Vilnius (Vilna) is the largest city and the capital of Lithuania. It is located on the southwestern part of the country near the Belarusian border. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Neris and Vilnia. Vilnius has more than half a million residents, so after Riga it’s also the second largest city of the Baltic states. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Vilnius is the geographical center of Europe. The total expanse of the city area is 402 square kilometers but only one third is built-up, the rest accounts for water areas and parks.
Accommodation in Vilnius
If you want to experience the historic atmosphere of the city of Vilnius, you should definitely stay close to the Cathedral Square. From there, it’s just around the corner to the Presidential Palace, Vilnius University and the Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania. If you are looking for some higher level accommodations, we would recommend you to chose from some stylish hotels like Shakespeare Boutique Hotel, Grotthuss Boutique Hotel or the luxurious Relais & Châteaux Stikliai Hotel. For travelers looking for a cheap and basic accommodation for the night, we can offer accommodation in one of Vilnius hostels. Among those, most popular places to stay in Vilnius are Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, Artis Centrum Hotels and also the famous Shakespeare Boutique Hotel, which offers 31 rooms, each of which is dedicated to one famous author. Another bed and breakfast you can find here.
The city's history is very long and its beginning starts from a legend about a dream of the prince Gediminas. He dreamt about a place where a beautiful city would stand one day. Based on this dream, he set the foundations for the city on the spot which he saw in his dream. A big boom of the town occurred during the 16th century, when the city gates were built and Vilnius University was founded by King Stephen Bathory. During the Russo-Polish War, the city was occupied by Russian forces and subsequently burned. In 1812 the city was conquered by Napoleon's army during its unsuccessful campaign in Moscow. During World War II the Germans occupied Vilnius. After the war, the city was declared the capital of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Lithuania and Belarus for a short time. But already in the same year in 1919 Vilnius became the subject of battles between Poles and Russians. Vilnius became a free city of Lithuania in August 1991. By the mid-20th century there had lived over one hundred thousand Jewish in their community, that’s the third largest Jewish community after New York and Warsaw.
Transport to Vilnius
In the city, you may use the urban transportation consisting of buses and trolleybuses. Even though the Old Town in Vilnius is one of the largest in Europe, it is easy to move there on foot.
Weather in Vilnius
The climate is continental in Vilnius, like in other central European countries. Summers are warm and temperatures around 30 degrees are no exceptions. Conversely, winter brings cold frosty weather.
Monuments in Vilnius
The historic heart of the town is the Old Town, which was registered in 1997 on the World list of national heritage sites. Among the most interesting sights are Gediminas’s Castle situated on the Castle Mountain (Pilies Kalnas), Vilnius Cathedral on the Square Katedros aikṣata with a beautiful baroque chapel of St. Casimir, the Gothic Church of St. Anne built of red brick, or the Presidential Palace. It is that really a lot, what the historic center of Vilnius offers.
Beer and Vilnius
When visiting Vilnius, you should not miss some of the local beers, the locals are very proud of them. The most famous local beer Švyturys and Utenos are brewed from the nearby city of Utena. You can taste Lithuanian beer in a beer bar called Bambalyné.
Sport in Vilnius
Vilnius is also home to a successful basketball team, BC Lietuvos Rytas, who has played several seasons in the Euroleague (the highest European basketball competition).
Interesting fact about Vilnius
There is an asteroid 3072 Vilnius named after the city, which was discovered by Russian astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1978.