How to Spend 3 Days in Vilnius
An extra day in Vilnius gives you the chance to explore the UNESCO-listed Old Town and take a day trip to Trakai Castle. Plus, you’ll have ample time to experience local culture and cuisine. Here’s how to spend three days in Vilnius.
Day 1: Sightseeing in the Old Town
As one of the largest in Europe, Vilnius’ UNESCO-listed Old Town is home to a plethora of medieval monuments and Baroque buildings. Ensure you don’t miss some of the finer details by taking a walking tour or, to cover more sights in less time, opt for a bike or Segway tour. Tours typically cover the Palace of the Grand Dukes, home to the National Museum of Lithuania, and the neighboring Gediminas Tower, which offers panoramic city views. Afterward, take a stroll down Pilies Street, stop to admire the Gates of Dawn, and pay a visit to Vilnius Cathedral and St. Anne's church.
Across the Vilnia River, the bohemian district of Užupis is full of shops, cafés, art galleries, and street art. It’s an atmospheric spot for dinner and drinks in the evening but if you want to get the inside scoop on local nightlife, join a pub crawl or beer tasting tour.
Day 2: Visit Trakai Castle
Just a 30-minute drive from Vilnius, Trakai Historical National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Lithuania’s most-visited attractions. The headline act is Trakai Castle, perched on an island in Lake Galvė. For the best views, take a boat cruise or kayaking excursion around the lake and then head ashore to visit the Trakai Castle Museum. For something extra-special, take a sunrise or sunset hot-air balloon ride over the lake.
Back in Vilnius, head to Hales Turgus market to experience local life and sample traditional Lithuanian foods—be sure to pick up some sweet Baltic pastries. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights (the KGB Museum) and the MO Museum, a favorite among art lovers. At sunset, head to the top of the Vilnius TV Tower, Lithuania’s highest building, for dinner at the revolving restaurant.
Day 3: Escape to the Country
Spend your third day exploring more of Latvia on a day trip. Options include the capital of Riga; the historic city of Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city; or the coastal Curonian Spit National Park.
Another popular choice is the Hill of Crosses, a Christian pilgrimage site that dates back to the 19th century. The hilltop site is covered with hundreds of crosses, which were removed by the ruling regime during the soviet era, only to be replaced by locals during the night as a show of solidarity and resistance. Make the most of your time by combining a day trip to the Hill of Crosses with Anyksciai Regional Park, home to Lithuanian cultural heritage sites such as the Narrow-Gauge Railway Museum.