Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania is a city worth a visit, with a ton of places to see. Here you can find some of the alternative Vilnius sightseeing options and most unique things to do in Vilnius.
The capital of the Baltic country in eastern Europe charmed me from the very first moment. The quiet areas by the river, the picturesque orange roofs of the Old Town, and delicious Lithuanian food. If you are wondering what to do in Vilnius, you don’t need to worry – there is plenty of options. From different Vilnius attractions to visiting one of the many churches to going to the Trakai castle, to walking on the streets of the Old Town. Here, I want to share with you a few of the more unique things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania.
We visited Vilnius this summer for a weekend from Norway on an invitation from Tinggly Experiences. (the company that believes in giving stories, not stuff! Pretty cool, check them out!). Not much to say, we fell in love with it straight away!
Alternative Vilnius – 10 unique things to do in Vilnius
There are some of the things to see in Vilnius, and Vilnius tourist attractions, that everyone knows about, like Vilnius Cathedral or Gate of Dawn. But what if you are interested in another side of the city and want to discover the alternative Vilnius? Here you can see some of the more unique things to do in Vilnius, that I hope will get your interest!
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#1 Fly on the hot air balloon over Trakai castle
Most people decide to visit Trakai castle on foot on a day trip. I have no doubts, it surely is very picturesque and full of history. However, I can recommend trying a bit different approach to admiring the castle – from the air. By taking a hot balloon ride, you can fly over the Trakai castle, the lake and little islands dotted around. It’s probably one of my favourite Vilnius activities. We did it on a perfect day during sunset and it was an amazing trip. It was my second hot air balloon ride, after the Masai Mara, and I think I’m getting addicted 😉
#2 Try cheese ice cream
Yes, I know – cheese in ice cream?! I was thinking the same when our guide on the Vilnius food tour suggested to try it. And I actually liked it! The sweet, usually cherry-flavored ice cream is served with chunks of the legendary hard cheese Džiugas. It is the famous cheese in Lithuania and you need to try it when you visit the country. The cheese has a special tangy flavor derived from the quality milk, and it has no lactose! We liked it so much, that we brought some back home. And yes, to truly understand what I’m talking about, you need to visit Vilnius and try it yourself!
# 3 Go on the Hill of Three Crosses … from the back
Hill of Three Crosses is a well-known monument. According to a legend, seven Franciscan friars were beheaded on top of this hill. To remember that place, three wooden crosses were built in the location in the early 17th century. Later on, they were replaced with the current monument.
The normal way of getting to the Hill of Three Crosses is by following the set of stairs or a path through Kalnai Park. We, however, chose to get there through an abandoned stadium, from the back of the park. There was not a single person in the whole area, so it felt a bit strange, but once we got to the hill, it was all good. That always happens when we decide to explore the city on foot and get lost in the process (part of the adventure, right?!).
The Hill is worth getting onto (whatever side you choose), as it offers some of the best views over the city.
#4 Admire the quirky street art in Vilnius
I was positively surprised when I found out the amount of street art in Vilnius. I love street art (like I spent the whole day checking out the street art in the Brick Lane in London) and I always take way too many photos. If you are also a fan, you should go out and look for the colourful murals. You might even recognize some of the portraits (do you?! ;-)), and it might remind you something, too.
#5 Stay in the nuclear research center
Right, that might sound a bit weird, but it actually isn’t! Many buildings in Vilnius have been repurposed after changes that happened in Lithuania. Thanks to Tinggly we were able to stay in the old nuclear research center, that now was transformed into the Tinggly Bloggers House.
The coolest loft in town had everything that we needed for the stay (and more), including a projector, segway, studio lights, fast internet, and a wooden world map, that I immediately wanted to have at home.
#6 Drink Sushi martini
You must be thinking that I got a bit crazy with all those weird food combinations. Maaaybe. But we like trying new things. So when we ended up in one of the coolest cocktail bars in the city, Alchemikas, we needed to try their most interesting creations – like, yes, Sushi Martini with actual seaweed and ginger, as well as very unique art on the cocktail. It also turned out that the Vilnius nightlife is alive and kicking, so it’s worth going out into the city!
#7 Visit the independent Užupis Republika within the city
Užupis is a special part of Vilnius, located near the Old Town. Its name means “beyond the river”. The district is popular with artists and has a bohemian and free atmosphere. On April 1, 1998, the district declared itself an independent republic – The Republic of Užupis with their own constitution (very witty, have a read).
#8 Try the pink soup
A pink soup is a famous (and delicious) dish in Lithuania. It is also another quite unusual item to try in the capital. The soup is made from kefir (sour milk) and beetroot with added dill, potatoes and eggs. It’s served cold, which means it’s perfect for the hot days! I love it (it reminded me of similar soup that my mum used to make), and I had it every-single-day we were in Vilnius 😉
#9 Enter every church you see and look at the ceiling
You won’t regret it! There are a lot of churches in Vilnius and all of them are beautiful from the outside and from the inside. Wouldn’t you agree?
#10 Take a ride with a trolleybus
Trolleybuses are not so popular anymore as the regular buses or metro replaced them. So when I saw them in Vilnius, I felt very nostalgic. The trolleybus is an electric bus that uses the power from overhead wires by using the special trolley poles. Have you ever ride the trolleybus before? Give it a try!
Where to stay in Vilnius, Lithuania?
We stayed in Tinggly Bloggers House, thanks to Tinggly, but if you don’t manage to do that, you can try some of the suggestions below:
Tours in Vilnius, Lithuania
Have you been to Vilnius, Lithuania? Have you tried any of the unique things to do in Vilnius? Can you add any more? Let me know in the comments!
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