Vilnius FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Vilnius, Lithuania, relate to a range of topics, from safety to transport to culture to food. Find answers to your questions about Vilnius below!

How do I pronounce “Vilnius”?

Americans usually pronounce Vilnius with each syllable articulated (Vil-ni-yus). However, Lithuanians themselves pronounce it more like two syllables, with the second “i” making the “n” soft, so it sounds like “Vil-nuus,” with the stress on the first syllable. Vilnius is also known as Vilna in Tsarist-era Russian, Vilno in Ukrainian, and Wilno in Polish. Older sources about Vilnius may also use these alternative forms.

Is Vilnius safe?

Vilnius, especially Old Town Vilnius, is typically safe. Although you should always be careful with your belongings in crowds and on public transport, Vilnius does not have the same level of safety risk and level of crime as many other European capitals. Many people who visit Vilnius remark on the relative absence of police presence, but this is because one isn’t needed in daily life. Police are present during large public events, such as outdoor markets and parades and are called to crime scenes as needed.

You may also like: Health and Safety Tips for Baltic Travel

Can I find vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free food in Vilnius?

Yes! Vilnius has several restaurants that serve only vegetarian or vegan dishes and other restaurants (even burger joints!) have recognized the need to offer these types of menu items for diners. And many of its restaurants recognize various dietary requirements, with some even indicating on the menu allergens and other ingredients popularly avoided.

Where can I buy a bus ticket in Vilnius?

Buy bus tickets on the bus, or fill up your Vilnius card by visiting a Narvesen kiosk. Alternatively, you can use an app to buy a bus ticket.

Is Vilnius easy to get around?

Vilnius is very easy to get around! If you’re in Old Town Vilnius, everything can be accessed on foot, on bike, or on scooter, but if you want to travel outside the city center, you have many options. These include bus, trolleybus, taxi, car-sharing service, or ride-sharing service. Get the guide to getting around Vilnius for more information.

How do I get from the airport to Vilnius?

Get from the Vilnius Airport to the city center via bus (number 3G), train (to the train station), or taxi. From the airport to the center is only about 15 minutes by car, and about 20 minutes by bus.

How big is Vilnius?

Vilnius is 402 square kilometers (155 sq mi). However, for visitors, Old Town Vilnius (which is only 3.59 square kilometers) and its surroundings are typically only visited, making the area covered by travelers much more restricted. In fact, the center of Vilnius is so compact, you can get around easily on foot. If you want to go to another part of the city, you can walk or bike or take a bus or taxi.

Where should I stay in Vilnius?

As a first-time visitor, you should stay in Old Town Vilnius. Old Town Vilnius is the center, where many sights and popular restaurants are located. Hotels, apartments, and Airbnbs can be booked in Vilnius’s old town and provide you access to culture and attractions. Old Town Vilnius is also relatively budget friendly.

How many days should I stay in Vilnius?

The minimum amount of time you should spend in Vilnius is two days. The first day, you can do a tour of the city, visiting important sights and attractions and learning about the history of Vilnius. You may also find some time to shop for souvenirs or visit a museum. The second day, you can see sights that you missed the first day and visit Trakai, an easy, popular, and nearby day trip from Vilnius.

How was Vilnius founded?

The founding of Vilnius is surrounded by legend. As the story goes, in the 14th century, Grand Duke Gediminas dreamed of a howling iron wolf, which was interpreted as a message to found a city in the spot Vilnius stands today. Indeed, you can see a monument to Gediminas and the iron wolf on Cathedrals Square, near Gediminas’s castle and a stone monument with the date of its founding.

However, Vilnius may have existed before then and rose to prominence during the time of the Lithuanian grand dukes, who conquered vast tracts of land in the middle ages, creating an impressive duchy that stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Vilnius was granted city rights in 1387.

Where is Vilnius located?

Vilnius is a city in Lithuania located in the southeastern part of the country where the Neris and Vilnia rivers meet. Vilnius is in Vilnius County. Vilnius is 107 miles or 172 km from Minsk, Belarus; 366 miles or 589 km from Kiev, Ukraine; and 244 miles or 393 km from Warsaw, Poland.

Where is Vilnius University?

Vilnius University is located in Vilnius, Lithuania. The main campus is located in Old Town Vilnius, on Universiteto gatve across from the Presidential Palace.

Is Vilnius worth visiting?

Yes, Vilnius is worth visiting! The capital of Lithuania has one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in Europe and is easy to explore on foot. It’s also a cultural center and many people’s favorite city in the Baltic countries! Whether you use Vilnius as a home base to explore the rest of Lithuania or visit it on your tour of the Baltics, your photos and memories will attest to it being a highlight of your trip!

Does it snow in Vilnius?

Yes, Vilnius can see snow in the wintertime, from November and even until April. However, climate change has created milder winters in recent years where snow is a less frequent event. It still pays to dress for cold and wet weather if you plan to visit during this time of year. Ice, which forms when temperatures drop after rain, is also a problem, and walkways can be slick even when there is no snow on the ground.

Does Uber operate in Vilnius?

Yes, Uber operates in Vilnius, along with Bolt, another ride-sharing service. You may also use taxi services, the bus service, or for shorter distances, rental bikes or rental scooters.

Does Vilnius have a Christmas market?

Vilnius has several Christmas markets! The Christmas market on Cathedral Square is the central Christmas market, but Christmas markets also appear on Town Hall Square and in various shopping centers.

What’s Vilnius’s population?

Vilnius has a population of about 580,000 residents as of the year 2020.

What is Vilnius known for?

Vilnius is known for being one of the lesser-visited capitals in Europe, the southernmost Baltic capital, and a city with a large medieval old town that is balanced by innovative creative and tech sectors. Vilnius is also known for its cleanliness and safety—many people call it a “large village.” Gedimino Castle Tower is one of its symbols.

Was Vilnius ever a part of Poland?

Vilnius was once a part of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth that was founded in the late 16th century. Furthermore, Vilnius was annexed to Poland in 1922 after WWI, and Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city, became the temporary capital of Lithuania. Vilnius again became a part of Lithuania in 1939.

What languages are spoken in Vilnius?

Lithuanian, one of the languages of the Baltic countries, is most widely spoken in Vilnius. However, English is also spoken by many people, as is Russian. Polish language has a less expansive coverage but may also be spoken by Polish Lithuanians living in Vilnius or the surrounding region. Of course, other languages are spoken here, particularly Ukrainian and Belarusian.

Is Vilnius a nice city?

Vilnius is a very nice city! Small, safe, and clean, it’s great for travelers who don’t like the stress and bustle of larger cities. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean that it is lacking in anything a European capital can offer. It has a robust calendar of events, plenty of outdoor markets and activities, loves to celebrate holidays with local traditions, has attracted chefs and restaurant owners from various parts of the world, has a well-developed transport system, and is generally friendly, pretty, and memorable. There are so many reasons to visit Vilnius!