius by Ryanair,  Wizzair, LOT.

Panorama Hotel. Affordable with amazing views of the city. 2-minute walk to the railway and bus station and city center.
Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius. Luxury hotel located in the heart of the Old Town.


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