Every few weeks we ask one of our clued-up local contributors a bunch of questions about their city, from fun facts and practicalities to what to see and what to skip. This time around we quizzed Mindaugas about Vilnius, the enigmatic capital of Lithuania. If you’re hungry for insider insights into other destinations, you can keep an eye out for new Through the Eyes of a Local posts here, or follow us on Facebook for updates.
When is the best time to visit Vilnius? We have four fully fledged seasons in Lithuania, so any time is a good time to visit Vilnius!
What are three things every visitor should see or experience?
2. Visit a forest within the city to become one with nature. Kalnai Park (the “Park of Hills” next to Užupis), Belmontas and Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve are just few of the options. Or go find the Frank Zappa statue.
3. Have a local beer – you’ll find a good selection at Špunka. If you’re looking for something more cultural, go see a play (we have around 16 theatres and 10 cinemas in Vilnius).
Photo credit: Ville Hyvönen
What’s your favourite hidden gem? Pasakų Parkas (“Fairy Tale Park”) because of its old, dilapidated wooden sculptures.
What’s the biggest tourist trap? The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (Valdovų Rūmai). It‘s only worth visiting if you study interior design.
Where can I enjoy amazing views? The best place for amazing views is the revolving Paukščių Takas (“Milky Way”) restaurant on the 19th floor (165 metres high) of the TV Tower.
I want to try authentic local cuisine. Where should I go and what should I order? You should go to Šnekutis on Šv. Stepono Street and order anything on the menu since everything they offer is local.
What should I take home as a souvenir? Take home a trinket by a local designer or a bottle of 999 (Lithuanian bitters).
What are some common misconceptions about your city? Vilnius has a reputation for being unfriendly and crowded, but in reality it’s like a micro New York – you simply have to find the right people.
How can you tell if someone is from Vilnius? You know someone’s from my city if they’re a hipster, antifa (anti-fascist) or believe in human rights. Also, if they seem grumpy all the time.
Tell us an interesting fact about your city! Vilnius has always been very international – Lithuanians are the minority here.
If I want to get out of Vilnius for a day, where should I go? If you want to escape the city for a day, a trip to any natural lake is a great idea. Margis, Akmena, Nava – take your pick!
I’m vegetarian/vegan – help! Vegafe is a local favourite.
Where should I go for a classy night out? Eat at Fiorentino and then go to Blusynė for some drinks.
Where to go for cheap drinks? Visit Alaus Birža at Bix Baras.
What are some great local nightlife spots? POSH Cocktail Club is a fantastic local nightlife spot.
What should culture buffs experience in your city? Vilnius Jazz Festival – don’t miss it!
What do you recommend for history lovers? The National Museum of Lithuania is a must if you’re interested in history.
How about families with kids? If you have kids, visit KukuMuku.
What’s your favourite green spot? Žemaitės Square, but I mostly visit Karoliniškių forest.
Where can I find out about local events? I read Vilnius Events to find out about local events.
Is there anything else you think visitors should know? If you want to take a cab, you should always call a cab company or use a taxi app to get a fair price. Also, you should never get into a cab without making sure it’s the one you ordered.
For more local recommendations read:
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