Welcome to your Christmas wonderland! Festive lights, impressive Christmas trees, concerts, theatre performances, and unique seasonal food experiences make Vilnius the perfect winter destination. Create your own fairy tale along the narrow-cobbled streets of the city’s UNESCO-protected Old Town, in the cosy Christmas markets, and in the endless expressions of modern culture.
Thinking about what to see and eat? It only takes a bit of planning to ensure a magical Christmas in Vilnius. Here are some local recommendations for a memorable trip filled with exciting activities, must-taste food, and of course, a ton of amazing photo ops.
You can be even better than Santa this year! Combining your Christmas shopping with sightseeing is a breeze. Check out the best spots to find contemporary souvenirs, trendy clothing, unique jewellery, natural cosmetics, and interesting food. From pop-up designer markets to Christmas fairs – here’s everything you need to know.
EXPLORING THE CITY’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Christmas markets smelling of candied nuts and filled with unique finds are a big thing in Vilnius. For the traditional Christmas entertainment, visit two main Christmas markets in city’s main squares. For modern and trendy Christmas filled with local designers and handmade gifts visit the smaller pop-up markets.
CELEBRATING NEW YEAR’S EVE IN VILNIUS
Vilnius might not be the first city that comes to mind for a New Year’s celebration, but that just means you get a chance to experience something before it becomes the trendy thing to do. Start 2019 off with something different and join the locals while tasting unique cuisine, making new friends, and partying all night long.
EXPLORING VILNIUS DURING CHRISTMAS
Discover hidden gems and listen to breath-taking stories about Vilnius on an inspiring guided tour. Learn about some of Lithuania’s Christmas magic and what 100 years of Lithuanian independence looks like, or descent into the catacombs only to emerge onto the street for an artisan coffee tour. No doubt, the experience will give you some exciting stories to tell over Christmas dinner.
Starting on 1 December, Christmas can be found around every corner in Vilnius. Get ready for one of the most beautiful Christmas Trees, a ride on a Christmas train, traditional Christmas markets, and a city illuminates with lights straight out of a holiday fairy tale. Take a look at the full programme of events and activities during the Christmas season in Vilnius.
A FESTIVE HOLIDAY DINNER
Treat your taste buds to unique food at acclaimed restaurants and food markets. Learn more about the local craft beer culture and get some energy from the best coffee in town using the Good Coffee Map. Here are some thoughts on what to look for in Vilnius’ food scene. Check out the 30 Best Restaurants Guide or try a special burger at the hip and locally adored bar Keulė Rūkė.
A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF CHRISTMAS
It’s easy to take a good look at the city’s famed Christmas tree from above. Visitors to the city can take advantage of a rare opportunity to get a memorable glimpse of snowy Vilnius from a hot air balloon, or have a cocktail at an elevation of 165 metres. Check out the city’s highest spots and enjoy a different perspective of Lithuania’s capital.
The Christmas season in Vilnius is not only about carols. Explore the contemporary cultural scene and join the local tradition of seeing the Nutcracker ballet, taking in a performance by the National Orchestra, or visiting the newest modern art museum opened in October. See Vilnius filled with action throughout the Christmas season.
CHRISTMAS WITH FAMILY
Come to Vilnius with children and let them experience the magic of the Christmas season. The streets and squares are filled with wonders and sightseeing can be done easily using the special Christmas train. Take a look at the best events and activities.
FIVE Lithuanian Christmas Eve Traditions TO TAKE PART IN
In Lithuania, Christmas Eve is one of the most peaceful holidays of the year. It has always been a time when the entire family gathers around the dinner table. Tradition has it that all disagreements must be settled before Christmas Eve dinner so that the upcoming year may bring peace and joy. This little list will help you experience Christmas Eve in a very Lithuanian way.
Christmas Day marks the end of the fast that precedes the major holiday. Hence, most of the traditional dishes consumed throughout December and on Christmas Eve don’t include meat. You can find the most popular Christmas dishes at Vilnius’ restaurants and supermarkets from late November. Here’s our pick of what to look for.
As Vilnius’ concert halls fill with festive music and the town’s streets come alive with markets and fairs, find an event that sounds just right for you and step outside. With some luck, you may even get to experience the year’s first snowfall.
Tourist Information Centres’ working hours:
THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN
1 December 2018 – 7 January 2019. The train “station” is located at a special stop opposite Cathedral Square.
SHOPPING IN VILNIUS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES IN VILNIUS OVER CHRISTMAS