When to fly
The best time to book flights to Vilnius is between May and September when a large number of events and festivals are held around the city. Vilnius never feels more vibrant than in the summer season when locals embrace the outdoors. The city can be quite cold from October until early March, apart from Uzgavenes (Shrovetide), but once the weather is warm enough, outdoor terraces pop up all over the city centre. Uzgavenes occurs every year on Shrove Tuesday and is one of the most memorable experiences tourists and locals will encounter in Vilnius. The festival is a celebration of saying farewell to winter and welcoming spring through a parade of preposterous outfits, masks and costumes. Thousands of locals liven the streets of the old town to join in the celebrations of Shrovetide traditions such as games and eating out. To round up this monumental occasion the immolation of an enormous pagan wicker woman named More will explode alongside a chaotic snowball fight.
The locals love eating and drinking al fresco and many restaurants will even provide outdoor blankets to ensure that their guests keep warm as night falls. The influx of summer tourists flying to Vilnius makes this period the most expensive time to visit the city but adventurous travellers will find plenty to do during the off-peak and shoulder seasons. For example the celebrated Vilnius Jazz festival that takes place annually over the course of a long weekend in the middle of October. The festival offers around 4 days of concerts, workshops and jam sessions for spectators to enjoy through its broad outlook on current trends in jazz.
The capital and largest city of Lithuania, Vilnius has a rich history and a reputation as a thriving city at the heart of the ‘new Europe’. Vilnius contains one of the largest surviving medieval quarters in Europe, cosmopolitan restaurants, stylish boutique hotels, and museums proliferate in this city of roughly half a million people. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994, the city's Old Town (Senamiestis) contains almost 2,000 Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings which are centred on the spectacular Cathedral Square. The Vilnius Cathedral has become a national symbol since it was first built in in 1387-88. Although the cathedral was turned into a picture gallery during the Soviet times, it was reconsecrated in 1989 and mass has been celebrated daily ever since. Vilnius' diverse neighbourhoods will take you on a journey through the centuries, from the ancient Gediminas Castle that has its roots in the ninth century to the Soviet-style residential areas that conjure up memories of Lithuania's recent history. Located in a former Soviet prison, The Museum of Genocide Victims is one of the city's most visited attractions, detailing the many of years of repression under the Soviet authorities.
Getting around Vilnius
Although Vilnius' Old Town is one of the largest in Europe, it can be easily navigated on foot. When travelling from the airport or around the city centre please be aware that street taxis can charge almost twice the price of taxis booked in advance.
Getting to the city from the airport
The largest of the four commercial airports in Lithuania, Vilnius International Airport (VNO) is located approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) south of city centre. The local bus service departs from the airport at 15 minute intervals, with the journey taking about 20 minutes to reach the centre. There is also a reliable train service that runs between the airport and city, the train ride takes just 7 minutes but trains depart at 45 minute intervals. If you plan on getting a taxi to the city centre from the airport, it is recommended that you adhere to the local system of booking your taxi online or by phone before your arrival.