Vilnius: Best of Europe!
Whether as a weekend trip or a city tour, whether as part of a study trip or as a stop on tours through the Baltic States: Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is still an insider tip. The question is, how much longer… There are still no innumerable groups of tourists pushing their way through the narrow streets of the city center, which may remind many of them of their last trip to Italy. You can still enjoy the view from the Gediminas Castle to the newly created, modern skyline on the Neris-Ufer, which evokes associations with Frankfurt am Main, relatively undisturbed. It is not for nothing that they say: Vilnius is a kind of “Europe in miniature” and offers the “best of” from many European cities.
The urban area of Vilnius was already settled in pre-Christian times, in the Middle Ages the Balts, Slavs and Jews came. Vilnius, which by the way means something like “little wave”, was the capital of the Lithuanians as early as the 14th century. With the arrival of numerous Jewish families in the 16th century, Vilnius became one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Northern Europe and was nicknamed the “Jerusalem of the North”.
The history of Lithuania and with it the history of Vilnius is shaped by centuries of foreign control: first ruled by the Russian tsarist empire, then later by the Soviet Union. In 1990 Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to renounce Moscow, and Vilnius became the capital of a new, independent republic. The old town, which has largely been renovated in an exemplary manner, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The charm of Vilnius is the colorful mix of architectural styles. Traces of classicism, renaissance and baroque can be found everywhere.
The top 5 attractions include:
• The ruins of Gediminas Castle from the 14th and 15th centuries. After the tour you should definitely take your time and admire the spectacular view from the castle hill over the entire old town.
• The reconstruction (!) Of the Grand Prince’s Palace at the foot of the castle hill. The Renaissance building was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. Reconstruction began shortly after independence from the USSR. The work was completed in 2013.
• The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Stanislaus, which is reminiscent of a Greek temple.
• The St. Francis Church, a three-aisled brick sacred building in the Gothic style
• The Choral Synagogue. The only one of formerly 105 Jewish places of worship in the city area. All other synagogues were destroyed in World War II.
Shopping and Enjoyment
Vilnius is cosmopolitan and modern. Whether luxurious or sporty: all international fashion chains are represented in the old town. Many small shops and boutiques invite you to stroll and shop. Need a break? No problem: street cafes and restaurants offer national and international specialties for every budget. Be sure to try the national dish “Cepelinai”, a kind of potato dumpling with minced meat.
The climate is temperate continental. The best travel times are April to June and September to October.
Whether you decide on a city trip to Vilnius or want to get to know Tallinn and Riga with a Baltic tour, we will be happy to advise you on booking.