When it comes to budget travel, the Baltic states are some of the best for value for money. Lithuania is probably the cheapest of all of them. Additionally, there are also many free things to do in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. What’s better for your budget than things that cost nothing, right? The following list of free things to do in Vilnius could keep you occupied for days! A sample itinerary has been included at the bottom of the article to help you plan.
As an aside, you may be interested to know that the Lithuanian government decided a few years ago to market the capital city as the G-Spot of Europe. With the tagline, ‘Nobody knows where it is, but once you find it – it’s amazing’. They even have a website. You should absolutely take the test on the site for a laugh. Anyway, back to the free stuff!
Search For Street Art
There is art to be found all over Vilnius. There isn’t necessarily one place to see it all though. This means you could easily spend a day wandering around town finding random murals. There is definitely more street art in the old town. Sometimes it’s hiding in back streets, so make sure you explore everywhere! Also be aware that the art isn’t always just confined to walls. There are random sculptures around town too, especially in parks or in front of buildings. There are art installations that light up at night. Sometimes the canvas isn’t a wall, but a car. Just keep an open mind and there is art waiting to be found all around the city.
Free Things to do in Vilnius – City Parks
From small river-side and street-side parks to massive inner-city parks covering thousands of hectares, Vilnius has a lot of green spaces. We’re going to look at four of the main parks in the city for this article because they are easily accessible and contain a lot of interesting and fun things to do.
Pavilnių/Pavilniai Regional Park
First, let’s talk about the Pavilnių/Pavilniai Regional Park, 5 kilometres east of the Vilnius City Centre. The park covers over 2100 hectares, making it small for a regional park but it’s still one of the biggest city parks in the world. It can be accessed from the Pūčkorių Atodanga bus stop or the Pavilnys Train Station. The park has the highest geological monument in all of Vilnius. The monument, called Pūčkorių Dam, towers 65 metres above the city and offers great views. As you can guess, the city of Vilnius is rather flat.
Aside from apparently having the ‘most impressive’ view over Vilnius from the platform of Pūčkorių Dam, Pavilnių/Pavilniai Regional Park has 15 other hills that offer panoramic views over the city. It also has botanical reserves, waterfalls, an adventure park and a river running through it. In addition to that, there is an old water mill and hiking trails within the park’s borders. You could probably spend a whole day there.
As the second largest park that the city has to offer, Vingis Park is a popular spot with locals. It has a stadium on its grounds that has hosted many international music acts. You might find people cycling or running on the many trails going through the park. Or maybe you’ll get distracted by the pretty flowers of the small botanical gardens.
This park is located right in the city centre along the banks of the Vilnia River. It can be surprisingly quiet, despite its location. It has served a few different purposes and had a few different names throughout history. Now it contains many paved walking paths, sculptured gardens, children’s playgrounds and a giant chess board. Then it has something unique in Vilnius; singing fountains. But only between 9 and 10pm in summer.
Kalnų/Kalnai Park is located right near Bernadine Park on the opposite side of the Vilnia River. Its name means park of hills. There are four main hills in the park that you can climb to get a view of the city. One of them is Crooked Hill, where a famous historical monument stands.
Monuments With City Views
As mentioned before, Vilnius is a rather flat city, which means that firstly, it’s great to walk around. Secondly, you don’t have to work very hard to get a decent view of it. As an added bonus, many of the viewpoints in the city come with a free history lesson.
Gediminas Castle Tower
Gediminas, sometimes referred to as the father of Vilnius, was the Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 14th century. He had a dream that led him to build a city around the hill the castle tower now stands on. It was named after the Vilnia river. The tower is the only remaining remnant of the castle built by Gediminas. The great thing about it being on a hill is that you get an almost panoramic view of the city below. To your left you’ll see the old town with all its old-world architecture. In stark contrast, on your right, you’ll see the new town with all its modern metal constructions. It’s also an amazing place to watch the sunset!
Trys Kryžiai/Three Crosses
The historical Trys KryZial/Three Crosses monument lies atop Crooked Hill in Kalnai Park. The crosses are said to be a monument to Franciscan monks. Legend says they were murdered for trying to convert the city to Christianity. Some versions of the legend say they were crucified and floated down the river. Some versions say they were beheaded on that hill. No matter which legend people believed, the crosses became an integral part of the city’s skyline. They can be seen from almost everywhere in town, which means you can get a great view of the whole town from them.
Free Things to do in Vilnius – Take a Walk Along a River
While most cities in the world will have just one main river, Vilnius has two! Not only that, both have a fair amount of green spaces touching their banks. Let’s talk about the Vilnia River first. While it may be the smaller of the two rivers, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of things to do and see along its course. The Vilnia River winds through the old town and following it will bring you to some interesting sites.
You may have noticed that three of the four parks mentioned earlier are connected in some way to the Vilnius River. That means a walk along this river gives you an almost never-ending list of things to see and do! Not only that, but it passes through a bit of the old town as well. That means you can see the best of nature, history and modern day living in Vilnius, all from one river. Here are just a few things you might see on your walk –
The Neris River forms the dividing line between the new and the old city. It is a 510km river that starts in Belarus and flows all the way to Vilnius. While the Vilnia River winds through the quieter areas of the old town, the Neris River is flanked on both sides by a main city road. Despite that, it can be surprisingly quiet and soothing to walk along its sunken banks. Along this river you’ll see a beach as well as many green spots. You might also spot some street art on some of the several bridges that cross the river.
Free Things to Do in Vilnius – 3 Day Itinerary
As you can see, a lot of the things mentioned above are inter-connected. So without any further ado, I present to you an itinerary to help you get all these things done in 3 days. You can even download the PDF version to take with you, using the link below :o)
Related Post: Experience The Old World Charm of Vilnius
Check out our other Northern European guides –
Free Things to do in Riga
Free Things to do in Tallinn
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