Vilnius in March can be unpredictable—either springlike weather or a lingering winter chill. However, the hope for the warm months is in the air as the last of the snow is likely to be melting and the days become longer. What can you expect from March travel to Vilnius?
Holidays and Events
The March holidays and events scene for Vilnius is a good introduction to Lithuanian culture and history. If you happen to be in town for one of the following, do be sure to poke around to see what related festivities are occurring.
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St. Casimir’s Fair takes place the first weekend in March to celebrate the patron saint of the city. It features a parade with an effigy of the saint and people in traditional or historical costumes. But more importantly, Old Town Vilnius is packed with vendors from Vilnius, Lithuania, the Baltics, and beyond.
You’ll be able to buy everything from wooden toys to fine Baltic amber jewelry, clothing made of Lithuanian linen, pottery, baskets, books, and more. Interacting with the artisans is one of the best points of this fair because you can ask questions about how a particular craft is made and what the artist’s personal story is.
While some vendors have invested in the ability to take credit card payments, others are cash-only, so do be sure to carry some (safely, tucked away in an inner pocket) so that you won’t miss an item that has caught your eye. The fair can become so big that once you’ve wandered a bit, you may never be able to find that particular stall again, so it’s best to be spontaneous rather than mulling over your purchasing options!
International Women’s Day on March 8
Though International Women’s Day has indeed become more international via its popularization through women’s movements, this day celebrating women in Lithuania is more often thought of as a holdover from Soviet times. Women do congratulate each other on this day, but it is more often men who shower the women in their lives with flowers and other small treats.
Lithuanian Restoration of Independence Day on March 11
Of Lithuania’s two independence days, March 11 comes second in the year as well as marks the second time Lithuania declared independence. This day celebrates the day in 1990 when Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union, which had annexed it after its first declaration of independence in 1918.
St. Patrick’s Day on March 14
St. Patrick’s Day is another international holiday coopted in Vilnius and hosted by the Irish Embassy. Crowds gather by the Vilnele River in Uzupis, where the waters turn green and a party maintains a lively atmosphere.
Kino Pavasaris/Cinema Spring
Vilnius’s largest film festival is an exciting event featuring local films, films from the region and beyond, special and historic picks, and shorts that will tickle any film fanatic’s fancy. It runs for two weeks, starting at the end of March and running into April. Tickets for the most popular screenings sell out fast, so it pays to think ahead.
Stork Day on March 25
Storks are the Lithuanian national bird and important in its heritage and culture. This large, white bird migrates for the winter and begins to return (to the same nest) around this time of year. You can see the nests throughout the countryside built on special polls that are attractive to the birds and keep their babies high and safe from predators.
Things to Do in Vilnius in March
Looking for fun things to do in Vilnius in March? Consider some of the following suggestions.
Most obviously, if you are in Vilnius during St. Casimir’s Fair, do take advantage of the combination of commerce and culture presented here. A main row of stalls appears on Gediminas Ave., Vilnius’s main drag, but in good years, it spills around the Cathedral and into the heart of Old Town Vilnius. You can spend hours wandering and looking, shopping and eating—and if the weather is on the nicer side, it can be especially pleasant.
Enjoy a glass of wine or beer
March, when the winter chill still lingers, is the perfect month for taking in Vilnius’s wine and beer scene. Local beer is proudly served in most establishments, and you can ask for recommendations from the bartender or server. If you prefer wine, both wine shops and wine bars cater to a wide range of preferences, with many of them featuring wine from Italy or France.
Take a tour of Vilnius University and its library
Vilnius University is a labyrinth of courtyards, archways, and rooms that bear the stamp of their medieval constructions. See a room full of ancient globes, learn about the fourth oldest astronomical observatory in Europe, be wowed by the elegant old library, and get the story on the intriguing 20th-century frescos that decorate the walls throughout the complex’s buildings.
Try your hand at a cooking class
Cooking classes are a great way to familiarize yourself with local cuisine, meet new people, and taste something new. Of course, you don’t have to learn how to cook Lithuanian dishes—the teaching kitchens in Vilnius offer classes for a wide variety of cuisines, including Japanese, Italian, and more.
For concerts, gallery shows, demonstrations and workshops, theater performances, walking tours, and other events in Vilnius in March, visit Vilnius-events.lt, which is an excellent and up-to-date resource about what’s happening around town.
Vilnius in March is unpredictable when it comes to weather. If winter has stuck around, be prepared for snowy streets and bitter temperatures. If the winter has been milder, March can be rainy and chilly. Temperatures just above or just below freezing are typical, but windy or rainy days will feel much colder than brighter days with less precipitation.
How to Dress
March is tricky to dress for, and it’s best to check the weather forecast before your March travel to Vilnius. Gear that will protect you from melting snow or rain is smart to bring, as are layering pieces that you can put on or leave off depending upon the daily fluctuation. Think sweaters over t-shirts or a lighter winter coat over sweatshirts.
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