Vilnius may not be the first city that comes to mind when travelers think of European Christmas markets, but the capital city of Lithuania is an up-and-coming player on the scene.
And Lithuanian Christmas, or even Christmas in Vilnius, with all its traditions, just can’t be beat. With several Vilnius Christmas markets located throughout the city—both indoors and outdoors—during the month of December, you can shop for local products, warm yourself with a cup of mulled wine, or just enjoy the wintry, festive atmosphere that accompanies the end-of-year holidays.
Christmas Market on Cathedral Square
The main square of Vilnius—Cathedral Square—is decorated by an enormous Christmas tree, each year according to a surprise creative theme, whether birdhouses, clocks, or oversized globe ornaments. It is one of the best-known Vilnius Christmas markets.
The lighting of the tree is a crowd-drawing event, which also marks the opening of this outdoor Christmas market. The vendors at the stalls in this small Christmas town brave the cold to offer sweet treats, showcase their wares, and sell seasonal items such as gloves and earmuffs.
For a great souvenir of your visit to Vilnius, pick up a handmade Christmas ornament to hang on your own tree at home. Or find a piece of Lithuanian folk art to display.
Vilnius Christmas Market on Town Hall Square
The Rotuse, or Town Hall, is in the heart of Old Town Vilnius. Its square is usually decorated by a smaller, more ostentatious tree than the one on Cathedral Square.
One of the cozier Vilnius Christmas markets also sets up shop here, some under glass domes to protect from wind or snow, where you can find brief respite from the cold as you sip a hot drink or snack on pastry.
Visit this Christmas market before choosing a nearby restaurant to dine in that evening: Aline Leiciai, on Stikliu g., is a good choice for traditional Lithuanian food that will warm you with its hearty dishes and rustic atmosphere.
Litexpo Christmas Market
Though Litexpo is a bit out of town, it’s easy to catch a taxi there to visit this Vilnius Christmas market in the middle of December. As many as 500 vendors offer everything from gifts to decorations to home decor ideas. Entry is free even if you only want to browse.
Design Market on Kudirkos Square
The Design Market is an opportunity for local designers to let their hard work shine. One-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, trendy men’s fashion, sustainable clothing from Lithuanian brands, and even stylish dog collars from some of Lithuania’s most creative people get their own space towards the middle of December on Kudirkos Square, just off of Gedimino Avenue.
Fill your bag with stocking stuffers or find a special gift for yourself. Be warned, though. It’s difficult to choose from the array of delightful, unique wearable, functional, or decorative items. Linked glass domes protect you from the elements as you browse, and the sheer number of people generate enough body heat that—though crowded—the Design Market is a pleasant enough stop on your stroll through the city.
Christmas Market at Panorama Shopping Center
One of the best indoor Vilnius Christmas markets can be found in Panorama shopping center, found in the Zverynas district of Vilnius.
The entry hall of the shopping center becomes crowded with stalls selling everything from typical Lithuanian meats and cheeses to handmade candles and soaps, to woolen slippers. Upstairs, you’ll find jewelry, linen wear, and other accessories. If you’re seriously shopping for gifts, this particular market is a good option.
But watch out for the children’s Christmas train—it’ll warn you with its whistle, but you may still feel like you have to dodge it as you circle the second floor.
International Charity Christmas Bazaar
Every year, the International Women’s Association of Vilnius hosts an enormous charity event called the International Charity Christmas Bazaar at the Town Hall on Didzoji g. Held the first Saturday of December, a minimal entry fee will allow you to shop the stands of this Vilnius Christmas market organized by the association as well as the embassies of Vilnius.
An opening ceremony, lottery prizes, and a visit from Santa round out the bazaar. It’s best to arrive well before the noon opening—lines begin forming early and this event is traditionally very crowded and the event only grows bigger every year.
Train Station Christmas Market in Vilnius
The Christmas Market at platform 1 at Vilnius’s Railway Station is the hipster version of holiday markets. Food trucks, modern music, and other elements to contribute to the trendy vibe make this Christmas market a standout option from the first week of December to January 1.
So, don’t overlook Vilnius if you’re looking for Christmas Markets in Eastern Europe. Vilnius’s Christmas tree is a grand sight, and its Christmas markets inviting.
Tips for Vising Vilnius Christmas Markets
- Bring cash with you. Lithuania uses the euro European currency. Not all vendors accept credit cards, so it’s worth it to carry euros with you when you shop.
- Dress for the weather. If you’ll be at one of Vilnius’ outside Christmas markets, you’ll want to dress in layers and makes sure your feet are warm. Snow and ice are a real possibility in Vilnius in December, so be prepared.
- Bring your own bag. Not all vendors will be able to offer you a bag for your purchases, so bring a backpack or another type of bag you can stash your finds in.