November may be one of the most unpopular months to travel to Vilnius. But that shouldn’t deter you if you’ve planned a trip for this time of year. Vilnius in November has some distinct advantages, one of them being that it’s relatively tourist free, which means you’ll see how the city is lived in and enjoyed by the residents—who, by the way, do not let a little darkness and colder weather deter them from enjoying culture or going to bars and restaurants to relax after work or on the weekend.
Events and Holidays
In some ways, Vilnius in November seems like it is holding its breath for the Christmas season. However, if you deplore crowds, it may be one of the best times to visit Vilnius.
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All Saints’ and All Souls: Rather than Halloween, Lithuania celebrates All Saints’ and All Souls Days at the beginning of November. This solemn holiday sees cemeteries aglow with the light of thousands of candles remembering the dead.
Scanorama: One of the most widely anticipated film festivals and one of Lithuania’s best-established, Scanorama features films from the Nordic countries and films throughout the Baltics and Europe, which are screened at central locations throughout the city.
Mama Jazz: The Mama Jazz festival is all about bringing the local and international jazz scene together in Lithuania’s capital to expose listeners to a wide range of professional jazz and allow musicians from different parts of the world to collaborate.
International Christmas Charity Bazaar: Because this bazaar opens the Christmas season and often takes place at the beginning of Advent, it often falls on the last weekend of November. Put on by the International Women’s Association of Vilnius in cooperation with the embassies, it’s a place for buying gifts and enjoying entertainment, the proceeds of which go to a good cause. Of the money collected, beneficiaries that conduct important social functions are given a portion to implement projects they have applied for—for example, children’s homes, care facilities, or shelters for the homeless.
It’s one way to experience Lithuanian Christmas even if you can’t be in Vilnius in December.
Things to Do
Check Out Local Art: Plenty of galleries and museums throughout the city provide welcome visual stimuli when the days begin to get shorter and the sun sets earlier. Whether you’re into smaller galleries showcasing the work of local artists or are interested in curated exhibits at museums, the Old Town Vilnius has plenty to choose from.
Go Shopping: November is a great time for shopping at local design and souvenir shops or even heading to Vilnius’s shopping centers. You’ll find all manner of locally sourced products such as Baltic amber or Lithuanian linen, handmade clothing and jewelry, and items for the home. Also find souvenirs from Lithuania that you’ll cherish forever.
Dig Into Local Cuisine: Lithuanian food lends itself well to cooling weather, with pork, potatoes, and other hearty ingredients filling traditional plates. You can enjoy samplings of Lithuanian-made cheeses paired with locally brewed beer or go all out and sit down to a plate of steaming cepeliniai, the national dish. Restaurants specializing in traditional food can be found throughout the old town and welcome visitors eager to try national fare.
Go on a Walking Tour: It’s never a bad idea to take a walking tour of Vilnius, which will introduce you to the city’s highlights and its history. You’ll get the lay of the land in the event you want to explore further and be able to cross Vilnius’s top sights off your list.
For concerts, gallery shows, demonstrations and workshops, theater performances, walking tours, and other events, visit Vilnius-events.lt, which is an excellent and up-to-date resource about what’s happening around town. You’ll find plenty of things to do in Vilnius in November when you’re here.
Temperatures in November in Vilnius tend to hover above freezing, so while snow isn’t very likely, chilly weather is a given and cold rain is likely. While November is nowhere near the coldest time of year, if you’ve come from a warmer part of the world, the change will be a sharp one as fewer hours of sunlight means heat has less time to accumulate and a longer time to dissipate overnight.
How to Dress for Vilnius in November
Dress for November weather with the colder air in mind, though your thickest coats and warmest boots aren’t necessary yet. Your best bet is to layer clothing, packing an extra couple of pieces you can throw on in the event of an extended outing or sudden and extreme drop in temperatures.
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