My first trip of 2016 was to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and what an amazing way to start the year! If Lithuania isn’t on your travel list then you need to add it now!
I have made a list of 10 things I loved about Lithuania. Enjoy…
- Despite the fact that it is a capital city, Vilnius was relatively quiet. Whenever I think of a capital city I think of the noise & chaos that we experience in London, but Vilnius couldn’t have been more different. We got to eat in local restaurants & we barely queued the entire time, it was so refreshing.
- The Location of our Hostel. We stayed at Jimmy Jumps which was right in the middle of Old Town, only a few minutes away from bars, restaurants & shops. The rooms were clean and spacious, with privacy curtains on the bunk beds (I always give bonus points when hostels give you a little privacy in a shared room!) Plus the entrance hall had a chalk wall where people left quotes and memories which was so much fun to read.
- How well everyone coped with the snow. In England, the whole country breaks down when we see even half an inch of snow but the Lithuanian’s are clearly more aclimatised to winter and just got on with it. When we arrived the temperature was -11 and we were told it was a warm day as the previous week it’d been a bitter -20!
- How cheap the taxis were. We caught a cab from Old Town to the airport and the journey only cost us €6. Even when we got a taxi from Old Town to Trakai Island Castle the journey cost us €35 and this was at least a half an hour journey
- The food is amazing. It is carb heaven and I loved it. The food was cheap, warm and filling – what more can you ask for?
- The whole city turns into a giant playground when it snows. And it isn’t just the children enjoying themselves, adults join in too! From natural ice rinks on frozen lakes to toboggan runs down hills, this place brings out the child in you (and I love it!)
- Trakai Island Castle. I touched on it earlier but it needs it’s own bullet point. Obviously I’ve only seen it covered in snow, but I can imagine it’s just as beautiful in summer. Set on a picturesque (frozen) lake, it’s the perfect place to capture some snaps. The castle is rich in history and only 30 minutes away from Vilnius. There are some lovely little eateries and gift stalls surrounding the lake that are well worth investigating whilst you’re there.
- You can accomplish everything in just a long weekend. So I will admit we were busy bees the entire time but in one day we saw everything we wanted to in Old Town and even managed to factor in several coffee stops (which are a necessity in the cold). The second day we went to Trakai Castle and we got the funicular up to Gediminas’ Tower (this place offers spectacular views of Vilnius).
- It’s really easy to use Vilnius as a base to visit the other Baltic Countries. The main station had buses regularly running to Tallinn and Riga. There were also services to get you to Minsk (which is worth looking into because I’ve done a lot of research and cannot find a good route from London to Belarus via aeroplane).
- I’ve already mentioned how cheap the taxis are but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In general Lithuania is a really affordable weekend trip. I bought just over €100 for the whole weekend and even came home with €15 change! Just to break it up a bit for you here’s where the money went – we got 4 taxis (split 4-ways), dinner out with 2 bottles of wine (again, split 4-ways) cheese, wine & snacks from the supermarket, (why not, we were on holiday!) museum entry (€4 for the Genocide Museum and €6 to get into Trakai Castle) and just general spending (water and postcards etc.)