There are many things to do in Vilnius so you may consider buying the Go Vilnius card. It should be used by tourists who would like to see a lot of things around Vilnius in a short amount of time. While using the card you will become well acquainted with the city, especially the museums. The card may be used for public transportation, free walking tours, audio guide rentals, and other discounts around the city. In our opinion, the card is definitely worth the money. Look at everything we did!
18 Things to Do in Vilnius With the Go Vilnius City Card
We obtained our Go Vilnius City Card and spent three days visiting almost every museum in the city that was available with the card. Vilnius has a tremendous amount of museums and you want to be sure to get your money’s worth.
Our insider guide will describe each museum, give our opinion on which attractions are worthwhile, and provide general travel tips around Vilnius. Below are 18 things to do in Vilnius.
1. Cathedral Belfry
Brief Overview: Visitors can climb up one of the oldest and tallest towers in the Old Town to get a great panoramic view of the city.
Highlights: The views from the top are really pretty.
Insider tip: Climbing to the top can feel quite steep. The bells work so be prepared if they play during your visit.
2. Church Heritage Museum
Brief Overview: Located in the Church of St. Archangel Michael, the museum features sacred items relating to the church.
Highlights: Go upstairs to the organ, put on the headphones, and experience what it’s like to play a church organ. It’s quite a tech-savvy, hands-on exhibit.
Insider tip: The museum would be most suited for those that appreciate religious topics and relics.
3. Energy and Technology Museum
Brief Overview: The museum has exhibits about the history of Lithuania’s industrial history, peppered with a few displays showcasing technology and light displays.
Highlights: We came up with some cool photo ideas while exploring.
Insider tip: We were a little confused with this museum and surprised by the high ratings on TripAdvisor. There is little signage in English. There are free audio guides that are available after downloading an app, but the Wi-Fi mainly works by the front entrance. During our visit, the old cars were gone from the transportation exhibit. The museum is housed in an old power plant.
4. Gediminas Castle
Brief Overview: Tourists primarily visit the tower for the observation deck. There are also exhibits featuring 14th-century weapons and information about the Vilnius castle complex.
Highlights: The 35-second ride on the funicular railway.
Insider tip: This part of the city was closed down while we were in town. There are unconfirmed reports that it was due to a landslide and unstable ground. There is work being completed on a new funicular. However, folks may walk up the steep hill when it’s reopened to the public.
5. House of Signatories
Brief Overview: This exposition is devoted to the Signatories of the Act of Independence which occurred in 1918.
Highlights: The selfie point where you can take a photo with an old-time backdrop.
Travel tip: There is little information in English for tourists. This museum educates visitors on the country’s independence and seems the most meaningful to Lithuanians.
6. Lithuanian Art Museum Picture Gallery
Brief Overview: The museum houses the largest and most valuable collection of Lithuanian art.
Highlights: The gallery is in the beautifully restored Chodkiewicz Palace which adds to the pleasure of visiting. Art lovers will appreciate the collection depicting some famous landmarks of Lithuania, especially the watercolors of Vilnius by Kamarauskas. I found the “travel section” featuring Mediterranean destinations enjoyable.
Insider tip: You must check your bags. There is no air conditioning in this museum.
7. Memorial Complex of the Tuskulėnai Peace Park
Brief Overview: This was the secret burial site of those murdered by KGB executions from 1944-1947. Today the remains rest in this chapel-columbarium. There is also a small, informative museum near the memorial.
Reflections: The columbarium (a room or building with niches for funeral urns to be stored) is very moving and thoughtfully and artistically created.
8. Museum of Genocide Victims
Brief Overview: The museum features authentic prison and torture cells with exhibits depicting the KGB brutality and the Lithuanian struggle. This building housed the KGB for over 50 years.
Reflections: The preserved prison cells are located downstairs, under the museum. There are water torture chambers, a padded room, and an execution chamber educating visitors about the horrific events that once took place here.
9. National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal
Brief Overview: This museum shares the history of Lithuania and celebrates the national culture.
Highlight: Head upstairs to see replicas of old traditional Lithuanian homes, the displays of traditional clothing, and the artsy wall of old crucifixes.
10. Palace of the Grand Duke of Lithuania
Brief Overview: Housed in a historical residence-type museum, the museum collects and features unique archeological valuables and furniture from Lithuania’s wealthy rulers.
Highlights: The highlights of this museum include the excavated castle foundation, the panoramic view from the tower, and the recreated palace rooms.
Insider tip: You must place your belongings in storage lockers that require a 1 euro coin, which is refundable. We didn’t pay for the audio guide, but guests claim it greatly enhances the visit.
11. Railway Museum
Brief Overview: The museum features memorabilia, train models, and an outdoor exhibit of a variety of old trains.
Highlights: Enjoying the outdoor museum and the miniature train model displays.
Insider tip: There is hardly any information in English, but this is a good museum for families with the model trains and coloring stations.
12. The Bastion of Vilnius City Wall
Brief Overview: Visitors can explore the 17th-century bastion and tunnels on Bokštas Hill. There are exhibits inside featuring artifacts, weapons and armory, and information regarding the history of the defensive wall.
Highlights: The view from the top is nice. Many interesting artifacts were taken from graves during archeological excavations around Lithuania.
13. Toy Museum
Brief Overview: Visitors can come to learn about the history of toys by playing within a variety of fun exhibits.
Highlights: Playing the old Soviet-era table games
Insider tip: This is mainly for families and very young children. If you visit as adults, it feels kind of creepy. This is more of a fun play center than an actual museum.
The Vilnius Tourism Offices sell the Go Vilnius card and all persons should have their own card. Contact representatives or check out the official website for more information.
14. “Make Everything Great Again” Street Art
15. Gates of Dawn
Vilnius used to have ten gates surrounding the walled city. By the end of the 18th century, the government ordered the city gates destroyed. The only one left standing is the Gate of Dawn.
Today, visitors may observe the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding an icon. The shrine is rumored to have miraculous healing powers. Many pilgrims come here to pray in front of the beloved painting. In September 1993, Pope John Paul II said the rosary here at the chapel.
16. Hill of Three Crosses
Legend has it that seven Franciscan friars were beheaded on the top of this hill. Afterward, wooden crosses were placed here in their honor. Since the 17th century, the crosses have served as a monument over Vilnius. However, the Soviets tore it down in 1950. Therefore, a new monument was erected in 1989. From the top, there is a spectacular view of the city.
17. Literature Street
On Literature Street you’ll find a uniquely decorated wall dedicated to famous Lithuanian writers.
It is located on Cathedral Square near the bell tower. Rumor has it that you’re supposed to spin clockwise three times while making a wish, Afterward, your wish will be granted.
Best Budget Eats in Vilnius
Forto Dvaras is our top pick for the best Lithuanian food in the city. We tried to visit other local eats around town and walked out each time. The service here can be a little curt, but the food is good and there’s pretty fast free Wi-Fi. We recommend the traditional zeppelins and potato pancakes, all served with sour cream.
We stayed in a clean, beautifully designed, and fully stocked Airbnb apartment with a high-end mattress, which is quite unusual for a budget apartment. The host’s communication can be a little hit-or-miss, but she’s very kind and welcoming.
We recommend staying a little north (or northeast) of the bus/train station, outside of the Old Town. This location provides less expensive apartments, is a walk to all of the sites, and is near to all sorts of public transportation.
How to Reach the Airport
Budget travelers may appreciate this insider tip. The majority of travelers will opt to take a public bus to the airport. However, across the street from the main bus terminal is the Vilnius Train Station where you can buy tickets to the airport for less than $1.
The train departs/arrives about every 15 minutes and takes only 8 minutes. The clean, roomy train goes from the Central Train Station to Vilnius Airport. This is a cheaper, faster, and more comfortable ride than taking a public bus.