Breakfast at Pinavija Cafe
Start off Day One with a foray into traditional Lithuanian food at Pinavija Cafe. The top offering here is the kibinai, which will definitely fortify you for the rest of the morning. This Karaite specialty is similar to a hand pie, filled with fruit jam, meat, cheese, or vegetables.
Stroll Down Pilies Street
From Pinavija Cafe, stroll down the tree-lined Vokiecu gatve (gatve means street in Lithuanian), stop to photograph the Rotuse (Vilnius City Hall), and make your way down the ever popular Pilies gatve. The cobblestoned Pilies gatve is lined with quaint shops, bakeries, and cafes. Aukso Avis is a popular jewelry store featuring only Lithuanian designers.
At the end of Pilies gatve, you’ll be treated with great views of Gediminas’ Tower, another Vilnius highlight. Gediminas’ Tower is all that remains of the former upper castle. Walk up the hill on which Gediminas’ Tower sits and be rewarded with spectacular views of the city. Additionally, the tower houses a small museum that is well worth a visit.
If you are up for more of a hike, the Hill of Three Crosses located near Gediminas’ Tower also provides great views of the city.
Pinavija Cafe, Vilniaus g. 21, Vilnius, Lithuania, +37067644422
Aukso Avis, Pilies g. 38, Vilnius, Lithuania, +37052610421
Lunch and the Gates of Dawn
Walking your way back to the Rotuse, make your way towards the Gates of Dawn on Asros Vartu Street, which is the only remaining portion of the former city wall. The Gates of Dawn holds a small chapel that contains a famous icon of the Virgin Mary without baby Jesus.
A morning of sightseeing has probably left you feeling hungry, so stop by Medininkai, which is right near the Gates of Dawn, for a traditional Lithuanian meal. If the weather is nice, the outdoor seats are really beautiful.
Continue with a wander around the beautiful Ausros Vartu Street and marvel at the sheer number of churches.
Ending your first day
The rest of the day will be well spent wandering the twisting streets of the old town, eventually ending at Shakespeare Hotel or Dublis for dinner. Both restaurants are highly rated, but they offer completely different atmospheres. Shakespeare Hotel is reminiscent of a luxurious men’s smoking club – hearty steaks are served alongside a wide selection of wines. Dublis is a culinary treat, putting unique twists on all their dishes.
Dublis, Traku g. 14, Vilnius, Lithuania, +37067414922
Shakespeare Hotel, Bernardinu g. 8, Vilnius, Lithuania, +37052665885
Begin Day Two with a visit to a famous cathedral
After grabbing breakfast at one of the numerous cafés, it is time to visit Vilnius’ most famous church — Vilnius Cathedral — and the surrounding Cathedral Square. The Cathedral Belfry provides unparalleled views of the city.
Visit the Museum of Genocide Victims to learn about Lithuania’s more recent history
Following a visit to Vilnius Cathedral, stroll down Gediminas Avenue, which is the main shopping street in Vilnius. Make your way to the Museum of Genocide Victims to learn about Lithuania’s sad recent history and tour a former KGB prison, which is located in the basement of the museum. A word of caution though, this museum (especially the basement) is very heart-wrenching, so you may want to keep this in mind if planning to visit with little kids.
Enjoy Lithuanian art and counterculture in Uzupis
Uzupis is loosely its own republic that was founded in the heart of Vilnius’ old town and is known for its creative street art, great cafés, and art galleries. Wander the streets in search of the Uzupis Angel, Uzupis Mermaid, and Uzupis’ Constitution. Coffee 1 is an excellent option for a baked good and cup of coffee (with beans roasted in Vilnius).
Completing Day Two
Make your way to Stikliu Street for some last minute souvenir shopping at Linen Tales. Linen Tales sells beautiful linen home goods and clothes made in Lithuania. Follow up with a meal at the crowd-pleasing Bistro 18, but be sure to make a reservation beforehand, as it can be busy. Bistro 18 features European cuisine carefully prepared with local ingredients.
Lithuanians are really proud of their beer. Bamb Alyne, also located on the beautiful Stikliu Street, proudly serves only Lithuanian beer accompanied by small snacks such as fried bread.
Linen Tales, Stikliu g. 4, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 626 68961
Bistro 18, Stikliu g. 18, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 677 72091
Bamb Alyne Stikliu g. 7, Vilnius, Lithuania, +37052609087