Similar to my other post regarding Riga (click here), Vilnius in Lithuania is also a very worthy choice for a winter city break!
Worth noting that the two cities are great for a combo trip, especially as it's only a 30 minute flight or a 4 hour bus ride.
1. Tour the Old Town
The Old Town is a very picturesque area of the city to stroll around. It's very easy to navigate as all attractions are within very close proximity. Vilnius Cathedral and Bell Tower, as well as the Town Hall, and St Nicholas' Church are all worth a look. You'll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and ice-cream shops lining the cobbled streets.
2. Museum of the Genocide Victims
This place is also known as the 'KGB Museum' and highlights the of the troubles the country has faced in recent times. You'll find the original prison cells down on the basement level, as well as plenty of clear and concise information spread across the museum.
Worth noting that some areas of the museum, including the execution room might be a little distressing if you're travelling with children.
3. Three Crosses Monument
This is a monument of three large white crosses that were sculpted in 1989. There were crosses on this spot previously, but they were removed by Soviet authorities back in the 1950's. The purpose of the site is to commemorate where a group of monks were killed.
If you're looking for a view point across the Old Town, you won't find many better spots.
4. Uzupis Constitution
Well where do you even begin to start with explaining this place! Uzupis is basically a bohemian republic located in the heart of the Old Town. There's a welcome sign to the consitution, as well as cobbled streets with monuments, and plenty of street art on display.
The residents are very laid back with a list of constitution rules that they follow, which includes "Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties".
5. Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle is located on a small island surrounding Lake Galve, which is 25km West of Vilnius and can be easily reached via public transport. The castle was built in the 14th century and also has a museum. Overall, it's pretty impressive and definitely worth a half day trip.
If you end up visiting Vilnius in the winter like I did, the lake surrounding the castle is likely to be frozen.
6. Vilnius Museum of Illusions
This place is obviously designed for kids, but I'm not gonna lie, I had a lot of fun in here. Some great illusions and a chance to make some very fun photos. Some of the illusions perhaps need to be explained by the staff members, but there are plenty on hand to help you along the way and make sure you get maximum enjoyment. I'd allow around 30-45 minutes for the museum as this is spread across two floors.
7. Christmas Markets
This is obviously a seasonal attraction, but if you do happen to visit over the Christmas and New Year period, there's a great Christmas Market located outside the cathedral. Plenty of food and stocking fillers to be had here. Worth noting that it's 'cash only'. There's also some Christmas Igloo Pods outside the Town Hall offering further festive treats.
At a cost of under $70 a night, I think you'll struggle to find a better value 5 star hotel across the whole of Europe. Imperial Hotel is located in the centre of the old town, so could not be any more perfectly located to explore the city.
I wouldn't call the decor modern, but it has an old fashioned elegant look about it. Very decent breakfast too!
Meat Lovers Pub - At first I was a little hesitant of this place purely due to the name. I was kind of expecting the standard pub food you get these kind of places, but I couldn't ignore the stellar reviews so went anyway. Wow! A cozy little place with a superb selection of food. Everything was great from the appetizers right the way to the dessert.