10 photo worthy things to do in Vilnius Lithuania

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Vilnius, the vibrant capital of Lithuania, is a city steeped in rich history, captivating architecture, and a thriving cultural scene. From exploring ancient castles to immersing yourself in the charm of the old town, Vilnius offers plenty of unforgettable experiences and incredible photo opportunities. 


We visited Vilnius at Christmas in 2021, not knowing what to expect, but we loved every minute spent in this charming capital, and learnt so much about the interesting history of this Baltic hidden gem.


In this blog post, we’re highlighting the top attractions that should be on your itinerary when visiting Vilnius, and the best Instagrammable spots around the city. So, If you’re looking for a picturesque city break with culture, history and incredible food, Vilnius is the perfect destination for you. 

Discover the Haunting History of Lukiskes Prison

By far one of the best activities to do in Vilnius is visiting Lukiškes Prison. Located in the heart of Vilnius, this infamous penitentiary now stands as a chilling reminder of Lithuania’s dark history. The prison was closed in 2019 after 115 years, and was left completely untouched, leaving an eerie and dark atmosphere.


We experienced a private tour of the prison, immersing ourselves in the gripping stories of the individuals who had once been held captive within these walls, all the while witnessing the prison cells left intact as if frozen in time.

Lukiškės Prison Courtyard, Vilnius, Stranger Things Prison
Lukiškės Prison Bar, Vilnius

The prison was also a filming location for Stranger Things season 4, so if you’ve seen the show you might recognise it! If you’re up for an even creepier experience, you can choose to do a tour at night for 20 Euros. Part of the prison has been transformed into a cultural centre with a music venue, art studios, a cafe, and since the release of Stranger Things in June, it now has a Stranger Things-themed cell in the complex which is available to rent on Airbnb!

2. Step into a Fairytale at Trakai Castle

Just a 40 minute drive from Vilnius is the town of Trakai, where you’ll find a breathtaking 14th century castle on an island in Lake Galvė. Trakai Castle looks straight out of a fairy tale, surrounded by serene lakes and greenery. The Castle is open to the public and has a museum inside, with an adult ticket costing 12 Euros. We recommend going on a leisurely walk through the castle’s halls, taking in the picturesque surroundings, and learning about the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Trakai Castle Reflection, Vilnius, Lithuania
Trakai Castle Towers, Vilnius, Lithuania

3. Wander Through Vilnius Old Town

Exploring Vilnius Old Town is an essential experience for anyone visiting the Lithuanian capital. Stepping into this UNESCO World Heritage site is like stepping back in time. The cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and charming atmosphere create a truly enchanting ambiance.


In the Old Town, you’ll find a unique mix of architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical. Strolling through the winding streets, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks such as Vilnius Cathedral and St. Anne’s Church, both boasting impressive architectural details.

Vilnius Old Town street in Winter
Vilnius Old Town church towes, Lithuania

But beyond the landmarks, the hidden gems are tucked away in the Old Town’s nooks and crannies. Quaint cafes, artisanal shops, and inviting art galleries are waiting to be explored, offering a glimpse into the local culture and creative scene.

4. Challenge Your Senses at the Museum of Illusions

For a mind-bending experience, make sure to visit the Museum of Illusions. This interactive museum features optical illusions, holograms, and mind-blowing exhibits. It’s the perfect activity for a rainy or cold afternoon, and after you can grab a coffee in the café that looks like a drawing! 

2D sketch café in Museum of illusions, Vilnius Lithuania

It’s worth a stop, even just for an Instagram photo in the café. Admission is 12 Euros for an adult, which can be bought in the museum or online.

5. Explore Vilnius Street Art on a Walking Tour

A unique activity to Vilnius is a Graffiti walking tour in Loftus, an old industrial estate that’s been transformed into a vibrant graffiti art exhibition. Talented local and international artists have transformed Loftus into a canvas for their creativity, turning ordinary buildings into captivating works of art.

Loftus street art, Vilnius, Lithuania

Sir Selwyn Clarke Market

From colorful murals that depict cultural heritage to thought-provoking pieces that challenge societal norms, each artwork tells a story about the cultural and political history of Lithuania.

6. Experience the Flavors of Vilnius at Paupys Market

For the foodies, Paupys Food Market is the best place to go for a unique and modern dining experience. Located in the historic Paupys district in the Old Town, this food market is set in an indoor urban jungle, with modern architecture blended with lush greenery. 

Lunch at Paupys Food Market

The vibrant market offers a huge variety of cuisines, from unique burgers and traditional Lithuanian dishes, to colourful buddha bowls and tasty coffees.

7. Brunch at Pink and yellow

Start your morning off in the best way possible by treating yourself to a brunch experience at the aesthetically-pleasing café, Pink & Yellow. This thoughtfully designed café not only offers a visually stunning ambiance but also offers a unique twist on your traditional brunch, with its tapas-style breakfast menu.

Pink and yellow brunch food in Vilnius, Lithuania
Pink and yellow restaurant in Vilnius, Lithuania

Choose from delectable egg tacos and mouth watering banana bread to fluffy pancakes and an array of other tempting options. Not only is the food presented beautifully, but it also surpasses all expectations in taste, making it truly some of the best food we have ever tasted!

8. Admire the architecture

Vilnius is full of rich history and ancient buildings, so one of the best things to do is wonder around the streets and discover Vilnius’ iconic landmarks. Start at Cathedral Square, where the magnificent Vilnius Cathedral proudly stands.

Gediminas Avenue main street in Vilnius, Lithuania with Christmas Lights
Architecture in Vilnius, Lithuania

From there you can walk along to the imposing Gediminas Castle Tower, which offers breath-taking views of the city. Some other landmarks to look out for are the Gates of Dawn, the TV Tower and St. Anne’s Church to name a few.

9. See Vilnius from above in a hot air balloon

One of the most iconic and unique attractions in Vilnius is the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride over the charming Old Town. What makes this experience even more special is that Vilnius is one of the few capital cities in the world that permits hot air balloons to soar above its historic streets. It’s the perfect photo opportunity to capture the picturesque streets from above.

View from hot air balloon ride over Vilnius Old Town, Lithuania

Photo by Igor Gubaidulin

10. Embrace the Festive Spirit: Christmas Tree Lighting and Markets

Vilnius comes alive at Christmas, with twinkling lights covering the city and Christmas markets around every corner. Cathedral Square becomes a scene out of a Christmas movie, with an extravagant tree adorned with sparkling decorations and markets illuminating the square.

Lady at Vilnius Christmas market in Lithuania
Vilnius cathedral square Christmas tree 2021

Vilnius at Christmas

This time of year is incredible for getting photos, with so many coloured lights covering the trees, buildings and streets.

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