List 15 April

Top 10 things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania

With its rich culture and vibrant arts scene, Vilnius is a breath of fresh air. Here are 10 top ways to enjoy Lithuania's buzzing capital

1. Explore the Unesco World Heritage-listed Old Town

With its twisting alleys of baroque and Gothic architecture, Renaissance-style castles and countless cafés, it’s easy to lose a day or two in the Old Town.

2. Hang out in the arty Užupis Quarter

The bohemian Užupis district has a style of its own: laid-back and endlessly creative. Many of its streets are decorated with lively murals and sculptures.

3. Experience Soviet life

Relaxing it may not be, but a trip to Vilnius’s Soviet Bunker is an enlightening – and moving – taste of life during Soviet rule.

4. Venture into the wilds of Aukštadvaris Regional Park

Vilnius County’s Regional Park boasts 77 lakes, acres of rolling pine forest and enough legends and myths to tempt even the most reluctant of hikers. Visit in September to take in the spectacular autumn colours.

5. Uncover Kernavė, Lithuania’s medieval capital

Underneath the unassuming village of Kernavė lie the remains of Lithuania’s medieval capital, plus evidence of Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlements as well as early Russian trade links.

6. Catch some culture in the city’s green spaces

Of all the Baltic capitals, Vilnius has the largest area of parkland – and it’s certainly put to good use. The annual Culture Night (18 June) sees countless shows in the unlikeliest of places, right across the city.

7. Journey to Europe’s centre

So you know where to find the Equator line, but could you pinpoint the geographic centre of Europe? Well now you can – it’s 26km north of Vilnius, near the village of Purnuskes, and is surrounded by a nature reserve.

8. Enjoy the sound of Vilnius

Discover Lithuania’s musical roots by catching the International Festival of Folk Music (26-29 May) or the long-running International Jazz festival (13-16 October).

9. Show off your sporty side

The Vilnius Marathon (11 Sep) is a novel way of exploring the area, or you could time your visit with this year’s European Basketball Championship (31 Aug-18 Sep).

10. Head back in time to Trakai

Just 28km west of Vilnius, Trakai’s tranquil lakes, rolling hills and Island Castle are a monument to old Lithuania.

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