VILNIUS, LITHUANIA. If it’s true that Vilnius looks like a crisp white frame during winter, it’s also true that the streets filled with people, happiness, and flowers during spring are the place to be. Although small for a capital, prepare to sit outside for a nice meal in the warm sun.
Vilnius is a perfect destination for a small city break because you’ll see most of the interesting things that the city has to offer within a couple days. With around 600,000 inhabitants, the city was occupied for many successive years by Russians and Germans. Most of it was destroyed and reconstructed later. With 65 churches all over the city, buildings created during different centuries, and a nice, large Old Town, Vilnius has a rich architecture. The other side of the river shows the modern Vilnius with some modern, high office buildings.
A good travel option from Warsaw is the bus line Simple Express, because it’s cheap and has commodities like movies, games, and music for every passenger. Finding accommodation is not difficult and I suggest Fabryka hostel & gallery for a clean and cosy stay. I began the day with some local food and a beer from one of the local breweries. After, I had a very nice walk across a main avenue that led to the main cathedral and the Castle Gediminas (which may not be worth paying to enter.) During the night, a “bar crawl” can be a good idea, since the city is not that big and you can have a lot of fun.
I went on Easter weekend and a lot of things were closed, so we decided to take a 30-minute busride to a famous city and lake resort of Lithuania: Trakai. For 6 litas (the national currency) a trip, you will enjoy a great view and breathe some fresh air. The nearby restaurants are expensive, so buy food for a picnic and take your time appreciating the big lake, the castle, and the summer houses. At the end of the day, you can take a taxi to go back and catch the bus. Next stop: Vilnius nightlife!
Lithuania is a Catholic country, so you’ll find specific traditions on Easter. Besides some performances in the center for kids– like music or games to find Easter eggs– you’ll see locals going to churches for blessings. Basically, they carry baskets with their Easter Sunday food to be blessed in the church for this special occasion. This is a good excuse to also visit the Old Town with the Dawn Gate, the only remaining gate from the city’s walls. Sit and have a cold drink and enjoy the small but full city. After all, a long trip home awaits!