For a town as compact as it is, Vilnius is sure packed with events. If you’re still looking for a reason to visit – there’s something special going on in any weather and at any time of the year. Here’s our top 12.
Sodai are a traditional Lithuanian folk art decoration made to mark special events. To mark the occasion of the 100th birthday of the modern Lithuanian state, 10 large sodai are on display in Šventaragio slėnis – the little park right next to the Vilnius Cathedral, providing a little distraction for long winter nights.
The modern Lithuanian state was created on 16 February 1918 when 20 Lithuanians signed the Act of Independence. To mark the 100th anniversary of this historic event, Vilnius will host concerts, exhibitions, and even a trip back in time to 1918 – because all birthdays need a little fun.
This is the event that truly marks the beginning of spring in Vilnius. The fair’s stalls span multiple streets in the Old Town, offering everything from locally produced cheeses to beers from the smallest Lithuanian towns. To really experience the event like a local, don’t leave without buying baronkos and verbos.
Užupis is Vilnius’ most bohemian district that one day chose to proclaim itself independent and have its own constitution. Independence day falls on April Fools’ Day – chosen purposefully, to reflect the humorous nature of the entire undertaking. Come by to get your passport stamped with Užupis’ seal and celebrate together with an entire city district.
There’s more to music than concerts and well-known artists. Street Music Week is when bands, big and small, take to the streets of Vilnius and give free performances: jazz, funk, rock – you name it, it’s all here.
If a night packed full of cultural events sounds like your kind of thing, put Culture Night on your calendar. The one-night festival opens the doors of multiple venues in town, where artists offer free performances. A large part of the festival’s activities also take place right under the summer skies.
Can you imagine a celebration of traditional song and dance that’s so impressive it’s included on UNESCO’s list of Intangible World Heritage? That’s what the Song and Dance Festival is. You have to see it to truly understand its scale and special festive atmosphere – one that only takes over town every four years.
The event is much more exciting than you’d initially think. It brings musical performances to some unexpected places: a train depot, Halės Market and Vilnius Railway Station have all been host to some memorable concerts. There are even more surprises in store for 2018.
The streets of Vilnius may get a little emptier during summer, but if there’s one event that brings Vilnius natives back, it’s the Vilnius City Fiesta. Among its top attractions are free concerts at Cathedral Square, numerous art and music performances, and a fair that stretches down Gediminas Avenue.
Come October, nights are longer than days is Vilnius, which makes it a good time to enjoy some light shows. Beepositive brings together multiple light artists into one location where they can do what they do best – make visitors smile and gasp at the beautiful displays of light.
In November, you can hide away from the occasional rain and enjoy Scanorama’s focus of the best films from the Nordics and the world over. It’s truly the highlight of the autumn season as far as cinema goes. The festival’s favourites typically enjoy a longer run in Vilnius’ movie theatres.
Vilnius takes Christmas very seriously. There’s the unveiling of its Christmas tree, the design of which is always a surprise. A traditional Christmas run that the whole family can compete in. And Christmas markets big and small offering goodies from all over Lithuania. All that’s missing is you.