Even if your pockets are almost empty, Vilnius is still a perfect getaway destination. Awarded the Cheapest European Destination by the UK Post Office’s 2019 City Costs Barometer, Lithuania’s capital is a real bargain, especially when you consider all the adventures and experiences you’re in for on a visit to the city. Yes, Vilnius has amazing architecture and tons of green spaces right in the heart of the city that don’t cost a penny to see, but there’s so much more to the city – open galleries, tours, concerts, and bird’s-eye views can all be enjoyed on a tight budget.
Most of the museums in Vilnius are free on the last Sunday of each month. From modern art to Jewish history, there’s so much to see and learn. For more info on events taking place throughout the city, check out www.vilnius-events.lt. You can also find free events at the new Mo Museum of modern art or the National Art Gallery, and don’t forget that street art is free all year round, so keep an eye out for all the murals while you explore the city, or use the dedicated street art map. And don’t forget to check out the Open Gallery for installations and inspiring paintings in a unique industrial setting.
Vilnius is so green you might feel like you’re in some sort of Hobbit land. Filled with lush parks, chill squares, and nature reserves, the city and its surrounding are great for walking, hiking and exploring green spaces. Choose from among the many picturesque landscapes for a relaxing walk – Verkiai Park and Belmontas are among the most popular spots. Plus, Vilnius is surrounded by seven hills, so there’s no shortage of panoramic views of the Old Town.
You might not be a local in Vilnius, but locals will always have your back. Free walking tours are a great way to discover the city, and they are full of insider tips that’ll have you feeling like a local in no time. They’re a fun alternative to the usual tourist guide routine, too. Check out what’s on the plate for today at www.vilniusfreetour.lt or www.vilniuswithlocals.com. Prefer discovering the city on your own? Choose from one of many themed routes available at the Vilnius Tourist Information Centres – grab a map or simply download one online here. Looking for more art? Visit the independent republic of Užupis, a bohemian district filled with art and quirkiness around every corner.
Travelling on a budget is a great way to make new friends, especially if you stay at a hostel. But forget the same old hostel experience you’re used to. Opt for Downtown Forest Hotel to connect with nature, grill some meat or veggies outside, enjoy a concert by local artists, and sleep like a baby. While Jamaika Hostel is often in party mode all weekend long, its location is perfect for exploring the city and the rooms upstairs aren’t loud at all. And you can still experience the heart of the city right next to the Cathedral without breaking the bank, too. Just check-in to Pogo hostel and you won’t have to overpay for a great view of the Cathedral and the nearby Gediminas Tower.
Even though Vilnius has numerous top-notch restaurants with tasting menus and exquisite fine-dining experiences, if you really want to get to know the city and its food culture you should stand in line with locals and not be afraid of getting a bit of sauce on your chin. Budget-friendly food markets are a great place to feel this atmosphere and taste so much food you’ll definitely need a long walk later. Halės Market is amazing for Saturday brunches or a quick bite for lunch, while Downtown Food Hall is open all day long. Just get some food, enjoy your evening drinks and maybe even pop-in for a movie. As for beer, Vilnius is a beer heaven, and there are craft beer bars and pubs around every corner. For a down to earth atmosphere visit Dėvėti or Špunka, the smallest pub in Užupis.
Vilnius is compact, which makes it a very walkable city; however, riding a bike gives you another perspective and can take you to places your feet might not be able to. Hop on an orange CycloCity bike and enjoy super cheap rides. You might also want to gather some friends and go kayaking or paddle boarding along the Neris River to explore the Old Town from the water. For a bird’s-eye view of the Old Town, go up the Bell Tower of St. John’s Church – it only costs a couple of euros. Looking for an adrenaline rush? Take the stairs instead of the glass elevator.
Savvy travellers know all the best tricks, like taking advantage of a city discount card to make the most of your time and money. The Vilnius Pass offers hop-on hop-off bus tours; guided walking tours; an audioguide; free admission to some of the most popular museums, like the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the interactive TeliaNemuziejus museum; and even access to the TV tower, which promises an unforgettable 360-degree view. The Vilnius Pass comes with over 60 offers and discounts on everything from museums to an adventure in a hot air balloon, and much more.