posted by Guest blogger - Ele Pranaityte | 1 Comments
Our latest guest blogger is Ele Pranaityte of Lithuania-based travel blog Kootvela. Focusing on her home country, Ele prefers travelling overland instead of flying or the boat, and blogs in both Lithuanian and English. To keep up to date with Ele and her blog make sure to follower her on Twitter.
Capital of Lithuania and the place where I call home, Vilnius has been the home to many people of different cultures for a very long time. It is a diverse city with a long history that has a lot to offer for both its residents and tourists. Its got museums, parks, historical landmarks, good local and international food, and a rich events calendar. It is difficult to decide where to go and what to do, especially if it is your first time here, so 10 things not to miss will help you plan your time…
1. The Old Town
It has been enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1994 and for a reason. It’s the largest Baroque city in Eastern Europe. Even though it sounds a big deal, the whole area can be covered on foot in about 3-4 hours. Cheslaw Milosh said that even clouds in Vilnius were Baroque.
2. The view from St John's Church
Take the viewing platform from the highest point in the Old Town, the tower of St. John’s church. The view of Vilnius rooftops is well worth the effort.
3. Užupis - the city's artistic neighbourhood
Spend a day leisurely strolling in the artistic district of Užupis. This is our little Montmartre. The place considers itself to be an independent republic and even has its own constitution. It lists some generally true rights and duties like "a cat doesn't have to love its owner but it must help in difficult times". Also, don't miss out on the Mermaid.
4. Žvėrynas (the Menagerie)
If you like wooden architecture, you will appreciate the district of Žvėrynas (the Menagerie). What used to be ducal hunting grounds in the 16th century now is a living quarter with wooden heritage.
5. The Church of St Peter and Paul
The district of Antakalnis has one of the three Baroque Pearls in our country-the Church of St. Peter and Paul. It’s a Baroque masterpiece with the founder laid to rest on its threshold, a church that marks the end of Deluge-the 17th century wars with Sweden and Russia.
6. Trakai for a day trip
A day trip to Trakai to see its island castle and try kibinai in a local restaurant based on Karaite cuisine is a must do because it’s here that the 15th century history of the country and much of Europe was shaped.
7. The local cuisine
Try cold beetroot soup (šaltibarščiai), potato dumplings (cepelinai), cabbage rolls (balandėliai) and kvass gira (local beer).
8. Vilnius' Jewish Ghetto
hen in the Old Town, you can explore the former Jewish ghetto and try to discover the stories of this nation told by the narrow streets. Pick up a leaflet with a map from a local tourist information centre or visit Centre of Tolerance.
9. The National Art Gallery
if you decide to visit at least one museum, make it the National Art Gallery. Based in what formerly served as the Museum of Revolution, now it houses art from 19th century Lithuanian artists and also has temporary exhibits.
10. 'Bubble Your City'
Lukiškių square hosts Bubble Your City in the high season. You can sit down in a square with gloomy history than now is trying to break away with its dark past and mingle with the locals...and soap bubbles.
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